What’s Not in the News is a Problem

As President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries in the region begins, his staff is working double time in convincing everyone that there are no tensions outside the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went so far as to say no one else in the rest of the world is even remotely interested nor do they have time to watch what is “happening domestically here”. That’s not exactly true. There are many reasons for more than a few countries to pay attention to U.S. actions.

North Korea

Today, Tillerson is trying to convince North Korea to  “trust the U.S.” and that we intend to keep a promise of no hostility. Tillerson also is trying to convince those leaders to “refrain from conducting anymore nuclear or missile tests so as to create the right atmosphere for talks”.

Also this week, Russia decided to ignore Trump’s call to tighten sanctions against North Korea. While many countries happily obliged, Russia decided not to. A weekly ferry service between Rajin, a North Korean port, and Vladivostock, a city in Russia begins in days.

Syria/Russia

I think it’s important to note the lack of any coverage from the media regarding yesterday’s U.S. strike against the Syrian Army. Both Syria and Russia are fuming.  Russia’s Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov made it clear, “This is totally unacceptable; it is a violation of Syrian sovereignty. Of course, it does not help the political process”.

Another Russian leader, Senator Konstantin Kosachev, said:

(The English translation isn’t shown on some apps, so I’ve included a screenshot below as well)

Turkey

Before Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan arrived here earlier this week, he too had harsh words for Trump’s decisions. Last week, Trump decided to provide arms to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units. The U.S. policy that allowed this to happen is rarely used, mostly because the U.S. hasn’t had any reason to aggressively confront Turkey. The Kurdish group is considered to be a terrorist organization by Turkey, though Trump clearly disagrees. Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reiterated his country’s stance and said that it would be wise for the United States to reverse its decision, or else, “The consequences will bring negative outcomes, not only for Turkey but also for America.”

This week, Erdogan was in the U.S. to meet with Trump. The protests outside the White House turned violent and Erdogan watched his own people attack American protesters. In all fairness, he couldn’t exactly make his way to the street brawls and order them to stop no more than Trump could have. It’s the quiet contentment that is so remarkable.

Between these ongoing problems, and there are more, coupled with problems here in the U.S., my guess is Trump’s feeling like a fish out of water. The attention he’s receiving isn’t what he had in mind once he donned the U.S. President cap.

We’re Broke as the Ten Commandments, but Here’s a Few Billion

capture-20151104-010014The State Department released a presser this weekend on its commitment to the “prosperity, sovereignty, stability, and security of the five Central Asian countries as well as a vision of regional economic connectivity through its New Silk Road initiative.” This assistance includes programs over the next several years to increase these countries’ employment, economic efforts and exports.

Here’s the problem, and it’s one not everyone wishes to delve too far because they worry the questions make them look out of the loop or uneducated somehow. Why are we sending so much money to other countries when our own country is drowning due to a lack of the very same programs we’re furnishing the world? Now, in the past, anytime a question like this was posed, it was met with patronizing answers such as, “It’s just the way things are. It’s part of an intricate political and financial system that’s been in place for years and it benefits the United States as much as it does our partner countries.” Most people would leave it at that, even though that’s the most ridiculous answer “non-answer” ever presented. That’s no longer an acceptable answer. How long are we going to allow this to be enough?

Earlier this year, I wrote about Vice President Joe Biden’s efforts of securing at least $1 billion in aid for the three countries that were sending people to our borders. He’d published an op ed in March asking for $1 billion so that we can save Central America from itself. It read, in part:

“The president and I are determined to address conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and help these countries on their path to economic prosperity. To that end, we requested $1 billion in next year’s budget to help Central America’s leaders make the difficult reforms and investments required to put the region on a more stable and sustainable path.”

We’ve heard nothing else about it and so far, I’ve not been able to find specifics in the newly-approved budget, though it was approved.

To most of us, it’s simple: we don’t give money to people when we can’t pay our own bills. Somehow, those we’ve elected don’t seem to mind giving away money that’s first, not theirs to give and second, that we can’t cover.

These countries are taking money to improve their own infrastructures; they want to improve employment opportunities, foreign trade policies, growth opportunities and their own political/monetary shortcomings. They want your money to do it. Our politicians are happy to oblige, even as our own structures are falling apart. Make no mistake – things are getting hokey.

Donald Trump today accused Janet Yellen of deliberately keeping interest rates low as a favor to Obama. He just said what the rest are afraid to say. Tonight, he’s being accused of alienating his own party. Now, granted, he’s a loudmouth and as my mom says, “He lets his bulldog mouth overload his jaybird ass”, but it doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Let’s take it a step further:

Many companies, especially those in the energy sectors, hired on management personnel with packages that include stock options. These companies know that they’re heading into dark times and so far, we’ve seen layoffs of hourly workers. It hasn’t seemed to affect our unemployment numbers because they’re quietly going about the business of cutting heads a few at a time and in some instances, hiding behind furloughs versus reporting them as layoffs. Now, though, the tough economic times are sticking around, especially with lower oil prices. These companies want to carefully time the layoffs in such a way that they can cut their costs further by ensuring the stocks are low enough to lay off those with stock plans without it affecting their profits. It’s all about the timing. For those who have stock options as part of their employment packages, get ready: let the stock prices guide you into when the next shoe falls.

No one – and I mean no one – is talking about why the Middle East is holding up so well with their determination of higher output of oil. We keep hearing, “It can’t go on much longer.” Here’s a clue: the United States is not the only country that’s fracking. Saudi has been fracking for quite some time. Let me say that again: The Saudis are fracking. There is no way in hell OPEC would put itself out there and call the bluff of the U.S. without knowing it could sustain its efforts long enough to serve its purposes. For those insisting that OPEC countries can’t hold out for much longer are either lying or have money at stake that they’re not ready to concede.

It’s now time to no longer allow ourselves to be hushed with patronizing answers to questions like, “Why are we sending money to nations to improve their economies while we’re worried about our own?” They can sugarcoat it, complicate it, present intricate economic formulas to justify their reasons – it does not change the fact that it is wrong. Haven’t we had enough? How long are we going to take the word of elected officials or financial pundits who have their pride at stake?

Look back over the past year alone:

In September, I wrote:

First, if the Fed finally makes a move and raises interest, it makes the exports moot. The U.S. will not be able to compete with the other countries because it will increase the value of the U.S. dollar. It will also send oil prices tanking yet again – which by now, the damage is so heavy, the exports aren’t going to do much to improve the situation anyway and will likely result in more job losses.

(Remember, the State Department announced two days ago we’re sending money to those Asian countries to help with their exports).

In September, I wrote:

Iran unveiled a new surface-to-surface missile that can hit its targets with “pin-point accuracy” within a range of 310 miles. Iranian President Rouhani had a message for the west, too, “We will buy, sell and develop any weapons we need and we will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution for that.” This comment was made during the unveiling ceremony on live TV. This weapon’s now in mass production.

(Remember, Obama invited Iran to sit in on the meeting last week regarding the crisis in Syria. Iran was gracious enough to lay aside its efforts of annihilating the U.S. long enough to attend the meeting).

In July, I wrote:

We know that Russia is looking for better solutions now that the U.S. has tried to sanction it off the map. You’d think Putin would be working magic to take advantage of the weakness Greece now is showing – and you’d be right.

(Those better solutions are now coming to light. Russia is buying Greece in a classic real estate buy frenzy. Why? It’s simple: Moscow has to maintain its strong relationship with Greece and boost their military power in the eastern Mediterranean to ensure a stable strategic balance. Read about it here.)

Until we’re presented with choices that include no loyalty to anyone but the voters, we’re going to continue to see these no-win situations play out at our expense. This is absolutely not what this nation is built on, yet, in a blink of an eye from a time perspective, our entire national dynamic has shifted and if change doesn’t come soon, we’re setting up a dark future for our children and our grandchildren.

It’s Time for Geopolitical Crises to Become U.S. Priority

Never before have there been so many simultaneous problems around the world that the U.S. is either indifferent to or clueless that it’s even happening.

Going back just three weeks, take a look at what’s been unfolding right under our noses.

August 23– Iran unveiled a new surface-to-surface missile that can hit its targets with “pin-point accuracy” within a range of 310 miles. Its name is Fateh 313. Iranian President Rouhani had a message for the west, too, “We will buy, sell and develop any weapons we need and we will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution for that.” This comment was made during the unveiling ceremony on live TV. Rouhani then said not only had the missile been successfully and extensively tested, but that it’s headed into mass production.

Remember, the nuclear deal hasn’t been finalized, which, to Iran, means it’s under no obligation until capture-20150906-170659everyone’s signed off on it (and maybe not even then). While the politicians continue with their ongoing temper tantrums, this is what Iran’s been up to.

The same day Iran made its announcement, China conducted its fourth, and possibly final test of what some say is the most dangerous nuclear weapon developed to date. The DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, can easily hit the U.S. China is secretive; so much so that a year ago, the U.S. believed this phase of the development was only in the planning stages.

Also in late August, Russia and China conducted many military drills in the Sea of Japan. While it doesn’t take much to figure out the common denominator between these two countries, this bilateral naval exercise had one purpose: to warn the U.S. This isn’t the first time the two countries have come together; in fact, they’ve been performing these military exercises for years. The difference this time is they’ve ramped it up significantly. It’s been called an “unprecedented show of military cooperation”.

Late last week, we learned the final signatures are in place for that massive $400 billion gas and oil deal between Russia and China.

We all know about the Russian bombers coming within 45 miles of the west coast on the 4th of July. But two days ago, one of Russia’s vessels was seen off the coast of Georgia, right where our nuclear submarines are stationed. While Russia’s trolling the east coast, China has at least 5 ships off the Alaskan coast. Think about that for a second. Both our east and west coasts are being compromised by Russian and Chinese military.

Late Friday, there was talk of possible U.S. sanctions for China as early as this month. It’s no secret that China and Russia have hackers who quickly obtained the kind of information that could be catastrophic to Americans. The Los Angeles Times says the two are “aggressively aggregating and cross-indexing hacked U.S. computer databases—including security clearance applications, airline records and medical insurance forms—to identify U.S. intelligence officers and agents.”

Let’s not forget Syria. From Natasha Bertrand:

While the US has been selling the Iran deal to Congress, Iranian military mastermind Qassem Suleimani violated a UN travel ban by visiting Moscow to speak with officials.

Russia appears to be taking advantage of the fact that, while US officials condemn Assad’s barrel bombs, chlorine bombs, and strategy of acting as an air force for the Islamic State, the Obama Administration does not seem to be concerning itself with the Syrian regime.

The reality is these countries have already compromised us as a nation. China’s manipulating its own currency to the point that it affects our markets. Autopilot with wild fluctuations is one way to describe it. OPEC has accomplished its objectives to a large degree, as evidenced by tanking prices in the energy sector and both Russia and China are so close to our shores that it’s scary. As far as OPEC pulling back, don’t count on it. There is no way the cartel would have set this up only to bail at this late stage and when the grand plan is beginning to pay off. Saudi has something the U.S. doesn’t: cash. It can hold out far longer than they’d have us believe.

Greece: Superpowers (and Others) Observing from a Distance

As the Greek “no-win game plan” plays out on the world stage, many are wondering why both the United States and Russia are, for the most part, watching quietly from the sidelines. The argument could be made (and has) that Greece is miniscule in both size and its ability to wreak havoc on a global level. That’s terribly shortsighted and frankly, when has the U.S. ever stood by and simply watched from a distance? For that matter, when has Russia?

With so many events playing out simultaneously, attention gets focused and refocused. It’s easy to feel as though nothing is ever resolved as we constantly turn our attention to the latest breaking news.

The question is: who will really benefit, no matter the outcome? Who knows – but there are a few facts that could be playing a big role in how these decisions are made.

Russia

We know that Russia is looking for better solutions now that the U.S. has tried to sanction it off the map. You’d think Putin would be working magic to take advantage of the weakness Greece now is showing – and you’d be right.

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Greece and Russia have teamed up for the latest pipeline project going through Turkey. Honestly, I couldn’t figure out why Greece didn’t simply bail on the negotiations and leave the Eurozone for Russia’s open arms. Putin’s already said he’s willing to write a check, and let’s face it, Greece gets no respect from its European partners. Proof of that is found in the almost-sad way it’s being treated in these negotiations.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ is now facing a reality that includes his own people feeling as though he sold them out. Even his wife threatened to leave him if he caved. Less than one week later – he caved.

Why would he risk losing everything for a deal that serves no good purpose for his country? The truth is, Germany, France and the others have a lot at stake, too, yet they’re playing hardball on a deal that is pretty much a list of “granted wishes” by Greece. So why is Tsipras being treated like a red-headed stepchild when he’s caved to all of their demands? Maybe this will help:

Greece has the power to veto any Russian sanctions the EU wishes to dole out.

Maybe Tsipras loses more than his country’s faith and his marriage if he doesn’t try to remain where he is, even if it does mean a worse deal in the short term.

Germany

Angela Merkel has her hands full. She and her country’s leaders want Greece ejected. But why? They say Greece is lazy and untrustworthy, but is that really enough for Germany to take such a tough stance?  Russia and Germany have always had a love/hate relationship. Just last month, Germany accused Russia of stockpiling nukes near Russia’s borders. The fact that any one partner can veto anything the EU proposes is probably a bit uncomfortable for Germany, especially considering this slow dance with Russia and knowing Greece and Russia are partners in oil.

Former (as of last week) Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, wrote on Friday:

Based on months of negotiation, my conviction is that the German finance minister wants Greece to be pushed out of the single currency to put the fear of God into the French and have them accept his model of a disciplinarian eurozone.

It’s walking a fine line laid out by Putin, but it also knows that a partner with the power to veto sanctions against Russia is not something any of the countries wish to tackle.

Makes sense. France has the same veto power as Greece. And speaking of France:

France

This is a country with leaders who’ve been busy. President Hollande took the position of bucking Germany and Angela Merkel in order to take Greece’s side. French leaders have spent a significant amount of time in the past 24 hours “oohing and ahhhing” over the latest proposal set forth by Tsipras and encouraging other countries – and most certainly Germany – to follow. France as a cheerleader – who’d have thought?

Adding to this: France is pressuring the United States to close a deal with Iran. French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, said just today, “Now that everything is on the table, the moment has come to decide.”

I don’t reckon that serenade with James Taylor earlier this year had the effect Kerry was hoping for.

Maybe France is still angry at the U.S. for forcing it to cancel its contract with Russia regarding its Mistral program this past November. It was a big contract for France, but it did not bode well with us and a few other countries.

Russia, surprisingly enough, negotiated with the country and ended up with a deal that simply allowed for a refund to Russia. That’s generous, considering the massive contractual dynamics that France annihilated and the realization that Russia could have made things extraordinarily hard for France. But maybe there were a few promises made that could place Russia in a strategic position in the very near future, especially if Grexit comes full circle.

Iran

Iran doesn’t have a dog in the hunt with Greece/Europe battle, but it does play a role in the very near future, especially if Greece leaves EU.

Iran is vehement in its efforts of convincing those involved in the nuclear talks to lift the UN arms embargo and end the long-standing ban against the missile program. In fact, those are likely the two biggest challenges at this point. Naturally, Russia is in agreement with Iran, which further complicates matters, especially considering the two countries have enjoyed a mutually beneficial nuke program for many years. And let’s not forget, Obama is fine and dandy with Russia holding Iran’s nuke materials as part of the deal. That’s like handing me a freezer full of shrimp and telling me not to cook it. That shrimp is going to get cooked!

But there’s another reason Russia and Iran are acting more like BFFs. In BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), U.S. sanctions play no role at all. This could mean that Iran, if the new agreement falls through (or even if they don’t), can still bypass any sanctions and keep its product in the market. Iran has already stated on more than a few occasions over the past few years that it wants to join BRICS. While Greece couldn’t become a full member at this time, it can benefit from the many advantages BRICS provides.

“Iran supports the BRICS group and is prepared for membership and presence in BRICS’ fund.”

– Iran’s Deputy Economy Minister Behrouz Alishiri

And then there’s this little gem from two years ago: BRICS leaders released a statement after one of its summits:

“We are concerned about threats of military action as well as unilateral sanctions, and hope that all outstanding issues relating to Iran’s nuclear programme will be resolved through discussions and diplomatic means. We believe there is no alternative to a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, and recognize Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its international obligations.”

Russia has at least 33 nuclear reactors and India has nearly as many while Brazil and South Africa have two or three nuclear reactors each.

Yet, Iran is the country that leaders say is the threat on the nuclear front. And God forbid Greece embarrass the EU and make a beeline for the other side that includes nuke supporters.

Finland

Finland is another country that stated it would not vote in favor of Greece’s stay in the EU. This is a small country and while it is part of the EU, really, what could taking a stand against Greece cost the country? Why remain stone silent and at the 11th hour, find your voice? Maybe Russia knows the answer.

For 40 years, the Commission on Security & Cooperation in Europe has hosted a meeting with leaders from many countries, including Russia. This year, however, Russia was uninvited. Russia counted on Finland to take its side by not supporting a travel ban that prevented many of Russia’s delegates to attend. Finland chose not to.

Russia’s response? Nikolai Kovalev made it clear the damage to the relations between Finland and Russia was permanent.

Susanna Turunen, YLE editor, was a bit more definitive in her statements:

“Russia sees the situation differently and is now considering counter measures that could involve further trade sanctions specifically targeting Finland…failure is the inevitable outcome of denying entry of the Russian delegation.”

Unfortunately, Finland is the one country that is 100 percent dependent on Russia for its energy.

Maybe Finland is hedging its bets if Greece is ejected. It could be the one country Russia relies on to veto sanctions in the EU. France certainly can’t do it without massive repercussions.

By the way, the countries in the EU have their energy needs met by Russia. In fact, more than half of its energy comes from Russia. It’s like a game of chess for Putin.

Russian expert and economist Edward Lucas sums it up:

If you rely on Russia for your oil reserves, or for a big proportion of your sales, you turn yourself willy-nilly into a hostage. The demands may not be conspicuous. They may not come immediately. But just as water flows downhill, so the power of the Kremlin finds the weakest spot and exploits it.

United States
So now we know why Russia is, for the most part, taken a passive position. But what about the U.S? What is Obama doing?

Well, he’s freeing federal prisoners right after an NAACP luncheon focused on the disproportionate number of men and women of color who are incarcerated.

Oh, and he’s also “integrating races into wealthy communities”. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up.

He’s creating new national monuments.

Basically, it looks as though “the leader of the free world is indulging in a week of summer vacation” but wrapping it up delightfully as a strategic move in case a deal is struck with Iran.

6 Things that Prove “All Hell’s Done Broke Loose”

In one of the most powerful scenes in American film history, Spencer Tracy’s character’s Matt Drayton unleashed one of those rare and poignant and perfect speeches that forever change the way you see things in the real world. If you’ve never seen “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, you should. Trust me – it’s so much more than a film about race relations. Not only that, but it was Spencer Tracy’s last film.  His epic speech to his family and the family of his daughter’s fiancé begins with a quote from his housekeeper, Tillie (played beautifully by Isabel Sanford), when asked how the day was. She said, “All hell’s done broke loose.”

And has it! Today’s been one of those days when you ask yourself if you’re not in some vintage episode of Twilight Zone. Here are six examples that prove that sentiment. More importantly, they’re proof that we should pay attention to what’s next.

Greece’s Irrelevancy

Oh, that silly Obama. This afternoon, the White House said the Greek debt crisis is “no major or direct threat to the economy because exposure to Greece’s economy is small”. He makes me laugh and here’s why:

The Dow closed 350 points down today (albeit it’s probably just a fluke out of panic).

If Greece exits the Eurozone, there’s a very real possibility that it will take other countries with it.

It could also affect our job market because of our relationships with other countries. We have healthy exporting agreements in place and if those are threatened, it could start a domino effect beginning with job losses.

Puerto Rico

I admit, I’ve always been a bit confused about what Puerto Rico is to the United States. Is it or isn’t it a part of our country? It’s a Commonwealth and the U.S. Congress is its government. Those who call Puerto Rico home are our fellow Americans; in fact, the count is close to 5 million Americans. And the country’s broke…as in “Greece broke”.

Remember back in March when Vice President Biden launched a campaign to help Central America to the tune of $1 billion? (You can read my post here)? He said, “The president and I are determined to address conditions in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and help these countries on their path to economic prosperity.”

Generous, right? Obviously, if the U.S. is willing to help those countries, then surely we’d help our own fellow Americans. You’d be wrong.

Today, Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, told the media that no one in the government is planning on bailing out Puerto Rico.

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An hour later, we hear that the White House is continuing to insist that Puerto Rico’s government must “resolve its own issues”. Well, that solves everything, right? Except for the fact that they forgot who its government is. It’s us. We’re its government.

Belarus Who?

While all eyes are focused on Greece, there’s a small country that’s managed to stay under the radar for quite some time. This past December, Belarus went into full panic mode, even if much of the world was clueless. When the Russian ruble began spiraling down, it brought with it the Belarussian ruble. The country’s government made across capture-20150630-120559the board changes that included blocking online retailers, news sites, banks and any other website, in or out of the country, that could be a threat to the government. It was known as December Insanity.

Fast forward to today.

Both Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Belarus State Security Chairman Valery Vakulchik, reiterated to its citizens that there are no threats or concerns to worry about, just as they invited the KGB for a sit down.  Instead, the invitation was extended “not only because the political situation is complicated or because we are on the eve of a presidential election campaign,” but because of the “activity of our non-friends on western borders has increased too much”. And who’s on the western borders? “The presence of NATO armed forces on the western borders keeps growing while the crime rate on the southern borders is rising.”

Like Greece, it warned its people against panic, which was met with a run on banks in order to secure their savings.

Why is this important? Try this:

Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister, Sergei Storchak, announced his country is considering giving Belarus a loan to refinance its foreign debt. Yes, Russia. The same Russia that’s offering to bail out Greece and the same Russia that just partnered with Greece for that new Turkey pipeline. And by the way – they don’t need Europe or the US. They have their own banks. Remember when everyone said last year that BRICS wouldn’t be a competitor for our systems? They said BRICS needed “smaller” countries that wouldn’t betray the big daddies in the world? Greece is rather small. Just small enough, I’d say. And with the dollar rising, again, the potential for job losses in the U.S. along with the fact that Obama’s hell bent on distancing us from our allies, maybe BRICS is something we should pay attention to. What’s next? Puerto Rico?

ISIS

Did you know 10 Americans have been arrested for involvement with ISIS this month? All ten arrests happened right here in the U.S. That’s like…one American every three days in the month of June who were arrested on American soil for terroristic reasons.

Overtime Pay

So O & Co. is expected to announce sometime on Tuesday that he’s going to make overtime available for millions of Americans. That’s interesting because we already have laws that govern overtime pay for Americans. Could this have something to do with the number of illegal immigrants in this country? We’ll see. If that’s true, here’s a suggestion to Puerto Rico: jump from the Caribbean to Mexico. Go north and sooner or later, you’ll hit a border. Just tell the guys that you’re coming into this country with no documentation. They’ll hook you up (because they have to) and send you right where you need to go.

Donald Trump

We’ve complained forever about politicians who will walk two miles to tell a lie but won’t take two steps for the truth. Who would’ve thought Donald Trump would deliver that truth? You have to admit there’s something behind the ego, which is a surprise to most everyone. Considering I’m always bitching about lying politicians, I am totally loving this “in your face” approach.

“If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court. They will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be.”

So, there it is. Six stand alone events – any number of them can coincide with the other and change everything. Imagine Donald Trump being elected because of his inability to bite his tongue when it comes to Obama announcing new rules on overtime. Imagine that – American business owners being told what to do. Last time I saw that, it was on an episode of Law & Order; except it was the mob forcing a small business owner to bend to his will.

I looked high and low for a clip of Tillie’s famous “All hell’s done broke loose” line. Couldn’t find it – but here’s the beautiful scene with Sidney Poitier and his father, played by Roy Glenn. Do yourself a favor: see the film!

This Crazy Week: Choose Carefully What Matters

I’d decided earlier this week to steer clear of some of the events that were really heating up on many political, legal and societal fronts. I’m still taking heat from a few of my previous posts, which is OK, but trust me – I stand by everything I say and write. The beauty of that is I live in a country that allows me to do that.

I had a couple of emails this morning, including one from a client, asking me when I intended to write about the evils of same sex marriage. It’s difficult to give the one sentence statement I want to give.

For me, it’s simple: live and let live. I don’t give a rat’s ass who’s cracking whom, who’s marrying whom or who’s getting a divorce. If you know me, you already know I’ve had two failed marriages. I’m hardly the one to take a stand either way on the beauties of marriage. But, there are a few things I can take a stand on because they do affect me.

Facebook is loaded with twisted scripture from the Bible, accusations that same sex marriage was allowed because Christians did not stand up and demand it not pass and promises that the world’s coming to an end any second now. I don’t know who’s going to burn in hell for their choices made in this life, but we’re all going to have to answer for all of our sins. I’ve said it before: I’ll do me, and you do you. I know I won’t have to answer for passing judgment and spreading hate regarding someone else’s sexual identification. If I believe that everything happens for a reason and what’s meant to be will be (and I do believe this), and that everything passes in God’s time, then how can anyone claim to know God’s reasons?

My point is: we’re divided enough in this nation. What’s dividing us are opinions. Nothing more. I’ve got a newsflash for you – we don’t get a say, not really, with the decisions being made on our behalf in this country. If our opinions mattered, we’d have a unified Congress. We hear the politicians griping about the illegal actions of this Administration, yet the most they do is threaten their political enemies…on social media, no less. How many times have we heard different politicians demanding impeachment procedures against someone outside their party? Daily, right? Yet nothing is ever done. They’re griping and listening to their constituents, yet they are also the ones who can make it happen. But what do we hear as their response? Crickets. We hear crickets.

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Rusty Weiss, Political Insider

We are divided in ways we shouldn’t. Why are we turning on each other when the ones making the wrong decisions are behind closed doors and on tables piled with cash? When did we decide it’s better to do war on Twitter and Facebook with each other than look to the root of the real problem? It’s not us against us; it should be us united and demanding answers. Instead, we show our fear with ridiculous posts on social media. Ask any psychologist: anger is often nothing more than fear. Once we realize that, things become clearer.

mississippiSo, back to my point: I won’t be posting on the evils or benefits of same sex marriage. I do not care. What I do care about, however, is the possibility of being told I can’t fly my state’s flag in Mississippi. I do care about being forced to buy insurance I cannot afford and I do care that there are actually people out there who want me to surrender my guns. I do care about Russia and Greece partnering on the Turkish pipeline (that’s happened, but we’ve not felt the repercussions of that yet. Oh, and by the way, pay attention to BRICS angle in the coming weeks and months). I do care about overhearing an oil man in a conference say, “Hell, a terrorist attack might not be so damn bad. At least it’ll drive oil prices up.” And I do care about the fact that we’ve already seen a shooting of a co-worker from an employee who’d just been laid off from a job in the oil sector in Houston. I care because it’s just beginning and it will affect me and you and anyone else in this nation. Who you get in bed with each night matters none to me. The last time I cared about someone getting in bed with someone else, I realized my then-husband was cheating. So no, I don’t care.

It’s all about priorities.

How’s This for an Ethical Entanglement?

For a while now, we’ve been hearing about Americans who are stranded and abandoned in Yemen. We’ve heard how they feel as though they’re forgotten and have lost faith that help would come in time to evacuate them to safety. Indeed, O & Co made it clear that there were no plans to rescue them. It seems like a no-brainer: the drunk monkeys in Washington should evacuate Americans pronto, right? Not so fast.

On Friday, our favorite State Department clueless robot, Marie Harf was asked why efforts weren’t being made to rescue these American citizens. At one point, a journalist at the presser asked her, “What do you encourage those Americans to do, swim?” Leave it to Harf to stand with an empty stare as she struggles to find an answer, even as stranded Americans were hiring small motorboats to pick them up and make a dangerous trek through the Red Sea to safety. The State Department even emailed the 400-plus Americans and told them to find their own way out of the country via boats to Djibouti. It quickly rescinded that suggestion since it was a wide open invitation for terrorists to attack.

So why hasn’t the U.S. stepped up to the plate? There have been adamant warnings from the State Department regarding travel to Yemen for 15 years – yes, FIFTEEN YEARS.

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As if that weren’t enough of a red flag, even after the State Department closed our embassy in Yemen in February, they still chose to stay, even though they were warned of the growing “terrorist activities and civil unrest”.

Here’s the moral and ethical question: Should the U.S. attempt an evacuation/rescue at this point, even though they chose to stay?

Turns out, it’s a question that doesn’t need an answer because Russia….yes, Russia…just rescued not only the American citizens, but several British citizens as well.

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This is just a guess, but I’m pretty sure that’s going to cost us big in the near future:

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