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About PigFish

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    Resident Cigar Climatologist
  • Birthday November 6

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    Isle of Man

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  1. ... so you have gone politically correct in your absence!!! -LOL What is the term, emasculated??? -LOL -R
  2. ... we still cannot discuss guns! (expect this post to get scrubbed!) Welcome back my friend! -Ray
  3. It caused my neighbor to bulk up rather quickly! On the flip side it changed his behavior some and not really for the positive, but he is pretty 'high strung' in the first place. If you have a wife and kids you might look into an objective view (from a 3rd party) on your behavior after starting. I suppose it depends on the party but from what I have seen it can possibly put a few dents in your marriage! Caveat emptor! -Piggy
  4. Lets just say that MO has been a 'controversial' figure in the smoking community for a very long time. I have no axe to grind with him, but I have, lets say, "been in the room" when some of the axes have been ground...! I have good friends that are on both sides of the aisle so I will leave it at that. Every vendor has been at the point of a spear before. Some are baseless and others not. My suggestion is that people do their homework before buying any cigars online. -Piggy
  5. ... man the other day you were calling PC's nails or cigarettes or something! Was I wrong? -LOL Maybe I lost the message due to your accent!!! -LOL -R
  6. ... who, what ... where? Smokey Mo gave me a D-4 at a party once! That is as close to one of his auctions that I will ever get! -Piggy
  7. ... catching up, looks like people got there before I did! -Piggy
  8. ... your point is what exactly??? -LOL Should we switch the topic to arms sales envy? Arms sales becoming France’s new El Dorado, but at what cost? © Patrick Baz / AFP | A French navy Rafale fighter jet takes off from the aircraft craft carrier Charles de Gaulle operating in the Gulf on February 25, 2015 Text by Sam BALL Latest update : 2015-05-04 France’s booming arms trade has proved one of the few bright spots for the country’s struggling economy. But as President François Hollande heads to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, will there be a moral and strategic cost to the deals he might bring back? When Qatar agreed to buy 24 French Rafale fighter jets in a €6.3 billion contract at the end of April, it represented yet another major success for France’s arms industry, coming hot on the heels of further multi-billion euro sales of Rafales to Egypt and India. The deals have been hailed by Hollande and his government. According to France’s Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian, in comments made to the Journal du Dimanche newspaper Sunday, the Qatar contract brought the value of the country’s arms exports to more than €15 billion this year so far. That sum is already more than the €8.06 billion for the whole of 2014, which itself was the highest level seen since 2009 – suggesting a continued upward trajectory for the French arms trade and one that is providing a much-needed salve to the country’s economic woes. But some of these deals have raised more than a few eyebrows, with anti-arms trade campaignerscritical of France’s willingness to sell weapons to countries with less than stellar human rights records. These concerns are only set to rise when Hollande heads first to Doha on Monday and then Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh the day after, where furthering the recent success of the French arms industry is likely to be one of his top priorities. Saudi Arabia’s arms spending spree Saudi Arabia has already proved a lucrative trading partner for French arms manufacturers, most recently in a deal signed in November that saw the kingdom buy $3 billion-worth (€2.7 billion) of French weapons and military equipment to supply the Lebanese army. The oil-rich country is currently on something of an arms spending spree. Last year, the Saudis surpassed India to become the world’s biggest arms importer, upping its spending by 54 percent to $6.5 billion (€5.8 billion), according to a report by industry analyst IHS. France, thanks to some adept diplomatic manoeuvering in recent years, is well placed to take advantage of the Saudi cash cow. Paris has been an increasingly close ally of Riyadh ever since it was among the most vocal in backing military intervention against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Shiite Iran – one of Sunni Saudi Arabia’s main regional rivals. The strategic alliance has been boosted by France’s tougher stance on a nuclear deal with Iran than the Saudi’s traditional western partner, the US. Furthermore, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius visited the kingdom in April to show France's support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. If Hollande can help secure new arms deals with the Saudis, then he could make the sums involved in this year’s earlier successes look like small change. He may have to overlook certain moral issues to do so, however. The kingdom, where the ultra-conservative Wahhabi form of Islam dominates, is one of the world’s most restrictive and repressive states, where public executions are common practise, women are forbidden from obtaining a passport and blasphemers are punished with whippings. Adding to Middle East instability But there could also be a strategic downside. Experts warn that the influx of arms to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries is worsening tensions in a region already ravaged by conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. "You're seeing political fractures across the region, and at the same time you've got oil, which allows countries to arm themselves, protect themselves and impose their will as to how they think the region should develop,” Ben Moores, author of the IHS report, told AP in March. France, of course, is not alone in striking lucrative arms deals in the region. The US remains the biggest arms exporter to the Middle East, with $8.4 billion (€7.5 billion) worth of weapon sales in 2014, while the UK and Germany are also major players. At the same time, Russia, possibly incentivised by the influx of weapons from Western states, appears to be upping support for its main ally in the region – Iran – as evidenced by its decision in April to go ahead with its controversial delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles. This, analyst Tobias Borck of the Royal United Services Institute told the UK’s Guardian newspaper last month, is triggering a dangerous arms race, one that could spill over into bloodshed at any moment. “[The] Saudi-led military operations in Yemen [are] the latest manifestation of Arab interventionism, a trend that has been gaining momentum in the Middle East since the uprisings of the Arab spring,” he said. “Middle Eastern countries appear to be increasingly willing to use their armed forces to protect and pursue their interests in crisis zones across the region.” Such concerns, though, are unlikely to lessen Hollande’s pursuit of more Saudi investment in French arms. According to the French Defence Ministry, the arms deals struck in 2015 alone have created close to 30,000 new jobs for the French economy. At a time when unemployment is at a record high – with 3.51 million out of work at last count – those sorts of figures will be difficult for the French president to ignore. Date created : 2015-05-03
  9. Like it or not Ken, I see 'sides.' I see both good and evil, better or worse, freedom and tyranny. One state is better than the other. The allies and axis were different! There is a difference of opportunity, freedom, fairness, kindness, goodness, Godliness (dare I say it in a reply to you!!! -LOL) it an Constitutional Republic state verses a Marxist state. At least there is in mine. Go out in the street of Cuba and burn one of their flags and you will find out the difference in a hurry. NorKo threatens (states that it can actually attack) closer to you than me. Are you saying that you are indifferent to such a government? I do see sides Ken. I see the Australian government as different from my own as well, but not as inherently evil (just as example). I have to wonder, if Round Kim Fat were stating daily that he is going to attack Australia, would think a little differently about Cuba trading with her? Now the America haters will likely emerge and mention slavery in the Americas, or the American Indian... blah, blah blah... I don't expect that some people will ever get that there are evil people in the world. They blame things... economy, education, natural resources, trade... and yet never recognize that a country may have all or none of that, yet choose a path that fosters more liberty than less liberty or vise versa. There are two sides to everything and any argument can be supported if one decides to take up the flag. Ken, these people hate our (collective) guts. I hear holy men of other countries calling us the big Satan. I see videos of the Norks and the ChiComs showing cities being destroyed by their nuclear weapons... My cities! I don't see them nuking Sydney... (in their propaganda videos) but you guys are not exempt. Man, our kids are not shown that stuff in school. We are not teaching kids here to want to nuke the NorKo's! Frankly most in my country are too damn dumbed down and propagandized to fear and loathe communism. One party in our country almost put one up for president. Do you know how many people global communism/socialism has killed? They even hate each other and their different factions. These guys are killing each other as fast as they kill proponents of freedom. Would it have been different Ken? Maybe! Perhaps all of South American, and Asia would have been different too...! Frankly, I don't see it as an argument, not a sensible one anyway. So I have to ask, other than playing a 'devils' advocate position, why would one even bring it up, a rational for trading with Cuba, except to diffuse responsibility from such a state? This is how I view your specific argument. What did I expect from Cuba? I expect them to stand up for NorKo just like they did for Venezuela. I expect them to put resources in, just like they did in Angola. I expect them to starve and deprive their own people so that they can supply arms to further global communism. If you feed communists, they don't feed their own at home, they take the wealth savings and attempt to spur communism somewhere else on the globe. Now what good does that do? From your argument Ken, and I know that you like to make specific arguments, I only see a vailed approach to be a passive and show understanding of a communist state. I have no such understanding. I will given them no quarter. I am going to state this again, just so it does not get skimmed over. You and I have had many debates, and frankly we look at things differently. As I see you and your style, you enjoy discussing one small sliver of a topic. It is an observation, not a criticism. Cuban trade was a part of the article, I get it, I therefore brought it up! But that is not my point. My point is that communists support other communists regardless of 'how nice' you play with them. They don't feed their own people. People to communist are chattel property of the state. They are 'owned' already! Why feed your own, when you can own more? Sorry mate, this is how communists think. What you choose to debate from the menu is not a criticism, nor a criticism of you. But we are talking across each other here yet again. In my mind, one cannot rationalize (lets say debate) something such as communism on a single merit (if one wants to attribute merits to the system). I believe you like to do this... I don't! This then is not what do I expect from Cuba becasue my country is so bad to her, but what Cuba does do with the aid others give it? I expect them to neglect their own people and raise hell elsewhere on the planet promoting communism with the resources. It is what communists do! It is what Cuba does and has done! This then is not a 'trading partner' debate, even though this is what I see you commenting on. This is about one group of murdering thugs helping another group of murdering thugs do what it can to do as much damage to global freedom as it can. You know, Cuba gets most of its food and medicine from the US...? And what good has it done? These people still hate our guts (the government does) because of what we represent. Being better to Cuba will not make the Cuban government like us, or less likely to take the resources to other parts of the globe to promote other communist revolutions! What is does is allow them to spread out the tentacles (as they have done in the past) to infect other countries with communism. While their own people have so little, they buy arms, and send them and military aid to other emerging communists. They have a record of doing this. Being nice to them Ken... in my book is akin to breeding rabid dogs. Sorry mate. Trade has consequences. And I don't want to feed a small oligarchy of madmen so that they can stir up trouble in another part of the world though another small oligarchy of madmen! Lastly. This has been a detailed post where I have attempted to bring the topic back to my own position. I hope it was not taken personally. Not my intent... We are simply discussing micro verses a macro view of trade with Cuba. Would things be different? Well, perhaps even greater portions of the world would now be controlled by communist thugs. As I said, there is more than one way to view events. So I ask you then. If I consider your view, will you consider mine. Will you put a number on the dead that may have resulted from the Cuban communists feeding other communists in other counties with the money we sent? I think many people have a very shallow view of what communists do and why. Does this make US foreign policy 'right' in all cases? Certainly not... But that is not my point in posting. If one wants to attack US foreign policy bring it up and go ahead and chat about it all you want. In my mind, fighting global communism is good foreign policy. Yes, along with smoking cigars from Cuba, I am typing on a keyboard likely made in China! There, I said it before someone else did...! -LOL Cheers mate, enjoy a nice cigar (take one of Robs) and pretend I gave it to you! Mine are likely to skinny and small for you anyway! -Ray
  10. History continues to be re-witten on cigar forums! The FDA was given 'specific' authority by congress to 'kill' tobacco. Look who voted for it! Read about Mitch Zeller!!! Saying that 'the FDA' did it, as if the FDA is not a leftist occupied administrative arm to feed lobbyists and rake in graft from private industry is falsehood! Sorry, not correct. Read the facts! I love Cuban cigars. I prefer the freedom to spend my money on products that I wish. I am a hypocrite for supporting Cuban tobacco and I realize it. Cuba, deserves all the criticism it gets! The Castros should be squashed...! NorKo threatens my country on an almost daily basis. They threaten South Korea and Japan... The Cuban government praises them for it and sells them military equipment so that can continue to do it. From the Diplomat: On May 24, 2016, the Korea Times reported that senior officials from North Korea’s governing Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and the Communist Party of Cuba held talks on strengthening ties between Pyongyang and Havana. This meeting followed Cuba’s congratulatory rhetoric toward Kim Jong-un after his re-election during last month’s historic Workers’ Party Congress. That congress was the first such-meeting since 1980. While relations between North Korea and Cuba have been close since the Cold War, this revelation is an embarrassing blow to the Obama administration’s attempts to normalize relations with Cuba. North Korea’s close ties to Cuba can be explained by a shared normative solidarity against American values and perceived American imperialism. This ideological bond is formed out of historical experience and has occasionally manifested itself in symbolically significant shipments of arms and manufactured goods. These trade linkages persist to this day, despite tightened UN sanctions and strides towards a less confrontational U.S.-Cuba relationship. North Korea and Cuba: A Cold War-Born Ideological Alliance Enjoying this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month. Over the past half-century, Cuba has been one of North Korea’s most consistent international allies. This alliance has caused Havana to resist diplomatically recognizing South Korea, despite growing economic cooperation with Seoul. Cuba’s firm pro-Pyongyang stance has deep ideological underpinnings, stemming from both countries’ shared Communist experiences. In 1960, Che Guevara visited North Korea, praising Kim Il-sung’s regime as a model for Fidel Castro’s Cuba to follow. While both regimes preserved authoritarian systems and the trappings of a planned economy, their ideological synergy did not translate into convergent governance trajectories, as Guevara predicted. As Wilson Center expert James Person argued in a July 2013 BBC article, North Korea wanted to avoid Cuba’s dependency on Soviet weaponry following Khrushchev’s retreat from confrontation during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This resulted in North Korea transitioning toward a military-first policy, to the detriment of the country’s economic development. Meanwhile, despite visiting North Korea in 1986, Fidel Castro avoided creating a cult of personality resembling Pyongyang’s, as he felt that statues erected in his honor were incompatible with the Soviet Marxist-Leninist principles that he adhered to. Despite their divergent development courses, both countries have remained close allies to this day, and there are signs that the bilateral relationship has strengthened further under Raul Castro’s rule. Panama’s interception of a North Korean ship in 2013 containing Cuban arms concealed under bags of sugar represented the most significant Havana-Pyongyang commercial linkage since the 1980s. Despite Cuban attempts to downplay the controversy, Panama’s foreign minister regarded this action as just part of a much larger Cuba-North Korea arms deal. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, also condemned Cuba for violating international sanctions. The U.S.-Cuba normalization has done little to shake Cuba’s close ties with North Korea. In March 2015, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez declared that Cuba maintained solidarity with the North Korean regime, despite Pyongyang’s increased international isolation. Rodriguez justified his stance on the grounds that Cuban foreign policy is based on upholding just principles and resisting Western interference into the internal affairs of countries. While leading North Korea expert Andrei Lankov interpreted these statements as proof that Cuba’s criticisms of U.S. imperialism would continue unabated despite the normalization, some NK News analysts have contended that Cuba’s show of support for North Korea may be more rhetorical than substantive. Cuba is mentioned only sporadically by the North Korean state media, and in a limited range of contexts. This suggests that the Obama administration’s Republican critics may have overblown the strength of the Havana-Pyongyang bilateral linkage. Even if the extent of the relationship has been periodically exaggerated, Cuba’s September 2015 and May 2016 reaffirmations of an alliance with North Korea suggest that the ideological partnership remains alive and well. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se’s visit to Cuba for the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) summit on June 4 and Seoul’s open calls for normalization with Cuba are unlikely to cause illicit trade between Cuba and North Korea to diminish or become more covert. This is because the symbolic significance of arms shipments and small-scale trade deals between the two countries still outweighs the economic benefits Cuba could glean from enhanced South Korean capital investments. How Illegal Trade Persists Between Cuba and North Korea Despite the immense international controversy resulting from Cuba’s 2013 arms sales to North Korea, sporadic trade linkages between the two countries have continued largely unhindered. In January 2016, Cuba and North Korea developed a barter trade system, which officially involved transactions of sugar and railway equipment. According to Curtis Melvin, an expert at the Washington D.C.-based U.S. Korea Institute, barter trade is an effective way for Cuba and North Korea to evade international sanctions without depleting their hard currency reserves. Cuba’s use of sugar as a medium of bilateral trade has close parallels with Myanmar’s historical use of rice in exchange for North Korean military technology assistance. This form of trade has been vital for the North Korean regime’s survival in wake of the Soviet collapse and more inconsistent patronage from China. While Cuba’s ability to use North Korean railway equipment remains unclear, NK News reported in January that Kim Jong-un was planning to modernize the DPRK’s railway networks, This development initiative could result in heavy industry production that can be bartered to Havana. While trade in civilian goods between Cuba and North Korea appears to be on the upswing, trade in illicit arms continues to be the most symbolically potent and controversial form of bilateral trade. A 2013 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report noted that a large number of North Korean arms brokers speak fluent Spanish. This language training demonstrates the importance of Cuba as a trade destination for the DPRK. The SIPRI report notes that Cuban arms dealers are especially attractive because they can deal with North Korea with a sense of impunity. This contrasts sharply with a British arms dealer who faced prison time in 2012 for purchasing North Korean weapons. While the 2013 incident remains the most recent confirmed incident of weapons trading between Havana and Pyongyang, recent revelations of a lost U.S. Hellfire missile turning up in Cuba have sparked fresh concerns about a revival of the long-standing arms trade. Cuba has consistently insisted that its arm shipments to the DPRK are for repair purposes, and therefore do not violate sanctions, which only ban one-way arms transfers. But Mary O’Grady of the Wall Street Journal recently speculated that Cuba’s intelligence sharing and close cooperation with the DPRK constituted a highly pernicious blow to the prospects of U.S.-Cuba normalization. While the Obama administration has removed Cuba from the state sponsors of terrorism list and taken a big stride toward lifting the Kennedy-era embargo on Cuba, Havana’s continued cooperation with Pyongyang is an alarming blow to the normalization process. The current linkage between anti-Americanism and the Cuban Communist Party’s regime security makes a shift in Havana’s North Korea policy unlikely in the short-term. It remains to be seen if Castro’s planned retirement in 2018 will take Cuban foreign policy in a more pragmatic direction, and allow South Korean diplomatic overtures to finally be successful.
  11. I know you jest of course, but I do call 'em like I see 'em mate! I just won't pay for 'em. At $8 I would have actually considered buying a box. At $20 (statistically from a smoker's perspective) it is a worse gamble than cigars I already know. I would be better off buying more Monte Esps. I don't really hold secondary market perspectives. That is for speculators and I am a smoker! Now if you pop for a box and want to send me one, well, I will give it an honest review! If it is worth $20 a stick from a smoking perspective I will absolutely say it. I won't pan a cigar based on preconceived notions. I will judge it on taste and then make a value assessment. What I won't do is rail against Tabacuba et al on one day and then support them in the cause of killing traditional cigars for untested overpriced ones. In that way, I am no hypocrite! I am not going to pay the bastards to kill off good cigars for this. No way! My last comment will be with regard to the all or nothing proposition. There are always room for new cigars (MHO). If folks want to make, overcharge and consumers want to buy this stuff, who am I to say, "nuts?" I don't really care. I can always say no. Yet this has gone hand in hand with destroying venerable vitolas and we are told they did not sell. Bolivar CE, Partagas PC... I don't believe it. You cannot sell expensive crap, when inexpensive delights exist in the same catalog. Cheers! -Ray
  12. Same can be said for using cocaine, yet I reject that as well! -Piggy
  13. I get it believe me. They were evolutionary cigars... Let me explain. As smokers became less interested in 'image' and more in the taste of the product, they expanded their experience with the catalog. As we experienced both big and small, mainstream and lesser known, some of us noticed that there were hidden gems in the Habanos line. We bought those cigars as they were not only a monetary value, but had connoisseur value. Few who really knew good tobacco, would spend $10 for a stick when they could actually buy a better one for $4... Tabacuba knows this full well. Connoisseurs were evolving into these cigars and buying them at a bargain. As smokers could mature and evolve with the older catalog they moved (some of us anyway) from the more popular cigars to the more obscure. They were just better cigars! You cannot build great quality cigars and sell them for less than the large lousy ones! YOU NEED to close those out, to sell these, or people eventually figure it out. Tabacuba has done this on purpose, just to sell this crap! And guess what, it works!!! Thank God I had the good sense to buy a lot of what I like at the time so I am now not forced to 'explore' this type of 'hype.' I doubt that this cigar will ever touch the quality of taste that I will get from a RG Lonsdale. I will likely never know. I hope for those of you that buy these that they are truly wonderful cigars. At $20 each, you deserve a sublime cigar. I know this because I could find sublime ones at $5.00, 10 short years ago! When I could buy a cab of 50 Partagas Lonsdales from Bwana a decade ago, there is just no way I am going to part with $200.00 for 10 of these today. Cheers! -Piggy
  14. Just what the market needed and the cigar connoisseur did not, another fat, untested cigar for the speculator market. When your customers don't want wonderful lonsdales that have survived the test of time, and they are interested in untested Beanie Baby collectibles at 4 times the price, I can only conclude that your average smoker has very little in the way of good taste or good sense! Enjoy them mates, more for you! Next year, they will be $30.00 a stick, same $0.25 worth of tobacco! -the Pig
  15. ... its not about me! I am just not going to smoke...! (place pouty face here)... -LOL

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