Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What we've shown is that we really don't care.

I'm in this terrible place where there's so much terrible news that I almost need to disengage. It's just too much.  I did however turn on the news about the tragedy in California.

It got me wondering how we managed to get to this place and it also caused me to realize something.... As a society we just don't care.

More than a year ago, a classroom full of children were mowed down in cold blood.  You would have thought that would have been the moment that collectively as a society we all looked up and said "Enough is enough."  We would have made sensible changes to our guns laws, tried to understand the tragedy and prevent it from happening again.

We got none of that.  The vested powers that include groups like the NRA basically said, "We don't give a fuck how many children need to die."  --- Note I'm paraphrasing from what really happened which was that the president said "We need to fix it so that people with mental illness don't have access to guns!" and congress said "Sure!" and then did nothing.  Or tried to half do something except they couldn't because there was a sub group who didn't want to do anything... it was all very confusing, except for the part where nothing happened.

Now, I should point out, I'm not anti-gun.  I'm just anti crazy people having access to guns.  I'm just anti unfettered access to weapons at trade shows without background checks.

I'm boggled by the idea that this country has essentially 50 completely different sets of gun laws and regulations that swing from "Sure! Have a bazooka!" over to "Hmm, pepper spray... you'll need a license for that."

There has to be some sensible place in the middle.  A place where law abiding citizens can own firearms but where we don't mass killings every six months.

The tired argument you all ways hear is "Guns don't kill people", okay fine, but they sure help crazy people do it with efficiency.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I've been thinking a lot lately about how we should respond to Russian's aggressive posture towards Ukraine.  My conclusion is that we should do nothing.  Here's why.

For the last ten years Putin has been backing governments in Kiev full of corrupt clowns who've been robbing the country blind.  The latest of which is currently hiding in Russia as of last account.

As you may remember Ukraine's economy is in shambles and they were recently at the doorstep with hat in hand asking for ~15 billion euros which equals something like 70 billion Rubles.  After Crimea became part of Russia it didn't take long for minister of finance to start complaining that it was going to take 3 billion dollars for a couple of years just to get the infrastructure fixed in Crimea... what until he gets the bill for the whole of Ukraine.

If Putin is so hot to trot to swallow up Ukraine... by all means... Choke on that chicken bone.

With foreign investors fleeing the Russian economy and taking their investment dollars with them... this is going to turn out to be a hugely expensive proposition for Russia... Right after it just got done spending 50 billion on the Olympics.

Let me tick off a couple more challenges to the Russia economy:

  • Aging Russian population
  • Europeans moving to ween themselves off of Russian gas
  • Massive amounts of brain drain
All of that combined really puts Russia in a weak financial situation and I haven't even gotten to the sanctions that the U.S. could impose if they really wanted to.  At this point we've been softball with the Russian.  If we really wanted to we could really put the screws to them.

  • Freeze the assets of the entire Duma... Punch Russia right in the Oligarchs
  • Sell gas to the Europeans at a cost so low it would price Russia out of the market.
Those are just the first two that come to mind.  Though I suspect the first one of those wouldn't be palatable.  Possibly just go after everybody in Putin's inner circle.

So in a nutshell... I think we should just let Russia swallow Ukraine whole and then suffer the consequences.