Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet Me In Crimea, Vladimia...

        "Mommy, the boys next door are fighting again. Why can't they learn to play nice?"
        "They're Europeans, Timmy. They don't know how to play nice."
       The European continent is, and always has been, a bubbling cauldron of 'tribal' conflict (WWI, WWII, Balkan Wars, Chechan Wars, Napoleonic Wars, Slovak Wars...), no different from tribes in any other part of the world except that European tribesmen wear ties. The latest bubble this time is Ukraine and the world, as usual, has turned to the United States to assume its customary role as policeman and haberdasher,
        "You have to. You signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994. It says you have to protect Ukrainian sovereignty." 
        No! Wrong! Not correct! Nyet, nyet!
        The Budapest Memorandum, which was signed by the U.S., U.K., Ukraine, and Russia, says that, in return for Ukraine's giving up its nuclear weapons, the signatories agree to 'respect' the integrity of Ukraine. It doesn't say anything about 'protecting' that integrity. And, besides, it was never submitted to the United States Senate for ratification, i.e. not legally binding. 
        Russia may have breached the agreement but, unfortunately for Ukraine, there is no enforcement mechanism. (Before buying a used car or giving up your nuclear weapons, it's probably a good idea to read what you're about to sign.)
        And under similar circumstances, by the way, would we behave any differently from the way the Russians behaved?
        Suppose the United States were leasing a naval base from Mexico to protect the security of the Panama Canal (as the Russian Black Sea fleet based in Crimea is leasing its base from Ukraine). And suppose the Mexican gov't were overthrown by one less likely to allow us to continue to use that base (ditto Ukraine). 
       Does anyone doubt that the Marines would be crossing the border before you could say, 'Remember the Alamo?' As they say in the Russian Tea Room, 'One man's taco is another man's pirogi.' 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Summary of U.N.IPCC Report on Climate Change

1. We made a lot of mistakes last time but we got better computers and we're smarter now.
2. Things are worse than we thought.
3. Send money.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"Barack, it's me, Bill"

        In speaking of his dealings with Vladimir Putin, former President Bill Clinton said that, he, Putin, had always been completely 'transparent', i.e. that his word could be trusted and that he had never gone back on a promise, that the way to deal with Putin was to be 'brutal and honest' in private but to 'avoid embarrassing' him in public. 
       Did the former president go public with his comments because they had been ignored when offered privately to our King Canute who takes only his own counsel? Who knows?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Is that you, Crane?"

          Having just learned that an obscure Defense Department clerk had located a few boxes of ammo left over from America's successful incursions in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, several of the country's leading military and political leaders were meeting secretly to decide what to do with the left over ammo so that it wouldn't go to waste,
        "Let's see now, is there one area in the world where we have no strategic interest, where the chances of success border on nil, and where, if we're lucky, there's a small chance that we can be involved in major hostilities with the world's only other super power?"
         "Hmm...wait! I think I know!"
[Praise the Pirogi and pass the ammunition, or, when does it ever end?]

An Unexpected Benefit of the Affordable Care Act

        'Job Lock,' according to Senator Harry Reid, is a problem that has caused many workers to remain in jobs that they didn't really like in order to keep their health insurance  (as well, presumably, as to be able to provide food, clothing and shelter for their families).
        Now, with the help of the president's 'signature accomplishment', they will be eligible for free, or, at least subsidized, health insurance and will, therefore, be able to leave their jobs in order to 'follow their passions.'         
      By successfully fighting the 'battle against job lock,' Democrats have finally proven the truth of one of their core beliefs, that not only is gainful employment not really necessary, but that it may, in many instances, actually be harmful. 
        Lists of allowable passions are expected to be released by the Department of Health and Human Services in coming months.
        Also in the news this week, Senator Rand Paul, seeking to join in the frivolity by demonstrating that Republicans also often possess the same keen, analytical skills as their Democratic counterparts, explained in a press conference that, because President Bill Clinton had 'taken advantage' of a 21 year old White House intern, no one with the same last name as the President's or even whose last name began with a 'C' or a 'Cli' or even a 'Clin' should ever be elected to the presidency again.
        "Huh? What did he say?"
        "Now you listen to me.!" - Who said that?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hooray for Hollywood!

        Since 1996, film production days in Los Angeles are down by 50% and what's worse is that nobody in the whole state is blaming global warming,
        "What are you talking about? It's settled science. What are you a 'flat earther'?"
        "Wake up Mr. President. The movies, they're talking about the movies."
        "Oh, well, I knew that."
        Anyway, the problem seems to be that states from Texas to New York are offering tax credits to the movie industry that are way more generous than those offered by the state of California (a measly $100 million/year) and now the folks in the industry can't get to those states fast enough. And they're taking the work with them.
        But, wait a minute. Aren't these the same folks who are always going on about how unfair the tax system is because they are paying way LESS taxes than their maids when they really should be paying way MORE? And here they are, those very same warm, fuzzy wuzzy, 'socially conscious' A-listers, zipping all over the country as fast as their stretch Priuses will carry them, trying to save on their...taxes. What's wrong with this picture?
        Ever wonder how many kids we could put into decent schools if they would 'just say no' to all those tax credits and instead...stay put and pay up? Probably could even build a few nice hospitals with what's left over.
        "Yea, hooray, yea." (clap, clap, clap) "That guy's heart sure is in the right place, isn't it?"
        "Sure is. Too bad his wallet is somewhere else."

Saturday, February 15, 2014

President brushing up on his Yiddish...

         While preparing for his weekly fund raisers in New York, Los Angeles, and Tel Aviv, President Obama mentioned to reporters that Mr. Putin's 'shtick' was acting like a tough guy (tough goy?) with the Russian people but that when the two leaders met, it was always relaxed and with good humor,
        "Baracky, Baracky, listen. I got a good one for you. There were these three guys,  Ivanovich, Romanovich, and Stefanovich. So Stalin sends them to Ukraine to 'take care' of the Kulaks. A year later, when they get back, all the Kulaks are dead. So Stalin asks them what happened.
          "So, Ivanovich, Romanovich and Stefanovich say, You told us to 'take care of them', so we did.
          "So, Stalin says, I didn't mean to 'take care of them' like that. I meant, 'take care of them,'  you know, make sure they have enough to eat, warm clothes...
          " 'Oh,' say Ivanovich, Romanovich and Stefanovich. We guess we made a mistake.'
         "So, Baracky, you could imagine that they were plenty scared, that Stalin would say they were corrupt screw ups and it would be off to the Gulag with the three of them.
         "But Stalin says that they were only following his orders so it wasn't really corruption, not even a...a...a...pigeon..."
         "A 'smidgen', Valadimir. Not even a 'smidgen' of corruption."
         "Oh, Baracky, your language is so difficult. Right, not even a 'smidgen' of corruption. So, a good story, no?"
       "Well, funny, but not too believable, Vlady."