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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Random Thoughts: Russia, Ukraine and US

We at A&G do not pretend to be experts on the nations which make up the former Soviet Union or the current situation in the Ukraine, but that doesn't stop us from having informed opinions and random thoughts on it..

So here we go..

**  Why is the US involved in this?   Guess that's the same question that should be asked when we get involved anywhere in the world, but why here?

We heard President Obama issued some threat of something..  We couldn't make it out over President Putin's laughter..
Obama: "Uh, um.. So Putin.. Um.. Who do you like better- Jordan or LeBron?"
Putin:  ~ stares ~

Yes we want to control the oil pipelines that flow back n' forth from the Middle East into Europe and Asia and yes we want to take over the nation not by military force but via monetary debt via loans from US run banks IMF and the World Bank, and..

Hmm.. OK, guess we answered our own question there..

By the way, a trivia Q for you..

Between 1896 and 2014 (118 yrs), guess how many places the US military has involved itself directly in whether it be temporary or permanent occupation, or to put in a new leader that did our bidding  (We won't count nations like France where we put our boots down but part of a bigger picture of winning WWII)
~ US Sailors from the USS Denver in Nicaragua. 1912

Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico, Honduras, Haiti, Dominican Republic...

That's all between 1896-1914 folks..

Then our involvement in WWI which was not to defend or bring democracy to others, but to be guarantors that Britain and France would win so the various banks and financiers could get repaid on their loans vs default had the Kaiser won..

Then we sent troops into Russia to try to overthrow Lenin in 1918-19 or so..
~ US troops parading in Vladivostok, 1918

Then WWII which if not for our clever quiet maneuvers of cutting off Japan's ability to acquire oil, rubber and other war essentials, they might not have felt prodded to attack Pearl Harbor and who knows if the 'America First' crowd would have ever let FDR into the war..

So we have to add Germany, Japan and Italy to the list..

Then there's Korea and Vietnam and by extension Cambodia & Laos, and Grenada and Iraq and Afghanistan..

We won't count Syria because thankfully Putin prevented Obama and Sec of State Kerry from invading and who knows about this Ukraine situation..
So the tally as we have it is 21 nations we've invaded, occupied and/or changed leadership..

We won't count CIA led regime changes.. Too covert even for us..

**  Speaking of France, its interesting to see their response to this supposed 'invasion' of the Ukraine by Russia..  They are preferring the diplomatic track followed if needed by sanctions and other financial penalties..

Funny, they didn't take the same 'give peace a chance' stand recently in Mali and the Central African Republic..  Wonder if it has anything to do with Russia being able to fight back?
~ French troops in Mali;  US military provided the transportation

**  Wonder how many Ukrainians were reading our posts over the last 6 months and took their money out of their banks?

From Wall Street Journal:

"Ukraine's largest commercial bank, Privatbank, announced temporary limits on cash withdrawals for its account holders and suspended writing new loans, saying in a statement the measures were intended to stop those undermining the political situation in the country...

 The bank first announced withdrawal limits of 1,000 hryvnia ($103) a day at both automated teller machines and in over-the-counter transactions. "

Yep...
~ Ukrainians waiting in line to withdraw $103 from ATM

They say its temporary..  Like Cyprus was temporary..

We probably should fill readers in that those 'temporary' capital controls implemented in Cyprus last year are still in place today, so..

Aww, don't be so hard on Cyprus' leadership..  Its not like they hold exclusivity when it comes to lying to their populace..

When the FDIC raised its insurance maximums per account from $100k to $250k, that was supposed to be until the end of 2009..  Guess what the insurance max is now?
The Fed promised the very low interest rates were for a short duration and then promised that it would go up once unemployment reached 6.5%.  They also promised they'd put real tapering into motion with the ultimate goal of ending QE...

And guess what?   Yep..

Now we don't expect a 2nd Civil War or some foreign military occupation on US soil..  Not yet anyways..  But don't be so naive about your money..

Bail-ins and capital controls now have precedent and those in power have seen that ultimately everyone takes it peacefully with the occasional grunt, like we imagine a visit to the proctologist would be like..
**  No matter whether you support Ukraine, Russia, both or neither, situations like this should re-affirm once and for all that the Olympic Games are a complete Farce.

They were a farce in Stockholm Sweden in the summer of 1912 when only 2 years later, the world was pulled into a bloody, horrific 'Great War' costing 16 million dead and another 20 million wounded..

They were a complete farce in Berlin, Germany in 1936 when that piece of shit Hitler was allowed to host the games and use it as a propaganda tool. People forget or are not aware the 1936 Winter Olympics were also held in Germany (Bavaria)

We all know how WWII fared.. Well, except the 'deniers'
It was a continued farce in Munich 1972 when the Games went on as if nothing happened after 11 Israeli athletes were murdered so the sponsors wouldn't suffer and was equal farce in 1980 and 1984 when the US and Soviets took turns boycotting...

Really its every Olympics whether it be summer or winter.. Former and current enemies pretending their friends; future enemies blissfully unaware, and its heartbreaking to look at pictures of Sarajevo during the 1984 Winter Olympics and compare them to 1994 during their civil war.

So glad its 2 full years until Rio de Janiero though we are curious how the Russian football soccer team will be received during this year's World Cup?
~ The 2014 World Cup is in Rio but did you know Russia hosts in 2018?

**  Lastly.. Q:  What do you call it when your Navy head, who was just recently appointed, defects to the other side after just one day?

    From BBC:

"The newly appointed head of Ukraine's navy has sworn allegiance to the Crimea region, in the presence of its unrecognised pro-Russian leader.   Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky was only made head of the navy on Saturday, as the government in Kiev reacted to the threat of Russian invasion."

A:  For Ukraine, the answer is Trouble.
_________________________________________
~ Pic taken by yours truly during the last snow storm 2-3 weeks ago..

We are not sure when our next post will be due to a big snow and ice storm hitting the East Coast tomorrow..

Maybe we can resume tomorrow.. Maybe Tues..   Maybe toward the end of the week..   Hopefully the sooner the better..

Until then, enjoy your week~