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How to Win the Game of Thrones

My Friends,
   After many positive recommendations I have relented and begun to watch Game of Thrones.  It is a pretty sick show to be sure, and it is probably the first show I have watched since The Wire in which I find myself actually caring about the characters.

Sorry Peggy, but  your trailblazing path to the top of the male-dominated world of 1960s advertising doesn’t make you that interesting to me.

One exchange of dialogue has stuck with me for the past couple of days; it is from the scene where Tommy Carcetti tells Alec Trevelyan Little Finger tells Ned Stark, the Hand of the King, that it is gold and not soldiers that wins wars.  
Ned doesn’t always like what Little Finger has to say.
This conversation is spurred by the fact that the king, Richard is unable to exercise control over his wife’s family, the Lannisters, because he (and therefore his realm) is deeply in debt to the supper-rich Tywin Lannister, the head of the family.  Heavy is the head that wears the crown it would seem.
   Using my knowledge of monetary-ism I think I have formulated a way in which Boromir Ned Stark could actually get the king and the realm out from under the thumb of the Lannisters.
   To begin with, in the land of Westeros there is no paper currency but rather gold itself.  So far there has been no indication that there exists goldsmiths who receive deposits of people’s gold and issue receipts payable for gold on demand, which people would then trade instead of gold for simplicity’s sake.  This is how our paper currency evolved and it is a logical step in the development of commerce, but we can’t assume anything.  This is actually an advantage for the land because we can assume that goldsmiths, who would realize that depositors claim their deposited gold infrequently and then issue more receipts than they had the gold to back so they could lend them out with interest, thereby inflating the currency, would simply not exist.  This method of usury called Fractional Reserve Banking (FRB) is what we have today all over the world, and it evolved from the basic fraud of lending more than one has committed by the original goldsmiths.
   No, in Westoro there is simply gold and no smiths.  And while inflation doesn’t seem to be a problem, scarcity indeed does.  So what can the king do about this lack of a finite resource?  Well he can cut his dependence on it and issue a fiat currency, that is currency not backed by anything but faith in the king and his government.  We actually have fiat currencies today but they really don’t alleviate national debts because central banks typically emerge and become the sole lender to the government, trading central bank notes (legal tender) for government treasury bonds.  Governments then owe interest to the central bank for this loan (the interest is of course in excess of the amount of principal generated aka THE ENTIRE MONEY SUPPLY) and are forced to borrow more (with interest of course) to pay off the existing debt.  This is how countries get into debt in the first place and why they will never get out.
   So, back to Westoro, the king and his treasury should issue currency, and not borrow it from a bank like we do today in exchange for government bonds.  Thomas Edison once made the very apt observation that if a government can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar of currency; both have the same value and the latter comes without interest.  
   Now there are two immediate problems with this idea: inflation and acceptance.  With regard to inflation, it is true that flooding the market with a new currency would devalue the existing gold, gold-backed or fiat currency.  So set up an exchange: in the short-term and have the new paper currency redeemable for gold and vice-versa.  Paper money is more convenient than heavy-ass gold and the state would simply be playing the role that the original goldsmiths from our history with one key exception: They would NOT lend out more currency (gold-receipts) than they could back with their gold reserves, or in other words keep a fractional reserve.  You may think this restriction of the money supply is limiting and it is, but its short-term for a transitional process which could happen very quickly if the problem of acceptance is dealt with.
   How do you make someone accept a currency?  Well, in the case of our fiat currency we have faith in our government.  In the case of a gold-backed currency, like this transitional one I propose for Westoro,  people will have faith in the money because it is redeemable for a perpetually scarce and valuable resource.  Still, there may be some intransigent types who simply like the weight and shine of gold and possess such an abundance of it that they could retard the complete transition to paper currency.  Short of a government seizure of gold bullion (like that which was conducted in the United States during the 1930s), there is one more way which this transition could be peacefully effected: Make all taxes payable in the new currency.  People will soon realize that aside from the luxuries of jewelry, it doesn’t make sense to hoard a currency that is now useless for something which everyone needs money for.  
  As the currency circulates and grows in popularity (as it will if its the exclusive means of paying taxes) the gold backing can be removed.  A gold backing would be unnecessary, much like it is today.  This is where the temporary restriction of the money supply (a by-product of backing it with scarce gold) would be lifted.  The only thing determining the size of the money supply would be the how much money was needed.  The treasury could print off more to undertake large public-works projects or the raising of an army, and conversely shrink it when the supply was excessive and inflated.  As long as the king never outsources the printing of money to a private firm or decides to borrow it with interest from a central bank, there should be relative stability in his realm.  As for the gold the treasury received from the exchange, the government could pay off any existing debts which it had already agreed to pay in gold, but the rest could be credited back to the citizens of the seven kingdoms in equal measures as a return from a wise and benevolent government.  (This is not unheard of; even today the citizens of resource-rich regions often get regular sums of money which symbolize their share of the mineral wealth being extracted from their homelands).  The value of this gold would the be relative to how much existed, and while it would not be formally circulated as currency, private transactions could still be conducted for a sum of gold the same way they could theoretically be conducted today.  
   If you were expecting more talk of military strategy and think the title of this entry misleading, I assure you that this issue of currency is more pressing than all the allegiances, hordes and dragons which threaten the balance of power in Westoro.  Whoever controls the money supply in Westoro will prosper and run the show no matter which ambitious lord presumes to usurp the Iron Throne.  If the king controls the money supply through his government treasury he will truly be in charge of his realm and not be beholden to usurers.
   I’m not much for subtlety and nuance so I will come out and say explicitly that this type of monetary policy could alleviate many of our current monetary problems.  It would actually be easier for us because the gold standard has already been abolished.  We would simply have to move from a debt-based fiat currency to a debt-free fiat currency.  A simple matter with minimal upset of the economy as it is now.  There are five simple steps:
1) Issue a new currency, tied to the value of our dollar.  Have the treasury print it, DO NOT borrow it from a central bank or contract a private firm to print it.  Begin circulating it.  
2) To offset inflation, incrementally increase the cash reserve banks must keep on hand.  This would keep the money supply stable.  Right now Canadian banks are not required to keep any reserves on hand.  They could loan out billions for example without a cent in their vault.  If this egregious fraud doesn’t rustle your jimmies, your jimmies may well be un-rustle-able.
3) Make all taxes exclusively payable in the new currency.
4) ????
5) PROFIT!!!
   If it could work for Middle -Earth, Westoro, it could work for us.  I’ll leave you with a quotation to ponder:
“Give me control of a nation’s money-supply and I care not who makes its laws.”
-allegedly uttered by Mayer Amschel Rothschild 
or his son, Nathan Mayer Rothschild
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
For further information about our monetary policy and how to turn money from our master back into our servant as it was originally intended to be, check out the following:
Or, for a more intimate glimpse on the intricacies of the Canadian system,

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Naivete Part Deux

My Friends,
   Back in August 2011 I wrote a post detailing how I tend to foolishly believe people when they have awesome ideas for adventures and express their intentions to carry out out these ideas (“Naivete and the Lonely Road Called ‘Follow-Through’,” 28 August 2011).  Well, there’s another aspect to my credulity which I have noticed over the past few years but which came up again in the last few days.
   To explain it, let me first ask a question: What does it mean to have a girlfriend/woman/wife?  If you asked me, I would say it was someone to be close and intimate with; someone to be devoted to and have good times with. Most importantly, it is someone who is (ideally) your best friend.  Now if you asked me that same question while my woman was present I would probably say it was someone to tease, make fun of and pick on, but that’s just how I flirt.

‘Stop Hitting Yourself’ is a favourite game of ours 

What I wouldn’t say is that a girlfriend/woman/wife is someone to fuck around on or whose trust you should break as opportunities present themselves.  Yet I am surprised by how commonplace this idea seems to some.
   Now to qualify my line of reasoning here, I am no angel; I have made mistakes in the past, I have tried (often abortively) to play the part of the pimp and ladies man with girls I was seeing/dating, but through it all I always had the idea that once things became official, that was it.  I mean why bother even calling someone a girlfriend or boyfriend if you’re gonna sleep around?
   This has come up in the past at times when I was going out with some friends and someone made a comment about hooking up with some girl when I knew he had a girlfriend.  Yet by bringing up his relationship status in response to his claims I only got a perplexed look.  Similarly, when someone would allude to all the ass I could get on a given night and I was like “naw, I got a girlfriend,” a look of disappointment and confusion would come across their face.  Now maybe people only said those things to hype up the evening, but if that’s what it takes to get excited for a night out why bother?
   Strip clubs are a bit of troublesome issue because all girls seem to have different opinions of them.  Fortunately, my woman and I are both of a similar mindset: you can look but don’t touch.

Pictures of strippers neatly break up the monotony of a wall of text

Not being much of a strip-club fiend at all, I still find myself reluctantly dragged to such establishments at least once a year for birthdays, stags, or whatever and I find myself disappointed in my fellow man every time, especially at stags.

This entry would be all but unreadable without some photographic aids

Where did this idea of “last night as a free man” come from?  Yeah, she may not be your wife yet but that doesn’t mean she’s not your girlfriend or fiance.  Yet the prevailing idea seems to be to get the bachelor’s dick wet and have him make as many regrettable mistakes as possible in one night.

Photos: Because picturing what a stripper looks like in your mind is hard

Hopefully he drinks enough that he doesn’t remember anything and doesn’t have to carry the shame of betraying the woman he ostensibly loves for the rest of his life.  For the record, should I ever do something as stupid as decide to get married and any of my friends reading this want to take me out for a bachelor party, I am down to get shit-faced, hop on a plane to anywhere in the world, do any drug, get arrested and fight a dude, but please don’t try to buy me a lap-dance or a hooker.
   But like I said in the first paragraph, such naivete on my part came up recently.  Specifically, someone was shocked to learn that I didn’t sleep around during my four months going around the world.  Not shocked because its something they would have expected of me, but because it is something they would have expected of themself.  I tried to explain that seeing the world was what I wanted to do, not cheat on my woman but they insinuated that I was pussy-whipped if I didn’t get my dinky stinky.  Needless to say this irked me, and not just because it came from someone whom I had heretofore looked up to.
   The way I see it, remaining faithful is a very liberating thing.  If you remain faithful you can justifiably expect behaviour up to the same standard from your partner and not have to worry about them fucking around on you.  If you fuck around, you’re always gonna expect the worst of others because you know what to expect from yourself.  Who needs that headache?  Of all the hardships I dealt with during my time away, the last thing on my mind was my woman cheating on me.  Yet some guys were struck with my lack of concern, which I think is very telling about their behaviour when the cat’s away.
   That’s all I really gotta say on the matter.  A younger me often felt pressure that if I remained faithful in the context of a Dudes Night Out I would be judged negatively by friends, kind of like how an undercover cop has to get high with the criminals he’s infiltrating or else they’ll feel they can’t trust him.

Cause it’s 1-8-7 on a undercover monogamist!
Now, a little older, a little more confident, I couldn’t give two fucks about what people might think about my wick-wick-wiggity-wack choice to remain faithful.  
   But to be clear, I am not advocating monogamy/faithfulness per se, but rather honesty, with yourself and others.  If you’re on the fuck bitches, get money tip then you got no business tricking someone into a serious relationship.  Conversely, if you are all about monogamous relationships, but unhappy in the one you got, don’t hang around the titty-bar or the chat-rooms looking to make some mistakes.  Instead dump that bitch and find someone who truly makes you happy.
Last pic so I had to make it especially classy

Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo


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Holdıng ın a Fart for Chına

My Friends,
   I am playıng the waıtıng game rıght now ın Ankara;: I always suspected that applyıng for a vısa was an arduous process, thus my comparıson to ıt beıng lıke wıtholdıng flatulence; I cant be bothered.  Sımply put, and thıs ıs perhaps my arrogance talkıng, but ıf a foreıgn government wants me to jump through hoops to enter theır country then ıts theır loss.  Stıll, not all countrıes are created equal, and whıle there are many countrıes requırıng entrance vısas I would be happy to say nukka peace to, Chına ıs not one of those countrıes.
   Thıs ıs for two reasons: fırst ın practıcal terms, ıt ıs sımply rıght there where I need to be.  Whıle ıt ıs technıcally possıble to move through Asıa wıthout hıttıng Chına, havıng a vısa there allows you greater movement through the contınent because ıt ıs essentıally the frıggın contınent.  Second, there ıs so much hıstory and beauty there that I would be derelıct ın my duty as a professed traveler ıf I skıpped ıt.
   Now Ive never been one for plannıng except when ıt comes to parenthood, so naturally I dıdnt purchase any vısas before I left Canada.  However the research I dıd before I left ındıcated that I would be able to purchase a vısa upon entrance lıke I dıd ın Turkey.  Yet I thought ıt prudent to check the Chınese embassy ın Ankara to confırm that before I left the cıty.  Sure enough I would have been ın for a nasty surprıse ıf I trıed to land there wıthout prıor approval.  So thıs left me ın a bıt of tıght spot because ıt was thursday at around 1030 am, I had to get a letter of confırmatıon of ıdentıty from the Canadıan Embassy stıll, and the Chınese embassy ıs only open Mondays Wednesdays and Thursdays untıl noon.  Quıckly I fılled out all the forms as best I could then set out for the Canadıan embassy runnıng as fast as I could wıth my backpack.  Luckıly I had passed the Canadıan embassy earlıer searchıng for the Chınese one and I headed back there to get my confırmatıon letter but they wouldnt let me ın.  In fact the guards couldnt even speak Englısh.  I started flashıng my passport and makıng demands lıke get me someone who speaks Englısh.  That they responded to my demands was lıkely due more to theır seeıng my desperate state rather than any bass ın my voıce.  They got a dude on the phone who ınstructed me I was at the Embassy Resıdence and not the Embassy.
   The guards called me a cab and I got to the rıght embassy a few mınutes later.  By the tıme I made ıt through securıty I was dıshevelled to say the least.  I had to waıt for some couple to fınısh theır ıntervıew as I watched the mınutes race by.  FInally ıt was my turn and to the guys credıt he typed up my letter of confırrmatıon pretty quıck but then lıke a douche he charged me 50 bucks for ıt (Note: one thıng that has been made paınfully obvıous to me ın the last couple of months ıs that consular servıces are not cheap.  I prolly could have saved a ton by stayıng home, throwıng my backpack ın the garbage, tuckıng my passport ınto my ass and hıdıng behınd a tree.  Lesson learned).
   I made haste back to the Chınese embassy and handed the lady my passport, vısa applıcatıon form and letter of confırmatıon wıth 15 mınutes to spare.  Her next words were lıke a dagger ın my heart: Do you have a passport photo?  WHAT PART OF THE GAME IS THAT, LADY?  Then I remembered I had had pıcs taken for my replacement passport ın Lısbon and they had gıven sıx when I only needed two.  I searched through my stuff but they were not there.  I was at a loss.  Sensıng my desparatıon and takıng pıty on me the lady formulated a plan of actıon whıch ıncluded her helpıng me beyond regularly scheduled embassy hours and holdıng onto my passport ın lıeu of pıcs, a detaıl whıch I glazed over at the tıme as I was payıng heed to her ınstructıons and quıte frazzled by thıs poınt.
   So off I went to book accommodatıon for one more nıght and secure some passport photos, happy ın the knowledge that I was gettıng specıal treatment and all I had to do was have a mını nervous breakdown.  The detaıl of the passport she was holdıng onto came up not long after though when I pulled out my wallet to show a dude what I meant by passport photograph cause he spoke no Englısh and I needed dırectıons.  I realızed ıt was gone.  I mını-panıcked but I remembered exactly what I had done wıth ıt so that kept my manıa at sub-crıtıcal levels.  I ran back to the hotel I had stayed at to book another nıght and call the embassy to confırm that she had ıt.  The hotel was full but they let me use the phone and when I called her she seemed annoyed at my further questıonıng because ın truth she was already goıng above and beyond for me by seeıng ıf she could get me rushed servıce so I get my vısa by today.   Nonetheless she confırmed that she had my passport, although her words carrıed the ımplıcatıon that I was somethıng less than a man to her.
   I cursed myself for a fool, havıng lost track of the one pıece of ID I have ın thıs world.  Frazzled or not ıt was an unacceptable lapse.  But then the sun peeked out from the clouds and I was suddenly overcome by a sense of mırth.  After all, as long as Im alıve Im alrıght, rıght?  If I get my Chınese vısa ın one day of frantıc runnıng around and ın spıte of the ınadequacıes of my applıcatıon ıt wıll be a great moment ın travel hıstory.  If not, I spend the weekend ın Ankara; not the worst thıng ın the world as the new hotel Im stayıng at ıs cheap enough and the guy who drove me ınto the cıty mentıoned a hıkıng club whıch hıkes the beautıful mountaıns around the cıty that only meets on weekends, so even faılure could be a blessıng ın dısguıse.  Perhaps the latter outcome ıs even better because as my woman can attest to, I have thıs notıon ın my head that I can get by ın any sıtuatıon wıth no plannıng by just pullıng a wın out of my ass at the 11th hour wıth persuasıve arguıng (or cryıng as the case may be); a notıon that I sorely need to be dısabused of.  However, ıf I get my vısa today that wıll only bolster my confıdence and who knows what sıtuatıons I mıght then get myself ınto.
   Heres hopıng I get the vısa today.
Stay Thirsty,
Andre Guantanamo

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