What’s Next For Russia?

Inkwell Institute

Eurasian Desk

I will return to the situation in Ukraine….it is in the headlines but not as important as some other stories…….and that is why…I AM HERE!

The situation in Ukraine has gone from bad to worse to good….well that is what the media wants the world to believe….they want the rest of us to buy into the triumph of democracy……I think that wish may be a bit premature.

Why?

Russia is the easiest answer……the Ukraine has a huge ethnic Russian population and the question should be….will Russia intervene to protect this population?  Kinda reminiscent of of the acts of Germany in the 1930’s……us protection of an ethnic population to further their expansionist ideals……Let’s step back a bit.

We all know about the downfall of the USSR……we know that it fell and that is proof that communism is a failure (that is something we can debate….but only if it is a good debate….saying it was evil is NOT a good argument).

After the break-up the US and the IMF demanded that Russia install ‘free market’ economy…..they did as they were instructed and the recession of 1998 caught them with their pants down and the resignation of Yeltsin and the coming to power of a former KGB operative, Putin and the fun began.  A case could be made that the US and the IMF brought Putin to the power elite and now we must face the consequences.

Putin has an idea to return Russia into an ’empire’ if you will…….his idea….a “Eurasian Union”

The new union would include authoritarian Kazakhstan and Belarus to begin with before expanding to take in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and then, Mr Putin hopes, other former Soviet republics. Mr Putin did not say so but it is known that he would dearly like to see Ukraine sign up to his master plan.

His is a bold idea and one that immediately and unsurprisingly drew admiration from Russian nationalists. Older Russians, who hark after the paternalism and stability of the defunct Soviet Union, are also likely to appreciate the plan. Mr Putin was at pains to say however that his mission was not to recreate the Soviet Union.

What could that mean…internationally that is?

The Kremlin intends to have the EuU fully formed by 2015, when Russia believes the United States will return its focus to Eurasia. Washington is wrapping up its commitments to Iraq this year and intends to end combat operations and greatly reduce forces in Afghanistan, so by 2015, the United States will have military and diplomatic attention to spare. This is also the same time period in which the U.S. ballistic missile defense installations in Central Europe will break ground. To Russia, this amounts to a U.S. and pro-U.S. front in Central Europe forming on the former Soviet (and future EuU) borders. It is the creation of a new version of the Russian empire, combined with the U.S. consolidation of influence on that empire’s periphery, that most likely will spark new hostilities between Moscow and Washington.

This could set the stage for a new version of the Cold War, though it would not be as long-lived as the previous one. Putin’s other reason for re-establishing some kind of Russian empire is that he knows the next crisis to affect Russia most likely will keep the country from ever resurging again: Russia is dying. The country’s demographics are among some of the world’s worst, having declined steadily since World War I. Its birth rates are well below death rates, and it already has more citizens in their 50s than in their teens. Russia could be a major power without a solid economy, but no country can be a global power without people. This is why Putin is attempting to strengthen and secure Russia now, before demographics weaken it. However, even taking its demographics into account, Russia will be able to sustain its current growth in power for at least another generation. This means that the next few years likely are Russia’s last great moment — one that will be marked by the country’s return as a regional empire and a new confrontation with its previous adversary, the United States.

Map of Black Sea Fleet key locationsthanx to BBC News for map.

The question on everybody’s mind today is will Russia intervene in the Ukraine most especially southern Ukraine?

Personally, I think that the question of the ethnic Russians is the key to whatever Putin has planned….and of course to protect the warm water port in the Crimea……put nothing beyond his capabilities…..all you have to do is remind yourself of his military force used against another country, Georgia.

Will he act….it is a coin toss right now…but all that could change with one single thoughtless action by some well meaning Ukrainian nationalist.

Taxes Come And Taxes Go

This is one of the few posts I will ever do on the ACA (Obamacare) because there is way too much BS flowing around the subject……but there is a firestorm going on on the web because of something a restaurant did to its patrons……

An otherwise nondescript restaurant chain in Florida is suddenly national news thanks to a new policy: Gator’s Dockside has added a 1% surcharge to cover the costs of the Affordable Care Act, reports CNN Money. Participating restaurants aren’t trying to hide it, either. “The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” reads a sign to patrons. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.” An executive with the chain estimates that it will cost $500,000 a year to provide all its workers with insurance when the employer mandate kicks in next year, and she figures the surcharge will bring in about $160,000 annually.

As one would expect there is a wealth of opinions…….

  • Dumb move: “Obviously, the restaurateur is thinking about this from the perspective of an angry talk-radio-listening Republican rather than that of a hard-headed capitalist,” writes Jonathan Chait at the Daily Intelligencer. “There are costs associated with all kinds of government regulations and spending, but he’s not creating a line item on his tab to highlight his share of, say, financing the Department of Defense.”
  • Smart move: “As the surcharge shows, Obamacare is no free lunch,” writes Katrina Trinko at the Heritage Foundation. “Most businesses probably won’t opt to add a specific surcharge in order to cover their new health care costs, but some will certainly raise prices—or reduce quality of their products. Obamacare hasn’t driven down the costs of health insurance, or found a magical new source to cover those costs.”
  • Similar move: Eater notes that a popular Los Angeles restaurant, Republique, asks diners to pay a 3% surcharge for employee health care costs. The restaurant makes it optional, however, and says it is not specifically tied to the new law’s mandates.

Now my take……you may call it whatever you like surcharge or tax….it is the same thing……my problem is with the 16th amendment…….

Article I, Section 2, Clause 3:

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Number

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

If it is a tax then why is only one individual doing it?  The name is irrelevant……..it is like the visit to the auto repair shop….take a look at you bill…….there will be a ‘surcharge’ for shop supplies……I do not like that either….but if these people can get away with it why not Gator’s Dockside?

If one opposes taxes then one should be in opposition to this ‘surcharge’.  I was unaware that an individual could level taxes I thought that was the duty of the state…….call it what you like a tax is a tax…….I will admit that it is creative….but is it legal?

Enough said?

Never Too Early For 2016

I know I am getting ahead of myself….we still have the great election of 2014 to get through before we should focus on 2016, right?  I think that is a lot of bollocks!  2016 will point the way to the future…..will it be a massive retreat from progress or will it be a continuation of the status quo in DC?

I will from time to time weigh in on some of the possible candidates and why I think the country will lose out if they are elected……I will beginning with the Dems fave daughter, Hillary Clinton.

It seems that the Dems are all over the fact that she may run…..take a look at the poll results…..

Eighty-two percent of Democrats say they would like to see Hillary Clinton run for president in 2016, according to a new poll.

A New York Times/CBS poll released Tuesday finds support for a Clinton run within her own party higher than any other potential presidential candidate in either party.

Only 13 percent of Democrats say they would not like to see her run. Among independents, 52 percent say she should run.

In comparison, 42 percent of Democrats think Vice President Biden should run for president, while 39 percent think he shouldn’t.

Democrats don’t know enough about other potential candidates to make a decision. Those candidates include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (22 percent), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (17 percent) and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (3 percent).

So the $64 million question today is will Hil run?

I took a lot of grief back in 2008 when I was not a supporter of Hillary in the primaries……I was lambasted over and over…….and my response was the same every time……I did not like Bubba and Hillary will be just an extension of his policies.  Her hubby did more to harm the fabric of American life and I fear she will be NO better.

If and when she runs…I will have lots to say about her and Bubba’s policies…….

Why Is Bubba Still Relevant?

Almost weekly I see some story or read some account of Bill Clinton and his exploits….in the political arena or business world or…………and that leads me to ask the question….why is Bubba still relevant?

Why is Clinton revered on the ‘Left’?  To Democrats?  He took an axe to entitlements, repealed Glass-Steagall which could be linked back to the crash of 2008…..he pushed through NAFTA which killed many US jobs and aided the demise of unions….took us to war in the Balkans and refused to missile attack Osama when he had him in his sights………

None of the situations are something to be proud of and yet Dems worship at the alter of Bubba.  Why?  He won back some of the Dems that had been lost during the Reagan years during his time in the barrel…is that it?  Maybe it is truly about elections and not the country and its people…..ya think?

There is more…..surprise!

If you were around in the early days of the Clinton’s rise to fame you will recall the Whitewater scandal……nothing hered…move along….I remember that from the days of them trying to explain away the situation and then I read this the other day……

It’s been more than a year since the legal justification for secrecy expired on a collection of roughly 33,000 pages of documents from the Clinton presidency. But the files in question—which are held at the Clinton Presidential Library and are reportedly related in part to scandals such as Whitewater—remain off-limits to the public, Politico reports. Per the Presidential Records Act, such papers can be held for 12 years after a president leaves office, meaning they could have been available in January 2013. Now, following Politico inquiries, officials say the White House has OKed the release of 25,000 pages. But “it will take … additional time to complete the logistics of making available such a large release,” says a rep for the National Archives, which, along with the library and lawyers for presidents Clinton and Obama, plays a role in the release process. Politico’s Mike Allen tells MSNBC that “another 8,000 of some of the president’s most sensitive communications … are still being blocked,” the Washington Free Beacon reports. The White House has delayed the deadline on those remaining pages until March 26, the rep says. Bill Clinton could use executive privilege to keep them secret, but that would probably prompt a court battle, Politico notes. Also among the documents is confidential advice Clinton requested or received, along with files from Hillary Clinton’s office, and a Gettysburg College professor offers her take on the apparent secrecy: “The obvious answer is they are trying to protect Hillary,” perhaps ahead of a 2016 presidential bid of her own.

What’s there to hide?  Maybe our conserv friends may be proven correct or mostly right……..anyway I still ask….Why is Bubba still relevant?

Any ideas?

His educational plan was just another teach for profit scam that all presidents have had since him……..it did nothing to further the educational standards but it sounded good in a speech…..maybe that is it?

Since leaving the office of president he has NEVER been too far from the cameras and he somehow knows how to keep the name out there and a name to be sought out in election time.