Syria: Is it Really a Gas Field War?

With US markets closed for the holiday, we can turn our attention to other developing matter this morning:

We have a somewhat speculative, but possible answer to one of the big question facing America right now:  “Was the administration’s decision to rope congress (belatedly) into the Syria debate, done with clean hands, or had something already happened which might indicate the Syrians have already deployed some high-tech Russian missiles and any first-strike could turn the region into a real powder keg?”

We get some hints in this direction from the (Google Translate) version of a report from the site. In it, the group alleges the possible shoot-down of an American F-22 Raptor along with four Tomahawk missiles.  A key point in the translation: “The paper loss of U.S. forces to aircraft F-22 advanced north of Jordan, which hosts on its territory five F-22, was the main reason to postpone the process of aggression against Syria…”

Although the period leading up to any outbreak of hostilities is certainly a window where a lot of Tokyo Rose type misinformation is expected,  I noted in my (unusual) Saturday update, the president’s remarks were delayed 41-minutes from the announced time.  So the window is there for a quick “Oh-oh, shoot down – let’s kick it to Congress and tell them about this on background since it means Russian missile air defenses are in place and operational…” decision to have been made.

As of this morning, SecState John Kerry is gearing up his information campaign as the Obama administration seeks authorization to ask from Congress; a move which the Wall St. Journal’s online eds figure will be a defining task for the history books.

While we’re warming up the popcorn and beer, and adjusting CSPAN for the upcoming debate, we wonder whether the F-22 Raptor – sold as the current “best of class” weapons system – can be shot down – as this will be key in any conflict.. 

Unfortunately, as was reported back in 2007 here, the F-22 may be stealthy, alright, but dog fighting is still an art and lesser planes (with better pilots) can take out Raptors with real ‘surprise and overwhelm’ tactics.  Sure, computers are great, but stick and rudder is what dog fights are about.

Now let’s zoom out a ways:  We can sketch in the set-up for president Obama’s meeting day after tomorrow with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.  Russia may have become pseudo-democratic, but they haven’t axed their war making plans and, more to the point, with the backing of Russian oil oligarchs, they appear to have plans to dominate global energy  Leverage, leverage. How to do it?  Raw military power sold to friends… and new high tech arms.  A  sampling on their latest:

While both the US and Russia will be busy the next couple of days tuning up their pose and posture for the Wednesday meeting, we see a number of other developments going on which will feed in to the conference. 

One is the claim by a Syrian minister that a US strike on Syria would benefit al Qaeda.  Which, considering the whole WOT (war on terror) is based on demonizing that group just doesn’t make sense.  Except that the conflict is in the lands where ‘’The enemy of my enemy is my friend…’ so things get seriously twisted up in policy-making.

If you’re looking for logic, notice the position of the key power-player in the Arab world, the Saudis who are supportive of a strike on Syria.

So Why War, Why Now?

My hunch is that it’s all about Leviathan, or had you forgotten?  Remember that huge gas find announced in 2010 off Israel, Greece and Cyprus? 

If you’re not aware of Leviathan, as most American’s aren’t, the Syrians wouldn’t seem to  have any major natural resources worth fighting over,  It could be dismissed as a kind of “so what?” country as the world plays out my 30+ year end-game Manufacturer’s Resource Wars scenario, which is now well underway.

imageIf we postulate that there’s usually an economic motivation behind warfare, since America doesn’t need more rocks and sand dunes,, we can see some very curious developments showing around the Leviathan gas fields off the coasts of Cyprus, Israel, Greece (and Lebanon).

According to Wikipedia (ref):

Lebanon initially argued that the field extends into Lebanese waters. Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri stated that Israel is “ignoring the fact that according to the maps the deposit extends into Lebanese waters,” Agence France-Presse reported on June 9.[11] Israeli Minister of National Infrastructures Uzi Landau responded “We will not hesitate to use our force and strength to protect not only the rule of law but the international maritime law,” in an interview. Robbie Sable, a professor of international law at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, has stated that the claim may be complex due to Lebanon’s border with Israel being indented, making it harder to establish where Israel’s sea boundary ends and Lebanese waters begin.[11]

In August 2010, Lebanon submitted to the United Nations its official view regarding the maritime border, indicating that it considered the Tamar and Leviathan gas fields to be outside Lebanese territory (though it indicated other prospective fields in the region may be within Lebanese territory). The US expressed support for the Lebanon proposal.

Informed speculation would be that the Leviathan fields could extend even further north than presently mapped, and this would put resource off the Syrian coast, which is where the Russians have a sizeable naval installation, (Tartus) granted them by the Assad government.  So, naturally, they will defend the potential new gas fields to the west because Syria would no doubt like a piece.

The tripartite agreement on Leviathan – doesn’t mention Syria is a pisser because why?

Read moreSyria: Is it Really a Gas Field War?

Coping: Adventures in Sourdough Land

As promised, it was another Around the Ranch adventure Saturday morning I got up to find out if my sourdough experiment had paid off and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only had it paid off, but it was some of the best-tasting sourdough I’ve ever eaten.  I only ate three 8-inch flapjacks, as I’m attempting to eat a bit less these days to shed an ounce or two, but they were really, really good.

Elaine thought they were light enough to make a good biscuit, too, but we’ll save that for another day.

We did have one minor problem:  There was some batter left over, so Elaine put it in a large drinking glass.  About four hours later, she opened the fridge, only to see the glass had overflowed as the sourdough kept on developing, spurred on, no doubt, by the addition of two tablespoons of sugar, teaspoon of baking soda, and two beaten eggs that went into the mixture.  Vitamins for the sponge, so to speak.

This morning, I’ve whipped up another batch, and we’ll see how this one goes.  It’s still something of a question, though, since the best-in-my-life benchmark is still aunt Isabel’s genuine pancakes, which – looking back on things – were more like a thick crepe than a high-rising pancake.

After this morning’s workout with the higher-rising variety, I’ll set to work tearing apart crepe recipes and figure up some way to build a lower-rising pancake – about 3/16th’s of an inch thick with very fine crumble-bubbles, as opposed to the 5/8ths to 3/4ths inch risers I have now. 

The good news they are so light at the moment that you have to set a fork or knife on them, or they slowly rise up to the ceiling and stick there.

Yet Another Gout Cure?

From frequent contributor Chris:

Kris K sent this

Mix 1 part food grade (aluminum free) baking soda with three parts honey.  Take one teaspoon a day.  

Turns your system to alkaline from acid. Should prevent gout, which is caused by high acid buildup.

Some say it kills cancer too. Interesting. If you try it, let me know if it works.

I’ve actually read a fair amount about how turning the body basic (versus acidic) is a very healthy thing to do, but if I remember my chemistry right, the baking soda is high in sodium, which is you have any blood pressure issues may not be a good thing.

On the other hand, locally harvested honey is said to work miracles with allergies and hay fever.  The detail level is that the honey has to be taken from hives within 50-miles (less is better) from where the allergy-suffer lives.  But there seems to be something in honey that really works.

Reader’s Writes: On Management Style

In case you missed it, I posted my three lessons on effective management yesterday and – although I didn’t expect it – there was a very good counter on point number 2 in the post (here) from reader Dave:

George, I concur with your Three(3) lessons, however I have a personal issue with the example used for Lesson #2. Thirty Seven years ago, I and several hundred Engineers, Designers, Draftsmen, and Technicians, covering a multitude of disciplines, were working 12 hour days, Seven days a week, with every other weekend off for those away from home.

These off weekends sometimes only happened once a month. We worked for over a year on that schedule to meet a Dec 31, 1976 deadline to bring a $500million dollar production facility on line.

Read moreCoping: Adventures in Sourdough Land

Just So We’re Clear on Syria…

Just a weekend quickie note here: One of my friends asked me if I was in favor of war with Syria and I said “Of course not!” That apparently was not crystal clear in Saturday’s report on the Obama statement. I then explained that the decision to toss the decision over to Congress was all I was applauding and just so we’re clear, that’s where I sit until the UN inspection team’s report comes out. Even then, I believe the US should only be party to a first-strike on Syria as part of a United Nation’s action, not a unilateral West versus Syria schoolyard bully session.

Coping: Three Labor Day Lessons in Management

I was reminded this morning of the two finest management stories passed from father to son (or from an uncle) that transformed my life at a very young age and figured there’d be no better time to share it than right now.

These two have been guideposts for me when it comes to how to excel in management.  And they reveal three cornerstone lessons in effective management.

The Cheese Sandwich Story

Pappy was a fire (*alarm office) dispatcher during WW II at Pearl Harbor.  It wasn’t the most exciting part of the war effort, with other relatives cat-skinning in the Aleutians to build airfields, getting destroyers shot out from under them, or fighting at places like Guadalcanal.  Pappy’s workplace was a concrete bunker, all but impenetrable, but Universe seems to favor our family in odd ways.  Air conditioned office in wartime Hawaii?  Who’d have thought?

Seems  his boss in the bunker was a salty old Chief.  Every day the Chief would come to work, run the finest, fastest, most accurate dispatch office in the Navy and then he’d sit down and have his lunch:  A cheese sandwich with mayo.

And every day he would  complain about how absolutely awful “…these  G…D…cheese sandwiches are…” or “:….G-d I hate these damn cheese sandwiches, day after day…

This went on week after week, until finally Pappy finally had his fill  of the whining and could stand it no longer.

Chief, why don‘t you have your wife or whoever is making your sandwiches just make something else for a change?  You know, like bologna or something like that?”

Came the unexpected answer:  “Why, I make these sandwiches myself, George!”

Pappy reportedly shook his head in disbelief, shocked at how people would  rather complain rather than fix the most obvious points of discomfort or dissatisfaction in their lives.  And, near as I can figure it, the world hasn’t changed in the 70-years since.

LESSON #1: Manage yourself or you’ll be seen the fool.

The “What About Today?” Story

Back in the 1960’s or early 1970’s, there was a national gathering of fire chiefs in Seattle and the late Gordon F. Vickery, who was then chief of the Seattle Fire Department had been called upon to give a presentation at the old Olympic Hotel about his department’s Marine Division which included the city’s fireboats and such.

It happens my late uncle, John Philbin, was assistant chief of department at the time and while Vickery was looking for some reference material, he asked John if he knew of a good citation about how fighting a oil tanker fire since this was “like fighting a high-rise fire where the building had fallen over into the water, had no windows, and there wasn’t any ground around it

As always, John said yes, he had exactly the right the reference material in his basement home office over near the hydroplane pits in Seattle.

It’s in what everyone calls Philbin’s Fantastic Filing System.” John offered.  Instantly, Vickery bit.

Read moreCoping: Three Labor Day Lessons in Management

Strike a Go, But Obama Decides to Ask Congress

imageAfter the stunning defeat of the British measure which would have put Britain into war with Syria, president Obama today spoke from the White House on the situation following Russian president Vlad Putin  calling on the WH to show what evidence it has – any any that’s conclusive – to make the case that the nerve gas attack in Syria was carried out by forces loyal to Syrian president Assad.

In his remarks this afternoon, the president said he has decided to take military action against Syria, but again promised “no boots on the ground.” The actual date of the attack has not been set.

But the major deal point announced this afternoon is that the president noted that he’s the “President of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy” and he announced that authorization will be sought from Congress when Congress returns from  recess.

On the other hand, he basically blew off the UN weapon’s inspector’s report, nor does hye foresee a need for UN decisions.

He noted that “Our action will be stronger” if Congress votes on this action, although he reiterated his belief that the president has the to order the strike without consultation.

Make no mistake, this has implications beyond chemical warfare,” the president said. “An attack made with chemical weapons must not just be investigated: It must be confronted.”

It had earlier been reported that SecState Kerry and SecDef Hagel were on the phone this afternoon talking with key members of the senate democratic caucus and the republican conference.

The presidents remarks, which had been scheduled for 1:15 PM Eastern were delayed about 41-minutes from its announced time for reasons which are not clear, although  this is obviously a fluid situation.  If you had listened (and watched) the streaming from the White House there was what sounded like protesters chanting “Leave it alone, Syria” way off in the background.

Read moreStrike a Go, But Obama Decides to Ask Congress

Peoplenomics: The End of Labor Days: It’s Time to Tax Machines

Only an idiot would call this “Happy Labor Day Weekend” because of how quickly jobs are being lost not only overseas but to robotic automation. Can’t policy wankers track the destruction of the American job market or the percentage of people holding jobs?  I mean WTF? A second chapter is presented this morning for readers of my next book.

Bet on War this Weekend?

I am not expecting the stock market to end the week on a positive note.  In fact, I would not be surprised to see the past couple of days of gains evaporate before the closing bell because of the rising odds of war breaking out in Syria this weekend.  Worse?  I’m not the only one who sees it this way.  Reader Randy H sent this late last night:

A reporter with Israel’s most widely read newspaper has been told by defense establishment officials that a US-led attack on Syria will begin on Saturday and end when Barack Obama meets Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

I suppose you’d like to know why – by end of the day tomorrow – there could be a second vote by the British and a green light for an attack, right?

Well, one theory which is getting legs on internet conspiracy sites is that Saturday will mark the 16th anniversary of the death (conspiracy theory calls it “assassination”) of Princes Diana who died 16-years ago tomorrow.  With ugly questions and charges still flying, some attention diverting might be in order.

OK, it’s a far-out theory, I’ll grant you that.  But, as a note from Nostradamus researcher G.A. Stewart notes, tomorrow’s Diana anniversary would certainly fit well with a lot of prophecy on topic:


Nostradamus Quatrain V-25
The Arab prince of Mars [war], Sun, Venus, Lyon [ Leo/August].
The rule of the church will succumb at sea:
Towards Persia (Iran) very near a million men,
Byzantium (Turkey), Egypt, the true serpent will invade.

AUGUST 29, 2013

Saudis offer Russia secret oil deal if it drops Syria
Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from the Assad regime in Syria.

AUGUST 29, 2013
… As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us.

Read moreBet on War this Weekend?

Coping: My Nine-Point Congressional Platform

I have to admit I am thinking about it because lately, I have come up with a number of simple solutions which really could set America back on a reasonable course into the future.  I’m thinking about founding the Uretopian Party.  I’d have two members, probably, but that’s not the point.  Education and discussion is.  Some of the highlights of Uretopia Party platform?

1.  Overthrow the Checkbook Coup;  End all campaign contributions from outside of a district where an election is held.  If a congressman represents the 8th district (or whatever) then all funds must come from residents inside the district.  Pass-through donations would be barred and lobbyist groups would be barred by law from offering money, in-kind contributions, or organizing “grass roots” movements.  An example is lining up nursing home residents to all vote one way, and so on.

This would make good state law, too.  Realistically, congress will never reform itself as long as the good times roll for them.

3.  Baseball rules for all office holders:  3-terms in any office, at any level, and you’re out.

4.  Real Healthcare Reform. Healthcare for everyone under identical terms or no enforcement at all.  Congressional staff isn’t a special class.

image5.  End all immigration to the US.  We have enough people here now.  If we need more people, we oughta encourage more mating.  More breaks for parents. The more who come in, the harder the turnaround will be.  Plus with 41-million college grads, we have enough brains. On point: Psychology Today has an infographic this month that says 15% of taxi drivers have a college degree up from 1% in 1970.  And we need to import brainpower?  Hell no! (It’s a good mag with lots of useful information…)  What we lack are jobs for them to do which gets me to…

6.  Tax Robotic Manufacturing.  Tax all worker-eliminating robots and automated systems as though they were income generating workers.  Fund social programs, pay down the debt, and then let’s get on with building a Uretopian world.  (Details of this taxing robotics problem in Peoplenomics for subscribers tomorrow.

7.  Truth in Politics Law:  If a politician makes representations that they will vote in one direction, but then they get into office and do the exact damned opposite…they’d be removed from office immediately and a replacement special election held.

8.  Return to Sound Money:  We would restore “solid money” and phase in a conversion to a market basket of energy and precious metals.  No “continuing resolutions.”  If congress can’t get it’s shit together enough to pass a budget, fire them all for malfeasance and elect new members.  Budgets must be balanced and end all off-books accounting.  That has made the Treasury’s best efforts to report the “Public Debt to the Penny” effort an effing joke.

9.  Read all Bills First. We saw a travesty (and it keeps being renewed) in the Patriot Act.  As if this one (and healthcare) aren’t clear enough, try reading the Tax Code sometime!  Immediately remove any politician who hasn’t read every word of what’s being voted on.  We’d have an empty congress overnight.

I don’t know what has gotten into me.  I was sitting at the airport here in Palestine talking to one of our chapter officers about how easy it would be to “fix American” but we just don’t seem to have the will to do it.  What’s more, neither of the paid-for parties can do it either and the Tea Party was going in the right direction, but it was sometimes hijacked by the republicorp. 

The fellow I was test-preaching this to wandered off and didn’t leave me his wallet, so I may not really be cut out for politics.

Still,  we have an immediate need as a country for a new party and while the American Whig Party’s “Peace and Prosperity” sounds good, the word whiggery is just not fashionable.

If you find yourself with some spare time this weekend (with or without war breaking out) and you’d like to contribute to the really subversive cause of replacing the checkbook parties, thoughts are welcome, operators are standing by, this is a free call.

Warren’s WuJo, II

Follow up to this week’s story of the self-filling (with gasoline) power equipment.  If you remember, I asked about whether the source tank was down if the tools were refilled and now this gets interesting as Warren replies…

I didn’t notice the any change in the two gallon jug of gas for the mower.  When it gets low on gas, I put it in the trunk of the car and go re-fill it. Otherwise, I don’t pay much attention to it. However, now that I think about it, the last time I re-filled the gallon of gas/oil mix for the line trimmer, I noticed that it had lasted for a suspiciously long time. The only thing on my mind wrt to re-filling those gas cans is that I hate to make a special trip for the purpose.

Read moreCoping: My Nine-Point Congressional Platform