25 years ago the world was waiting to see if Gorbachev will send tanks to Berlin to reestablish the fallen wall. Today Putin is dancing around staging weird armed gangs at the airports of Sevastopol in attempt to keep Crimea. Somehow this is viewed by the pundits as him ‘winning’. The last time Russia had to defend Crimea with arms, the war there left the Empire so broke that the Czar sold Alaska to the US. Russia being busy in Crimea is more like historical norm than some extraordinary event. Fussing about it is truly about nothing.
What’s extraordinary is the funny warning issued by President Obama for Russia to stay out of Crimea. Seriously? Those who believe that Putin will let some make-believe government in Kiev keep control over Crimea need reality check. ‘Warning’ Putin to stay out of there has the diplomatic gravitas equal to the issuing of a ‘red line’ in Syria.
Russia already made express changes to the law to set up the path to peaceful admission of Crimea after the referendum that will be held there at the end of the month. If this fails, Russia will still find a way to keep control over the peninsular… at ANY cost… period. Warning Putin not to do something that he will most certainly do makes little sense. The only explanation for the ‘warning’ is that President Obama is willing to suffer again public humiliation on the world stage just so he can pretend for a moment that he tried to stand up for Ukraine.
It appears that Putin is short on cash and simply couldn’t afford to bailout Ukraine. He promised 2 billion dollars financial aid that he didn’t deliver, which sent the Ukrainian finances in free fall and the crowd violence on the rise. Historically the main reason people take over institutions (whether it is the Bastille or the Ukrainian parliament) is that they can’t afford bread. During moments of financial collapse folks really don’t care if in the future they will eat French pastry or Russian pirozhennoe. They are just angry. Putin’s failure to deliver cash and financial stability in Ukraine made his credibility disappear and the Kiev government quickly removed the puppet-president Yanukovych.
Putin simply over-promised and under-delivered and thus threw Ukraine under the bus. Maybe he spent a billion too many on fake snow for the sunny Sochi beaches. I bet, today Putin wishes he had few extra billions instead of gold medal in biathlon.
Or maybe he spent too much on ‘humanitarian’ help for the thuggish Syrian and Iranian regimes. In any case, the crisis in Ukraine is anything, but ‘winning’ for Putin. It is an embarrassment.
Putin’s failure to bailout Ukraine should be a warning for anybody who counts on Russia’s money. Now this is a warning that President Obama should deliver without hesitation. Putin promised billions to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to fill the financial gap that will be left there after the US discontinues the logistics operations in Afghanistan. The Ukrainian crisis should prompt those countries to question if Russia can deliver the money for real.
The Soviet Union collapsed because Boris Yeltsin and many among his people believed that Mother-Russia can have a prosperous future if only she can get rid of all the satellite republics. It is hard to tell if this idea was based on too much vodka or based on sound economic policy, but the Ukrainian crisis may remind us that every time Russia over-extends on financial promises to gain influence abroad it leads to trouble at home.
Unfortunately, even if Russia is caught barefoot and naked, she is always armed. When the conflict comes too close to home Russia always defends her interests with all her military might, if necessary.
Sadly for the Ukrainian people neither Russia nor the European Union can afford to pull them out of the financial hole they dug for themselves. Ukraine is simply too big and too broke. In the best case scenario the folks can expect years of peaceful, but financially painful transition. In the worst case scenario war and terror may come their way.
Beautiful dreams about independence, freedom and democracy are hard to realize in the countries of the Eastern European buffer zone. Those counties are geopolitically destined to be pulled apart by great powers that don’t necessary have the Ukrainian best interest in their mind.
The tragic death of Miriam Carey who was suffering from postpartum depression and got hopelessly lost in the heart of Washington DC leading to her being killed by the Capitol police brought the issue of motherhood in America to the front pages.
Modern pediatricians try to make it look like a simple fix when offering pills to relieve new mother’s suffering. There is nothing simple about it. The magic pill will treat mostly the symptoms and just the physiological causes of the depression. There are bunch of other triggers that are as powerful as the storm of hormonal changes and add to the cocktail from hell that is the postpartum depression.
The society today teaches our kids to dream to become President, doctors, lawyers, NFL champions, but we fail to teach them to dream to become mothers and fathers. In a life-time only handful will take a turn as President of the USA and one percent will be multimillionaires.
However, most healthy adults at some point will become mothers and fathers. Even the proudly educated college kids will end up sooner or later covered in drools and baby spit, changing dirty diapers, and yes… spending a lot of time barefoot in the kitchen. The lack of respect for the role of the mother (especially for the stay-at-home-mother), the loss of the glory of the motherhood adds up tremendously to the unhappiness of the new parent.
The young men today don’t have go through ‘medieval’ ritual of asking their future bride’s parents for permission to marry. Nobody is asking if they are financially prepared to start a family. All we need is love, isn’t it. Unfortunately, we also need roof on top of our heads and food on the plate. Money troubles are among the major nerve-racking factors at any time in life.
Tolerance for out-of-wedlock parenthood and government assistance for single mothers maybe relieving the stress from society imposed guilt, but is leading to epidemic of absent fathers in time when young women need support and trustworthy loving partner to share their motherhood anxieties.
Before putting your child in front of the TV to watch Sesame Street remember that the US government uses the soundtrack of the show to torture psychologically prisoners at Gitmo.
Friends and family with good intentions shower the new mothers with gifts including wide variety of noise-making toys in screaming colors. Wooden blocks and Raggedy Ann are no longer in fashion. The manufacturers cleverly advertise those noise-makers as stimulating the child’s cognitive development. It could be true, but it also produces millions of overstimulated cranky babies. Do yourself a favor! Pack the toys that get to your nerves and put them in the trash. If you insist that your baby has to listen to Mozart, download the real thing from I-Tunes, don’t buy another ding-dong plastic torture device.
Beware of the advice you are getting. If holding your baby makes you happy, ignore your mother-in-law, who is telling you that this is spoiling your child. You are an American – pursue your happiness! Find somebody you can trust to take turn in babysitting if you are sleep-deprived and tired.
Remember! Asking for help does not make you a bad mother.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is promising… again… referendum on European Union membership for his people… possibly in five years… if he gets re-elected…
Unfortunately for Cameron, who is otherwise skilled politician, he already had his ‘Read my lips’ moment because he promised referendum last time he was running for office. He even gave ‘cast-iron guarantee’ when he was climbing the leadership ladder in the Conservative Party.
There is no reason to believe David Cameron’s word today, because last time he gave a word it had no more substance than cotton candy wrapped on a stick by gypsy on a local fair. Of course, he is not the first and he will not be the last politician selling the London Bridge to get re-elected.
The reality of the British politics proves Daniel Hannan’s First law: No party is Eurosceptic while in office. David Cameron is in office which is disadvantage in time when the electorate is growing more and more Eurosceptic by the day. His party will have difficult time in the coming elections.
On the continent, Angela Merkel of Germany is in the same position after she saved the European Union during the Greek meltdown. Two years ago both Cameron and Merkel had political capital to spend defending the ‘European ideals’ (concept that, curiously, nobody can really define). After the defeat of Nicola Sarkozy of France everybody realized – defense of the EU comes paired with your own political peril.
Pre-election rhetoric in the UK appears to be very Euro-hostile. Bulgaria and Romania (joining the workforce on the great island in less than a year time) are chosen to be the Boogeymen of the campaign.
The insults toward the people of these two countries grew so nasty that the Romanian Prime Minister Ponta sent open letter to The Times defending the dignity of his people.
I would recommend next time the address to include the following Shakespeare quote (the British dig those):
O spite! O hell! I see you all are bent
To set against me for your merriment:
If you were civil and knew courtesy,
You would not do me thus much injury.
Can you not hate me, as I know you do,
But you must join in souls to mock me too?
‘Bulgarians are governed by mafia, live on 200 euro per month, we feel sorry for them and we don’t want any of them here’ – this is the daily dose of talking points that the British politicians are serving to their electorate. There are few problems with that narrative.
First of all, when you compare the foreign investments coming from UK to Bulgaria and the money the UK companies get back from Bulgaria in return – it turns out the United Kingdom made net profit of 92 million euro last year from Bulgaria. So corruption appear to be beneficial for the British investors.
Compared to the autocratic bureaucratic machine that governs the European Union the Bulgarian regime is a blooming democracy.
Compared to the green energy mafia that ripped the Bulgarian tax-payers (and for that matter the British, the German, the American, the put-your-country’s-name-here tax payers) the local thugocracy on the Balkans is like a kindergarten bully.
Compared to the nuclear energy mafia that left Bulgaria with a 2 billion euro mud-hole in Belene, the local corrupt government is like poetry book club.
May be Bulgarian people wouldn’t be so poor, if the country didn’t have to pay racket to those.
Can Bulgarian government make decisions on energy based only on the interest of its own people? The answer is: big fat – No!
The reason is the geopolitical curse on that territory that for many centuries is considered by the world powers to be nothing but a buffer zone between the West and the East. You don’t develop the buffer zone, because it may change hands. You just keep an eye on it and if the other side makes a move you react.
Bulgaria can’t even build a tiny gas pipeline on its territory without diplomatic hell breaking loose. They start the pipeline – they stop the pipeline – they start it again – they stop it again – all according to the mood one both sides of the buffer.
Energy bills protests on the streets brought down the Bulgarian government today. The poor folks demonstrated their anger on the streets and will be rewarded with elections in a couple of months. Unfortunately for them nothing will change, because no anger in the world can move Bulgaria out of the buffer zone.
It would have been easier if the territory was just a desert with no population. Instead, God gave Bulgaria sunny beaches, beautiful mountains, rose valleys, fertile soils, bank on the Danube River. As a result since ancient time people keep insisting to live there – on the crossroad between continents and cultures.
The folks in Bulgaria don’t have to be poor, if only the world powers let them make the economic decisions that best suits them. However, this will not going to happen and those who believe it can happen are simply naive. Every territory on Earth lives with its geopolitical curse or blessing. Cameron, Merkel, Putin and Obama just shed crocodile tears: ‘We are sorry for them’. Sorry? My …
Imagine your monthly income is $250 and your snowy January electricity bill is $200. Will you be among those throwing eggs at the Capitol Hill?
It is unlikely scenario for America – with its generous food stamps, welfare checks, Medicaid, housing vouchers, free cell-phones and the ability to print the world’s currency. The above horror story, however, is the reality for majority of folks in a small country called Bulgaria – the poorest country in the European Union.
Forgive me for interrupting the Oscars buzz with a story of angry crowds on the streets of Bulgaria, throwing eggs at the parliament over poverty and misery. The protests are part of a bigger story that may rock the European markets again.
The protests in Europe go for years now, but only the Greek one came close to what is happening today in Bulgaria, where the crowds grow so bold that they are able to drastically destabilize the whole country.
Surprisingly, the European Union survived the Greek tragedy. Despite the bigoted insults flying in all directions – North-South and East-West – the EU and the Euro currency managed to hold together through the Greek (and for that matter the Italian) financial meltdown. It is clear, that exit (or expulsion) of one country from the Union or the Euro-zone would damage the image of the mega-bureaucracy that rules over Europe and the common currency. In the Greek dilemma the EU chose the Lincoln path instead of the Gorbachev failure, but the turbulence is not over.
After the Greek summer comes the next test for the EU – the Bulgarian winter. The crowds grow bigger by the day in all major cities and the police today had to confront protesters with force. The parliament in Sofia took some rocks and rotten produce, property is damaged, shots were fired. Populists demand nationalization of the energy companies. This may prove to be the real problem for Bulgaria. If the government is unable to calm down the protesters (supplied by the opposition with ala-Arab-Spring flags and patriotic talking points) the fast deteriorating situation will soon spook the markets and the foreign investors.
The Bulgarians have experience in bringing down governments. The latest example were the events in 1997 (snowy January) when the crowd was able to force its way inside the parliament. The security had to retaliate which brought even more protests and the government resigned. The opposition then came to power and carried the mass privatization, which was necessary for the economy, but is still viewed by the regular folks as mass robbery of the country.
The absurd calls for nationalization go contrary to the European path for Bulgaria. Even Putin in Russia is planning another wave of privatization.
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The CIA Director David Petraeus brought disgrace to himself by showing poor judgment while engaging in affair during his time in top office. Americans love good gossip. However, they expect the US version of James Bond to go for la femme fatale only if he is about to obtain information – not the other way around.
The PetraeusGate seducer Paula Broadwell instead disclosed publicly inconvenient truths about the hot issue Benghazi tragedy turning the heads away from the White House and the State Department and focusing the media hounds on the CIA practices in Libya. Madam Broadwell hinted on possible CIA detainees in Benghazi as motive for the terrorist attack on 9/11, 2012. The existence of such prisoners goes against the executive order President Obama gave on day one in office.
The same order also was supposed to close Gittmo. Last time I checked the prison is still operating and holding detainees. So faking outrage over not following the executive order in question is absurd reaction in the real world.
While issuing orders on Day One makes a great campaigning point – actually doing it may not be a wise decision. Some issues may deserve at least a couple of days of exploring before the President should pick up the pen.
On Day One President Obama ordered:
a) CIA Detention. The CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.
b) Special Interagency Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies.
c) (a) Establishment of Special Interagency Task Force. There shall be established a Special Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies (Special Task Force) to review interrogation and transfer policies.
During Obama’s first year in office there was nothing set-up that is operational to interrogate terrorists. So when the Underwear Bomber attempted blowing airplane over Detroit, America realized – there is no place and no crew existing that is allowed to question him.
I promised my conservative and republican friends not to write until the election is done and this was all I can do in good conscious to help Mitt Romney. The circus is over and I am back.
Republican pundits wonder why Mitt Romney lost the 2012 elections. Here is my analysis issue by issue:
1. Voters ignored the Libya tragedy.
Americans as a mass don’t care about Libya, Egypt, Europe, Iran or any other place outside of the US. I am not saying it is the right thing to do. It is just the fact. Look at the tanking TV ratings of the news channels during the Arab Spring. Majority of Americans don’t give a damn about foreign policy and after decade of war one thing is sure – they want the US military brought home. I am not saying that it is a good policy and I understand it is not possible to retreat. I am just trying to explain to the republican elite why the Libyan tragedy was not effective campaigning point for Mitt Romney.
After the terrorist attack on 9/11, 2001 the country was united and even the politicians stood together. Americans kind of expected the same approach for the terrorist attack on 9/11, 2012. Instead, the Romney campaign went politicizing the tragedy and despite the fact that they were right about the Obama administration cowardly mistakes the Republicans failed to provide the inspiring feeling of unity in the face of horror that many Americans remember to be possible in such event.
The foreign policy debate between Obama and Romney showed that both parties agree on many things. Among those things: both parties have no clue how to handle the powder keg of a geopolitical situation that is challenging the US leadership in every corner of the world at once. The best analysis of the foreign policy debate came in a tweet from Glenn Beck: “I am glad to know that Mitt agrees with Obama so much. No, really. Why vote?”
2. Obama succeeded in painting Mitt Romney as this rich guy with car elevators.
No kidding! He is a rich guy with car elevators, Cayman islands bank accounts, secret tax returns and no salary for the last… at least 7 years. No wonder Obama campaign succeeded in painting him that way – this is the only thing they didn’t have to even lie about.
3. President Obama looked good during the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.
Honestly, it is not that hard to look good next to Chris Christi. The republican governor of democratic New Jersey was so huggy-kissy with the President that the impression was that only the excessively big waste line prevents him from performing a blow job. Chris Christi was probably working on his own re-election. I personally don’t care if he is re-elected and, for that matter, I celebrate the defeat of Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. The “man with the truck” voted with the democrats on every major issue anyway.
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Ever since Al Gore won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College in 2000 the Democratic activists are pushing reform that is being implemented so far state-by-state. Local laws are already in place in nine states. According to them the state’s electoral votes shall be awarded to the candidate with the greatest “national popular vote total.” The following states attempted this experiment so far: California, Washington DC, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington.
Imagine the riots in that hypothetical day in the future when California casts its fat 55 electoral votes for Republican who won the popular vote.
Until the last night Democratic activists could not imagine that to be possible. Things changed, though, in the Election 2012: Republican Mitt Romney came very close to winning the popular vote against President Obama. That demonstrated the consequences such liberal legislative activism can produce. The popular vote totals are not certified yet, but President Obama is projected to carry it by 1% or so.
Late in the night yesterday the legislators in those nine activist states were probably shaking in fear while watching Romney leading in popular vote total.
Driven by emotions caused by one lost election in 2000 the Democrats in charge of deep blue states set a powder keg that last night was very close to explode into spectacular political crisis. In the 2012 elections the Democrats were holding the lighter ready to flame unbelievable social unrest in the event of the Republican winning the popular vote.
In 2012 Democrats have charismatic candidate as President Obama – that may not be the case in 2016. America has four more difficult years for the economy as the US struggles to get the national debt under control. The measures that President Obama will be forced to take will be unpopular.
In 2016 Democrats will face the popular vote after eight years of nightmare economy with the tax-hikes of the ObamaCare fully implemented and the IRS chasing middle class in effort to collect health insurance penalties. Frankly, by 2016 the democrats will run out of excuses. Then what?
Are the people of California and Vermont really ready to see their state electoral votes being cast for Republican winner of the popular vote?
If not, these states should repeal the dangerous legislature they produced and pledge their fates and fortunes to the United States of America, not to the United Mob of America.