“Hello Chaz, Ogi told me about your new car.”

July 9, 2012

“Hello Chaz, Ogi told me about your new car. A vintage Avenger, too!!! Not a lot of them about!”
“Yes Stu, only a couple of quid from Craigy boy.”
“Quite the steal, eh Chaz?”
“Maybe so, but it’s been a bear to fix. Brutal to get parts. Craigy told me Big Donkey would see me right with the documents though, but he couldn’t. Something about the Avenger’s VIN numbers. Ogi didn’t do a good enough job catalloying around the welds.”
“Can I take a look Chaz? I do like that white rose on the sun strip, looks rather spiffy. Reminds us of home, eh?”
“Yes, sure does. Do you want to give it a drive and we can go see Big Donkey and Muiry at Hampden? See what they think?”
“Sure, that’s great! Who’d have thought I’d get to drive a vintage Avenger! Great stuff! I hear it is eco-friendly and runs on ethanol?”
“Yes, that’s right. The finest red wine and succulent lamb. Only the best for my vintage Avenger!”
“Got to say that it runs well for an 1872 Avenger, was a vintage year Chaz. You are a fortunate man!”
“Hey, there’s Big Donkey and Muiry at the bottom of the Hampden steps. Look Stu, they are arguing with somebody. Who is it?”
“Oh, that’s some muppet from Raith. I’ll roll down the window and invite them for a test drive. Neil, David, Turnbull – you want a run in Chaz’s Avenger?”
“Haw Donkey, whit you think. Fancy a birl? Hutton’s a feartie and he’s no comin’!”
“Sure, I’ll come. Four can comfortably ride in that Avenger David. Hutton can just walk for all I care!”
“Allright lads, get in – this is the four door model.”
“Look guys, sorry. But something isn’t right here. The Avenger that Craig got from Minty was a two door. This is not the same car.”
“Och Turnbull ya muppet, yer heid’s nippin’. Same motor, ya jealous git. Green wi’ envy, eh Chaz!!!”
“No, sorry David you are wrong. Look Stewart and Neil, contrary to what David is saying this is most definitely not the same car. OK, the VIN number at the front match’s Minty’s and Craig’s Avenger, but the front was cut-off and then welded to the back of another right-off. This is not the same car! You been at it Charles? Cutting-up and welding together write-offs and passing them off?”
“Look Turnbull, only you would bring that up. It’s perfectly road worthy! And lots of people like Avengers, I’m doing this for the greater good.”
“Charles, this vehicle is not roadworthy. Craig’s car was a right-off. Hector put him off the road. It is not safe and you know it. Hector is mad enough as it is. Craig tried to take it to Europe and wrecked in Malmo. It’s a mystery why Hector never impounded it and broke it for spares, and could still. Parts of a vintage Avenger can command a good price!”
“Ah shut it ya big feartie. C’mon lads, let’s get gaun. Am in the back wi’ Donkey. Chaz you drive and Stu navigates. Yer just a muppet Hutton. Lets go frighten yer pals.”
“Look guys, I appeal to your better judgment. Driving old Avengers welded together from a scrapyard is not safe. When the welds fail, don’t come crying to me!”

For Part I of this story:

https://hydraargyrum.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/nice-car-you-got-their-craigy-boy/

More parts to follow!!!!

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Randorsement of Romney: Gradualism in Politics

June 8, 2012

Few events surprise me, but one did yesterday – seeing Rand Paul endorse Mitt Romney on FoxNews. The resultant apoplexy from certain segments of the “Liberty Movement” is not surprising, and regrettable. I did think an endorsement would happen, but not until much later. Paul Jr is seeking to advance his limited government agenda. Given the nature of politics and the innate conservatism of the public (to maintain the status quo) this will occur at a snails pace – rather than by a rapid process. This does not suit plenty of people, but gradualism is usually the most sustainable path forward in politics. So I may disagree with this “Randorsement” at this time, especially when his father Ron Paul is still collecting delegates for the Republican convention, but I commend him for his thinking.

Plausible Deniability: The Rangers Fiasco

June 1, 2012

The Rangers fiasco is now all about “plausible deniability”. I generally don’t do conspiracy theories, but I cannot shake the feeling that prospective owners and the administrators simply don’t want to be seen to put the final bullets into the corpse. Rather, they’d have others do the dirty work for them and – such as with the transfer ban (in actuality about the mildest sanction imaginable) appeal – are seeking to expedite the process. The response from the SPL/SFA has been (at best) feeble. Now its going to come down to UEFA/FIFA diktats to the SFA. This gives the prospective owners/administrators(/liquidators) plausible deniability as they attempt to rally the Rangers supporters around a “Newclub” or “Airdire United II” whilst attempting to legally escape from their straightjacket, plus make a packet in the process. Might just work, given enough complicity (and desire for plausible deniability, too) from the SFA/SPL(/SFL), connivance from other clubs, succulent lamb, and sufficiently gullible supporters (of which Rangers appear to have thousands even after all that has happened). But given that this situation is now on FIFA/UEFA’s radar and the potential level of moral hazard (particularly for HMRC) it’s getting increasingly hard for me to see how this isn’t about to get even messier.

“Nice car you got there Craigy boy”

May 31, 2012

“Nice car you got there Craigy boy”.
“Aye Chaz, braw eh? Took it aff Big Davie’s hauns, gied us a deal. Bit o’ a steal.”
“Chassis looks a bit bent.”
“Aye, but no bad fur a quid.”
“One pound, you got quite the deal!”
“Mare than the chassis bent, hale motor. Helluva expensive tae run an’ aw…..”
“4 star?”
“Naw alternative fuel – succulent lamb and finest red wine.”
“How’d you get the MOT on it if it’s so bent?”
“Dawdle Chaz, nudge and a wink tae big Donkey an’ he sees us right. Aw in the haunshake in these pairts.”
“Very patriotic paint job I see.”
“Aye – red, white and blue. Big Davie did a braw joab. Redid the inside, used tae be loads mare orange. Changed the number plate frae FTP 1690 tae EBT SDM. Pure dead classy. See the braw wee bear hingin’ frae its neck frae the mirror?”
“Hillman Avenger?”
“Aye, dinae see monay oh them nooadays. Oh, an’ talking o’ Avengers, he tried tae get that burd frae that TV show in the back o’ it wan time. Didnae go fur the flute music blaring out the windaes. Thought the beat o’ the Lambeg drum would get her goin’.”
“That tax disks looks a bit dodgy. Been at the clipart again?”
“Och, Hector’s oan ma case aboot it……gieing us grief the greetin’ faced get”.
“Penalty points?”
“Oan appeal. But got third party fire and theft oan it. Mibee torch it. Big Davie didnae want me tae break it fur spares. Loadsa memories.”
“Torch it! A vintage Avenger! What if your caught red-handed?”
“Aye, suppose so Chaz. That widnae dae. The wee bear an’ his pals might come get me an’ gie me a doin’.”
“Tell you what Craigy, lets do a deal. I’ll take it off your hands for 2 pounds. I’ll get some chums to loan us some cash to do it up”, after all it is a vintage Avenger. You can then get to drive in it occasionally.”
“Brilliant. A birl in it wid be braw. Big Donkey will see ye right oan the MOT. Just dinae take it tae Europe. These Krauts and Frogs will be all ovr ye.”

“The Producers” as “The Rangers”

May 7, 2012

I recently read a remake of Mel Brooks’ 1968 classic “The Producers” playing out in Glasgow. Renamed, “The Rangers” the major roles fall to mysterious past, present and future owners. In cahoots with their accountants, they hatch a plan to rip off Scottish football supporters, played by “Little Old Ladies” in the original.
The plot involves secretive accountants coming in to audit “The Rangers’” books. They soon realize that madcap schemes have left them over a hundred million pounds in debt. The amount is so implausibly massive that it dawns on the accountants that executing administration for the benefit of the creditors is futile. However, they realize that their client is no ordinary business, with tentacles firmly gripping the highest level of governance for the sport. By being able to access these cronies, they can attempt to eliminate their client’s toxic debts. The connivance of witting or unwitting co-conspirators becomes essential to execute their plans. They draft in a mysterious American to lend credibility to their scheme.
The owners, accountants and wannabes launch their bail-out scheme, ably assisted by an all-star-cast performing and pandering across Scotland’s media outlets. A skeptical Scottish Football Association baulks, but the Scottish Premier League – promising manna from the Sky – saves the day for their heroes.
The story concludes with the perpetrators smirking smugly on the steps of the SFA offices at Hampden, after they have again fleeced the “Little Old Laddies.” However, as they leave the scene Michel Platini enters from UEFA and suspends the SFA indefinitely, as the bang of Lambeg drums is heard in the distance. Scottish professional football withers and dies.

Questions for Mr McCoist and Mr Smith

May 2, 2012

Such has been the role of the Scottish press in the Glasgow Rangers fiasco that someone in Pyongyang will be as knowledgeable about their self-inflicted “bankruptcy” as a great many Rangers supporters. At least the North Korean would have the advantage of not being misinformed, or should I say disinformed, by “sports writers” – particularly in a certain Glasgow tabloid. There is a line that has long been crossed into blatant pandering. In the current situation there is a real danger in whipping up thuggery. Are the writers in the Daily Record so dependent on their succulent lamb that they will risk complicity in putting public order at risk?
I emigrated in 1988. I miss many things about Scotland – but certainly not the sectarianism that still infects a portion of Scottish society. If anyone in Scotland reads this and doubts me, then I’ll tell you where I am originally from – a place roughly equidistant between Larkhall, Lesmahagow and Carluke; the “Orange groves” of Lanarkshire.
For the press to begin redeeming itself, and in the interests of transparency, I would welcome any journalist asking Mr McCoist, Mr Smith, etc. the following questions: “Did you have an EBT?” “For how long?” “How much money was involved?” “If the HMRC FTT finds against Rangers, will you publicly commit to repay these funds?”  If they cannot answer these questions and would rather risk incitement then that itself speaks volumes.   We shall see whether or not they really do “walking away”. I am not holding my breath.

It wisnae me! I didnae ken! A big boy did it and ran away!

April 28, 2012

I am scunnered. Not with Glasgow Rangers but with the Scottish press.

Rangers have had years of financial mismanagement and tax avoidance that has come back to haunt them. Yet the Scottish press, certainly from what I read online, seems only too keen to dump the blame on one man. That this man – Craig Whyte – was only in charge since 2011 seems to be irrelevant. But the roots of Rangers dire financial situation go back into the 1990s. But to read the nonsense spouted in the likes of the “Daily Record” and even “The Herald” you’d be left thinking, “Jings, crivens help ma Boab! A big boy did it and ran away!!!!!”. Infantile stuff. Rangers problems stem more from actions predating Mr Whyte’s involvement in the club. Maybe if the “succulent lamb” types in the likes of the “Daily Record” had actually been real journalists rather than “sports writers” then Rangers might not be staring the very real prospect of liquidation in the face. Indeed, if anyone is complicit in this mess it is the “succulent lamb” brigade – if they had reported the truth this whole mess could have been avoided. But they are playing along with the whole, “I didnae ken! It wisnae me!” charade. Not at all unlike the banking collapse, “Too big to fail”, a compliant/complicit press and the risk of moral hazard.

So why am I scunnered? Not with Rangers. For them I am just sad. Really. This is a horrible mess and I don’t do “schadenfreude”. I am scunnered with the Scottish press, and “The Herald” in particular – but only because I have such low expectations from everyone else – especially the tripe from the “Daily Record”. My comments to “Herald” articles get stuck in moderation and are never approved. I never use profanity. I never even use phrases like “succulent lamb”. All I point out is the grotesque level of financial mismanagement that go back into the 1990s and how Rangers burned through cash. How if their FTT appeal to the HMRC EBT ruling fails then liquidation is inevitable. How creditors are getting shafted. How the administrators seem keener to get Rangers to the end of the season than actually act to bring resolution. How the SFA sanctions were trivial by comparison to Rangers own self-inflicted problems. How UEFA could take a flamethrower to our game, and may well do so regardless – and who could blame them? The moral hazard of deals being cut. And lastly how pathetic the press in Scotland has been in covering Rangers. Why no questions to key individuals about their EBTs? Is this a condition of interviews being granted?

Whether or not Rangers survive, in whatever form, the Scottish game will badly suffer. I support Kilmarnock and the likelihood that I will set foot into Rugby Park again will be sorely diminished if it is blatantly obvious that our game is rigged. And I’d want UEFA to step in. If Rangers cannot continue as anything other than a “newco” or fold completely a lot less money will come into the game. Kilmarnock and other teams could well end-up folding, too. But if that’s what has to happen to restore integrity then it has to happen. Scottish football will never be the same again.

Glasgow Rangers & Moral Hazard

April 25, 2012

The malfeasance and associated fiasco surrounding Glasgow Rangers reminds me of “too big to fail” and the banking crisis. Greed, incompetent decision-making and questionable business practices resulted in the likes of RBS and Citigroup collapsing. Complicity from the regulators thrown in for good measure. Denial on the part of the perpetrators. Collapse. We are there with Rangers. This is a tragedy for Scottish football, and the perpetrators seem unable to admit their responsibility. Contrary to what one might think from the main Glasgow tabloid, this is not about the actions of simply one man over the last year. Rather, the problems have been systemic, going back at least to the ’90s and largely hidden by a compliant press. Actions by the Bank of England or Federal Reserve to bail-out their chums in the City or Wall Street created moral hazard on an unprecedented scale. RBS, Citigroup, AIG, etc. never faced the ultimate ramifications of their actions. If Rangers don’t face theirs by, say, HMRC cutting them a deal, then a layer of moral hazard is created that is simply unacceptable. The SFA also have to be seen to act, UEFA would have them if they didn’t – and rightly so. (I’d say exactly the same if it were my team, Killie.) And, honestly, why the hysterical reaction to the fines/sanctions from the SFA? They really are trivial in comparison to Rangers other self-inflicted problems. Or is it more blaming others for your own problems? It really is time for those that wrecked Rangers to face their responsibility, and those “sports writers” in the media that aided and abetted the shenanigans to quit. It’s not as if they were real journalists anyways, their partaking of “succulent lamb” and failure to report actual facts long betrayed them. When it falls to a blog – Rangerstaxcase – to explain to supporters of Scottish football what is really going on it really is a damning indictment of the state of the Scottish press.
And Rangers? Its really hard to see any other outcome rather than liquidation. The administrators seem to be more interested in getting them through the end of the season and an infusion of SPL prize money. Then what? Airdrie United II?

Geopolitical Poker, Blowback & Iran

January 8, 2012

Radical political Islam has flourished in large part due to “blowback” from US/Western foreign policy. This isn’t just an observation by Ron Paul, he is also restating what the CIA have told us for years. Blowback was also discussed by the 9/11 Commission.  Our corporate media give the Neocons a free pass when they refuse to even discuss blowback.  The current extremely serious situation with Iran is probably the best example of blowback and can be traced back to the US/UK overthrowing Mosaddegh in 1953 (over oil). Continuing to engage in the same interventionism despite the obvious evidence of failure only further bankrupts the United States, both financially and morally. If we do bomb suspected Iranian nuclear facilities, I predict the Iranian regime itself will be the big winner (as it was when we went into Iraq). Any attack would be a propaganda gift. Repression would accelerate under the guise of protecting the state from a “5th Column”, thereby weakening internal dissent. Iraq would further destabilize. Plus don’t forget the fragility of Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia. Geopolitics on this scale is a massive poker game, we are in serious danger of being taken to the cleaners yet again.  But don’t expect to hear blowback discussed anytime soon by any of the so-called experts, or should I say propagandists, that grace our corporate media.

Bolton, Bolton on the Wall, What is the Biggest Obamablunder of them All?

December 10, 2011

When pondering Obamablunders, and many are colossal, there is a tendency to focus on the unrelenting overseas adventurism, failures to adequately investigate allegations of malfeasance on Wall Street – hardly a shock when considering President Obama has been so chummy with the likes of Tim Geithner and Jon Corzine – or his continued erosion of the Bill of Rights, such as his renewal of the provisions of the Orwellian PATRIOT Act.  But there is one little discussed Obamablunder that I don’t think I have ever heard addressed, and has the potential to have dreadful implications.  That is the failure to investigate and, where required to by law (with the exception of Irv Lewis Libby, and that was under President Bush!), prosecute those that were complicit in the Iraq debacle.

By the Obama administration failing to investigate President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s cronies, we now know that they have a route back.   This week Newt Gingrich said that he wants John Bolton as his Secretary of State.  Yes, John Bolton.  Our former UN ambassador that was up to his neck in the neocon warmongering that has in no small way contributed to our national bankruptcy, erosion of civil liberties and dreadful international reputation.  Honestly, if Newt Gingrich becomes the GOP nominee against Obama is he trying to lose?  Pandering to “the base” doesn’t work with independents, swing voters or “Ron Paul Republicans”.  He needs these voters to win the White House, and he won’t get them if he chums up to the very individuals that have taken America to the brink in pursuit of their adventurist agenda.

A supreme irony in all of this is that Mr Bolton and his ilk should be grateful to President Obama and the Democrats.  By failing to investigate the events leading up to the Iraq debacle, the perpetrators avoided having to repeatedly testify on Capitol Hill.  This also meant they could keep traipsing between their “Think Tanks” and certain of the “Fair and Balanced” crowd, spewing their propaganda.  But President Obama in large part simply continued the Bush doctrine, which is why I am not at all surprised that they got off scot-free.