15
Apr

Tax day 2014

   Posted by: Yoggie   in Finances and Money, Wistful Meanderings

Run for the hills!  It is Tax day!  After the fourth blood red moon!  dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

Remember to get your taxes mailed by midnight.


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I know, I know,  I was supposed to get back and post again a few days after my March 10th post, but I got busy and did not find the time.  Sorry about the comments being closed for the past few days, I forgot to change the setting for the comments.  You should be able to post now, though the only comments I have received so far are spam, obvious spam at that.  No, I do not want a super support bra or a vacation in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

I guess I am just not on the radar for Russian Information Services or their hired commenters.

I said a couple of weeks ago I would discuss what the US and the rest of the world could do in response to the situation in Crimea and I will do my best.  Here goes. There are three possible responses to Russia:

  • Military action.  Limited or full scale military action by the US, EU, NATO, and/or UN is possible, but highly unlikely.  Even arming rebels inside Crimea is a bad idea.  No one wants to go to war and I shudder at what an escalation would bring.  Of course this may be the only option left if Russia moves into other territories, especially ones in NATO or with NATO alliances.
  • Dialogue.  I am all for talking things out and meeting on common ground to work out an agreement, but talk does not hold a lot of water if there is nothing there to back it up.  Putin does not fear The West.  Talking is not going to go very far with him.  I applaud that both the US and the EU have kept talking with Russian and Crimea, but I don’t hold much faith that dialogue alone will work.
  • Sanctions and freezing assets.  Though many people disagree, past experience has taught us that implementing sanctions and freezing assets do produce results.  It does not faze countries to send troops into other countries to fight wars, but it hurts deep for politicians when political and financial coinage is damaged.  Sanctions, especially financial, tend to hurt everyone, even the guy on the street.  Russia is already feeling the sting in their stock market, banks, and commerce.  Trade relations have suffered.  Customers are leaving and finding other sources of products.  Investors are leaving and calling in their debts.  Russia’s economy is already on shaky ground, long term sanctions could do some real damage and cause unrest in even the most sheepish of citizens. Now Russia’s credit rating is about to take a hit with credit outlooks going negative (it is already a rating of BBB,  that is below Mexico).
  • Losing credibility.  This is not so much something other countries can do as much as it is the result of crisis, but it hurts just the same.  Russia has already been thrown out of the G8 (thought this can also be in the sanctions category) and is facing some stern looks from other countries such as China.  This can turn around for even more economic problems as well as a host of political difficulties.

I am not sure Putin really thought out this situation very well.  Yes, he is getting a big show of strength and independence for the short term over what is really a minor victory, but at a great cost for the future.  Problems are already arising, Crimea is already suffering from a lack of power and water, which by the way it gets from the Ukraine, and food and medical shortages will not be far behind.  It seems Crimea was very dependent on the Ukraine and help from Russia is slow at best and will be small once it does arrive.

A side note on the Ukraine-Crimea power and water problem, Ukrainian officials have stated that the shortages are not political vengeance for what happened but are instead mechanical problems and scheduled maintenance.  I am not going to give an opinion on the truthfulness of the statement from Ukraine as I am not privy to the information, but that is a valid “sanction”  and a show of power. It is probable that the Ukraine will jack up the prices and discontinue government subsidies that make the power and water so cheap, but I doubt they will cut Crimea off completely as that could do damage to their perception as the underdog in the crisis.  But really Crimea, what did you expect, business as usual? Biting the hand that feeds you usually results in that hand holding back the food and throwing accusations will not help matters.  I am aware that Russian soldiers were their with their guns and you only had two possible choices in the referendum that lead to Russian annexation anyway, but a plead for help and true independence would have gotten you a lot further.

I have a bad feeling about the future of Crimea and Russia, shortages, high prices, and the probably ethnic cleansing will bring about armed conflict within Crimea and could spill over into Russia.  I hate to say this, but I see Russia getting into another Afghanistan situation in the near future, something Russia and Putin (who only just now reversed a slide in popularity and confidence in his own country thanks to state-owned reporting on the Sochi Olympics that curiously left out everything that went wrong, even the opening ceremony).

 


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The big news lately is the crisis in the Ukraine, especially over Crimea after ouster of the Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovych by pro-European protestors. Yanukovych fled the country, ending up in Russia, after the Members of Parliament found the president unable to perform his duties and set an election for May 25th to select his replacement as per the constitution. Not long after suspiciously Russian-like troops invaded the southern part of Ukraine called Crimea.  Though Putin denies they are Russian troops, the men are well armed with Russian weapons, wearing Russian uniforms, and driving Russian military vehicles (including tanks). March 1st, Putin requested and received authorization from the Russian parliament to send troops to the Ukraine to “protect Russian speaking individuals in Crimea”.

First off, the whole “sending Russian troops into another, autonomous country to protect Russians” reason seems a bit on the far fetched side because:

  • No one asked him to, there has been no request from the people of Crimea for any type of protection.  Putin says he received requests, but he refuses to make those requests known.
  • Russia, being on the UN Security Council and knowing full well the rules in such matters, did not bother to take  the “plight” of Russians in Crimea to the UN.
  • Russia never announce a “don’t go to Crimea, leave Crimea immediately” warning to its people.  If they were so worried about the situation, why not warn Russians to not travel there?
  • The whole “Russian citizens” in Crimea in the first place is a situation created by Russia just to keep Crimea Russian.  Back in the Stalin era, May 18, 1944 to be precise, Russia deported, disfranchised, and murdered the indigenous population Crimean Tartars.  By June 26th of that year, the Armenian, Bulgarian, and Greek populations of the region were deported to central Asia with the remaining Tatars.  Russians were shipped in to the region and by the Summer of 1944, Crimea had been “ethnically cleansed” of all but Russians.  It was not until the dissolution of the USSR that Tartars were allowed back into Crimea, at the much reduced population that remained.  Then we have the whole passport situation in September 2008.

A little history lesson, Crimea is currently a sovereign state withing the Ukraine. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Crimea became part of the Ukraine when the newly formed Crimea parliament passed a constitution that  stated that Crimea was an autonomous part of the country of Ukraine and would abide by Ukrainian law on May 5th and 6th of 1992. On May 19 of that year, Crimea agreed to remain part of Ukraine and annulled its proclamation of self-government.  Ukraine had been very lenient with Crimea in the following years, even allowing the region to establish an office of the president and amending the constitutions of the countries to ease conflicts between Ukraine and Crimea. It was not until March 17, 1995 that the Russian-leaning Crimean President Yuriy Meshkov was removed by the Ukrainian Parliament and his office dissolved for his actions against the state and promoting integration with Russia. A new constitution for the area was drawn up and put into place, returning to the previous autonomous state within Ukraine minus the president’s office.  Since that time Russia has been accused of various attempts at instability such as giving Russian passports to Crimeans to justify any future “intervention”.

Hillary Clinton is correct, this smacks of what the Nazis did right before the invasion of Poland that sparked World War II.

Next topic is what little we can actually do about the invasion.


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26
Feb

Argh!!!! Where does the time go?

   Posted by: Yoggie   in Blogging, Errata

I know, it has been almost a year since I last posted an entry.  I have just been sooooooo busy lately.  It seems I wake up in time to go to work and get home in time to fix dinner and go to bed. I am going to try, and try is the operative word, to get back to regular posting.

One thing I must point out, unless you are going to go commando, you should put you pants on after you put on your underwear.  Trying to put your underwear on after your pants will result in a lot of problems.  Same goes with lace-up work boots, they should go on after your pants and after you put on socks.  I must have been really sleepy when I tried to dress myself this morning.


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8
Apr

Stupid stuff other people say # 001

   Posted by: Yoggie   in Errata, Lists

I have jumped to the conclusion that I am not the only one to say stupid things.  Here are a few others and not I said.

  • “I cannot find the car keys anywhere. Yes, I looked in the car do…” Guess why she suddenly stopped talking.
  • “Did you stub your toe?” After watching me do just that.
  • Me: ‘I want a hamburger with ketchup and mustard only.”  Guy: “Do you want ketchup on that?” Girl in the background: “Ask him if he wants mustard on that too.”
  • “If I were not in this car I would drive over him he is so slow.”  You need another car to drive over people? Yes, she was driving at the time.
  • “Is it okay to cross the street when the signal is flashing Do Not Walk?’ No, that is just for the people who cannot fly across the street.
  • “I don’t like to go to funerals because there are dead people there.” I am not sure there is a funeral for live people.

 


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I got a few of the chores done yesterday and now I am paying for it.  Your body can handle only so much work and stress in a day and this is a point in cleaning and scrubbing that you hands start to go numb. Plus there is that cleaning solution that cleans your skin layers off better than it does that stain in the toilet. And speaking of that stain on the toilet, how and who made this stain?  It was not I.  I don’t remember missing the toilet and painting the seat with pee. I think I need to have a talk with my son about his aim.

 


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6
Apr

Saturday was made for something

   Posted by: Yoggie   in Errata

Another lazy Saturday with nothing to do… scratch that.  I have already been up and mowed the lawn, I have a pile of dishes to wash, and there are a list of other chores to do. I really wanted to take a day off and just relax but that seems like a lost cause.  I guess I could just wait until tomorrow and do the chores, but the dishes are already home to some pre-sentient life mold that is sprouting antenna as we speak and i am sure they are eying the garbage that needs to be taken out.

 


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5
Apr

Music makes my pants dance

   Posted by: Yoggie   in Errata

Another in the long line of making up a title then writing a post about it.

I like a wide range of music, but even I have some music I just cannot bring myself to like.  I really do not like country western or rap. The country western I can understand as my father and his folks played it constantly without regard to how bad it was. Rap I just never got around to liking.

There are some exceptions, such as I like Rapper’s Delight and RunDMC’s cover of Walk This Way, in country I like the Crystal Gayle and Juice Newton songs… okay Crystal and Juice are not really country western. so right now I cannot think of any country western I like, I am sure that is a song or two. I keep listing country songs but i just cannot find a real country western.

 


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4
Apr

If birds had wings they would fly

   Posted by: Yoggie   in Errata

You know that sometimes you say something stupid, your mind is thinking one this and then you mouth says something different.  Your mind may be about 5 sentences beyond the point that your mouth is and the mind does not want to wait for the mouth to catch up.  In those cases the mouth gets confused and starts spouting out a string of words for which the brain did not send signals. Take the title for instance, I was talking about a politician when I got to what he said along the “if wishes were horses” line.  Somewhere between my braind and mouth, “if horses were wishes all beggars would have a ride” because “if birds had wings they would fly”. Yeah, I am still trying to figure that one out.

 


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3
Apr

Gun control or gun responsibility

   Posted by: Yoggie   in News, Opinion, Politics

It has been almost four months since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and there is still no consensus in Washington, D.C. on what to do about the violence. I am all for gun rights and allowing people to own guns, but I still think that there should be some restrictions and responsibilities.  Every freedom that we enjoy in this nation has both good and bad points, restrictions, and responsibilities, gun ownership should be no different.  It is not like mandatory background checks and registration is a new concept, we have been doing this for years in various areas with no complaints. People are like sheep when it comes to overly cautious searches and background checks for boarding a plan (yes, they do background checks when you buy a plan ticket) but mention putting some responsibility and background checks into gun ownership and some people think the government is going to take over. I just don’t understand it. Well, yes I do, it is the NRA, a very vocal minority run by a power-hungry organization head, that is making such a fuss about nothing.

I favor extensive background checks on ALL firearm purchases, weapons and ammo alike. If you have nothing to hide then you should not be worried about them checking to see if you are actually sane or non-criminal enough to actually own a weapon, they check your background before letting you on a plane and you do not complain.

I favor making all purchases and transactions on weapons and ammo documented. Unless you are selling weapons on the black market or to your crazy cousin, you should not be worried about registering, you register your car. Registering weapons makes gun ownership the responsibility of the owner of the gun, if your gun is stolen, you need to report it. If you sell your gun, you need to report it. If you do not do so then anything done with that gun, robberies, murders, or accidents, will be your responsibility and you will be prosecuted for crimes.  You do not want the government in your life, but you don’t want to take responsibility for your life either.

 

 


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