They’ve Got It Wrong AGAIN!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


The Sunday Sermon




I wrote a short post the other day on the subject of failure. I think it was a success 🙂

What hasn’t been a success, however, is America’s foreign policy. I’ve also written about this many times in the past. I find it very annoying that a country as great as America and with so many brilliant people within it can neither elect a smart politician, or even a not so smart politician but one who has enough brains to hire smart advisers.

The current President, Barack Obama, has continued the trend of failure. Particularly with regard to foreign policy, at which he has not only failed but added indecision and procrastination to the mix.

The examples are many, but the latest foreign policy debacle is the leading role America has taken in the imposition of sanctions against Russia. Sanctions that may have been aimed against Russia but which are already starting to backfire against the US.

I noted in another post that sanctions have been imposed in regard to Russian oil and natural gas, which Europe (particularly Germany and France) needs, but America doesn’t; but that the sanctions were not imposed on nuclear fuels, which America does need.

Believe me, the hypocrisy of that has not been lost on the European governments or its public.

And the hypocrisy does not end there.

rosneft getty

On the one hand there have been hyped up media statements telling everyone that Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company, and its head Igor Sechin, have been targeted in the sanctions.

But what hasn’t been trumpeted so loudly is the fact that British oil company BP, owns almost 20% of Rosneft, and has confirmed that it would not be severing ties with the Russian firm.

Similarly, Norway’s Statoil is continuing its partnership with Rosneft to search for oil in the Norwegian section of the Barents Sea.

And France’s major oil and gas company, Total, has announced that it is seeking financing for its next gas project in –  where else? –  Russia. When they get that financing, amounting to something in the region of $27 billion, it will be in Roubles or maybe even Yuan, but certainly not in US dollars – again thanks to the ill thought out sanctions.

This will set a trend for similar deals that will also exclude the US dollar, inevitably lowering its standing as the world’s reserve currency. I expect more such deals to be done with the Russians by German companies in particular as the sanctions fail to bring the promised results and as a consequence start to fall apart.

But it gets worse.

Before any of the US Senators or Congressmen stand up and start to call names at the Brits or the Norwegians or the French for backtracking on sanctions, they would be better to take a look nearer home.

It now seems that American Companies are not paying attention to the sanctions either.


For example, ExxonMobil, America’s largest oil company, has continued drilling offshore in the Russian Arctic, also with Rozneft.

If the sanctions were anything more than a bit of public posturing by Obama, ExxonMobil shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) be doing any more work with the Russians in Russia. But using the excuse that it is environmentally safer to complete the well than to allow the Russians to do it alone, ExxonMobil got permission to continue.

No doubt the company will express its gratitude when the next round of electioneering fund raising comes along! (Gosh, I’m such a cynic!)

Now, if Obama and his advisers had thought for a moment about the consequences of sanctions, they would have realized that, in cases like this, companies such as ExxonMobile had not really got a choice. If they hadn’t continued to work with Rozneft, the Russian company would simply have gone ahead without them with a consequent dilution of ExxonMobile’s return if/when the well is a success.

In addition to that, if the Russian company did need other help you can be sure there would have been a Chinese energy company there ready and willing and eager to take up the slack.

Whilst Obama and his predecessors have been blundering around the world pissing off friend and foe alike, the strategy of the Russian President has been to cultivate new friends and thereby new markets and customers for his country’s vast energy reserves.

It has been a clever move.

Sanctions or not, game to Putin this time I think.

sanctions against Russia



America, My Friends, Is Fast Becoming The Land Of The Stepford Grin

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


People nowadays have an obsession with teeth, particularly so in America where the whole thing has gotten completely ridiculous. The only people benefiting are the dentists, or orthodontists as the braces branch like to call themselves, who are making an absolute fortune on the vanity of others.

There’s the usual drilling and filling too, but the main work nowadays is straightening and whitening and so forth. Nearly every unfortunate kid has to undergo months of a hideous looking steel grid in their gobs otherwise they think that they will stand out from their friends, and of course individuality is out of the question, conformity is king!

Poor kid with steel grid in gob
Poor kid with steel grid in gob


Their beleaguered parents, who seem to have lost the ability to say “no” to their children, go along with it and hand over their wallets like it’s the normal thing to do.

America, my friends, is fast becoming the land of the Stepford grin and nobody seems to find it at all the least bit odd. And just like baseball caps, the fashion is spreading throughout the world.

The Stepford Grin
The Stepford Grin


But it wasn’t always this way. A few decades ago dentistry was, let’s say, a lot more primitive. There was still the drilling and filling bit and in a pre-fluoride environment there were more cavities than there were people. There were also a lot of teeth that, whilst they could be easily saved and repaired today, in those days had to be extracted. Therefore many people ended up requiring dentures.




John was a case in point. He got to the stage where all his teeth were gone and his dentist was taking moulds and measuring him up for a new set of dentures.

After spending some time toothless, which made eating some of his favorite foods difficult and frustrating, John was anxious to get his new teeth. The day arrived and off he went to the dentist who fitted them and adjusted them.

All seemed to go well. They felt like a bit of a mouthful but John put that down to the fact that they were new and probably needed a few hours to bed down properly in his mouth. He was happy enough.

Until he got home that is.

His daughter met him at the door and immediately let out a loud shriek and fell on to the floor laughing uncontrollably.

Then his wife walked in.

“Oh my good God, John” she exclaimed, “Whatever have they done to you?” And with that she too started to laugh.

John protested vigorously. He tried to ask them what was wrong, why was everyone laughing. But he hadn’t gotten used to the teeth in his mouth and he sounded as if he had a mouthful of pebbles. Naturally this made the others laugh all the harder.

He went into an adjoining room where there was a mirror.

“Fos hate, way awen’t wat bad,” he protested from the other room.

But the more he talked with his mouthful of teeth the more they laughed and the more they laughed the more irritated he became.  After a while they got themselves calmed down and decided they would review the situation in the morning.

The next morning John’s wife was first up as usual. She went downstairs to prepare breakfast for the family while he washed, shaved and got dressed. When the breakfast was ready she shouted on the others and they all assembled at the kitchen table.

For a few minutes all went peacefully, everybody keeping their heads down and studying their eggs and bacon intently. But curiosity eventually got the better of them. First John’s daughter looked up. She couldn’t control herself and immediately returned her concentration to the scrambled egg on her plate, but shaking noticeably with more laughter.

Then John’s wife looked across the table at him. Again she burst out into fits of laughter.

“It was like sitting there looking at a horse smiling at you across the breakfast table,” she would tell me later when recounting the story.

John's Horsey Smile
John’s Horsey Smile


This time it was all too much for John. He angrily stomped off to the garage and set to work on his new teeth with an electric grinding stone.

But it was a lost cause. All he did was grind away a good part of the teeth, which obviously did make them smaller, but now he was left with more gum than teeth. If anything, this looked even funnier than the original, as his wife and daughter confirmed by again falling about the place in more fits of laughter.

After that those teeth, or what was left of them, were never seen again.

The next time John would go to another dentist, one who made teeth for people and not horses.