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twinlark
Member since Nov-17-05
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My wrap of our Chessgames Challenge: The World vs A Nickel, 2006 against ICCF Grandmaster Arno Nickel is at User: World Team Tribute.

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<The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.>

― Geoffrey Chaucer, The Parliament of Birds

>> Click here to see twinlark's game collections.

Chessgames.com Full Member

   twinlark has kibitzed 17371 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Feb-07-16 twinlark chessforum (replies)
 
twinlark: <Amazingly, many readers will swallow it like candy coated cyanide.> Accepting as rational reasons for backing up Erdogan's insane policies under the rubric of NATO's protection is also something that is taken and swallowed from that bag of candy.
 
   Feb-07-16 zanzibar chessforum
 
twinlark: Very nice...there's lots to admire. Reminds me of one of our local swallowtails: http://www.learnaboutbutterflies.co... that graces my home region. Large, colourful and an ornament to our environment. They're quite sedate and tame, and occasionally settle on your arm or your head ...
 
   Feb-04-16 Biographer Bistro (replies)
 
twinlark: Question is should it have the standard <-Previous Next-> format that isn't currently available to us, or simply type it in like at the bottom of Tradewise Gibraltar (2016) The former seems classier.
 
   Feb-02-16 Kinghunt chessforum
 
...
 
   Feb-02-16 Tradewise Gibraltar (2016) (replies)
 
twinlark: <Octavia> The two most important rules on the internet are as follows: 1. In the internet all girls are men. 2. There are no girls on the internet.
 
   Jan-31-16 Magnus Carlsen (replies)
 
twinlark: <Howard> <For example, Korchnoi and Rubinstein would certainly rank higher than Steintz and Euwe on the all-time lists--absolutely not question.> That's debatable. Steinitz's dominance over his colleagues during his lifetime was as extraordinary as it was absolute ...
 
   Jan-23-16 OhioChessFan chessforum (replies)
 
twinlark: When you have a moment, I revamped Bu Xiangzhi 's bio
 
   Jan-22-16 Eugenio Torre (replies)
 
twinlark: heh heh. Glad to see you're still having fun.
 
   Jan-13-16 I Bukavshin vs Morozevich, 2015
 
twinlark: Bukavshin's last game. Not great play by Moro, but his opponent took full advantage, and the point.
 
   Jan-13-16 Ivan Bukavshin (replies)
 
twinlark: RIP GM Ivan Aleksandrovich Bukavshin. A young life lost in full flight. Condolences to his family, his friends and his colleagues and fans.
 
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 267 OF 267 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-21-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <heuristic> Nice to see you.

<ISIS fighters’ salaries halved> With the way RUAF has been bombing ISIS oil convoys, that's not too surprising.

Other updates:

There is talk about a new conference involving Saudi, Qatar, Turkey on a 'political' solution to Syria, with overt Russian approval.

I think it's a diplomatic and political game for the Russians. When the Russian leadership decided to intervene militarily in Syria, I believe they essentially decided to on a mainly military solution. They had no choice because Saudi, Qatar, Turkey had decided on a military solution themselves when they sent in proxy armed forces into Syria.

In brief any 'political solution' will now be mainly determined by military victories on the ground.

<rogoff folks> I don't post there as a rule because I lose thread of the conversation quickly.

<your lambasts towards americans vis-à-vis petrodollars comes across as petulant. it falls on deaf ears because wordly folks have been besieged with oil-dominated conspiracies>

AFAIK there is nothing conspiratorial about our posts on the petrodollar. Everything <twinlark> and I have been hypothesizing about it and its implications to US economy and world geopolitics is based on documented and public facts. (You could scroll up to read our longer discussions.)

Jan-21-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <heuristic>

Hello. What <visayanbraindoctor> said.

I left the Rogoff page as it became too annoying arguing the same old same old repeatedly. Also, too much abuse. A little is bracing, a lot is boring.

<visayanbraindoctor> and I are not here to convince anyone. We're engaging in an extended conversation about various topics, supplementing each other's views, kind of like comparing notes.

Obviously other people read this page, but we're not pitching our discussion to anyone, nor are we looking to be complimented or scored for the standard or objectiveness of our arguments, although we try to maintain both.

Jan-21-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <oil & economics>
here's my stream-of-consciousness:

brics: what a quick reversal of fortune(s)!
- brazil: political scandals
- Russia: oil price forces deep economic reforms
- india: corrupt & stagnant
- china: economic slowdown coupled with currency mishap - south Africa: inconsistent politics
(the rest of the continent is in dire straits; the progess of the past few years could be reversed)

oil prices: in less than 10 years; price per barrel is down an order of magnitude !

so the world is facing stagnation in both economic and monetary forums. this makes the situation volatile.

thus, the multiple ongoing upheavals require new/different outlooks. references to older structures need to updated. note that the most vibrant politicians (across the world) are the ones whom can be labeled "populist".

since you two sample the world far deeper than myself; your views as to the fear & insecurities of the populace would be interesting.

<this page>
I apologize for any issues my previous note brought up. I enjoy the observations and commentary of you two.

my off-hand comment about petrodollars reflects my own observation about personal growth: the challenge of aging is when to abandon old beliefs and adopt new ones. too quick and you are erratic; too slow and you are turgid.

so it goes....

Jan-24-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <heuristic>

I'm not ignoring you. Just had a transmission problem. I'll respond shortly.

Jan-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <101st Airborne Division to put boots on ground in Syria, Iraq>

http://www.special-ops.org/15733/10...

How true is this? If it proceeds, it's going to make a US-Russia encounter more probable.

If the 101st sets foot inside Syria, American soldiers will surely get killed either by terrorists or by SAA or by RUAF sooner or later either by design or accident. It's obvious the US leadership is trying to salvage a presence inside Syria, but this is the worst way to do it.

A better way is to court the Kurds, Yet it seems that Obama, while pushing for a new Geneva talks, has failed to invite the Kurdish YPG. Scared that Erdogan will get mad. It's going to be another circus, since YPG controls most of the northeastern Syrian-Turkish border and is the most effective ground force fighting Isis there. More incidents like this and the US leadership will lose any handle on the YPG because they will see the failure-to-invite as a kind of betrayal. The irony of it is that Kurds are probably closer to being a friend of America than Turkey is. It's possible that the US leadership does not yet realize that Erdogan's Turkey is not a friend at all, and is just out to use US-NATO as a way in order to expand neo Ottomanism. Or perhaps the US leadership is also trying to use the Turks for its own geopolitical ends.

The contradictions and dangers are so obvious as US foreign policy is running into paroxysms of idiocy.

I have been reading Syrian commenters saying that the new T 90 tanks of the SAA are making a significant difference. Dozens are speculated to have been sent into the Aleppo campaign. The terrorists tend to withdraw without a fight whenever they see T 90s approach their positions, as their TOWs don't penetrate the tank's defenses. If this is true, and if Russia sells or leases out hundreds of these tanks to the SAA, the war will end sooner than later. The problem here will be finances; will the Syrian government have enough money to buy or lease these tanks>

I just watched 13 hours, a film based on the Benghazi attack that killed an American ambassador. It shows the CIA buying Libyan weaponry looted from Kaddafy's depots. Typically, it does not delve into the idiocy that nearly all secular Syrians have been saying all these years. That the CIA has been channeling those same weapons into Syria, along with thousands of Islamists that they deemed as friendlies in Libya but turn up as radical beheaders in Syria.

Jan-28-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <heuristic>

<brics: what a quick reversal of fortune(s)! - brazil: political scandals
- Russia: oil price forces deep economic reforms
- india: corrupt & stagnant
- china: economic slowdown coupled with currency mishap - south Africa: inconsistent politics (the rest of the continent is in dire straits; the progess of the past few years could be reversed)>

All nations experience up and down of fortunes. If you are giving the above observations as evidence that BRICS is failing, I don't think it's enough. It also does not change my opinion that BRICS was intentionally set up to challenge the petrodollar as an institution.

<oil prices: in less than 10 years; price per barrel is down an order of magnitude !>

If you are asking why, I think it's because of part of the economic warfare against Russia. Russian economy relies to a large degree on on its oil revenues. The US leadership has persuaded or manipulated the Sauds into increasing oil production. From what I know from some internet reports, it's being done by a kind of fracking technology.

Jan-29-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: http://sana.sy/en/?p=67777

<28 January، 2016

Moscow, SANA-Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the army and armed forces, Defense Minister Fahd Jasem al-Freij discussed on Thursday with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu the outcome of the Russian military operation against terrorist organizations in Syria.>

Something new. There must be developments that are pretty serious, sufficient enough to warrant the Syrian Defense minister to fly over to Russia in order to talk face to face with his Russian counterpart. The above official reason for the visit smells like smoke screen for an impending fire.

Jan-31-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: http://www.almasdarnews.com/article...

<Over 200 Saudi-led Coalition fighters killed in Tochka missile strike>

If this anywhere true, it begs the question: Where are the Yemeni Republican Guards getting these ballistic missiles and how are they firing them so accurately?

We've discussed this before. The Yemeni Republican Guards have been shooting missiles into Saudi coalition camps and even into Saudi warships out in the sea, with remarkable accuracy. It could mean that Iran has ben smuggling in parts for the weapon systems and Russia providing accurate coordinates for the strikes. The missiles systems are Russian derived and need intensive training to deploy, and therefore it might be possible that there are covert Russian specialists and commandos inside Yemen helping the Yemeni Republican Guard.

Jan-31-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: Is Turkey and Saudi planning an invasion of northern Syria?

http://sputniknews.com/politics/201...

<On January 24 US Vice President Joseph Biden held intensive meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

F. William Engdahl, American-German researcher, historian and strategic risk consultant, believes that the Obama administration manipulates both the ambitious Turkish President Erdogan and the impulsive Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, indulging their militarism and greed.>

Everyone is using everyone.

If this report is true, this could be one of the reasons why the Syrian Defense Minister flew over to Moscow to meet with the Russian Defense Minister.

Another possible reason IMO would b the use of new weapons systems that the Russian are deploying into Syria. The most obvious one is the T-90 tank. Syrians in the internet have been commenting that a limited number of these are being deployed in the Aleppo front, and are TOW resistant. Can the SAA soldiers learn to use them so quickly? Or are some of them being run by covert Russian specialists and commandos?

All these covert moves are confusing. Sometimes, I wish Turkey would simply invade Syria outright with its regular armed forces, and get things over with one way or the other. Is that what Biden actually advocating?

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <brics, oil>
my observations about this topic was that the situation is so unexpected. less than 10 years ago, the govt/univ view was that oil was a finite resource and that energy prices were going to go sky high.

BTW, I didn't realize that you were so dogmatic about petrodollar-based conspiracies. since I find discussions about dogma to be insubstantial; I will avoid this topic.

<world situation>
not all is gloom-n-doom. the elections in Argentina, Nigeria & Sri Lanka are encouraging!

I find it interesting that the uncertainty in Europe as led to region-specific results. the north (Sweden & Denmark esp.) has seen the emergence of "right" leaning groups and the south (Spain & Greece esp.) has "left" leaning groups.

again, I was interested in your comments about the times, esp. vis-à-vis the political leaders.

<Syria - Turkey>
please enlighten me. what's the fascination with this arena. to me; it's just "yet another" local conflict. it reminds me of the Bosnian war; in that no other country wants to get involved!

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <I didn't realize that you were so dogmatic about petrodollar-based conspiracies>

Exactly what conspiracy?

From my perspective (twinlark's as well), it's pretty well known that the Breton Woods Conference established the US dollar as world reserve currency after WW2. It's also pretty well known that President Nixon floated the US dollar and made agreements with the Arab oil states to use the dollar as main currency in international oil trading in the early 1970s, thus creating the petrodollar and its fiat nature.

As a rule I avoid talking about theories that aren't based on well known facts. The institution of the fiat petrodollar is definitely a fact of life that affects everything economic in the world today.

Nothing conspiratorial about the existence of the fiat petrodollar.

Now as to how important the petrodollar is to the US economy and world geopolitical status and its implications on US foreign policy, twinlark and I have some opinions on this. I am curious as to what's yours. Perhaps a simple question begs itself to be asked. If the petrodollar were to lose its status as world reserve currency, how do you think this would affect US economy and world geopolitical status?

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <less than 10 years ago, the govt/univ view was that oil was a finite resource and that energy prices were going to go sky high.>

There are many speculations based on the peak oil theory. The question is not if oil is finite. It is, unless you belong to the school of thought that thinks petroleum is abiotic and renews itself, which most geologists disagree with. The question is if we are already at peak oil.

If we are, then why is the oil price dropping? Based on reports on all sides, I think it's because Saudi Arabia has increased production and is flooding the market. Assuming this is true, from there we can ask another question. How are they increasing oil production? From other reports, it's possible that they are using fracking technology in order to squeeze oil out of their exist in oilfields.

If the above scenario is true, then this glut won't last forever. We can speculate as to what happens next.

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <not all is gloom-n-doom. the elections in Argentina, Nigeria & Sri Lanka are encouraging!>

Depends on your perspective.

<I find it interesting that the uncertainty in Europe as led to region-specific results. the north (Sweden & Denmark esp.) has seen the emergence of "right" leaning groups and the south (Spain & Greece esp.) has "left" leaning groups.>

Maybe we should ask twinlark his opinion on these. He is more knowledgeable than I am in this field.

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <<Syria - Turkey> please enlighten me. what's the fascination with this arena. to me; it's just "yet another" local conflict.>

This conflict carries more influence in world affairs than the Bosnian conflict.

It's in the middle east.

1. Oil. While there isn't much oil in Turkey and relatively little in Syria compared to Iraq, the Turkey Syrian conflict involves the whole middle east. It can affect oil prices, which can affect the rest of the world. I believe it probably already has, with Saudi overproducing oil recently.

2. It's related to the Sunni - Shia schism. It can potentially escalate into an open war between Turkey/Saudi vs Iran/Iraq. That's going to be quite a big war, in the middle of lots of oil fields.

People away from the mid east may be affected even if Saudi and Qatar just increases funding to Sunni Islamist groups in general as they jockey for power with Iran. Some of this money may end up getting elsewhere outside the mid east, and enable terrorist actions even outside the mid east. The Sauds will also redouble their efforts in spreading Wahhabi theology in order to expand their mass base, with predictable consequences for the rest of the world.

This hypothesis is testable. If the present conflict stays unresolved and worsens, so will terrorist actions stemming from the Wahhabi theology in other parts of the world.

3. Turkey is NATO. A hot conflict between Russia and Turkey can draw in NATO forces, with the frightful possibility of a nuclear war.

Ditto for any decision by the US leadership to send in American forces on the ground in Syria, an area where the RUAF is bombing daily and where there are Russian ground military personnel. Any direct confrontation between US and Russian soldiers always carries the possibility of escalating into a nuclear war.

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: More interesting news from the Syrian conflict.

http://fortruss.blogspot.com.br/201...

<Russia upgraded & refurnished 9 Syrian MiG-29 into Fulcrum MiG-29SMT.

Russia imposed new rules of engagement on the Turkish-Syrian borders.

Russia put an end to the Syrian - Turkish 1998 agreement>

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: More interesting news.

http://www.fort-russ.com/2016/02/ru...

<Russia Suspects Involvement of Grey Wolves in Sinai Crash>

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <fiat petrodollar>
the first search hits are about either the impending collapse due to this or the secretive machinations of governments. I apologize for lumping you with them!

anyway, to answer your question:
yes, there will be an impact.
no, it will not lead to collapse, world-wide or national.

as a petrodollar, it adds incredible liquidity (turnover). as the US is a(the) large(est) domestic market, there is liquidity as well!

yes, there was a "Nixon shock" when going off the gold standard. my guess is that this will be similar.

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <energy prices>
my readings is that Saudi Arabia has NO choice. there is no other lever they have.

I see petroleum like whale oil and/or kerosene. There will still be a need for it; but it's declining.

despite it's enormous advantages as a fuel; the trend is to electrical consumption. we talked about this w.r.t. nuclear power generation; what's trending now is generation of electricity and temporal storage of it.

that's why this quote:

"The Stone Age didn't end for lack of stone, and the oil age will end long before the world runs out of oil"

resonates with me!

Feb-01-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: <Syria-turkey>
1. middle east
from my limited perspective; this area is the "same as it ever was". never-ending regional conflicts. it's been this way throughout history.

2. sunni/shia
the iran-iraq war was similar. no world war; just another regional conflict.

3. NATO
from my limited perspective; that's why this regional conflict will NOT escalate.

please don't confuse my terseness with denigration! you two have interesting perspectives and it makes for fascinating reading.

Feb-02-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <heuristic> Yes like you I believe there won't be a 'collapse' in terms of a sudden massive plunge in the economy. What will happen IMO is that if the petrodollar loses its status as the currency by which the world trades in oil, it will do so gradually allowing US to make adjustments. However, US will lose a lot of geopolitical clout. With China already on the rise since the 1990s, it would soon overtake the US as the major economic power in the world.

However, there is still a finite possibility of a rapid collapse, however small.

I believe that both China and Russia do not want the US economy to 'collapse'. In a way it's simple self preservation for them. From their perspective, a rapidly collapsing nuclear armed geopolitical power might act insanely and start a nuclear war that would destroy them. I have already expressed my fears that some US leadership factions might want to start a war with China even if only to erase America's massive debt to China. I believe that China fears that, and so is behaving conservatively.

Russia has also been behaving quite prudently in Syria in spite of the Turkish shoot down of its bomber, which the US probably indirectly enabled by providing the plane's flight itinerary.

<the trend is to electrical consumption>

Where will the electricity come from, coal? Most of China's electricity comes from coal AFAIK, but the Chinese are doing everything in order to create alternative sources of electrical power, from hydroelectric dams to nuclear reactors.

US an EU don't have a serious 4th generation nuclear program, nor building new nuclear reactors. The countries most heavily into this endeavor are China, Russia, India, maybe South Korea. I believe that the future of electrical power lies in the quick and cheap modular production of relatively safe 4rth generation nuclear reactors. The energy that lies within reach in relatively abundant and readily accessible thorium deposits alone have been estimated to be sufficient for hundreds of thousands of years even with today's world energy consumption.

<middle east from my limited perspective; this area is the "same as it ever was". never-ending regional conflicts. it's been this way throughout history... sunni/shia the iran-iraq war was similar. no world war; just another regional conflict.>

There is a big difference in that we are already in the nuclear age. Men who sincerely believe that God has promised them paradise for slaying and being slain for his cause will sooner or later use the Bomb. What do you think will happen if an organization such as Al Qaeda or ISIS obtains nuclear weapons? One realistic scenario is a troubled faction in the Saudi leadership obtains them from Pakistan, and passes them to jihadi groups.

Another difference is that mass communication and ways to transfer money rapidly has allowed rapid 'export' of intrinsically violent ideologies and recruits the men who would act on them.

These conflicts can rapidly become non local and quite destructive thanks to technological mechanisms today not present in past eras.

<NATO from my limited perspective; that's why this regional conflict will NOT escalate.>

I don't understand this. You mean NATO will prevent the mid east conflicts from escalating? I think it's the opposite. If Turkey were not part of NATO, it would never have the guts to shoot down a Russian plane. Already Turkey has been trying to get NATO involved against Russia. Recall that after Tukey shot down the Russian bomber, it immediately called for an emergency meeting with NATO, without communicating with the Russians.

Feb-05-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: <Turkey might be gearing up for invasion of Syria – Russian Defense Ministry>

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvw...

<February 05

Putin not planning new contacts with Erdogan — Kremlin

The Kremlin is watching the situation around alleged plans of Saudi Arabia to launch a ground operation in Syria in coordination with Turkey>

http://tass.ru/en/politics/854767

Both RT and TASS are now announcing that the Russian leadership thinks that Turkey has plans for invading Syria outright.

This must be the main reason why the Syrian Defense Minister flew in person to Moscow to talk with the Russian Defense Minister.

Russia has beefed up the RUAF presence in Syria by sending in Sukhoi 35 jet fighters.

<MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. Media reports said on Monday that Russia had redeployed its new-generation Sukhoi Su-35S fighter jets (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) to Syria.>

http://tass.ru/en/defense/854549

The article below indicates that the Russian leadership thinks that US is abetting any Turkish plan to invade Syria, and expresses open public disapproval. The Russian leadership is essentially asking the US government to stop the Turkish plan.

<Frants Klintsevich, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Defense and Security, commented on a US statement that the Turkish Air Force would comply with the provisions of the Russian-American memorandum on flight security if it joined the struggle against terrorists on the territory of Syria.

"Despite all the US assurances, provocations from Ankara are not ruled out completely if Turkish aviation is involved in Syria. In any case, tension over the Syrian skies will increase," the senator said.

In the expert’s opinion, "the Unites States should think twice before making such decisions.">

http://tass.ru/en/politics/854842

It's obvious that any Turkish warplane inside Syria would be there as air support for Turkish proxy armed groups; and also as preparation for an outright land invasion.

Feb-06-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  visayanbraindoctor: On the one hand, we have semi official Russian press RT and TASS warning against a Turkish invasion to establish a safe zone. On the other hand we have Washington Post advocating a safe zone, soldiered by US troops, based on sectarian grounds.

The same lobby groups pushing for a Turkish invasion of Syria might be paying off some of the MSM to release dangerous supporting statements as this:

<The diplomatic case for America to create a safe zone in Syria.

Our experience as diplomats suggests that the United States would have to deploy U.S. soldiers on the ground inside Syria along the Turkish border in order to recruit the majority of the zone’s soldiers from Turkey and other NATO allies, as well as the Sunni Arab states. Those countries could also contribute air power and missiles, to be organized by NATO from Turkish territory, to police the no-fly zone.>

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...

Apart from the brazen way this article openly advocates the illegal invasion of a nation's sovereignty..

Active US soldiers inside Syria will sooner or later suffer KIAs from Russian Airforce bombings, artillery fire, or spetznaz operations, even if only inadvertently. It's not a matter of if, but a matter of when. This sets the stage for a direct confrontation between US and Russian soldiers, something that both US and the Soviets have assiduously avoided during the entire Cold War.

Notice the alternative term the article uses- <no-fly zone>. Implicit in this statement is the right to shoot down Russian and Syrian warplanes.

The article goes as far as trying to get NATO directly involved into a conflict with Russia.

From an outsider's perspective, such propaganda is obviously idiotic and utterly dangerous for every one. Amazingly, many readers will swallow it like candy coated cyanide.

Feb-07-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Apart from the brazen way this article openly advocates the illegal invasion of a nation's sovereignty..>

and making it sound self-evidently sensible and sane.

Feb-07-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  twinlark: <Amazingly, many readers will swallow it like candy coated cyanide.>

Accepting as rational reasons for backing up Erdogan's insane policies under the rubric of NATO's protection is also something that is taken and swallowed from that bag of candy.

Feb-08-16
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <visayan....The contradictions and dangers are so obvious as US foreign policy is running into paroxysms of idiocy.>

There is a saying here: politics makes strange bedfellows, and nowhere is the truth of that aphorism more apparent in the alacrity with which various administrations have fallen over themselves to align with numerous power blocs everywhere, done so very often in the name of that amorphous--and often, in this usage, disingenuous--concept of freedom.

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