Remember when resignation was closely associated with honourable surrender and not just another politically correct way to preserve the illusion of honour and, to a certain extent, respect?

Just as resignation, that above question is rhetorical in nature.

Re·sig·na·tion: sudden urge to spend more time with one’s family, despite perpetually having chosen career over all. This seemingly calculated decision often coincides with one facing trouble or having to take responsibility by answering allegations of serious offences committed, which were or are are about to be brought to light to the public.

“One”, meaning “I”, along with perhaps a considerable amount of Japanese nationals, would trust that Seppuku, and certainly not an official statement delivered to the media and/or board of directors, would reflect the absolute essence of resignation.

In contrast to that essence, most would say that the most memorable resignation in modern western civilization took place on August 9, 1974, as Richard Nixon becomes America’s Greatest Disgraced President.

Moving forward to our recent times, the spectrum of various titles and professions eligible for resignation is no longer reserved for men of state, leaders of nations and military men.

Beloved athletes, risen to god-like status, bare the same pseudo-responsibilities as one who is required to influence a nation of soon-to-be responsible members of our well-balanced society. Along came, and almost went, Lance Edward Armstrong (born Lance Edward Gunderson), whom had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005.

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In 2012, he was disqualified from all his results; thus, stripped from all his titles, since August 1998, for using and distributing performance-enhancing drugs and was banned from professional cycling for life.

Last June, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charged Lance “serial cheat” Armstrong with having used illicit performance-enhancing drugs, and announced a lifetime ban from competition, which applies in all sports which follow the World Anti Doping Agency code.

Recently, he was set to compete in an US Masters swimming event, but then withdrew, as a result of the International Swimming Federation’s (Fina) pressure.

Re·sig·na·tion…avoiding the complete dissolution of your self-founded corporation/foundation.

From one discipline to another…in November of 2012, David Howell Petraeus, retired American military officer and public official, who also served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), also resigned. Prior to his assuming the directorship of the CIA, Petraeus was a highly decorated four-star general, serving over 37 years in the United States Army.

resignation-patraeus-thusalways

Petraeus began an affair with Paula Broadwell, principal author of his biography in late 2011 , when he was no longer an active duty military officer. Petraeus reportedly ended the affair the following year, when he learned that Broadwell had been sending harassing emails to a longstanding family friend of the Petraeuses, Jill Kelley.

Mission accomplished.

In our modern times, highly decorated military men, resign offer affairs, and perhaps no longer over burying their nations, and others, under an avalanche of their inadequacies.

Re·sig·na·tion…keeping as much truth about Benghazi and the military industrial complex, hidden from civilians.

From military to its twin profession…politics!

Gérald Tremblay, businessman turned disgraced Canadian politician, served as mayor of Montreal for a decade until his resignation. This decision, coerced or not, necessary or not, was followed by allegations of corruption and financing the mafia, made at the Charbonneau Commission of Inquiry on the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry.

resignation-tremblay-thusalways

He was accused, at the Commission, by construction industry contractor Lino Zambito. The latter alledged that Tremblay’s party, Union Montreal, received a sum equivalent to 3% of the value of sewerage rehabilitation contracts awarded by the City of Montreal to a mafia-linked cartel.

Following these allegations, amongts others of similar nature, Tremblay announced that he would be taking a few days off. On November 5, 2012, Tremblay announced that he was resigning as mayor, and was leaving politics.

Re·sig·na·tion…bending under perpetual public outrage and furthering Omertà.

Gilles Vaillancourt is a former Canadian politician. He served as the mayor of Laval, Quebec, from June 8, 1989 until November 9, 2012. During this time Vaillancourt was also the leader of the Parti PRO des Lavallois.

resignation-vaillancourt-thusalways

As part of the same Commission, the Awarding and Management of Public Contracts in the Construction Industry and the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit inquired and searched Vaillancourt’s residence for evidence of corruption.

On November 9, 2012, Vaillancourt resigned as mayor and denied all of the corruption allegations against him as his party dissolved.

Re·sig·na·tion…bending under perpetual public outrage and furthering Omertà…same as above…politicians, all the same n’est-ce pas?

From politics, to its close entity…economy! At this point, the military-politics duo is presenting itself as a full blown triplet set. The indefinite triangular axis of power some might say.

Ben Bernanke, an economist and currently chairman of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, since 2002.

Stop the press!

Before you initiate an email with the purpose of addressing my mistake, which will hopefully initiate my erratum, I am require to advise that I am fully aware that Bernanke is still active in his position, allowing the print of devalued currency at its usual healthy pace.

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During his first term as Chairman, the Federal Reserve experienced its largest increase of power since its creation in 1913. Successor to Alan Greenspan, he will most likely step down from his position in January 2014.

He has been attacked for failing to foresee the financial crisis, for bailing out Wall Street, and, most recently, for injecting an additional $600 billion into the banking system to give the slow recovery a boost.

Re·sig·na·tion…stop the prints…a scandal of personal nature is in the works or perhaps even ready to be released at any time.

Who’s next?

- We shall see how this resignation trend will unfold. In these though economic times and omnipresent global conflicts, not only immunity is scarce but also the amount of backs left exposed and unscratched is exponentially increasing.

Where?

- Anywhere the chips may fall and everywhere desks can be cleared. Anywhere and everywhere.

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“By the time I took my seat in the Gods, the opera was well into its final act”

- Barbara Covett, played by Dame Judi Dench, in Notes on a Scandal (2006)

Re·sig·na·tion …

resignation-nixon-thusalways

… Nostalgia tends to often be best left as such.

Thus Always…

George Lucas, a Science Fiction pioneer, just as Jules Verne was, would agree with the fact that Sci-Fi is anything but figments of our imagination. It is only a precursor of things to come.

Star Wars films depicted various types of drones. The more impressive ones were massive self-piloting star ships controlled by a module. Lucas made us dream and contemplate a world in which Darth Vader would not perpetually rule the universe.

In our world and our time, Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), which were experimentally manufactured in 1916, were first armed in order to attempt to kill Osama bin Laden.

They were and still are proven to be unreliable due to the fact that their target abilities are far from surgical precision, they are unstable when flying in less than perfect weather and they crash very often. In addition, loss of communication with these drones is one of the many technical issues that lead to their sub par performance. After consideration, President Clinton decided to shut down the project.

Later on, Bush reopened the project, refinanced it and made used of these drones 44 times, despite the acknowledgement of the performance reports. The attacks evidently lead to casualties; bodies were often hidden and buried by troops on the ground.

However, for now, most drones aren’t exploited for military purpose. They are mostly used for surveillance, reconnaissance, news reporting, border patrolling, intelligence and inspection.

As such, most industrialized countries such as China, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, India, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Japan and Brazil do “harvest” drones. Some of the super drones have even been baptized. Israel named theirs Heron; the United States upgraded their Predator with the Avenger; and, last but not least, Iran named theirs Karrar, which is Farsi for Striker. President Ahmadinejad infamously nicknamed his Persian Menace: the Ambassador of Death.

Episode X : The Persian Menace

Do not let the Ambassador of Death mislead you into being alarmed. The Ambassador of Death is not Darth Vader’s vehicle of choice. This drone is intended for, and I quote: “Peace and Friendship“. Logically, why should we be nervous over Iran since they have not initiated any attack towards any other country in over 200 years? And yes, the Persian Gulf War has been taken in consideration when making that statement. But no, I chose not to take the Iran hostage crisis in consideration.

That being said, it evidently is not the case when shifting our attention towards the previously mentioned pro-drone countries. Over 239 drone strikes were ordered under the Obama administration. Many of these attacks were carried out against the advice of U.S. Officials and Diplomats. In fact, that tendency has led the Obama Administration of being responsible for at least 85% of drone strikes around the world, particularly in Pakistan.

This is the same Obama that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Even then, his addition seemed unsuited and undeserved, when one remembers past laureates such as Desmond Tutu, Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter. Nevertheless, the Obama devotees might hide behind the ideology that peace cannot exist nor be implemented without war.

As mentioned in a previous article of mine, the five countries (United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia and China) that have secured permanent United Nation seats are also the top global arm dealers. These same countries have been accusing Iran of secretly building nuclear weapons and pressuring them to halt their nuclear program.

The classic allies turning into foes pattern … It is important to understand or remember that the U.S. did not only assist but also coordinated the launch of the Iranian Nuclear Program in the 50s. This program was maintained for decades, until the 1979 revolution.

This support was even symbolized and categorized as the “Atoms for Peace” Program, implemented in 1953 by Eisenhower. Let’s acknowledge that a program would not be complete without an appropriate inaugural speech. And where else but at the United Nation General Assembly can a prestigious one take place? In this case, the cleverly named “Atoms for Peace” speech quickly followed Eisenhower’s “Chance for Peace” speech.

All this backing did result in the inception of Iran’s first nuclear power plant, which was completed and activated thanks to Russian assistance, in 2011.

The irony! The Atoms for Peace Program’s main principle was to reassure the world during the Cold War (between 1945 and 1991). Sarcastically, the Russians presided over its closing ceremony.

As a counter attack, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board, nations and multinational entities officially reprimanded and sanctioned Iran. This judgment was internationally supported by detailed tangible and evidence. The Iranian authorities, or should I say THE Iranian Authority, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hosseini khamenei, has not yet been successfully coerced by the international pressure. The U.N. inspectors can come and go as often as necessary, it’s all in good faith, from both parties. Remember, it’s all about Peace and Friendship.

“Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane… No, it’s a drone!”

The Empire Will Strike Back. It is just a question of which Empire will strike first.

Guess who’s building nuclear power plants now?

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, a former lawyer and KGB (Committee for State Security) agent, has just been re-elected as president of the Russian Federation, for a third non consecutive term.

In 1999, Putin entered the political scene as acting Deputy Prime Minister after Boris Yeltsin’s unexpected resignation. He then transitioned as acting president, which led to his two official presidential terms of eight (8) years, which is the maximum length of time that one can hold such position in Russia. He was then appointed Prime Minister by his successor and long time friend, Dmitry Medvedev.

Four years passes by (that is 1461 days or 4 revolutions) and 2012 finally comes around: “Welcome back Mr. Putin. It feels as if you never left.”

Surprised? … not really …

Glasnost? … not really …

Perestroika? … kind of , in a “full circle” kind of way

* Please note that if you are under the impression that Glasnost and Perestroika might be a Vodka based drink that is popular in Moscow’s trendy bars, I invite you to click on their respective hyperlinks.

But as I now think of it, these would make great names for drinks….

- Waitress, may I please have glass of Glasnost with two shots of Perestroika?

- Listen, Gorbachev is gone and he is not welcomed back.

- … but didn’t he …

- I suggest you leave the establishment.

Okay Bref, back to history. Over two decades might have elapsed since the end of the cold war but the Soviet mind never forgets (as my fictitious waitress demonstrated).

Seems as if “Revolution” is as relevant in today’s Russia as it was back in 1991.

Putin has been clearly expressing his views on his nation’s enemies, especially the Americans. He has made it very clear that he is not interested in the “love / hate” relationship that the United States is offering. Matter of fact, he is not interested in any partnership with them.

He often warns the U.S. against military strike on Iran. He also cautions them against a NATO styled attack on Syria, as it was conducted on Libya.

Although all these omnipresent warnings are addressed to foreigners, he also warns his fellow citizens against potential invasion, such as Napoleon’s of 1812.

From 1812 to 2012, same difference perhaps.

From St. Petersburg, to Petrograd, to Leningrad, to once again St. Petersburg.

From Russian Bribes, to Russian Brides, to Russian Pride, to once again Russian Bribes.

From President, to Prime Minister, to President, same difference perhaps.

The earth’s revolution is completed in 365.25 days. As for Russia’s revolution, the clock is ticking…

Ready when you are Vlad. You might just be historically remembered as one of Russia’s emperors , as the following are:

Alexander I: the Blessed

Alexander II: the Liberator

Alexander III: the Peace-Maker

Alexander IV Vladimir I: the ____________

Well done Sir Czar. But always remember … “Thus Always to Genius” → “Thus Always to Tyrants”.

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

A few weeks ago, I decided to get an early start on my taxes and gathered my documents in order to initiate this excruciating yearly obligation. As I am growing up and maturing, I am starting to not only relate but also to understand why the elders in my life always had such disdain for the taxation system.

It also seems as if the more money one makes, the more money comes out of one’s pockets. However, if you keep it up and continue accumulating wealth to eventually become part of the 1% that runs the world, you will have the luxury of benefiting from all sorts of tax exemptions.

It has come to the point that even the silver spoons have come to realize that they were not subjected to the same sacrifices that us proletarians are subjected to. To add insult to injury, we need to make sure that our books are in order because if we miscalculate, there is no second chance made possible by bailouts.

Warren Buffett, an American business magnate and investor, disclosed that he made almost $63 million last year, yet paid less than $7 million in federal income tax. Mr. Buffett long has urged lawmakers to raise income-tax rates on the wealthiest, arguing that his secretary paid a higher effective rate than he did last year.

How can this be?

Before passing judgment, I decided to investigate. After all, I always pride myself in being a fair and reasonable person.

I decided to knock on the Internal Revenue Service’s door, instead of the usual other way around.

As we all know, the IRS, a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, is responsible for collecting taxes and the interpretation and enforcement of its regulations and codes.

Federal income tax was introduced with the Revenue Act of 1861. In 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and Congress created the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses. Because it was passed as an emergency and temporary tax, it was repealed, re-adopted, and then held unconstitutional.

The initial rate was 3% on income over $800, which exempted most wage-earners. In 1864, the rate was 5% on income between $600 and $5,000; 7.5% on income $5,000–$10,000; and 10% on income $10,000 and above.

Nowadays, most of the world’s highest tax rates can be found in western European nations. Belgium tops the list, with a marginal tax rate that goes as high as 54%. Finland imposes 46.6%; Germany, 45%; Denmark, 44.4%; Italy, 43%. In addition, France enforces a tax rate on average workers of about 40% (and a top tax on high-income workers of nearly 50%), France is long-known for sacrificing economic growth to social benefits handed out by government. Unsurprisingly, the European country with the lowest marginal tax rate on average income workers are Switzerland, at 20%.

The United States is still relatively tax-friendly, with a marginal tax rate of around 27% on averaged income workers.

Canada is taxed in a manner similar to that of the United States, imposing a 31.2% marginal tax rate on average income workers. When the Canadian federation was formed in 1867, the British North America Act attempted to create a federal government with virtually unlimited revenue gathering abilities…..What?!!?

The federal government was entrusted with the high cost programs of the time, most notably defence and the building of railways.

During WWI, a tax on income was introduced as a temporary measure to fund the war. The income tax has since become a permanent feature of the Canadian tax system. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has been in charge since … eh!?

I have to admit that things could be worse. Nevertheless, things could be so much better!

Some countries are completely exempted from income tax: such as the Bahamas, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Monaco, Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

What if one decides to halt its “contribution” to the government? One would wake up one day and shout: “enough is enough”!

Well… in response to that, the IRS would respond:

“Release the Hounds!”

You better believe that the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) will eventually get to you. The government might be slow but never sleeps nor forgets.

The IRS-CI investigates potential criminal violations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. While other federal agencies also have investigative jurisdiction for money laundering and some bank secrecy act violations, the IRS-CI is the only federal agency that can investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code.

Despite allegations of abuse of power and cover ups, they retain legal authority to enforce liens and seize assets without obtaining judgment in court. They never back down; even the underworld is wary of this agency. One of the most notoriously untouchable mobster, Al Capone, was eventually caught by the IRS and went to jail for tax evasion.

On this note, you can pretty much get away with everything, with good counsel … as long as you pay your taxes.

Pay up, Chumps!! We’ve got Wars to finance!!!

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

The United Nations (UN) does indeed have guns but no need to worry as these are held by friendly blue helmeted peacekeepers. Let’s not panic now, the casques bleus are in town. After all, the UN was founded in 1945 to stop and prevent wars between nations.

Not just any country has the privilege to join that selective organization. Only the following 5 countries have permanent seats: United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Russia and China. What a powerful quintet: the English drums, the American saxophone, the French piano, the Russian guitar (balalaika) and the Chinese violin (erhu). Music to our ears!

If we listen closely, we notice that there is another, slightly more controversial “band”, created by France in 1975, that adopts a similar musical genre. They are called the “G8″ and are formed by the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, Russia, Canada, Germany, Japan and Italy. Collectively, the G8 nations comprise 53% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Logically, they must export astronomical amounts of goods as they are wealthy nations. Not only they must conduct good business, but they must also excel in clean honest trade. Remember, they are part of the UN rocket band as well.

After further investigation, I come to find out that the top global arm dealers are, in order, the United States of America, Russia, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and China.

- “ Knock, Knock …

- Who’s there?

- “ U.N. ”

- You and Who?

- “ U.N. GUNS !!! ”

The global arms industry manufactures and sells equipment, weapons and military technology. Departments of government operate in the arms industry by buying and selling weapons and other military items. In 1953, shortly after the death of Stalin, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower did warn the world about the emerging Military–Industrial complex.

The Military–Industrial Complex, or Military–Industrial-Congressional Complex, refers to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, armed forces, and the defense industry: the “Iron Triangle”.

Despite Eisenhower’s cautionary speech, the war against communism converted into the war against terrorism, which is now basically just a full-blown “peace for capitalism” takeover. When looking back, his speech might just have well been a catalyst for the proliferation of government approved and backed arm dealings.

On that note:

- “ Knock, Knock …

- Who’s there?

- “ U.N. ”

- “ Friend or Foe?

- “ …”

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. … Is there no other way the world may live?”

- Eisenhower, Chance for Peace Speech

They call it freedom …

… thus, wave your flags ….

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

A few days ago, rising from Ethiopia’s oldest maximum security prison, the new $200 million African Union Headquarters (AUHQ) proudly erects as a monolith should. China, who completely funded the project, already battling accusation of land grabs, further established suspicions.

An important organization such as this one obviously requires a modern, highly functional, state of the art setting to operate as the survival and progression of Africa depends on it.

The AU sent peacekeeping troops to various hotspots in Africa but when it came to Darfur, the task was dumped on the United Nations’ desk. Besides that, not sure what they do or how to justify that building, yet alone their existence.

Donating buildings to other nations is not unusual. But nowadays, it might be news worthy as the donors are not the well-intentioned and generous European saviors shielded behind the “Civilizing Mission”.

In ancient history, the Trojan Horse donation resulted in the Greek conquest of Troy. In 2012 Addis Ababa, instead of a snip on the horse’s muzzle, they have a large outdoor emblem of the Xinhua News logo, which is the New China News Agency. Well-intended warnings coming from all parts of the world read: “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes (I fear the Greeks, even those bearing gifts)”.

But why aren’t they listening to their own advice? World domination is rarely selective. If they are convinced that the Chinese government’s motive is evil and opportunistic, why are they seeking, surely begging behind closed doors, its assistance?

China has been buying everything from French vineyards, Portuguese Power plants, Russian oil, British water networks … no need to go on … I mean they already own over $1.4 trillion of the US debt.

Bref, the Xinhua News logo has been glowing in Time Square months before its appearance on the AUHQ building. You can see it below, right underneath the sign for Prudential. Not much government outrage and warnings against that.

You might notice glimpses of reality from time to time, but you must remember that nothing belongs to its “owner”. I call it the: “It’s not my name on my building” era.

Even the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai’s project was completed thanks to Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan’s financial assistance. The name then changed to Burj Khalifa.

“Pride comes before the fall”

- Proverbs 16:18

Burj Khalifa’s completion in 2010 coincides with the most recent (and present) Great Recession.

The American Great Depression followed the completion of the Chrysler Building in 1930 and the Empire State Building the following year.

In the 70s, One World Trade Center and the Sears Tower emersion coincided with a period of oil price increases that lead to another global economic crisis that coincided with the completion of the Petronas Towers.

On that note, forget Alan Greenspan and let’s focus on who’s building skyscrapers.

Oh wait, isn’t the AUHQ building the tallest in Addis Ababa? And there it goes … “It’s not my name on that building!”.

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.