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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bloomberg Says Shooting Unacceptable

Several days ago, an unfortunate shooting took place in New York City. A team of five undercover police officers were sitting in a van outside a strip club doing surveillance. There was an additional officer outside on foot in radio contact with the van. A gentleman of African American descent was celebrating his wedding which was supposed to be the next day with two of his friends.

The three individuals left the club, got into their car and came under suspicion of the officer who was on foot and in plain clothes. The officer approached the car, wearing his badge. The driver of the car bolted. The officer thereupon radioed the five officers in the van that I think he has a gun. At that point, the car with the three individuals in it crashes into the van with the five cops, not once but twice.

A hale of bullets, some fifty in all follow. One officer fired 31 times by himself. The driver of the vehicle, who was supposed to be married the next day, dies in the shooting, and his two companions were wounded. In the crime scene that followed no one finds a gun that could have been used by the gentlemen in the car.

What follows next is EVERYBODY IS JOCKEYING FOR POSITION. The Mayor announces that firing that many bullets (over 50) is “UNACCEPTABLE”, while the police commissioner keeping his cool, talks about the evidence not being completely in yet to form a judgment. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton get in on the act, and stir up old angers in the African American community.

The first thing I say is, “Thank God, two of the officers in question were black, and one Hispanic. The remaining two officers were white. The second thing is that the Mayor has never been in a shoot-out. The closest he comes to a gun is the police unit that protects him, and his $10 billion dollar Forbes 400 fortune. So what is Bloomberg trying to do? We can only conjecture. It does seem possible that he is positioning himself for a run for the Presidency in 2008, and he does not want to seem overly bias to the police department. It seems to me he is patronizing the Black community, which is just as bad.

The Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly is also positioning himself for a run for Mayor of New York in the next two years. This means he has to watch what he says also. I can’t begin to imagine what a police officer has to go through to make a decision in an instant to use his gun.

Human beings have five million years of evolution built into them. The most primitive emotional basis of our history is the “Fight or Flight” response. In a moment of intense fear, or panic as in when lions were chasing us 50,000 years ago, our sympathetic nervous system kicked in. Our brains are not thinking, instead instantly, extremely powerful chemicals start to flush through the body. These include noradrenalin, adrenaline, and cortisol which are released by the adrenal glands.

These chemicals are so powerful that they overwhelm the body. Your emotional brain is preparing your body for FIGHT. The moment that first bullet went off; each officer involved assumed they were being shot at. All of them immediately emptied their automatic weapons at the car in question. NYPD officers are no longer permitted to carry revolvers as their primary weapons. They are instead required to carry semi automatic weapons such as the Glock 17, with a five pound trigger pull and a magazine that can fire 17 rounds. It is called a Glock 17 because it was the 17th patent taken out by its inventor.

Most police officers carry 15 rounds in the magazine until the spring is broken in. You can however fire all 17 rounds in seconds, and that’s just what happened. The Mayor is playing to the grandstand, and knows less than nothing about a gun fight. Once you fire, you don’t say to yourself is two or three shots enough? You don’t even know if you have hit anything. The adrenaline keeps pouring through your body, you can barely stand up.

Unfortunately we have these preconceived attitudes generated by watching too many police shows on television. An example would be the various CSI television shows which show the crime scene detectives solving the case, and arresting the perpetrator. That’s nonsense; crime scene detectives NEVER EVER arrest anyone. They simply investigate the crime scene, and turn over the evidence to homicide detectives who do the searching and the arrests.

Only in the movies and television do we see cool cops acting calm under pressure. In real life, the fear that takes over the body is completely overwhelming. At some point in each of our lives, you have probably been stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation. You might remember the adrenaline rush you feel in your own body when this happens. What you don’t know is the adrenaline rush the police officer is feeling in his body when this happens.

There is nothing more frightening than a police officer pulling somebody over at night on a quiet road. The officer has no idea what is going to happen, or who he is encountering. There is a feeling of panic that is pervasive.

I am sure in the incident at the night club that the officers regret the unfortunate ending to a terrible situation. I believe that although they may be charged and tried for this incident, I do not believe that any REASONABLE jury would ever convict. If convicted by a biased jury, the case would be overturned on APPEAL. Nevertheless, some people including the Mayor may try to make political hay out of this tragedy. If so, he will not benefit long-term, people tend to see through these situations to what is really going on.

I will leave you with these thoughts. Seventy years ago, my father, than a 17 year old teenager was walking by an armored truck parked on the avenue. The rear doors were opened and my father decided to peer in, somewhat upsetting a guard who was sitting in the truck. The guard looked at my father, and said, “You know young man; you hardly ever get into trouble minding your own business.” When the car drove into the van containing the five police officers TWICE, the driver was certainly not minding his own business. We should all pause for thought.
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The Neighborhood Mint in health

There have been changes to the flag during history but the coat of arms has always featured a majestic eagle holding a serpent on top of a cactus. The current coat of arms was designed in 1968 by Helguera. Legend says that the Aztecs, then a nomadic tribe wandering throughout Mexico, were waiting for a sign from the gods telling them were to build their capital city. Their god, Huitzilopochtli told them to search until they found a place where they saw an eagle, devouring a serpent while perched on a prickly pear tree, growing out of a rock submerged in a lake. After wandering for two hundred years, they saw this mythical eagle on a small island in Lake Texcoco and built their capital, Tenochtitlan, where the main plaza in Mexico City is now located.

Over the years the three colors of green, white and red on the flag have remained the same but the meaning of the colors has changed. The green stripe represents Independence from Spain or can signify Hope. The white stripe represents purity of the Catholic faith or Unity. The red stripe represents Heroes blood or Religion.

When the flag of Mexico is paraded in front of a crowd, bystanders raise their right arm, place their hand on their chest parallel to the heart. The hand is flat with the palm facing the ground. This salute is known as the El Saludo Civil de la Bandera Nacional. On February 24 each year a national celebration, Dia de la Bandera, Flag Day is held. This commemorates this day in 1821, when all the factions fighting in the Mexican War of Independence joined together to form the Army of Three Guarantees.
The U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai is a one of a quickly diminishing number of historic properties serving as diplomatic posts for the United States government overseas. In an era of non-descript office blocks, the Consulate evokes an earlier time of pergolas draped in riotous explosions of bougainvillea, the subtle scent of frangipani, and the gentle breeze of a slowly turning ceiling fan. Once the royal residence of the last prince of Northern Thailand, Chao Kaew Nawarat, the history of the Consulate allows its staff to justifiably say they work in a very special place.

Previously known as the Chedi Ngarm, or Beautiful Pagoda Palace, the Consulate grounds have a number of distinct historic buildings, some over 100 years old. The first royal notable to take up residence was Chao Dara Rasmi, Princess Consort of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn, Rama V. In 1914, four years after the death of Rama V, Princess Dara Rasmi returned to her family home of Chiang Mai and resided in a teak house located within the compound. She later moved to another residence in the nearby village of Mae Rim and her brother Major General Chao Kaew Nawarat, the ninth and last Prince of the Northern Thai Lanna Chuen Jet Ton dynasty, moved into the royal compound. Prince Kaew Nawarat built a house on the grounds of the royal compound in 1923 as a wedding gift to his daughter Chao Siriprakai Na Chiengmai. In 1926 Princess Siriprakai’s home would host the visit of the ill-fated Majesty King Prapoklao, who was later deposed in 1934, and Queen Ram Pai Panni. Consulate staff and the sections of the consulate’s communications center presently occupy that residence.

The happiness of the King and Queen’s visit would be soon forgotten in 1933 because of the death of Princess Dara Rasmi. Her coffin lay in state at the Chedi Ngarm Palace from December 1933 to April 1934. Later that same year, Prince Kaew Nawarat would replace the old teak residence with a new home, now the Consul General’s residence. The house, designed by an Italian architect, was built in the then popular Anglo-Burmese style. A Chinese-style sala, or pavilion was also built. The sala now serves as the waiting room and offices of the Consular section. Prince Kaew Nawarat was not able to enjoy his new home for long as he died in June 1939. His body lay in state in the sala from June to July 1939, in the same place that today’s applicants for visas and citizen services wait.

The death of Prince Kaew Nawarat closed a chapter on the history of the royal residence. The government of Siam no longer recognized the semi-autonomous principality of northern Thailand, once part of the great kingdom of Lanna that had been founded in 1296 by King Mengrai. The central government established direct control from Bangkok and the Chedi Ngam property was sold to the Office of the Royal Crown Properties.

In September 1, 1950, a new chapter of the history began with the signing by U.S. Ambassador Edwin F. Stanton and Thai Deputy Minister of Finance Sawet Piamphongsarn of a lease for Chedi Ngarm Palace and grounds. The Consulate still maintains its lease with the Office of Royal Crown Properties.

Through the diligent efforts of Consul Harlen Y.M. Lee (in office from 1982-1985), the Consulate became a Consulate General in 1986 and it continued its close association with Thai royalty. In January 2003, the Consulate had the privilege to host the visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn.

With Foreign Service life requiring constant moving from post to post and the growing homogeneity of the mission buildings, few Foreign Service officers gain any sense of attachment to or appreciation for the offices in which they work. At the U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai, the beauty and history of the classic teak buildings serve as a reminder of how fortunate the Consulate staff is to work in a former royal residence.
Being a student of US coins, I was fascinated as to the role politics played in the coinage of our money, establishment of mints, and whom the mints employed. The authors drill down deep into the personalities and motives of the individual players. Additionally, I was fascinated to learn that Dahlonega was the site of the first American gold rush, not California. The Dahlonega mint never did produce the coinage anticipated by its developers for numerous reasons, which is also explained. I wouldn’t recommend this book to the fainthearted. If you are history buff, coin collector, or a student of politics, this is a good read. If you are not, stay away.
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National Identification Cards What S The Purpose

The Lancaster is probably the most famous of all the bombers of the second world war. According to Capt. Donald Macintosh (ex-second world war bomber pilot, and author) it was a lot smoother to fly than the Wellington; the experience of which was close to that of a fighter plane (with no payload, of course).

Survival rates on bombers.

The life of a second world war bomber pilot was probably the most dangerous of all the armed forces of the second world war. Less than 50% survived their tour; each tour consisted of roughly 25 operations or raids with the chances of survival for each raid being 96%. That is what the commanders always told the crew before a raid to keep up morale. But if you compound 96% over 25 times, the survival rate was closer to 50%. When Donald looked at his Florida academy group photograph after the war, he counted around half of those still alive.

WHAT KILLED BOMBER CREWS?

Training

Enemy fighter planes

Lack of rear radar (called Monica: only introduced later in the war)

An incompetent navigator

An incompetent rear gunner

Flak

Poor attitude

Bad luck

TRAINING – Rushed training caused a few deaths. President Roosevelt wanted to train pilots within 2 years which would be woefully short in peacetime, but due to the high chop rate they had no choice. Donald sometimes saw burnt-out bombers on the runway from fatal mistakes made by cadets. A fairly experienced New Zealand pilot and his crew died in a ball of flames in the air during training. They speculated it was because one of the crew members had smoked during the flight.

Also, the bombers used in training were not maintained properly, if at all. All the good maintenance staff were looking after the bombers flying real operations. This could cause engines to fail, which killed a few crew members.

In fact, Donald had several very near misses himself in just such scenarios. The excerpt: “The Landing” from his book is just one example of inexperience nearly killing him. “Russian Mechanics” is another; the Russians didn’t have the competence or equipment to maintain planes as Donald found out.

ENEMY FIGHTER PLANES – Fighter planes out-gunned and could out-maneuver bombers. The typical fighter tactic was to dive under the bomber and swing around and up, shooting up at the undercarriage. This wasn’t without total risk to the fighter, as the explosion of the payload could also destroy the fighter if he was too close. Donald experienced a Focke Wulf 190 first-hand using just this tactic.

The best defence was the cork-screw dive. This meant diving 45 degrees to the left, then 45 degrees to the right and then fly back upwards 45 degrees left. The odds though were still against you. At night time, if an enemy fighter was detected soon enough, the cork-screw dive was very effective at shaking them off. .

LACK OF REAR RADAR – Rear radar, or Monica as it was called, saved countless bomber crew’s lives. This enabled the crew to detect an enemy fighter sneaking up behind very early. The cork-screw dive maneuver was then quite effective. Using Monica, during night-time raids especially, allowed the bombers to easily shake off enemy fighter planes. Monica saved Donald’s life when it was introduced. It was a pity that his Squadron Leader also didn’t have it when he battled a German ace. See “Squadron Leader” for this story.

AN INCOMPETENT NAVIGATOR – According to Donald, the navigator was absolutely crucial to survival. If you got lost over enemy territory, you had had it. Not only could you accidentally fly over enemy fighter bases or flak installations, but your fuel would run out. Donald’s bomber crew experienced their fuel running out twice, once in training and once over Russia.

AN INCOMPETENT REAR GUNNER – Although, the rear gunner was not as important as the navigator, he needed to be very alert for detecting enemy fighter planes coming in from behind. He would call out the ranges and shout out the exact time when the pilot should cork-screw. The actual gunfire was usually inadequate to bring down the fighters; it distracted them more than anything else.

FLAK – At the end of the war flak was largely ineffective. This was because the German flak crews were the old men or inexperienced young boys who weren’t trained well enough to operate them properly. Of course, you could be exceedingly unlucky. If a professional flak crew were shooting at you, then you would be in trouble. When Donald was carrying out a raid over Holland, he flew over German Naval Gunners who shot down the plane three behind him, killing all but three of her crew.

POOR ATTITUDE – Those pilots and crew who didn’t put everything into it, who didn’t really want to be there, were often the ones who got what they wished for. Donald tells of an Australian pilot Tyrell, who had an apathetic attitude always asking when his leave was etc. He died on his first mission over Stuttgart.

Another important factor was team work amongst the crew members. Some crews couldn’t get along with each other. They constantly argued, even disobeying orders. Unsurprisingly, this raised the probability of not making it over a raid.

Nervous disorders were a common problem with crew members who were nearing the end of their active duty. In fact, according to Donald, at this stage of their careers just about everybody had some sort of nervous disorder, whether it was a nervous tic or the hand shaking when lifting up a glass or tea cup. It was far worse with bomb-aimers. They saw everything below: flak exploding just beneath them etc. Bomb aimers were usually relieved earlier of their duties than most since after a while they would crack up. “The Mad Gunner” is a short story of a bomb-aimer who had done around 70 raids and had completely lost it. He was allowed to continue because he loved doing it and also the fact that he was very good at his job.

BAD LUCK – A lucky flak shot, or something critical overlooked in maintenance was what usually happened. When Donald had to choose his bomb-aimer, he had a choice between Pete or his friend, George. They flipped a coin and Pete became his bomb-aimer and lived; George, however, never made it to the end of the war.
The worldwide illicit drugs business is by far the most profitable illicit global trade, says the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), earning some $320 billion annually. Compared to this, human trafficking at $32 billion and illegal firearms at $1 billion are a drop in the bucket. Afghanistan, producing 92% of the world’s illegal opium from its miles and miles of poppy farms, is by far the world’s largest contributor to the production of illicit heroin and morphine. For millions of addicts around the world, the dark force from Afghanistan that rules their lives can only be overcome through drug rehab.

Not surprisingly, no one has come up with a workable idea on how to stop it. The problem is that the chain of “narcodollars” reaches from the poppy farms all the way to the highest levels of Afghanistan’s government, with the Taliban insurgents in the mix in a very big way. At $3.1 billion, the opium trade is the equivalent of a third of the country’s total economy. Last year’s 6,100 tons of opium was worth $60 billion at street prices, and this year an even larger crop is expected.



As well as keeping the drug barons rich, the drug trade has affected Afghanistan’s citizenry in an unexpected and very negative way. Historically, poppy farmers and citizens rarely used the drugs personally. Today, according to UN reports, thousands of Afghani’s are abusing the drugs and becoming addicted, and desperately need drug rehab. But the country doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to support drug rehab facilities.

As for solutions, the U.S. is pushing for crop spraying and destruction. But thousands of farmers will be out of work and penniless. Replacing poppies with other crops won’t work because there’s no distribution system for exporting produce. Others are suggesting the opium trade be legitimized and production redirected for medicines. But the health industry won’t pay street prices to drug barons, so that probably won’t fly.

Meanwhile, here in America we continue to deal with street drug crime and lives being ruined through opiate addiction. Until a solution is found to stop the supplies of drugs from around the world, we can try to prevent addiction by our own example and through effective education. And we must care for those who suffer addiction with successful drug rehab programs that really work.
With the decisive Battle of Yorktown in Virginia in 1781, America freed itself from the shackles of tyranny. Now, Virginia-the first, permanent English-speaking colony in the New World-is celebrating the 225th anniversary of the historic battle.

The National Park Service’s Yorktown Battlefield and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s Yorktown Victory Center, together with the town of Yorktown, are hosting stirring events and exhibits to bring clarity to America’s most important military victory-George Washington’s triumph of allied forces over the British at Yorktown in October 1781.

This year in Yorktown-along the sandy shores of the tidal York River near the Chesapeake Bay-will be special, beginning with timeless attractions, such as:

• The Victory Center, where visitors can “meet” Revolutionary soldiers, try on their uniforms and view artifacts from the sunken British ship “Betsy,” one of many British ships resting on the bottom of the York River; and

• The Yorktown Battlefield, where you can walk the fields and fortifications where General Washington forced the surrender of more than 8,000 British soldiers, effectively ending the American Revolution.

Then amid a backdrop of spectacular autumn foliage, Yorktown will host a four-day commemoration of the decisive battle beginning Thursday, Oct. 19. A small-town parade, traditional military Pass in Review ceremony, tactical field demonstrations and a live-action orchestral and choral event called “We Salute You-An American Symphony” will honor American military service.

Fireworks over the York River, an assembly of fife and drum corps from across the U.S., military bands and a naturalization ceremony will remind spectators and participants of the basic freedoms achieved 225 years ago in Virginia. Culminating with a ceremonial surrender of the British army at Yorktown’s Colonial National Historical Park, more than 2,000 reenactors will mobilize in a brilliant show of British redcoats marching to the actual field of surrender.

In addition, a new exhibit at the Victory Center depicts how different cultures helped shape American society. And the new Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown-a retail center with unique shopping and dining options-is another reason to return to Virginia for “Jamestown 2007: America’s 400th Anniversary” next year.
There are many reasons why countries, small and large, are reviewing the needs for national identification cards. Many of the reasons have to do with immigration, border control and some are simply economic. When considering national identification cards for a country, it’s fairly simple to understand the perceived need to clearly identify someone’s nationality for reasons from employment to citizenship benefits. Even when reviewing who should receive medical or any other service offered by a government to its citizens and to protect these services so they are not abused by individuals whose citizenship is with another country.

The only form of national identification is a printed piece of paper in many countries, and because of this many of these nations are reviewing their possibilities. These documents are simple to forge since they don’t contain a picture or other identifying marks other than being the person holding the document. Reducing the abuse of services and controlling costs is reason enough to implement a national photo ID card and database. Because of these needs and many others it is apparent that some of the information on the identification cards would include characteristics of the holder such as height, weight sex and eye color. Some nations have included items such as retinal scan information and finger prints into the national database and into the identification cards themselves.

Some of the countries that are entertaining or beginning this process do not have an up to date account on its current residents or even census information on their citizens. Implementing a national identification card into a country such as this allows for many other needed benefits, such as tracking the activity of its citizens when it comes to border crossings, criminal records, government employment history or military service. Presently many of these countries have databases to track these items, but most are independent of each other. Creating a national ID card would allow the merging of all of these databases into a common solution that would allow for a much simpler identification and review of an individual’s history.

As governments review these types of requirements, it has become in many cases a task for outsourcing. For many nations, undertaking the monumental feat of photographing, capturing information and providing ID cards to every citizen is too large for governments to handle efficiently. There have been a few companies providing solutions for nations and one of them is FullIdentity.com. This organization has been providing photo identification cards for individuals for about seven years and have created solutions that incorporate much more than simply providing cards. In many cases solutions have been developed for countries that are not only easy to implement but also provide an economic benefit for the countries implementing them. Simply put, when outsourcing the identification card needs of a country to a provider such as FullIdentity.com, the costs are less expensive than they would be if a nation took on the burden of developing a solution internally. Because of the discounted expense, the country can charge the citizens less for the ID cards than they would if the nation was passing the expense along directly to the resident. This would still leave a financial margin that would be paid to the government.

It is hard to find an economic reason for a government not to implement a national identification card system. Advocates will shout that “big brother” is stripping them of their rights and privacy; but shouldn’t someone be watching our criminal records, military service and border crossings? Doesn’t a government have the responsibility to ensure that only their citizens are receiving benefits from their own country or should anyone be allowed to receive these benefits when their citizenship belongs to another nation?
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London Bridge Is Falling Down

 In Novermber, 2006, in an article that I posted to my blog The Underground Investor, I wrote this : “even if the Iranian conflict eventually materializes, a prior short, surgical strike elsewhere seems much more likely. In fact, Venezuela, or a smaller South American country such as Bolivia or Ecuador would seem to be a prime target if this is the case.”

The reason why I believed that a future U.S. military intervention, one that was a quick, surgical strike, but a very powerful one, was inevitable was because as I wrote back then, “History has shown that when the U.S.’s sovereignty and military power has been challenged in the world that the U.S. will engage in an act of war to re-establish her status as a feared power.”

However, certain events have since materialized that lead me to believe that instead of a strike preceding Iran, that Iran is now more likely to suffer the strike I believed would happen “elsewhere”. As I stated in my first “Nostradamus” article, in May, 1975, Cambodians seized the U.S. cargo ship, the Mayaguez, in route from Vietnam to Thailand. The next day, the U.S. General Accounting Office reported that a Chinese diplomat had filed a report stating that China was using its favorable diplomatic relationship with Cambodia to negotiate on behalf of the U.S. and that all American crewmen were “expected to be released soon.” Despite these developments, then U.S. President Gerald Ford ordered a U.S. marine assault on the Cambodian island that had been holding the American crewmen, mostly as a show to assert American might after the conflict in Vietnam had gravely weakened her global standing.

Does this incidence sound eerily similar to something transpiring today? If it doesn’t it should. Currently there is an international row between the U.K. and Iran regarding Iran’s seizure of 15 British sailors on a ship that Iran claims ventured into Iranian waters. The British government vehemently denies the Iranian state’s official stance regarding this incident, and claims that Iran illegally seized a ship that was still officially in Iraqi waters. In the meantime, the U.S. has intervened, with President Bush stating his unequivocal support for Britain and calling for the unconditional release of the British sailors and Iran’s continuing behavior in this matter as “inexcusable.”

However, this current international row has much much deeper implications below the surface. This row is about much more than just the seizure of British sailors, and I’ll explain what I mean shortly.

Although this incident may seem relatively tame at this point, what elevates its significance of this event in my eyes is its peculiar timing. There is a reason that the phrase “the Fog of War” exists due to the frequent mass deception of the public that precedes declarations of war or military strikes. The timing of this incident is peculiar in my eyes because of the fact that Tehran has publicly launched a campaign to hurt the U.S. dollar and economy. Tehran has officially directed all Iranian business to turn to the Euro to finance their operations, unloaded dollars, and stated a goal of having their economy become 100% free of U.S. dollar dependency (insert link here). Furthermore, Iran has already started trading oil in Euros with China. A similar arrangement with Russia to steer clear of a petrodollar oil trade is near inevitable, and ditto with Japan. After that, fellow Middle Eastern bloc countries are sure to fall in line as well. All of Iran’s recently implemented economic policies are a direct blow to the objectives of the Iraqi war and it is not likely that their economic policies, which barely merit a passing mention in the media, will be tolerated for long.

All these conditions, in conjunction with all the accusations of Iranian weapons-grade nuclear enrichment programs that have never been properly validated, set up the perfect precursor for a military strike. I’m not saying that it will happen, because I think that an invasion of Iran would be pure madness, but I’m saying that conditions exist well below the surface of the British sailor dispute that are the REAL reasons for current U.S. – Iranian tension. The British sailor row is merely the perfect visible event that is necessary to give any executed theater operation the legitimacy it needs in the court of global opinion. So in the end, a military strike is more likely to happen now than ever before, and it is likely to happen soon if it happens at all.

In any event, what are the implications of this dispute for investors? Politics have deep and serious impacts upon financial markets. A worst case scenario would be a U.S./ U.K joint strike on Iran. In this case oil prices would soar. The best case scenario would be a peaceful resolution of this conflict but given Iran’s economic policies of late, any peaceful resolution would still leave an unresolved and extremely tense situation simmering below the surface which still could boil over and erupt at any point. And this situation still bodes well for oil companies. So start looking for oil companies that have corrected a lot recently and have extremely low historical valuations now. Not all oil companies fall into this category, as many have corrected and since then, gained almost all of their correction back. But there still exist a handful out there. Either way this situation blows, oil explorers and oil service companies should benefit.
London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. You remember that song from childhood no doubt. But did you know that the London Bridge is actually located in the beautiful town of Lake Havasu City in Arizona, United States of America? The world-famous London Bridge in Lake Havasu City attracts hundred of thousands of visitors year-round from all around the world. It is a focal point for the city and a crossing between the Bridgewater Channel from the mainland and a little island on the Colorado River. Here’s a little background on the legendary bridge that resides in this historic American city.

In 1962, after standing for over 130 years, the bridge which was originally located in London, was really falling down, just like in the nursery rhyme. It simply could no longer handle the ever increasing traffic flow across the river. Well it was actually sinking in the Thames River.

Nevertheless, an American entrepreneur named Robert P. McCulloch recognized a wonderful opportunity when the British government put it up for sale. He made a bid for ownership of the bridge and on April 18, 1968, won the auction for a sum of $2,460,000. Mr. McCulloch, who was the Founder of Lake Havasu City and also Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corporation, then had London Bridge taken apart. With each stone being carefully marked, it was sent off on a barge to make its journey from Europe to the United States. At the dock of the California coast, it was taken off the boat, loaded up and transported by truck to Lake Havasu in Arizona. It cost an additional 7 million dollars to transport and reconstruct it, which took three years. But the bridge was rebuilt stone by stone and upon its completion, was officially dedicated in the town on October 10, 1971, where it still stands.

After you enjoy taking in the view of the bridge and the beautiful mountainscapes that surround it, you can go down below it for even more fun. Nuzzled underneath the City of Lake Havasu’s London Bridge is the ‘English Village’. Offering quaint, old-fashioned British spirit for your eating and shopping pleasure, the Tudor style architecture of the shops and restaurants creates an essence that allows visitors to experience the days of “Merry Olde England”. You can stroll along the tree-lined walkways, shop and feast at one of the great selection of restaurants which offer something for everyone. Later, stop in at one of the local breweries for a ‘homemade’ beer – root beer or otherwise!
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Presidential Campaigns The Need For A New Vision

The current article is the first part of a series on America’s spiritual history and soul-identity. A subject like “America’s Presidential Campaigns” that is so ‘of the world’ might be construed as relating only to political life, but that would be incorrect. What relates to consciousness is part of our spiritual life, as is what relates to the operation of light and darkness, and what relates to the vision we hold for the future.

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In every area in which consciousness exists, the possibility is also present to make choices that are more or less moral concerning thought and behavior, and to bring every aspect of one’s thinking into the highest light. In relation to the national political scene, there is much unconsciousness that operates on all levels, and much manipulation that takes place by those who have a vested interest in shaping a particular outcome or in presenting things in a particular way. This is the domain in which darkness has a chance to influence outcomes. It is the area of vulnerability produced by the fact that people are asleep or unaware in relation to what is going on so that the shaping of opinion is done silently, covertly, and is not perceived by most or not until much later on. One of the arenas in which this shaping of consciousness takes place is within American presidential campaigns.

More than a year before a presidential election, candidates begin to step into place to position themselves for the available political and financial support that is necessary in order to run a national campaign. Generally, they have begun this process long before this. It used to be that presidential campaigns were much shorter. However, over time, the influence of media has created a watchfulness and anticipation in relation to potential candidates that extends longer and longer into pre-campaign planning. This watchfulness has contributed greatly to the success or failure of candidates, especially in states where they are not well-known and where extensive media coverage is needed, as well as personal appearance, so that former ‘unknowns’ can become someone familiar.

Within presidential campaigns, the role of media has become as important as the content of a candidate’s message – a message which may come to affect the lives of an entire nation. In any campaign, there is the content of a candidate’s message, and there is the shape of that message. More and more in recent years, the shaping of a message has been handled by media experts who offer a package that includes forming, shaping, promoting, and assessing the impact of any message. This is a process that is costly, but perceived as necessary in order to create a sense within the public of being able to selectively choose between rivals in an electoral race.

There was a time in which content was given more weight than appearance, when debates actually took place, with those listening paying close attention to the positions being advocated and the principles behind them. This is in contrast to the focus, today, which is often on the way in which things are said, or the personal quality of charm or likeability that a candidate possesses. Aspects of personality and character have always been part of an electoral process, but they did not form the center. Today, they are at the center. And because they are at the center, a candidate in a presidential election must be presented to the public in as appealing a way as a movie star. The effect of every image-variable needs to be considered so that the public can receive the desired impression. This shift in focus is due to several factors – the first, and perhaps most important, being the complexity and multi-layered nature of most national issues today which do not allow for a clear-cut presentation of positions or approaches to problem solving; the second, the technological advances that have made media instantly accessible across the country so that literally nothing that a candidate does goes unnoticed.

All of the involvement of media with national campaigns involves a high cost to candidates. But the burgeoning cost is not only related to this. It is also related to the need that candidates have to travel across the country and back many, many times, hosting events and attending others in order to interact with the public, especially in key electoral states. This grueling process of meeting all who are essential to meet at local and state levels requires a great deal of stamina on a candidate’s part. It also requires a great deal of money. And, in the competitive arena in which politics and personality have merged, if a rival candidate has become visible in states 1, 2, 3, and 4, then it is incumbent upon his competitors to also create a similar kind of visibility. In this way, more and more is being asked of candidates in terms of making personal appearances, because the standard for what is possible during an election campaign has been raised in order to create greater positive publicity for those who choose to run.

Let us not forget that there is another way that one could conceive of and run a national campaign. It is the way of integrity and of focus. It relies on communicating more about issues and less about personalities, and it also involves reducing media’s role in campaigns and therefore the amount of campaign spending. Such a campaign could take place in a much shorter space of time with far less cost to all concerned. Instead of taking years, it could be undertaken within one year, with primaries, whose dates are variable, more closely spaced together (See note). These changes would not allow each candidate to do all that is presently being done with respect to creating a public image. Instead, there would need to be more content-focused debates between candidates, and the public would need to reflect more, employing both reason and intuition, and to rely on appearance less, in order to be responsive to such discussions. Furthermore, if the stature of the presidency remained one of honor, leadership, and accountability – more in line with those who act on behalf of their constituency rather than as a separate entity, then both the glamour and the risk involved in electing a President could be less.

Becoming aware and using one’s vote wisely is the responsibility of democracy and part of what it means to be a citizen. Were campaigns shorter and more focused, less reliant on celebrity and more on content, we would see a different kind of democracy in action when it came time to elect a new president. And because the cost of running such a campaign would be less, many more qualified people would be able to enter the public arena with their own ideas and visions for the future, enabling this country to more truly become a representative democracy, in keeping with its historical, constitutional, and spiritual foundation.
When it comes to air travel and clothing, we are all different. There are some travelers who are dressed in business suits, others in traditional jeans, and others who wear something as comfortable as possible, such as their pajamas or sweat pants. With the recent increase in airport security and the recent change in air travel rules, there are many individuals who wonder if the clothing they wear to the airport is important. If you are one of those individuals, you can rest assure because, in most cases, it is not.

It seems as if ever since airplanes became the popular way to travel, a focus has been placed on comfort. Regardless of whether or not you will be taking a long flight, you will want to be comfortable. There is nothing worse than wearing an itchy sweater or tight pair of pants up in the air. Unless you bring a chance of clothes with you and place them in your carryon bag, you are out of luck. That is why it is important that you think of what you will be wearing before you leave for the airport. Even if you are traveling for business, you should be able to change in to your business clothes as soon as you arrive at your destination, even in the airport bathrooms.

When it comes to comfort, as previously mentioned, many air travelers make the decision to wear sweat pants and a comfortable top. In addition to being comfortable, you will find, in most cases, that these types of clothes are the best for airport security, especially when entering airport screening checkpoints. This is because most sweat pants are not made with any metal items. Essentially, this means that you should be able to enter the security checkpoint and leave it quicker than most other travelers, such as the travelers who are decked out in accessories.

When it comes to clothing accessories, you will find that a number of different items set off airport metal detectors. That is why most airport security officers request that you remove all of your jewelry. Once your jewelry is removed, you will need to place it in a small bin, which will be scanned right along with your carryon luggage. Whether you have rings or a necklace, you are advised to remove them, if you can. For your convenience, you can leave your earrings on. If by chance, you earrings set the metal detectors off, you will likely be pulled a side and airport security should easily be able to tell whether or not your earring were what set off the alarms.

In addition to jewelry, you will find that your belt may even set off an airport’s metal detector. For that reason, a large number of airports have requested that you remove your belts before entering the metal detectors. Since a large number of travelers wear belts, this is done to help speed up the process of checking each and every passenger. If you do not enjoy removing some of your jewelry or removing your belt, it is advised that you leave those items at home.

Recently, a number of new air travel rules have been implemented. One of those rules requires that all passengers remove their shoes. Your shoes, once removed, will be scanned by an x-ray machine, right along with the rest of your carryon luggage. In recent years, only random passengers were asked to remove their shoes, but now everyone is. For that reason, you will to wear simple shoes that you can easily remove and put back on.

Another air travel rule, recently implemented, is the ban of liquids. This means that adults are no longer allowed to bring a drink onboard, even bottle water. It also means that you are prohibited from placing liquid beauty supplies in your carryon luggage. One concern, made by many women is the allowance of gel or water filled bras. Currently, you are allowed to wear these types of bras onboard an airplane. Honestly, unless you mention it to airport security, there is a good chance that they would never even know.
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