Putin Holds The Cards

 

The Ukrainian Revolution is not secure.
 
I well remember the Czechoslovakian Revolution of 1968 — it was put down by Russian tanks. The West did nothing.
 
Vlad Putin is the former head of the KGB. He knows well the President Obama is a weak and flaccid president, who will not oppose the intervention of Russia tanks, particularly if they enter the portion of the Ukraine that is reflective of the old Soviet power.
 
Putin has been freed from the Olympics, and can turn his fishy-eyes to the Ukraine. He has many tools short of military power — oil, gas, economics — but his trump card is tanks, he has them and he knows how to use them.
 
Unlike the Czech Revolution, our satellites watch those tanks before they move a mile, and social media can organize the Ukrainian opposition.
 
The US has stood by while more than 100,000 Syrians have died, and while the US and the UN required a destruction of poison gas — and that has simply not happened. 
 
Putin is on the upswing, Obama is on the downhill slope.
 
I would be very surprised if Putin did not take advantage of the situation.
 
We simply lack gravitas because we have a weak leader. Putin has no opposition to do whatever he chooses.
Advertisements

Uprisings, Everywhere

 

The semi-successful Ukrainian revolt is just weeks or months ahead of a similar revolt in Venezuela. Both the revolts were US fingerprints on them, but in both cases we are geographically remote.
 
In the case of the Ukraine, it is really a European Union responsibility, and strangely, several European nations have taken the lead, including France –  which is also trying to bring Obama along on Syrian intervention.
 
It is some sort of question as to who the most powerful world leader might be, but it certainly isn’t Obama.
 
We don’t have friendly nations in South America, who can act in our common interest, but Maduro of Venezuela has managed toed story the economy so badly that US interference is not needed.
 
Last week, the climate changed in Maduro’s regime. It started with Maduro ordered several US officials from his nation, and ended with Maduro suggesting that the US and Venezuela exchange Ambassadors, and between there were deadly riots with the opposition just like it happened in the Ukraine.
 
The Venezuela riots continue, and we have no nearby French President equivalent to call upon.  

Largest Single Lynching of Blacks Was in New York?

 

You have heard of the Salem Witch Trials, but have you heard of New York City Slave Uprising of 1741, and Tea Men?
 
Neither had I.
 
(It is also called the “New York Conspiracy” and the “Negro Plot.”)
 
Funny, as in strange, not humorous.
 
Particularly true because despite the mental picture of Witches being burned at the stake, actually none were. 19 “Witches” were hanged, and one died from being pressed to death with stones.
 
Many more were killed in the NYC Slave Uprising of 1741 –  and, in fact, 13 Black men WERE burned at the stake! The Court additionally hanged 18 Blacks and four Whites, and imprisoned 150 Blacks and 25 Whites.
 
And neither you nor I ever heard of it, while the Salem Witch Trials are easily remembered. I wonder if it could be that the concept of only Blacks being abused in the South is the Politically Correct narrative. This event has been called the  greatest lynching in America  and you thought lynching only happened in the South?
 
And “Tea Men?” Well, there was no running water in NYC of 1741, so slaves were sent to water pumps to gather water for the upper-class households. That meant that slaves gathered at the pump, and it was presumed that slaves gathering at the pump facilitated the uprising.
 
Subsequently, a law was passed forbidding slaves from gathering at water pumps, and white Tea Men were paid to gather water for household tea.
 
It is amazing what one can learn by reading history, or in this case listening to the Audible book from the Great Courses, “Before 1776: Life in the Colonies”
 
Listening to lectures by real-life professors is interesting, rather than just accepting the version in your head.
 
 

Sheep!

 

One of my time-passing endeavors is to read – magazines, books, books on Kindle app on iPad, and Audio Books. I love having so many different media from which to learn.

My current reading (actually, listening) is “Before 1776, Life in the American Colonies,” and it reinforces my contention that modern Americans are Sheeple, Wusses, or whatever term you might chose.

In the 1760s, England tried to establish a Sugar Tax – actually they had one before but had not enforces a tax on a major commodity, and sugar and molasses were huge commodities.

The Crown sent a Tax Man to Newport to collect taxes on sugar (a tax that proceeded a Stamp Tax, and a Tea Tax), and first the merchants tried to bribe the Tax Man to look the other way.

Unfortunately, the Tax Man was honest. However, where there is a will there is a way…

Now Newport was a small town in the mid-1760s and most people were related to one another – so when a ship came in and declared no molasses (although the cargo was obvious), and the TaxMan had the Ship Captain arrested by the local Sheriff. When the arraignment came, the Judge did not appear, and when he was found and returned to the Court, the Sheriff was nowhere to be found.

When a ship came into Newport, and fearing the Tax Man continued up the river to a smaller port, the Tax Man followed. He boarded the ship and, as usual, the Captain said there was no sugar aboard although, once again, it was visible. The Tax Man went to the dock and found a group of obvious Sailors, whom he importuned to board the ship and sail it back to Newport – but the Sailors contended that they were Farmers and sailing a ship to Newport would surely destroy the ship.

So the Tax Man returned to Newport, found Sailors who did not know what they would be asked to do and returned to the ship – whose cargo had been removed to storage in a warehouse. The Tax Man boarded the ship only to find it settling into the mud, because the “Farmers” had bored holes in the hull after removing the sugar.

I see modern Americans sitting in long highway traffic jams, suffering pot hole damaged tires and wheels, and meekly honoring retired CongressCritters at cocktail parties when they should be ashamed to show their faces. I suspect that I future days even disgraced former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will be addressed as “Mayor Filner.”

A Boston once so revolutionary that they would throw tea in their harbor, subsequently would see their progeny re-elect a Mayor (Mayor James Michael Curley, four-time Mayor of Boston) who was languishing in jail while re-elected!

Surely any self-respecting American would never claim to be friendly with a politician or a tax collector!

Modern (and Ancient) Marriage

On-line dating is now responsible for more than 30% of all marriages.
Well, why not? Arranged marriages probably work as well as our dating system which suffers a 50% failure rate, so why not the internet?
I suspect that marriages selected by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon work as well as any, often between man and woman who had never met.
You recall (I hope) that the Yale graduate Seminarians brought both Christianity and literacy to Hawaii. What you may not know is that the officiating church members required that the Missionaries be married, and almost all of those leaving on a long, dangerous and very uncomfortable sailing trip to Hawaii had only been introduced to each other in the days or weeks before sailing. Young women were brought by wagon and carriages from surrounding farms, and it was considered a high privilege to marry a preacher going out to bring the Word of God to the Hawaiian heathens.
Just married — often on the dock — they braved months of harsh living aboard barely seaworthy ships and “enjoyed” their Honeymoons separated from others by only a sheet to provide a privacy partition, and then eventually landed in a hot climate with only woolen clothing on their backs and only thatch huts to live in.
The joke in Hawaii is that when the Missionaries arrived, the Hawaiians had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible, but in the end the Hawaiians had the Bible and the Missionaries had the land.
This is simply not true! Even as a non-believer, but one who has written on the history, culture and politics of Hawaii, the Missionaries did nothing but good. It is true that the Missionaries brought American-style laws, and the Missionary children took advantage of their knowledge of those laws, but the Missionaries themselves were pious advocates for their religion, brought literacy to an aboriginal people and lived in poverty.
There is little knowledge of the actual marriage relationships — they had too much to do to worry about anything except doing their job — but it is doubtful they were any worse married partners than those of modern society.

Petty Was Right

Richard Petty, called “the King” of NASCAR caused a bit of a kerfuffle when he commented on the driving skills of Danica Patrick.

I have expressed a similar analysis of Danica’s driving skills but I have never been so descriptive as the King, who said Danica could only win a NASCAR race,”if everybody else stayed home.”

In the past I have compared Danica to Michelle Wie, the beautiful Hawaiian golfer — although subsequently Wie won two tournaments. I was remarking about the days when she was a willowy, 6’1″ absolutely stunning high schooler who had never even qualified for a women’s match, but who presumed to try to enter men’s matches. She was a decent, but unremarkable talent who used her beauty to use the press. Even now, a decade later she is unremarkable as a woman golfer — but still a beauty.

The first I recall was Anna Kournikova, a stunning Russian women’s tennis player whose bikini shots ranked her #1 in Google search, but she never won a Women’s Tennis Association title back when she used her beauty. She won a lot of eyeballs! Not so much as a tennis player.

Now Danica is not on the same “looks” department — but she certainly is not ugly, or even average, but she is not also not an average, much less good NASCAR wheelm…ahhh…wheelwoman. Perhaps she has potential, but she was not even a great open-wheel driver in INDY series.what she is, is a unique NASCAR driver. She is a woman.

(Admittedly, skills are not necessarily transferable between open-wheel and NASCAR, but she got the chance because she is a woman.)

There are much better drivers cooling their heels awaiting a seat on amatory team, while Danica’s a seat because she is a woman. Team owners can put their wives in the seat if they wish, but not without drawing the attention of the critics.

“Loop”

 

Well, just like Spring, the Federal Minimum Wage is coming around. Again.
 
Since the mid-50s, the Federal Minimum Wage has been raised numerous times. Each time it is raised, the argument is that raising the Minimum Wage will “bring millions out of poverty.”
 
O.K. If that is true, why are millions STILL in poverty?
 
Now about starting with facts: About 2% of the US hourly wage workforce is paid at or below the Federal Minimum Wage. (I checked the number with PolitiFact, which fact-checked a comment by Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman.)
 
Now the Congressional Budget Office says the proposed Federal Minimum Wage would raise 800,000+ out of poverty at a cost of 500,000 who would lose their job. So, some would do better at the cost of others becoming even more impoverished.
 
Now obviously, that is always true, or the Feds would simply raise the Minimum Wage to $50.
 
As an employer for many years, and as a turn-around manager for the Federal Bankruptcy Court, I always wondered how someone who has never seen my business, or met my employees could possibly know how much they are worth to the company.
 
The worse part of a Minimum Wage is the income ratchet, which relates directly to everyone in the food chain. If you raise the MW to $15 from $8, what happens to the employee who was making $10. I’ll tell you, they are going to come to the employer and say, “last week I was valued by the business $2 more than John, but by government fiat I am suddenly worth $5 less? I want a $7 raise!”
 
Then, in comes Mary…
 
Up goes the price of the product, all products, and guess what?
 
The guy making $15 is back in poverty, requiring a $20 Minimum Wage.
 
And the cycle repeats, or in computer programmer-speak, Loop