Netanyahoo’s Likely Fall

From MoA:

Netanyahoo is already the prime minister, foreign minister and health minister of Israel. He will now add the title of defense minister if only for a short time. Elections will likely be held in March…

Jared Kushner, the son in law of president Trump, has his ‘deal of the century’ Middle East plan build on his very personal relation with Netanyahoo and Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. If Netanyahoo is no longer prime minister that plan is even more dead than it already seems to be…

As for Lieberman. He is a brash and thuggish man with little political foresight. In 2016 he boosted that he would kill Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, should he become defense minister. Six weeks later he became defense minister…

The website Is Ismail Haniyeh dead yet? has counted the time since Lieberman became defense minister. 2 years, 5 months, 2 weeks and 1 day later the answer is still “No”. It is one reason why it is unlikely that he will ever become prime minister.

Poll: 74 Percent of Israelis Dissatisfied With Netanyahu’s Performance in Gaza Crisis

From the comments:

Essentially the same policies have been proposed/followed for the past two decades by a similar set of politicos and have mostly ended in failure, with Zionistan more fearful and isolated than ever despite BigLie media spin. There’s really only one possible direction to take, but who will have the courage to propose it as the solution?..

The Zionist problem is that Crimea was snatched from its grasp after decades of scheming and lusting. At that point the Israelis had nowhere else to go. They are stuck, and must either emigrate out into the world or learn to live with Semites.
Israel must begin to look inward. All other horizons are closed to it…

Those cruel fools will back Lieberman and with any luck that will be the end of universal support for zionists. What mbs did to Saudi Lieberman will do in spades to the apartheid state…

Yes the story has been told before. What is interesting in this thread is that we are seeing a number of commentators that come from real old school Jewish Orthodox backgrounds. A decade back we would be hearing from liberal Zionist giving us the “only democracy in the ME”, “made the desert bloom”, “most educated people on the planet” and many other myths that Uris propagated in his Exodus

When people talk about voting for the lesser of two evils, this is the danger that can come about, move the political debate more and more to the extreme to the point that a man like Netanyahu (who was called an extremist in the 90’s by Israeli’s own newsmedia) is now being talked about as a “Moderate”…

As far as I can see there are two main Israeli party groupings in the next election. One grouping believes in a slow genocide of Palestinians (currently represented by Netanyahoo) and the other grouping believes in an immediate genocide of the Palestinians. I expect the latter grouping to make gains in the next election…

The smart Israeli millennials have now given up and moved to Berlin…

To make a very long story short, the UK-Rothschild Oligarchs (City of London) sit upon worthless derivatives worth perhaps hundreds of trillions of dollars. They need a world war to clear their balance sheets of illegally aquired bad debt and so are looking to repeat the scenario of the 2007/8 Financial Crisis, only on a much larger scale which includes igniting a war between the US and Russia…

All of Trump’s actions targetting China are the result of the White Houses’ wish to pull China out of allignment with the UK-Rothschild elite — and into a grand bargain (Yalta-style) with Russia and the United States…

As far as I’m aware Trump’s only ME policy is to Make AmeriKKKa Great Again by getting the pro-Israel Lobby out of US politics, and relocating the US Capital from Tel Aviv to Washington, DC.
So it’s jolly decent of the “Israelis” to expend so much energy making each other look crankier and more disorganised than Trump could ever have done, unaided…

What creates evil is the belief that the end justifies the means…

Trump is like Netanyahu in that both were created by the hypocrisy of the left, the treachery exhibited by Democrats and Zionist Liberals in justifying war and oppression with boogeyman scapegoats like Hamas, Saddam, Gaddafi and Bashar to define war as a compassionate gesture, a means to an end, and as Obama best treacherously put it in his Nobel speech it’s war for the sake of peace, war IS peace!..

Likewise Liberal Zionists represent the inherent evil in Zionism showing up as the good cop that explains away cruelty, that puts lipstick on the pig, that pretends humanity for Palestinians and outrage at their sadistic right-wing comrades but never disavow, never repudiate the vile supremacist entitlement they share that is Zionism. They are the mendacious peddlers of hope in the hell they more than anyone created by pretending to redeem it while generations of Palestinians were born captive in oppression and statelessness…

The introduction of the S300-400 to the world arms bazaar should be recognized as the game changer it is. No one has flown against it ‘live’ yet…

“Saudi crown prince bragged that Jared Kushner gave him CIA intelligence about other Saudis saying ‘here are your enemies’ days before ‘corruption crackdown’ which led to torture and death” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5575395/Saudi-crown-prince-brags-Jared-Kushner-handed-U-S-intelligence.html 

A psycho who is starving millions in Yemen and ordered a hit on a journalist bone saw and acid included and is planning to execute the witnesses and collaborators who carried out his hit. Plus, we have an unashamed supremacist Zionist who’s already exposed his solution for getting rid of the Palestinians which amounts to a staggering war crime. These are the U.S. allies in the ME and the result is that the U.S. loses all credibility and moral authority it had left. This is like aligning with Pinochet and Hitler together but not just secretly through the CIA, out on the world stage in the open and Trump is paving the way to make it acceptable…

Zionism has more in common with Luciferianism than Judiasm – it simply uses the latter as a cover for the former…

War is the one principle holding the Zionist state together. Now the vanguard sees no way forward but to radically escalate the violence. We’re heading for an end, one way or the other…

avigdor was a cartoon lunatic in the vein of george w bush..

Israelis have grown accustomed to Trump backing them at every turn.

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Avigdor Lieberman

From MoA:

On Sunday night Israeli special forces broke the ceasefire by invading Gaza under disguise. Such incursions happen quite often but are usually left unreported. The invaders wore civilian clothing and some were cloaked as women. Their cars arrived at the house of a local Qassam commander but suspicious guards held them up. A firefight ensued in which 7 Palestinians and 1 Israeli officer were killed. It is not clear what the intent of the Israeli raid was. A car left behind held what appeared to be surveillance equipment. The intruders fled back to Israel…

A commando unit of Hamas’ Qassam brigade launched an attack against a bus that had carried Israeli soldiers to the border. To avoid further escalation the shooter waited until the soldiers were out of the way before hitting it. Only the driver was injured. Then the Israeli air force destroyed the al-Aqsa TV station in Gaza city after notifying the Palestinians of its intent. It also damaged a university building. Rocket volleys from Gaza followed and the Israeli air-force hit several buildings. After 48 hours the ceasefire was renewed…

The Palestinians also launched over 460 artillery missiles and mortars within 25 hours…

The rival Palestinian groups in Gaza -Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others- operated under a central command…

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigor Lieberman just resigned and called for new elections. He gives the Qatari money which Netanyahoo allowed to go to Gaza and yesterday’s ceasefire as reason for his disagreement with Netanyahoo.

Netanyahoo had planned the earlier ceasefire with Gaza to split Gaza under Hamas from the Palestinian Authority under Abbas in the West Bank. Yesterday the Saudis handed another chunk of money to Abbas to counter the money Qatar gave to Hamas in Gaza.

This splitting of the Palestinians is an intended part of the Kushner plan.

Lieberman disagrees with it. He is the super hawkish John Bolton in this game, overtaking Netanyahoo on the far far right.  

From the comments:

Trump can read the Zio-Jews like a book. They’re so-o predictably evil and stupid. His unlawful and MEANINGLESS recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of “Israel” encouraged them to put their mass-murdering skills on display while the civilised world watched in horror and revulsion…

I see Trump as clearly representative of the global elite that are having to kill their current empire host without being certain of how they can live with or make China’s socialism with a Chinese face be controlled by an ongoing world of global private finance…

Netanyahoo’s own policy of extreme aggression, ethnic cleansing and apartheid helped open political space for out-and-out genocidists like Lieberman. Looks like the Zionists are going to go all the way, total exterminationist victory or total self-destruction…

@Gerard Butler — pay attention to real thing. His movie (he is producer) Hunter Killer was viciously attacked by  the Hollywood elite. The movie managed to fool everyone, including Pentagon that supported it by being the most chilling reminder of the dangerous times we live in. Without blaming anyone, and wrapping it in an action movie format — it is the best antiwar movie I saw in recent memory.  By calling Russians “brothers” and by weaving a plot of our heroism — the bitter pill that 
without help from Russian characters, including Russian destroyer’s missile defence, action would have been doomed…


Lieberman represents the face of israel which to my mind has become increasingly war like and intolerant.. netanyahu just doesn’t appeal to the fanatics as fully as lieberman or this naftali bennett crazy.. an election will bring israel further down the road they have been traveling on for some time… they have been in a holding position with netanyahu and that is going to change here…

Politicians like those in Canada who back everything that Israel does and encourage fascists are hastening the end of the ludicrous zionist project…

Syrians are not ready to forgive Hamas for its mistake in going against Assad…

the top two supporting nations for Palestinians are filled with Persians and Turks, not Arabs.

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The Missile Gap

From South Front:

After a decade of fighting an insurgency in Afghanistan and almost as long in Iraq, the U.S. leadership decided to destroy the sovereign nation of Libya, and foment a war in Syria immediately afterward..

The U.S. political and military leadership seems to have learned that their past adventurism resulted in costly occupations, yet instead of refraining from using the military option as a tool to alter geopolitical realities they did not like, they merely opted to abandon the responsibility of occupation and reconstruction all together…

In many ways, the poor example of the United States and its ill-conceived military expeditions, influenced both Russia and China to advance along different paths…

The desire to streamline U.S. military logistics, and to create a fighting force that was more rapidly deployable, flexible and yet maintained the highest levels of lethality, and that leveraged advanced information technologies and communications systems led to the genesis of the Future Combat System (FCS)…

The Army would strive to attain the ability to deploy a combat brigade anywhere in the world within 96 hours, a full division within 120 hours, and no less than five divisions in 30 days…

The program was eventually cancelled in 2009, yet its influence in transforming the U.S. Army have proven substantial, and have had a negative influence on the Army’s ability to fight near peer adversaries in today’s warfighting environment…

U.S. troops deployed to a nation whose minimal civil infrastructure they had just destroyed, were tasked with reconstruction and nation building in a country producing a growing anti-occupation insurgency on many different levels…

The decision was made to armor the ubiquitous HMMWV and to give it the tasks of armored patrol, internal security and crowd control vehicle…

The total acquisition cost of the various MRAPs ordered and put into service conservatively exceeds $45 billion USD. The U.S. military has no less than seven different types of MRAPs in service as of today, more than any other nation by far…

The most ambitious of all of the MRAP programs, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is meant to replace the HMMWV in use by all of the U.S. military branches…

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated in 2015 that the total acquisition cost of the JLTV across all services would likely be $53.5 billion USD, with a total of 5,500 units for the UMC and 49,099 for the U.S. Army requested…

No other major military in the world has decided to follow this new U.S. model…

The new vehicle is twice as heavy as the standard HMMWV…

The need for soldiers with a skill set specific to counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan lead to increased focus and demand on special operations…

The United States Navy has not engaged in a major naval engagement with a major adversary since the closing days of World War Two…

Based on a flawed concept from the start, of a small surface combatant that could make use of modularity to tailor it to specific tasks as opposed to a traditional multi-purpose design, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) was largely doomed for a number of reasons…

The U.S. Navy expected the vessels to marry significant striking power, with modularity tailored to just about every form of modern naval warfare, and new networking and information technologies that would reduce the required crew to a minimum. What resulted was what those serving in the force would begrudgingly coin the “Little Crappy Ship”

The U.S. Congress capped the per-unit cost at $480 million per ship, bringing the theoretical total cost to $15.5 billion USD. All for a ship that has a minimal chance of surviving most modern naval combat scenarios…

If the LCS was not a huge and unequivocal disappointment, then the much vaunted stealth destroyer, the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class was a total embarrassment and unmitigated failure…

The 155mm Mark 51 advanced gun system (AGS) deck guns designed specifically for the DDG 1000s were made to fire guided rounds over a range in excess of 80 nautical miles, with a circular error probable (CEP) of just 50 meters (160ft.)…

Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems developed the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) for use in the AGS, but due to the now 3 vessel fleet, the per unit cost of each LRLAP had risen to over $800,000 USD. The Navy had already procured 90 rounds before the decision was made to cease purchasing the rounds due to the prohibitive costs…

The U.S. Navy embarked on a program to replace the existing Nimitz Class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers…

The CVN-78 is by far the most expensive warship ever constructed. In a controversial move, it was decided to try and incorporate a number of new, unproven systems in the new design…

The only aircraft utilized for combat operations is the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet with all of its inherent shortcomings, most importantly its limited operational range of 370 nautical miles (full strike combat weapons load and fuel). The aircraft it replaced, the A-7 Corsair II and A-4 Skyhawk in the Navy and the F-4 Phantom in the USMC, all had much longer operational ranges and all but the A-4 had greater weapons payload capacity…

Not surprisingly, even though there was a better option, the Navy decided to use F/A-18s for aerial refueling duties as well…

With a much greater range than the F/A-18 and a fuel capacity of 16,000 lbs., the S-3 was a better and far cheaper solution…

Profit drives the U.S. military industrial complex, not efficiency or performance…

The F/A-18 squadrons that the Navy relies on to conduct almost all carrier air wing duties including attack/strike missions, air superiority, fleet defense, buddy refueling, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and surveillance, are in an alarming state of disrepair…

Of the 542 total F/A-18 and E/F-18 Hornets, only 170 were mission capable…

Russian and Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles and hypersonic cruise missiles can strike U.S. CSGs long before their aircraft can get within range of striking the territories of either of these near peer adversaries. This “missile gap” will not be rectified anytime soon…

A major issue facing the [F-35] program is the fact that aircraft manufacturing began years before the plane was deemed fit for operational deployment, largely because so many deficiencies have been identified and have had to be rectified. This was the result of concurrency, a procurement process that allowed for production of the aircraft prior to final approval of the design. It was agreed that all deficiencies identified would eventually be addressed and rectified in airframes already manufactured at a later date in order to bring them up to the latest standard…

What could have been done to maintain and improve existing squadrons of F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, and F/A-18 Hornets currently in varying states of disrepair and serviceability?..

In 2017, approximately 72% of all U.S. Air Force aircraft were not flight worthy…

At this point it is questionable that the United States’ could remain economically viable without war, so much of its GDP is connected in some way to the pursuit of conflict…

It is laughable to think that the U.S. Congress will do anything to reign in military spending…

The greatest enemy that the U.S. military has fought for the past seventy years is undoubtedly the military industrial complex that it is an integral component of…

James Mattis need only look in the mirror to see the real threat.

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Gauging the Outer Limits of Human Gullibility

From Gaius Publius:

Citing Jeremy Scahill: “Pence’s ascent to the second most powerful position in the U.S. government is a tremendous coup for the radical religious right. Pence — and his fellow Christian supremacist militants — would not have been able to win the White House on their own. For them, Donald Trump was a godsend…”

Citing Allegra Kirkland at Talking Points Memo:

…Pence was absent from many of the key incidents Mueller is reportedly investigating as part of his sprawling probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. But he was intimately involved with several, including the firing of former FBI director James Comey, and the subsequent efforts to settle on a rationale for that firing, which appear to be at the center of the Mueller investigation.

From Consortium News:

In these last eight years, I have never heard Julian Assange complain even once.

From Zero Hedge:

The ‘seamless office process’ to which the Israeli official referred with Caspit, is known as ‘stovepiping’, which is when a foreign state’s policy advocacy and intelligence are passed straight to a President’s ear – omitting official Washington from the ‘loop’; by-passing any US oversight; and removing the opportunity for officials to advise on its content. Well, this has now resulted in the Khashoggi strategic blunder. And this, of course, comes in the wake of earlier strategic ‘mistakes’: the Yemen war, the siege of Qatar, the Hariri abduction, the Ritz-Carlton princely shakedowns…

“Hit them in their pockets”, Netanyahu advised Trump: “if you hit them in their pockets, they will choke; and when they choke, they will throw out the ayatollahs””.

From Al Jazeera:

In 2012, Congress authorised any president to impose sanctions on SWIFT’s board of directors (which includes executives from some of the world’s biggest banks) if it refused to disconnect Iranian banks blacklisted by Washington.

From Daniel Ellsberg:

But the fact is they were gambling in ‘45, and they were gambling in ‘54 and the others, in a way that had the possibility not, it turns out, of destroying all life on earth or the earth itself, but of destroying humanity.

From Zero Hedge:

Many believe South Carolina Lindsey Graham will be tapped to replace Sessions, speculation that has only intensified following Nikki Haley’s decision to resign as UN Ambassador, which some believe she did to set herself up to succeed Graham (Haley previously served as governor of South Carolina) should he be tapped for Trump’s cabinet.

From Andrew Korybko:

The US understands the long-term strategic ramifications of redirecting Afghanistan’s international trade away from Pakistan (and increasingly China) and towards the rest of the world market via the access that it obtains through Chabahar, which is why the railroad that’s supposed to branch off from this port to the landlocked country is also excluded from the sanctions regime….

The US is engaging in long-term strategic planning that won’t yield immediate dividends, but that it’s undertaking this approach because of the high level of trust that it’s established with India since the election of PM Modi in 2014.

From Thomas Frank:

At the other end of the ideological spectrum, meanwhile, the Tea Party movement of 2009 is now in the midst of a full-on populist makeover. Never has there been a phonier, more transparent bid to mislead an angry public. Supposedly a protest against bank bailouts, it was actually launched from among the futures traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange—and then backed to the hilt by Beltway libertarians looking for a way to distance themselves from the badly damaged Republican brand. The movement’s Number One heroine, Ayn Rand, spent decades dreaming up ways to express her contempt for democracy and its beloved average citizen. The Tea Party movement’s great demand for solving the problem of out-of-control bankers—more bank deregulation—seems to have been developed as a kind of thought experiment to gauge the outer limits of human gullibility…

What does it tell us when liberals, faced with epic political corruption, spectacular bank misbehavior, and towering inequality, take that opportunity to declare war on populism? It tells us that they’ve lost any sense of their own movement as an expression of the vast majority. It tells us they have no idea why they believe they should be entrusted with power in the first place. And it reminds us that their particular brand of class-based self-delusion is a luxury that the rest of us can ill afford.

From Bernie Sanders:

I think [Tuesday] night was a significant rejection of Trumpism. Not only did the Democrats regain control of the House, which was the most important development, Democrats won seven governors’ races. Democrats won 300 races at the state legislative and in the four states that Trump won in order to get his Electoral College majority — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan — all four of those Senate Democratic candidates won. And three out of the four [Democratic] candidates for governor won.

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MAGA Dupe Midterms

From Chris Hedges:

Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don’t bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother? One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week’s elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department…

The securities and finance industry has backed Democratic congressional candidates 63 percent to 37 percent over Republicans…

Democratic control of the House will do very little to halt our descent into corporate tyranny, especially with another economic crisis brewing on Wall Street.

This is typical Hedges, one of our greatest living journalists, holding forth of things as they are, before heading for the great thinkers.

Bertram Gross (1912-1997) in “Friendly Fascism: The New Face of American Power” warned us that fascism always has two looks. One is paternal, benevolent, entertaining and kind. The other is embodied in the executioner’s sadistic leer…

The political philosopher Sheldon Wolin, refining Gross’ thesis, would later characterize this corporate tyranny or friendly fascism as “inverted totalitarianism.”

Yes, and Wolin, professor emeritus, was shunned by his colleagues at Princeton for it.

Trump is a clownish and embarrassing tool of the kleptocrats. His faux populism is a sham.

The formula is familiar, but not very pertinent.  Demonization of Trump prevents any real discussion.

On our Potemkin military: “Warfare is the natural extension of corporatism.”

Under the militarism of German, Italian, and Japanese fascism violence was openly glorified. It was applied regionally—by the Germans in Europe and England, the Italians in the Mediterranean, the Japanese in Asia.

Unfortunately, John Walker gave the Soviets soup to nuts regarding US secure comms in 1968, rendering us defenseless pretty much thereafter.

“If you stand for something, you have to be willing to fight for it. But there is no fight in us.” How can you fight if you’re a debt slave?

Hedges’ schtick is getting old. Trump is burning daylight to isolate the US and end globalism. Our military is a joke.

For people in Liberty, dystopia began in the ’70s.

We’re seeing some organic approaches, best described as inverse feudalism, but they are anything but popular.

Tribalism is the biggest obstacle to understanding new ways of living.

The world will not be saved by revolution, but acts of kindness, based on enlightened self interest.

If the elites wish to have a community outside their gates, they’re going to have to pay for it.

While everyone waits for catastrophic collapse, we’ve been suffering catabolic collapse for fifty years.

American capitalism depended on suckers, most of whom have been taken advantage of.

Chris Hedges says the internet destroyed democracy, but it has made alt media possible and saved our business.

From EJ Magnier:

Trump is determined – even if these measures are harmful to the European economy – to prevent any transactions between Iran and Europe…

The UK, Germany and France have stood firm against the US establishment’s decisions and sanctions for the first time since World War II…

Trump’s sanctions have terrorised his allies more than his enemies.

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The Ghost

I’m bound to find that ten pounds I lost last year, but I’ve not had pizza in ages, due to the Wife’s dietary requirements.  So, the phone line to the Liberty Pizza Hut is sending a busy signal.  I order on line, hit the Food Lion for some beer and go to get my pizza.  As I’m standing inside, the ex-girlfriend of someone I used to know walks in, takes one look at me and walks back out.  At least twenty-five years ago, and all I said then was, “No.”

Last night was spicy Pad Thai with shrimp and almonds from Basil’s.  Outrageous.  Rather than pay rent in GSO, they bought the old Pizza Palace and work when they want.

Harry and family have been an institution at China House for over twenty years, but I can’t stand the garish lighting, while waiting for take out.  I see faces from my childhood, grown flaccid and corpulent.  I pretend not to recognize anyone and get away quickly.

The kids at He-Man Woman Hater’s U. don’t know what to do with me.  I’m a crushing bore, going on about arcane things like Trump’s lunatic Libertarian foreign policy and how the Russians can spoof our GPS.

They’re only here to sleep, anyway.  And trust me, with no cats around, we’re well rested.

I finally found time yesterday to change out the battery in the ’91 Toyota truck.  It was ten years old.  The guy at NAPA had owned two of them – the truck, not the battery.

Despite my MO of making ridiculous excuses for Trump, including most recently blaming Ayn Rand, I remain horrified with the prospect of sanctions on Iran.  Somewhere, deep down I feel like Trump is playing a cosmic Libertarian joke on the Zionists by making all their dreams come true.  Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point and is from Wichita, just like the Koch brothers.

The eponymous Rand Paul questions why we’re not asking KSA and Israel the same questions we’re asking Iran about their weapons.  Fuck, he coined “lunatic Libertarian foreign policy.”  There is obviously a schism here and I’m not enjoying the Randian boutique excuses for imperialism.

I was leaving the Quik Chek (I’ve met the owner from Troy.  The spelling is not ironic.) when a black guy my age approached and my chromosomes glowed with the recognition of Jeff Clay, by his gait.  Sure enough, the same cut jaw and great grin.  I asked him if he was Ok, he said yeah, paid for a can of gas, got back on his bike and pedaled across the road.

The Clays were The Ravens in the sixties, and were putting out what the Beatles were stealing.  Unfortunately, they lived on a side of town the WP called Pig Foot, for all the trails in the woods, and you’ve never heard of them, beautiful as they were… are.

I even feel like an interloper in my house, which this kid has turned into a home.  I can’t help but feel that I’m cramping his style, and that of his beautiful girlfriend, whom he has known since they were zygotes, even though things were arranged for this purpose.

They are as ever, very polite.  This process has been so organic that I’ve not put a lot of thought into it.  But being a landlord didn’t suit me, or the Wife for that matter.  So, I pay all the bills and he slips me a couple once a month.  The rent is based on his ability to pay.  I have found other arrangements to be inhumane.

As things are, he can afford to maintain a car, work a job, attend university and coach AAU basketball, all with a cheerful countenance.

Every time I walk by someone seeking alms or thank an underpaid cashier, this little place stands for something against the gale of guilt at my complicity.

The altered states have reminded me that like the John Prine song, I don’t live here anyway.  I live way down in my head.  Wherever I am, the embrace of chaos beckons.

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Life Among the Natives

The Wife bought a new set of tires for Darth Beetle, today, replacing those with which it was originally shod.  Nice.

One of the caveats driving a coupe is the great size of the single doors on each side.  If you park going up even a slight incline, it can be a challenge to exit the car, which is by design quite low, without the giant door coming back to injure your leg.  Also, in something that relatively low, you’re the last one to know when you’re in an accident.  So, I drive it until it decides to return to the funeral home when it came.

The Wife enjoys the Kia Soul, with its smaller doors and higher stance.  The Sirius radio is also great.  We take it to Atlanta and have escaped death so far.

I’ve discovered that Murrow Blvd. is an excellent way to exit the sphincter of Greensboro down MLK, as appropriate and designed by the country clubs.

The trip down 421 is far less than harrowing, thanks to the regular presence of troopers.  The exit to Liberty quickly brings forth a world of ghosts inhabiting a hollowed out excuse for moral collapse.

For me, it’s always especially poignant, my biggest account as a Foxpro developer, with The Chair Co., a $10M per year glider rocker mfgr running 70 employees and putting out 2500 units per week, coming up first on my right.  Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, the Zapatistas declared war on Mexico and the owner sold the company to his reps, who bore the collapse.  I thought it was brilliant.

Up next on the left was Larry Teague’s electrical and hardware business.  I always thought his watercolors put Timberlake to shame.  He’d spent year swith Commercial Electric in GSO, pricing projects.  He’d raised a family, lost a wife and taken another.  I helped build their new house for a few weeks that summer.

To do business in Liberty, you needed to extend credit to the contractors, and Larry inherited the system from Blake Home Builders which cost $1000 per month.  We quickly decided we could do a lot of programming for that amount and set about replacing it.

By then, I’d hammered out a cast iron accounts receivable package, which thanks to The Chair Co., and the direction of local CPA, Robert Ward, was well suited to customization and even integration with GL.  I spent many a pleasant afternoon with him, trying all manner of things, in the midst of running a hardware store.

They had a 2 x 4 ft. sign they pulled on people who complained about the prices:

Go the Hell on to Lowes, then.

We tried to scan some reports, but eventually they had to enter 10K inventory items.  I’d never done POS, but we approached it logically and created a workable solution of which we were proud.  But the coup de grace was the Receivables which managed to take any manner of credit to an account and apply  interest judiciously, which means individually.

I contend that this period, in places like Liberty, represents the Zenith of technology, where we could pick up Windows PCs at wholesale, apply them in a LAN, hang printers and implement FoxPro systems to run $10M companies, from soup to nuts.

Speaking of which, about the same time, I was asked to implement Liberty Oil Co.  It was during this time that it was said of me that I could teach monkeys to run a computer.  And what a system.  Mr. Ward, having designed the Chair Co. system, a marriage of Tom Ferguson’s cost accounting and his requirement for financials, synthesized what we had into a gorgeous little system where one screen updated sales, inventory and receivables, with month end reports.  It ran on a series of PCs until recently, when I stopped supporting it.  Over twenty  years.

I’d taken some accounting courses at GTCC and run a $3M receivables at Randolph Telephone for my dad, after high school, So I understood double entry bookkeeping, but most importantly, the ability to age accounts and apply interest.  Yeah, my dad, Alan Martin, learned how to program in Assembler and then COBOL on a series of Burroughs minicomputers, prior to the PC, to do billing.

I’d dropped out of NCSU after a semester, working the Spring at Don’s Music City.  We were into Commodore 64s and programmable TI calculators.

I’d been going to night school at UNCG and then switched for a year to attend GTCC’s DP program.  It was mainframe bullshit, but I did excel at flowcharting, which I haven’t used since.

Jim Owens was a pharmacist from Roseboro, who’d fallen in love with merchandising and was fucking with Liberty retailers on the wholesale price of things like Coke.  Ken Schurr, whom I think was from the upper midwest, married a local lady and got to know Jim at Liberty’s epic parties.  Ken had worked, after the USAF, for a couple of national papers and now was a rep for mainframe systems featuring the iconic Coyote terminals.

While Ken was in the front door at the Greensboro News & Record, I was in the back, converting spreadsheets and Access files to databases with reports.  Ken took dBaseII and built a system to process prescriptions.  Jim’s work ethic, the son of a car dealer, was remarkable.  He regularly worked a shift in the drug store and then stayed up, automating his store.  The software they produced lives on to this day, the last time I checked.

I was hired in 1984 as the first employee of Liberty Drug Systems and over the next eighteen months, installed 50 systems in pharmacies in three states.  Mind you, we started with TI-PCs running MS-DOS 1.25 on a floppy with a 5MB HD.  And yet, Ken’s code not only processed scrips, but enabled a pricing system built custom by Jim for each pharmacy.  He’d show up around 11:00, after the owner had run nightly reports, and demo the system while talking over old times, because nearly everyone went to UNC School of Pharmacy.  It was like Animal House every night.

I spent days maintaining one set of dBase code, designed to meet the needs of every customer.  I hit the road, doing upgrades, which meant arriving at closing, backing up the files to 40 floppy disks and then heading to a hotel, where they were restored to a mule, which cooked the files to support new formats.  The next morning, I arrived before opening and restored the upgraded system.

We had a guy in Aberdeen filling 750 scrips per day.  TI was turning out faster hardware and we were throwing everything we could get at the problem.  But I was breaking down and left.

I worked for Wayne Brown in Greensboro for about six months, developing dBASEIII apps, before breaking out on my own.  Shortly after that, in 1987, my dad died, leaving me a small insurance policy, which I partially invested in the house where I now sit.

Wayne was the older brother of Gary Brown, monster IBM 36 guy, a graduate of the UAF academy, who flew bombing missions over Vietnam and gone on to get his MBA.  He had entre into the biggest businesses in Greensboro.  But he was disorganised.

Striking out on my own, I put my cards about at local computer stores.  The Byte Shop, an Apple Store of all places, sent Louis Patseavouras, MD FACS my way and for the next two years I worked with him and another cosmetic surgeon in La Jolla on a billing and inventory system, which they eventually sold.   I was able to develop a user interface and menu framework which I continued to improve and implement until 2010.

Not long after that, Tom Ferguson from High Point, who’d worked at Liberty Furniture,  bought Arnold Hogan’s chair co. in Liberty and the rest is history.

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