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What is wrong with Harry Reid – Is he losing it?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 21, 2014 by The Center Shot

What is wrong with Harry Reid?

Is it just me or do other people wonder if there’s something (physically/mentally) wrong with Harry Reid? I understand being a staunch advocate for your party or your causes but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has seemed to take many of his stances beyond the boundary of the sane. There doesn’t seem to be sanity to many of his comments nor many of his actions. Many times it seems that the words that escape from his lips are not those of man in full control of his faculties; and the way he shuffles about and speaks as though he’s heavily medicated raises a lot of red flags for me.

I hate to raise this issue and single out any individual with questions of their mental health; but when a Congressional leader is regularly making comments outside the realm of sanity, what choice do I have? I write this with a heavy heart because my mother suffers from dementia and I have experienced other family and friends with dementia. So, if there is some form of dementia going on with Sen. Reid, I have great sympathy for him. Let me say this to make things clear: I AM NOT saying that Sen. Reid is demented – I have ZERO information on his health status. However, when so many of his comments don’t make sense (based on publicly available information) I don’t think it’s out of bounds to question whether something is going on with him.

If you aren’t aware of his comments (and think I’m crazy), here’s a brief list of just some of his outlandish claims that have been proven to be absolutely incorrect and have been disavowed by even the most left leaning Democrats:

  • While the Koch brothers admit to not being experts on the matter, these billionaire oil tycoons are certainly experts at contributing to climate change. That’s what they do very well. They are one of the main causes of this. Not a cause, one of the main causes.”
  • “Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America,”
  • “The leukemia patient whose insurance policy was canceled [and] could die without her medication, Mr. President, that’s an ad being paid for by two billionaire brothers. It’s absolutely false. Or the woman whose insurance policy went up $700 a month–ads paid for around America by the multibillionaire Koch brothers, and the ad is false.”

  • “We heard about the evils of Obamacare, about the lives it’s ruining in Republicans’ stump speeches and in ads paid for by oil magnates, the Koch brothers. But in those tales, turned out to be just that: tales, stories made up from whole cloth, lies distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements.”

  • “Mr. President, these two brothers are trying to buy America. They not only funnel money through their Americans for Prosperity, they funnel money into all kinds of organizations to do the same thing that they’re doing. They’re trying to buy America. I don’t believe america is for sale. We’ll see, Mr. President.”
  • “You guys have said his (Mitt Romney) wealth is $250 million,” Reid went on. “Not a chance in the world. It’s a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don’t pay taxes for 10 years when you’re making millions and millions of dollars.”

This is far from a complete list but it’s a few choice comments to illustrate my point. It’s not hard to find reference to many, many more with a quick Google search. Nor is it hard to find where so many of Sen. Reid’s comments have been given extreme Pinocchio Awards, have had to be walked back after his staff got a hold of him following the comments or where fellow Democrats have run from his comments.

Aside from his strange and outlandish comments, we have the procedural move that Reid pulled in the Senate to strip the minority party of it’s traditional rights and abilities. This “nuclear option” may well change, forever, the way that the Senate operates. Sounds great if you’re the party in power; but what happens when the winds of change arrive (which they always do, at some point) and the power shifts? Well, there’s payback – that’s what happens. Conservatives will be faced with 2 options: A. They can undue the nuclear option, taking the high road, and return the Senate to the way it has been for the majority of our nation’s history. But, the precedent set, they will be fearful that the “nuclear option” will just be re-employed when the winds of change shift again. So, they’re likely to stick with the new procedure which just hurts the system and the minority party at any given time. B. They can run with the system that Reid created unilaterally and dish out the same type of treatment that they received under Reid’s leadership. NEITHER option is a good one! The system worked well for most of our history and, now, it’s been forever altered by ONE addled Majority Leader and his misguided leadership. This is a situation that should concern members of BOTH parties because it endangers our very system of government.

I understand wanting to support the actions and comments of our particular party leaders so I can sympathize with Democrats who are hesitant to call out a party leader. However, at what point do they have to come the realization that maybe their faith and tolerance is misplaced? Reid’s comments and actions have LONG past the border of sanity. If a Republican leader was acting this way, I would be making the same comments and calling for a review. We (all parties) expect modern politicians to shade the truth to advance their party’s agenda. We see this from John Boehner (R) to Nancy Pelosi (D), from Reince Priebus (RNC Leader) to Debbie Wasserman Shultz (DNC Leader) but what we don’t see from them is the consistent kind of outlandish (and frankly insane) behavior that we see from Sen. Harry Reid. He has become a category of his own. So, at what point do we (as Americans) begin to ask questions about the mental health of one of our nation’s most powerful people?

This is a fairly unique situation so I don’t have a clue how, procedurally, one would question the mental health of a standing member of Congress, much less a Senate leader. However, I do know one group that has some influence – the people of the Great State of Utah! If I lived in Utah, a state full of pragmatists, I would be supremely embarrassed to have one of ‘my own’ acting this way (and representing me) in Washington. If the Democratic Party as a whole wont take a close look at this situation, I would pray that the people of Utah will. They are our last, best hope. Maybe things will change some come November but even a Republican takeover of the Senate will not do much for the ‘Reid Situation’ because he would, undoubtably, become the new minority leader. He surely has enough ‘dirt’ and ‘chips to call in’ on his fellow party members to retain a power position. No doubt this is why/how he retains his position currently, in the face of his behavior. Ultimately, I fear that 2016 (when he’s up for reelection) is our only hope. It’s time that the people of Utah give up the “pork” they get from having such a powerful Senator, for the good of the nation.

I feel bad for Senator Reid because I fear that he’s not 100% in charge of his own faculties and, if he was just another citizen, I wouldn’t be concerned about him – I’d just be concerned for him. But he’s not. He’s one of the most powerful men in Washington. When we have a real concern about one of our leaders, we have a duty to raise attention about our fears. It’s not about politics, it’s about genuine concern for our country.


If you want to read some further articles about Reid’s outlandish comments, here are a few of interesting ones:








US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) ruling to decimate 3 endangered species!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by The Center Shot

January 5th, 2012, Washington, DC – Under pressure from animal rights activists, anti-hunting groups and environmentlists the US Fish & Wildlife Service announced a ruling ( that will decimate the the US populations of 3 endangered antelope species from north Africa- the scimitar-horned oryx, the dama gazelle and the addax . The ruling will remove an exemption from the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Since 2005 USFWS had exempted these 3 species from certain requirements of the Endangered Species Act (1973) and allowed US captive-bred animals of these species to be sport-hunted. As a result of the 2005 exemption, the numbers of these 3 species, particularly the scimitar-horned oryx, have exploded in the US.

Ranchers, hunters and hunting-based conservation groups, like the Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA) and Safari Club International (SCI) recognized the symbiotic relationship between conservation and hunting. As a result, ranchers began stocking and breeding these species and funded it through hunting. The interest in hunting these species spurred an ever-increasing number of landowners (particularly in Texas) to join in the effort to breed these marvelous animals, with resounding success. In fact, the vast majority of the world’s remaining members of these species are located on and have been bred by these hunting ranches.

The new ruling, which will prevent these ranches from deciding on which animals to remove from their herd, will require a difficult permitting system for each animal they want to harvest. This difficult, complicated and fickle permitting system already exists for the endangered barasingha deer and is the reason that most hunting ranches won’t stock or breed the barasingha. Consequently the barasingha hasn’t seen a significant increase in its US held population, like the Oryx has. In reaction to this new ruling, ranchers that stock scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle are scrambling to drastically reduce or, in many cases, eliminate, the numbers of these species on their properties before the ruling takes effect April 5, 2012.

The problem is, these large animals compete with native wildlife and traditional livestock. If ranchers don’t have the freedom to cull their numbers to maintain a healthy balance on their properties, they are not willing to stock an animal that has the potential to devastate their wildlife, habitat and livestock. Additionally, the new rules remove much of the financial incentive to breed and stock these antelope. Because exotic species ranchers have witnessed the difficulties of obtaining the federal permits to harvest, or “cull,” excess animals with species like the barasingha deer, they recognize that this will be the case, after April 4, with the Oryx, addax and dama gazelle. It’s with a heavy heart and no small amount of consternation or reluctance that these ranchers are already eliminating animals that they wish they could keep.

The most unfortunate thing about this new ruling is that it was made under the guise of “protecting” these majestic and endangered species and that the ACTUAL result is going to be the near extinction of these very species. Once it is done, a reversal of the ruling will serve no purpose as the animals, the only really viable herds on the planet, will already have been destroyed. Everyone involved in exotic species ranching and game conservation is at a loss to understand the wisdom behind a ruling with such devastating consequences.

Clearly, politics reign supreme and there’s no common sense at the USFWS.

Pakistan has a lot of explaining to do!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by The Center Shot

As joyous an occasion as today is, with the news that Usama Bin-Laden has been killed in Pakistan by US Special Operations Command operatives, it is very disturbing that Bin-Laden has been hiding under the nose of the Pakistan military! Abbottabad is the home and headquarters of Pakistan’s 2nd Division of the Northern Army Corps- one of the biggest divisions in the Pakistani Army; and is located only 38 miles from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

For years we have been led to believe, largely by the Pakistani military and Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), that Bin-Laden was hiding in an isolated region in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, probably in a cave. As it turns out, he had been living in a large custom-built (5 years ago) compound with 18 foot high walls topped with barbed wire, designed to protect a high-value target like Usama Bin-Laden.Even the White House has described the compound as a “unique structure that does not match any of the homes in the area.” There is no conceivable way that his presence in Abbottabad was NOT known by members of the Pakistani Military and the Pakistani ISI.

The fact that President Obama and the US Special Operations Command initiated the operation to capture or kill Bin-Laden from Afghanistan and without any notification to the Pakistani government, makes it clear that the US government realizes that we can not trust the Pakistani government and their military; and that there was a serious risk that, had they notified Pakistan of the operation, Bin-Laden would have been tipped off and, likely, been able to escape! How many years ago might we have been able to capture or kill this monster, had our “partners” in Pakistan not been helping Bin-Laden to hide?

These facts call into serious question, the billions of dollars in funding that we have given Pakistan over the past 10 years because of their supposed assistance in the “war on terror.” Why have we been funding a country and a military that is not truly our ally? I don’t mean to imply that the entire Pakistani government has been working against our efforts; but it’s clear that Bin-Laden has enjoyed the protection of the Pakistan at some of the highest levels of their government, military and intelligence apparatus. Without such help, there is no way he would have been able to hide in such plain sight.

Even if those people who aided Bin-Laden comprise a small faction within the Pakistani government, it is unacceptable; and there is no way that this double-cross was not known (or at least suspected) within the rest of the Pakistani government. These fears have been expressed by many people here in the US for years but have always been down-played by the US government (at least publicly) in order to maintain whatever “assistance” we could get from Pakistan. Now the question must be asked: at what cost and to what end? In the end, the killing of Usama Bin-Laden was, primarily, the result of US intelligence with very little assistance from Pakistan and there is good reason to suspect that many US lives and billions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted chasing fairy tales and lies cooked up by elements within the Pakistani government!

Once the celebration over the death of Usama Bin-Laden is finished, there need to be some hard questions asked of Pakistan and some real answers need to be required. Congress should launch a serious and detailed investigation into Pakistan and determine whether we have wasted our lives and money supporting the Pakistani government. If the evidence shows that Pakistan has been accepting US assistance and, at the same time, shielding Bin-Laden, they MUST be held to task for this double-cross. There is no sense in continuing our relationship with Pakistan, as it currently exists, if they are not truly united in their desire to eliminate terrorism and to stop their country from being used as a haven for terrorists.

We have long been told, and we’ve hung to the belief, that “most” Pakistani’s want ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ and that they disavow radical Islam. Unfortunately, as we watch the reaction to Bin-Laden’s death in Pakistan, the protests on the street paint a very different picture. Even if it’s not a majority of Pakistani’s citizens sympathizing with, or openly supporting radical Islam, it’s certainly too many of them. Considering the $18.6 billion we’ve shelled out to Pakistan ($3 billion more last year!), I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a majority of the Pakistan population to be both grateful and supportive of the US effort. If they’re not so inclined, I think it’s time we formulate another approach to dealing with Pakistan.

This is, apparently, what $18.6 billion taxpayer money buys us!

Pakistani's protest killing of Usama Bin-Laden

Pakistan has been ‘milking’ the American taxpayer for too long. It’s time that we put some actual strings onto any future support that we give Pakistan and that we require solid and concrete positive results for our money. At a time when we are dealing with a financial crisis unlike anything since the Great Depression at home, we simply aren’t in a position to throw good money after bad and support a country that seems to support our enemy at least as much as they support us. What is wrong with demanding results and imposing performance-based aid packages. Let Pakistan earn our gifts instead of giving them away and hoping that we get something worthwhile in return.

Usama Bin-Laden Dead – Thanks to our Special Operations Command and Intelligence Community!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2011 by The Center Shot

I want to send out a personal “Thank You & God Bless You” to our Special Operations Command and it’s brave operators; as well as to the entire intelligence community for their tireless, and often thankless, efforts to locate and eliminate this scourge! Job well done! I wish that we could thank the team members directly but I doubt we will know their names for a long time, if ever- understandably. If anyone want’s to thank them, one great way to do that is to donate to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

Gary Johnson – a unique GOP/Republican Presidential candidate

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by The Center Shot

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (R) announced his candidacy for President today and, on it’s face, I think he makes an interesting option- one I want to take a close look at. One of the things that the conservative movement, and the Republican Party in particular, has been lacking is an appeal to independent and ‘middle of the road’ voters. Johnson’s positions on abortion and the legalization of marijuana, while sure to be unpopular with traditional Republican voters (particularly the anti-aborion faction and staunch proponents of the “war of drugs”), I think that he may appeal to independent voters and conservative Democrats looking for a more tempered Republican choice in 2012.

Despite what many staunch conservatives will surely intimate about him, Gov. Johnson is not “Pro Abortion.” While he does support the existence of abortion as one available option, he openly apposes late-term abortions; and made it clear, as Governor of NM, that he would sign a law banning them. Johnson also supports parental notification in cases of girls under 18 seeking an abortion and he supports counseling to make all the alternatives (to abortion) clear to young women contemplating an abortion. In addition, Gov. Johnson stated that he opposes federal funding for abortion and groups like Planned Parenthood. While Johnson supports the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana (just like alcohol), he opposes any notion of legalizing any ‘hard’ drugs, saying, “their use should be dealt with as a health issue – not a criminal justice issue.”

As much as I abhor abortion and drug abuse (with its social consequences), I also believe that our nation was founded on, and made great by, the freedom to make personal choices and personal responsibility- a.k.a. the necessity of dealing with the consequences of our personal choices and actions. Furthermore, I believe that both abortion (or the lack of abortion) and what we ingest falls under the realm of personal choice. Just as I don’t believe the government has the right to tell me what kind of healthcare I need to choose (or that I must choose to buy health insurance, for that matter), what kind of lightbulbs I can buy, whether ethanol should be in gasoline, etc. I wouldn’t have supported prohibition in the 1920’s and early 1930’s and I see the “war on drugs” as a repeat of that failed social experiment, with even more catastrophic economic and social effects than we saw from the prohibition of alcohol in the early part of the 20th Century.

I understand that both of these subjects elicit a lot of strong emotions from a lot of conservatives. However, I think making these two issues into political issues is a hypocrisy for a group of people who claim to believe in the US Constitution and it’s strict application. We “Constitutional Conservatives” decry and rail against the liberal manipulation of the Constitution’s wording to justify the expansion of the government’s power and its attack on personal freedoms. But, when it suits us and our personal beliefs, conservatives fall back on the same erroneous, and hypocritical, connivance! It’s time we game to grips with the ideas that we can not impose our own personal ideologies (especially when it comes to personal choice) onto people and that, by attempting to do so, we are driving away people who would otherwise vote (and work) with us to fix national problems that effect us all- things like the economy, government size and fiscal responsibility, etc! We, as opponents of abortion and drug use can combat both moral issues as such; without making them political issues. If we don’t, we will continue to get hung up on these issues that are, in reality, moral issues rather than political ones; and the consequence will be that we continue to drive away allies on the issues that can and should be solved through the political process. Is it worth sacrificing potential solutions on 90% of issues because of a staunch and unbending position on the other 10%- especially when they aren’t even, really, political issues? I don’t think so. And, even if you do- is it worth sacrificing all the things we could potentially accomplish, to repair and improve our nation and our economy, to continue including moral issues in the political process?

I don’t know if Gary Johnson will be a significant candidate or whether his policies will pan out to make fiscal sense. Only time will tell. There is little rational argument that legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana would be a economic improvement over the current situation that costs us billions of federal dollars annually ($15.1 billion in 2010 – US ONDCP) plus untold billions more for litigation and imprisonment, results in nearly a million Americans arrested on marijuana charges annually, creates and fuels a black market and organized crime, and an enormous potential tax revenue on an estimated annual $36 billion dollar US industry. Most of Johnson’s beliefs are right on line with most republican/conservative/Tea Party supporters, with these two exceptions.

I fear that these two exceptions may preclude man conservative voters from even taking a logical and rational look at Johnson as a serious contender. Unfortunately, though, I think this sort of biased and rush-to-judgement thinking will only perpetuate the status-quo. If we don’t begin to do things differently, start sticking to the constitution and stop trying to delve into morality through politics, conservatives will remain in the minority and the sensibility of our ideals and goals will be (once again) so diluted by the (inappropriate) moral debate, that we will not be able to effect the change that our nation so desperately needs! We can engage these moral issues in other venues (churches, community outreach, private organizations, etc.) but keep it out of our political discourse, where it doesn’t belong and is only hurting our cause- a return to personal freedom and choice, a return to personal responsibility and a smaller, less intrusive and fiscally responsible government!

Sorry for the delay!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 17, 2011 by The Center Shot

Sorry for not posting anything lately- my laptop was stolen and I’m waiting for the replacement to arrive! Composing and posting a commentary from an iPhone is extremely difficult. The new computer should be here by Wednesday, next week. Apple isn’t shipping as fast as they were last fall!

Plus, I’ve been glued to coverage of the trifecta disaster in Japan and conditions have been changing almost faster than a person could write!

Again, my apologies!

Is it really the oil companys’ fault?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 8, 2011 by The Center Shot

Is the price you paid this morning to fill up your tank really the oil company just making, “obscene profits” off you and “benefiting from the unrest in the middle east?” Is the pump price really the oil companys’ attempt to “gouge” the American public? The answer is “no,” despite what many people are thinking and saying. More about that in a minute. But what if they are? So what? The oil companies are PRIVATE companies; really no different than a couple buddies that have a house painting business or a ‘mom and pop’ gas station- they’re just bigger! The goal of ANY business is to make money- as much money as it can! Nobody begrudges a couple of carpenters who make record profits from building homes following a tornado or a realtor who makes a bundle during a boom in the housing market. So, why is there so much animosity towards the oil companies? How are they any different aside from the size difference?

Let’s be honest. This so-called animosity is nothing more than ‘jealousy.’ Nobody that’s lucky enough to own mineral rights over an oilfield or own stock in an oil company, whether they are a Democrat or a Republican, is complaining! They’re smiling all the way to the bank, as they should be; and as ANYONE who is that lucky would be. If you’re one of the oil company ‘haters,’ and tomorrow you inherited 10 oil wells your long-lost uncle left to you, you’d switch sides in a second- smiling as you cashed your monthly check and cheering on the rising price of crude!

Some people believe that the oil companies make, “enough” and should lower prices; but would they ever ask, or expect, another business (like the painters, carpenters, realtors, etc.) to voluntarily cut their profits? NO.

The ONLY reason that we hear about people’s anger at the oil companies is because we need oil for EVERYTHING and we all feel a price increase. Businesses take advantages wherever they can to increase their profits and it is ALWAYS at the consumer’s expense- that’s the nature of commerce. Usually, though, price hikes on a particular product only effect a small percentage of the population- not enough to make it “news worthy.” If current events were spiking the profits on “Pop-Tarts” it would annoy the heck out of me and a few million other people that love them like I do, but it wouldn’t even get a mention on the local news.

It’s just not right to begrudge the oil company whatever profits they are able to make from what do. Any more than I should begrudge you for making as much as you can at what you do! If you don’t like the price of gas that much, don’t buy as much. If demand gets cut then the price will drop and oil companies’ profits will drop. Make your point that way. But don’t keep buying gas at the pump and then acting like the oil companies owe you a lower price- they don’t. And don’t let your government try to regulate what a company does, within the law, to make the most profit it can or the next company they come after may be yours or the one you work for!

Now, about who’s fault the price of gas is. Lets start by looking at what goes into a price of gas- some things you may not know about.
Did you know that $0.18 of every gallon you buy goes straight to the federal government, that does absolutely nothing to justify their getting the money. Also, the states take as much as $0.68 of each gallon you buy. So, for those who are mathematically challenged, that’s as much as $0.86 of the gallon price goes to your state and the federal government that doesn’t have a darn thing to do with getting the oil out of the ground, processing it into fuel or delivering it to your local gas station! That’s roughly 22% of the price of the average gallon of gas today; and it’s almost 35% of the price of a gallon of gas before it started it’s recent rise! Now who’s making obscene profits?

That leaves the “oil company” between 88% (today) and 65% of what you paid for that gallon of gas to make a profit from. Not bad, you say? WHOAH, boy!! Lets not forget the cost of exploring for oil, drilling for oil (rig and machinery costs as well as wages paid to workers), moving (building pipelines and/or shipping) that oil from the well to the refinery; not to mention the cost of building and operating the refinery! Then there’s the cost of getting the fuel to local distributors. ALL this has to be paid for by the oil company out of that 88%-65% of what YOU pay at the pump. Don’t forget taxes that the oil companies have to pay out of the profits that they do make!

I won’t argue that the oil companies are making a ton of money; but my point is that their profit margin is a lot more slim than most people realize! There are not many people that would jump into a business with do much overhead and such a slim profit margin. And keep in mind that while these are major corporations and conglomerates now, but they all started from a relatively small number of daring men in the early 1900’s who had the foresight to see that we would switch from coal to oil as an energy resource! Like it or not, big oil is the “American Dream” in action and what everyone who starts a business dreams about.

When most people hear about the price of oil (and the resulting fuel) going up, they assume that it is the oil companies setting the price. This is incorrect; at least partially. The price of oil is HUGELY effected by unbelievably complex financial markets and their “speculators.”. According to F. William Engdahl of the Centre for Research on Globalization (, “As much as 60% of today’s crude oil price is pure speculation driven by large trader banks and hedge funds.” Speculation is nothing more than a fancy name for legalized gambling where people ‘bet’ on the future price. In 2006 a Senate investigation claimed that $25 of the $60 barrel price (at that time) was the result of speculation. If you extrapolate that out to today’s oil price ($105/barrel), then $43.75 of today’s barrel price is based on speculators and SHOULD be selling at $61.25!

With all these ‘fingers in the till,’ when it comes to the price of oil and fuel, is it reasonable to direct your anger towards the oil companies? No reasonable person should think so! There’s plenty of reason to be angry (I sure am!) but let’s direct it towards the right parties- government and “speculation!” Gambling is illegal in most places, including in New York City and Chicago, where a lot of this “speculation” goes on but this particular form of gambling is not only tolerated but encouraged by banks, investors and to some degree the federal government! People argue about all of the negative social ramifications of traditional gambling but these finical gamblers are ruining our economy and pushing us towards financial collapse while hiding in the shadows of America’s misplaced anger at the oil companies! It’s time to wake up and redirect our anger at the appropriate folks before they destroy our economy and our way of life. This country was founded on hard work and making things better and faster than anyone else and it’s about to be brought to it’s knees by ‘money changers’ that don’t produce anything but spend their days playing a shell game that’s the equivalent of economic russian roulette!