Category Archives: Politics

Fighting Obama!

We discovered something important a few days ago about the federal Bureau of Land Management. (Many Americans also discovered the existence of the Bureau of Land Management on the same occasion.) Anyway, the BLM, as it is fondly known in the American West, has snipers in its ranks. For some of our overseas friends: a sniper is a specially trained rifleman or woman with a super-powerful weapon who can kill someone at long distance, often with a single shot. The discovery took place on the occasion of a confrontation about a few hundred cattle between the BLM and the cattle’s owners.

That A.. H… Putin had better not try anything illegal or immoral to American cows. The dictator of Russia is now reconsidering his aggressiveness. The Obama administration wins another one!

Unequal Pay: For Women Only – Part Two (There really is a Part One.)

Editor’s note: this old essay by Dr Delacroix might be worth reading in tandem with this article. It’s titled “Sasquatch and Liberal Academe.”

I agreed in Part One of this essay that there may be a small average pay difference of five percentage points between employed American women and men. It’s possible that even after you take into account all the facts mentioned before, lower education, less seniority, lesser presence in well paid industries, women, on the average, earn 95 cents on men’s one dollar. (That’s also on the average.) I agreed that this may be evidence of discrimination against women in the work place. But is it the obvious explanation? Is it the only explanation? Is it even credible at all?

There is a reason this is an essay for women only. I want to help you evoke forbidden topics, topics never or rarely approached in the social sciences or in the newspapers. It’s time to muster everything you know about your sisters, ladies; we are going into taboo territory!

I am not a woman myself but I have had occasion in my 30-year teaching career to observe hundreds of women. I have also observed women in various workplaces in two countries. What follows is not (NOT) supported by any study.* It’s a thinking exercise about what I suspect you know. See if it jibes.

Female students obtain better grades than male students in college. However, they don’t get to good grades the same way. Males take more risks, on the average. In my observation, for example, they are many times more likely to wing it than their female fellow students. In general (on the average), males are more forceful, much more likely than women to demand their due (even when nothing is due to them at all).

If you don’t ask for a raise, often, you don’t get one. If you are timid about organizing, you will earn less than those who are well represented by unions. Is it possible that women, on the average…. (Finish the sentence) and that this would account for the remaining possible five percentage pay differential between women workers and their male counterparts. Is it possible?

I have personally seen a few cases of discrimination against women workers. They consisted in creating work conditions that would make it difficult for the targeted employee to produce a work performance that would make raises likely. (Poisoning the water.) As I said, I have only seen a few cases perhaps fewer than ten. Every single time, the discriminator was a female supervisor. Perhaps, my limited experience is atypical. Or is it? What do you think? Do women in positions of power ever persecute other women? Often? Seldom? Never?

Now, I want to talk briefly about productivity in a manner that is especially proscribed in polite society. I think I have observed hundreds of time that women in a group with an assigned task spend large amounts of time in activities that seem unrelated to the task. Women tend to socialize at length where it’s not called for. The socialization often includes plotting against one another and excluding some. Perhaps the socializing is a kind of disarmament conference without which work cannot even proceed. Again, those are a subjective observations possibly based on women who are somehow different, not representative, different from the average. What do you think?

Here is what I observed when teaching, specifically. Most of what follows is based on teaching the same, clearly elite class every winter for 22 years. The classes were small and they involved important group projects. The projects were done mostly in class. The sample these 22 classes give us is obviously biased, unrepresentative. It’s biased because it was composed of students markedly superior to the run-of-the-mill student. The women in that class were probably more productive than most female undergraduates (and than most male undergraduates as well).

Here is what I saw: Insofar as it’s observable, groups of males engaged in a collective task, achieved the same results as women with considerably less time expenditure than women. It’s as if a straight A cost guys three hours, and women nine hours. (Those numbers are subjective, of course. I am holding myself back; I wouldn’t be surprised if the gap in time investment were wider.)

Is it possible that my observation is not in some way nullified by bias? Is it possible that what I think I have observed in connection with the time cost of doing something is somehow related to the earlier observation that women tend to socialize when doing so does not appear to contribute to the accomplishment of the task ? You decide.

My informal observations are surely not (NOT) equivalent to a formal, rigorous study. This does not mean that I should keep quiet about them. If they don’t ring a bell with your experience, ignore them. If they do, maybe it’s worth thinking about alternative explanations to the widespread belief in the general existence of uncalled for, arbitrary discrimination against female workers. Keep in mind that, at this point, we are talking about a five percentage point differential; we are considering 95 cents on the dollar, not the president’s 77 cents.

Now, let me switch angles of vision a little bit. The actual, residual difference between women’s and men’s remunerations after you have accounted for the obvious factor, (Part One of this essay.) is so imprecise that it leaves open the possibility that women earn more than men in the same jobs.** Again, I am frankly wading into the subjective and I am inviting you to wade in with me.

During thirty years of teaching, there were about ten times when I fielded female students’ complaints that they were discriminated against in some fashion just for being female. That was always in my role as an adviser rather than as a classroom teacher.

Every time, I would ask the complaining student if it were not possible that she was angry because her male counterparts seemed to be getting grades they did not deserve according to her judgment. I will let you guess what answers I received to this particular query.

Then, I would look the student straight in the eyes and I would propose the following hypothetical:

Suppose you are completely right, suppose the instructor discriminated against you simply for being female, let me ask you: Has it ever happened in your whole life that you got an undeserved pass just because you were a girl?

I did not have the presence of mind to keep exact tabs, of course, but I can’t remember a single time when the conversation did not dissolve into a smile!

Adding subjectivity to subjectivity, doing it consciously, I would guess that male instructors by and large prefer female students. They are less likely than males to be grossly disruptive; they are nicer; they are more polite; they smell better. (It matters in a room of forty in June.) Female students also often flirt with the teacher in unconsciously charming ways. (Disclosure: I am married to a former student.)

Would these behaviors tend to cause male instructors to treat female students negatively? Women instructors?

Maybe this is all my own private self-delusion. Maybe this preference for women employees does not exist in the workplace, as a far as male supervisors and male decision makers are concerned. Or maybe, I am not that deluded, or maybe males in positions of power have a built-in preference for female subordinates as much as they do for female students. How surprising would that be?

Take my case, for example: My mother was a woman, my daughter is a woman, my granddaughter is female, my sisters are female. They all love me, without exception. I addition, I am married to a woman. She cooks for me, very well, almost every day; she does my laundry (even when I don’t want her to); I talk with her more than I do with anyone else on earth. When times are tough, she is always, every single time, in my corner. I don’t want to get X-rated but it’s also true that 100% of my sexual satisfaction, in my whole life, was somehow connected to women. (Like many California men, I also have an ex-wife somewhere but she does not cause me any grief. I am lucky; she just moved on instead of exacting a just revenge.)

Is my experience different from that of most or all men? Did they have male mothers? Were their sisters guys? Are they all married to other men who love them and spoil them? Is a very high percentage homoerotic? You see my point.

Is it possible also that a lifetime bath of estrogen predisposed me to a positive bias toward women or, is it more likely that all these good treatment left me prejudiced to the point where….

…to the point where I would take care- with someone else’s money, most of the time – to pay female employees only 95 cents when I pay their men colleagues a full dollar for the same work?

Or, alternatively, is it possible that my unchecked, unthoughtful, mindless tendency is to treat them better and to pay them more, say, $1.05 to males’ $1.00 ?

When you take a sketch and you take the trouble to draw in all the details, often suddenly, you come to see that you misunderstood or mis-perceived the meaning of the original sketch.

Three big questions to finish.

If the good research (that I did not do) confirmed my speculation that women may earn on the average one dollar and five cents ($1.05) to men’s one dollar would there be big demonstrations to protest the disparity? Would anyone have the nerve to initiate legislation to close the pay gap by force? What do you believe?

Discrimination against women in any way, shape or form has been illegal in this country since 1964. Is there any one who thinks that if legislation has been inoperative for fifty years, unable to correct (alleged) pay discrimination against women, more legislation under a weakened president, imposed on a deeply divided nation will now solve the problem? This is a real question. Please, answer it in your own mind.

And if it were possible to pay women less for equal work, with the same quality of workplace attention, the same performance, the same results, isn’t it true that a rational hiring policy would require discrimination against men? If this were true, all employers would try to limit labor costs by hiring only women until there were no more women available for hiring in the relevant pool. Or is there some magic male solidarity that trumps everything, including business competition and the search for profits?

By the way, the last time I looked, in the USA, women had most of the wealth and most of the votes. (If it’s not true anymore, I don’t worry; someone will surely correct me.) Why don’t women, on the average, use their votes and their financial resources to erase the pay differential, to turn the 77 cents into at least one dollar?

Here is my stake in all this. First, I detest government policy based on lies and on deviousness. Second, my daughter is rearing her own daughter alone. The last thing I want is that my adored granddaughter should be cheated because her mother is being short-changed on her paycheck merely for being a woman. Are other men different? Am I a brilliant and inimitable exception?

Some stories have been told so long and so often that people don’t think of subjecting them to even the slightest of reality checks. The 77 cents on the dollar story does not stand up to scrutiny. It’s a purely political story designed to keep alive an artificial sense of grievance in an important segment of the electorate.

The 77 cents on the dollar story exploits women. It’s insulting.

A good tale to finish, the second funny thing that any feminist ever said:

Ginger Roger was Fred Astaire’s dancing performer for twenty or thirty years. The couple dominated movie screens in the forties and fifties and beyond. Fred was more famous than his partner, Ginger. At one point, irritated by the fuss over her partner, Ginger is said to have declared,

“I did everything Fred did backward and in high heels!”

* Such studies are practically proscribed in academia. If they were not, their findings would be boycotted by major journals. Political correctness reigns where it shouldn’t exist at all. Nevertheless, there are a few brave academic researchers who venture where no one is supposed to tread. Most are women.

** In the early 2000s, black women earned more, on average than black men. The case I pose to you is thus not completely absurd or imaginary. I don’t know if this disparity continued after the crisis beginning in 2008. It does not matter. I just wanted to impress on you that women sometimes earn more than men.

Unequal Pay: For Women Only – Part One.

American women who work for wages or a salary, on the average, earn 77 cents when American men earn one (1) dollar, also on the average.

You have to be careful of averages. They are not naturally vicious but they are often used to deceive. That is, people routinely overestimate themselves and don’t slow down enough to understand what they are seeing and hearing when an average is mentioned.

Here is a little practice exercise: Suppose all women who lack education beyond high school quit work completely. (They might go on welfare or they might find hard working husbands, maybe currently illegal immigrants – Not a bad idea actually, if I say so myself!) If this happened, what would become to the 77 cents on the dollar?

(The answer is several paragraphs below.)

Consider also that “on the average” means, of course, that there are many women who earn more money than many men, women in government, for example. Take the female toll-takers at the Golden Gate Bridge, for example. They earn about $100,000 a year for very low-skill work. They thus earn much more than male cable-television technicians who do things most of us don’t even know enough to think about. (There are female cable technicians of course, but that’s not the point, right now.) That’s compatible with the 77 cents on the dollar figure.

That women earn on the average 77 cents when men earn a full dollar speaks of rampant and rank discrimination against women where it matters most, the workplace. Or does it?

Below are some relevant facts that all of President Obama’s economic employers know. I mean that the facts are so well-known that it’s inconceivable that they don’t know them.

  • Fact: On the average, working women have less education and less seniority than men. That’s on the average.

As it happens levels of pay, in many industries depend largely on seniority (rightly or wrongly). Access to the best paid jobs in a given industry also depends much on level of education. Access to superior and well-paid jobs also often depends on achieving seniority. That’s a double-whammy on low education!

Answer to the question near the beginning of this essay: If women who had no college dropped out of the workforce, female workers would, on the average, suddenly have higher educational achievement. Then, the average pay of women nation-wide would go up. If all the women with no college education dropped out of the workforce, the 77 cents on the dollar would immediately disappear. I don’t know what the resulting number would be; it might be 80 cents on the dollar, or 90 cents on the dollar. What is certain is that it would be a higher, better number.

Repeat: If all the low-skill jobs requiring a modest level of education disappeared all of a sudden, if all the women holding such jobs lost their jobs, the average pay of women, including as compared to me, would immediately go up.

This is not some sort of foggy speculation, it’s an arithmetic certainty.

Similarly, if more women in the workforce had high seniority, the average pay of women nation-wide would also be higher than 77 cents on men’s dollar. Here too, it’s a mathematical certainty although I don’t know by how much the figure would change. This is all by way of remembering what averages mean.

  • Fact: Working women concentrate in economic sectors where wages are historically low.

That’s low wages for both men and women. Sometimes, there are no understandable reason why pay is low in such sectors. Often it’s a sort of historical accident connected with an early union activity in those sectors of the economy. Sometimes there are good direct reasons for the high pay in sectors where women are rare. Blue collar work on oil platforms and commercial fishing are both examples of activities where few women are found. They are also dangerous activities. They are also physically strenuous activities. In those two particular sectors, pay is much higher than it is say, in the health industries, or in retail where many women areemloyed. This means that both men and women employed in fishing and on oil, platforms earn more money than either men or women in many other industries.

The average lower pay of women nationally is at least in part the result of their low participation in these highly paid industries. If there were equal numbers of women in those high-pay sectors as there are men, the national average pay of women would be higher than 77 cents on men’s dollar.

  • Fact: Among those who work forty hours a week or more (“full time”), men work much longer hours than women on the average.

It’s often the case that, other things being equal, those who work longer hours earn more money than those who work shorter hours. They earn more for the total number of hours they work. (They may also be promoted faster but that’s not my point here; one thing at a time.) Incidentally, this is true both for base workers, such as assembly line workers and sales associates, and for so-called “exempt personnel,” personnel in supervisory and management positions. The mechanisms are different, union rules, formal pay scales and government-mandated requirements (think overtime pay), in one case, alleged “merit pay,” on the other. The results are similar: Work more; earn more.

Women earn less money than men on the average than men because they spend less time at work than men do.

Now, close your eyes and let me describe two imaginary workers. One has 25 years of seniority and three years of post-high school education. The same worker is employed in mining. Over the course of a year, this worker puts in 46 hours a week on average.

The second worker has one year of junior college and has been on the same job for eight years. That worker’s occupation is in one of the health industries. Calculated over one year, this second worker puts in 40 hours plus twenty minutes a week on average.

Now, keep your eyes closed and forbid yourself from stereotyping. You don’t know the sex of either imaginary worker. Keep in mind that they may well be of the same sex, for example (for example). One or the other, or something else…

Which of the two fully employed workers do you think earns the most money in one year in actuality?

Which do you think should earn the most money according to your own standard of fairness?

You get my drift?

It turns out that when studies compensate for these important factors, American women’s remunerations are about the same as men’s. That’s still on the average. I wouldn’t be too surprised if you could find a female fisherman with 25 years seniority and a doctorate who earns less money than her husband, a high school dropout who works in a candle shop. The relevant numbers are simply too small to affect comparisons of national averages.

Yes, women earn less than men but it’s not a case of unequal pay for equal work. It’s a case of unequal pay for unequal work.
It’s worth asking why women would heap upon themselves so many of the factors that result in comparatively low pay? I mean low education, low seniority, and working in less generously paying sectors.

You probably have your own hypotheses (plural) about why this is. Let me help with an additional fact:

  • Fact: Women who are not married, have never been married, and have no children earn as much as men. Are you really surprised?

Many other studies confirm what we all already know: Women are the primary caretakers of both home and children by a long, long shot.

The care of children interferes vigorously with women’s ability to reach for higher paid jobs, and with their attention to their paid work, and to their ability to work long hours. It’s that simple.

Women workers fail to accumulate seniority because they quit working earlier and more frequently than men. They tend to move in and out of the workforce; that’s inimical to the accumulation of seniority, of course.

Women workers have less education than men workers, on the average, for slightly (only slightly) more complex reasons. At the lower end of the pay-scale women who work outside the home are not equivalent to men workers in general. For one thing, many low-paid working women, and increasing numbers of them, are single women raising their children alone. But we know that women with lower educational status are more likely to find themselves in that situation than women with more formal education.

Married women with children have on the average, more education than single women with children. Such married women are less likely to be in the workforce at all . Instead, their husbands are. Their husbands’ higher education and seniority enter into the national statistics. Their non-working wives’ also high numbers don’t because they are not in the labor force, precisely.

If all married women joined the labor force, the gap in education between employed men and employed women on average would shrink. It might even vanish altogether.

That would raise women’s average pay nation-wide, although the fate of poor ly educated, low seniority, women employed in badly paying sectors would not improve one bit.

If all married women joined the labor force and stayed in it, employed women’s seniority would equal men’s after a while. That would raise women’s average pay nation-wide.

The pay of women with low seniority would….
(Complete the sentence; this is a test!)


Those who claim the 77 cents on the dollar figure are comparing apples and oranges.

Those in government who do this know the facts. Why are they doing it?

Now, once you have taken account all facts above, the things we already know about different ways in which women and men deal with work, women on the average still earn a little less than men. The difference is much smaller than the difference between 77 and 100 (77 cents and one dollar). Nevertheless, as I write, I think it’s possible to argue that this small difference – maybe something like 5 percentage points – proves some degree of pay discrimination against women.

By the way, I don’t play down at all this kind of pay differential. If you gross $30,000/year, 5% more would be $1,500. Even with standard deductions, that’s a round-trip ticket to someplace, even someplace interesting.

In Part Two of this essay, I will leave the domain of what’s well know, of what the president ought to know, and I will take you with me on a trip of honest, frank speculations about women’s work.

Don’t forget to come back. The best portion is yet to come!

Tech. note: Anyone is welcome to challenge any of the assertions above. Here are the rules I play by: I you give me a general reading assignment, I won’t do it. It’s too easy to waste someone’s time on a wild goose chase. If you don’t bother to say, “Read this because it shows ‘this assertion of yours…’ to be false ,” don’t expect me to make the effort either. Also, evidence that does not come from a respected refereed journal is unlikely to make much of an impression on me.

War criminal Watch: Condoleezza Rice now on dropbox’s board of directors.

Yesterday the company that specializes in remote file sharing announced that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is now on their board of directors.  This is troubling news for a number of reasons.  The first, more pedantic reason, is simply that she played no small role in the deaths of several hundred thousand people throughout the middle east as well as the unnecessary deaths of thousands of US soldiers.  More practically though she was a member of the presidency that pushed the PATRIOT Act and is now working intimately with a company that has access to millions of personal files.

For those of you who do not know the dropbox software essentially allows you to put files in a folder on your PC where they are synced to the “cloud”.  You, or anyone else, are then free to download those files from anywhere in the world as long as you know the link to said file.   It is a handy way to transfer files that may be too large for an E-Mail attachment or that you simply do not trust google having access to.  From this point forward I would question the security of any file transferred with dropbox.

Oh and by the way. Snowden documents from last year state “that it is planning to add Dropbox as a PRISM provider.”  

PRISM, of course, being an NSA program “which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats,”   

How many more “coincidences” that just happen to violate rights, privacy, security and safety are we going to sweep under the rug?

Australia may ban [more] boycotts…

Australia has been in the news quite often in the last year for its new Prime Minister’s controversial legislation that protest groups say put vast areas of Australian nature in threat of destruction.  Environmental issues are one of the more complex issues facing libertarians today.  The vast entanglement of property rights can make explaining those issues to non-libertarians quickly and clearly quite difficult.  Luckily for me the Australian government is currently attempting to assault a far more basic set of rights.  The right to organize, the right to persuade, and the right to spend your money and time how you wish.  We are, as the title implies discussing the right to organize a boycott of a product or products.

The Australian secretary of agriculture Richard Colbeck wants to “remove an exemption for environmental groups from the consumer law ban on so-called “secondary boycotts”.  These secondary boycotts are also illegal in the UK and the United States.  For clarification a secondary action is industrial action by a trade union in support of a strike initiated by workers in another, separate enterprise”.  

Libertarians often find themselves on the wrong side of both environmental and union actions but it is important to remember that liberty also means the freedom to refuse to purchase a product for any reason you can imagine; whether it is because the company that makes the product is partaking in actions you disagree with or because their logo is yellow.

Even though libertarians disagree with the end goals of the hard-line environmentalist movements (namely government control of industry) we cannot forget to support situations like this on principle and also to remember that environmental issues are essentially property rights issues and thus core to libertarian ethics.

Is the Political Left Today’s Conservative Faction?

I tend to think so. I come across more and more anecdotal evidence to support my thesis with each passing day. For example, in my current research on Dutch colonial responses to Javanese political strategies, I came across the following passage by Dutch historian Eduard JM Schmutzer in his 1977 monograph Dutch Colonial Policy and the Search for Identity in Indonesia 1920-1931:

The abuses in government exploitation under the so-called “Cultuurstelsel” (Cultivation System) and the subsequent criticism by humanitarians [...] made the liberals aware that new methods for the exploitation of the East Indies and for the development of its inhabitants were to be found. In contrast to the conservatives who maintained that the central role of government in economic life was necessary to protect the natives against the overpowering influence of private capital, the liberals argued that the doctrine of free enterprise and its beneficial laws of unrestrained capital and labor market, promised in Indonesia an increase in the sagging production and an improvement in the welfare of the natives. Both conditions [free capital and labor markets - bc], the liberals maintained, would be to the advantage of the population at home and abroad.

However, the channeling of capital into the structure of government monopolies by private investors did not result in the expected increase per capita productivity [Ya don't say? - bc]. (1)

The emphasis is mine. Can anybody name any factions in today’s world that advocate restraining private capital in the name of (condescendingly) protecting those who are too stupid to know what to do with their own money?

Anybody at all?

Needless to say, the liberals lost those important colonial policy battles of the late nineteenth century (probably because they were outnumbered by both the theocrats and socialists who believed private capital was bad for the natives and that therefore authoritarian paternalism was in order).

I can’t help but wonder: Does the anti-globalization Left realize just how conservative its position is?

3,278 Americans Are Serving Life Sentences for Nonviolent Crimes, Report Says

Around 79 percent of the nonviolent life sentences without parole are drug-related, according to the ACLU, and around 20 percent are for property crimes. The remaining 1 percent are for traffic and other infractions in Alabama and Florida”

This seems like as good an opportunity as any to talk about libertarian law.  First of all, to the libertarian, there is no such thing as non-violent or “victimless” crime.  There can be no “crime against the state” or “crime against society” since there would be no state and “society” is an abstract concept that cannot be a victim.  Crime can only occur when there is a clear perpetrator and a clear victim.

This is the logic used to deduce that there can be no punishment for consuming or selling drugs for example.

Second, libertarian punishment is confined to the concept of “proportionality”.  Proportionality is described by Murray Rothbard as:

“…the criminal, or invader, loses his own right to the extent that he has deprived another man of his. If a man deprives another man of some of his self-ownership or its extension in physical property, to that extent does he lose his own rights.  From this principle immediately derives the proportionality theory of punishment-best summed up in the old adage: “let the punishment fit the crime.””

Walter Block famously expanded on this concept with his “Two Teeth for a Tooth” rule saying:

“In encapsulated form, it calls for two teeth for a tooth, plus costs of capture and a
premium for scaring. How does this work?

Suppose I steal a TV set from you. Surely, the first thing that should occur when I am captured is that I be forced to return to you my ill-gotten gains.

So, based on the first of two “teeth,” I must return this appliance to you.

But this is hardly enough. Merely returning the TV to you its rightful owner is certainly no punishment to me the criminal.

All I have been forced to do is not give up my
own TV to you, but to return yours to you.

Thus enters the second tooth: what I did (tried to do) to you should instead be done to me. I took your TV set;
therefore, as punishment, you should be able to get mine (or some monetary equivalent). This is the second tooth.2″

The claim is often made that a libertarian society would be less just for the poor and disadvantaged but take this list of crimes that caused human beings to be sent to prison for the rest of their lives and compare it to the logical corresponding punishment called for by the proportionality rule and tell me which is more just.

“Among the most obscure offenses – mostly from Louisiana and Mississippi – documented in the report as the impetus for life sentences:

  • Possessing stolen wrenches
  • Siphoning gasoline from a truck
  • Shoplifting a computer from WalMart
  • Shoplifting three belts from a department store
  • Shoplifting digital cameras from WalMart
  • Shoplifting two jerseys from an athletics store
  • Breaking into a parked car and stealing a bag containing a woman’s lunch
  • Stealing a 16-year-old car’s radio
  • Drunkenly threatening a police officer while handcuffed in a patrol car”

Ukraine: The Diplomatic Solution; the Conservative Blessing in ObamaCare!

There is a distinct preference out there, for solving our differences of opinion with the Putin gangster state “through diplomacy.” An elementary explanation is sadly in order here.

Diplomacy refers to one party explaining to the other with polite words how much harm it could do to that other party. And then, the second party takes its turn explaining to the first how much damage it could do to it if it really wanted to.

Once everyone understands concretely the other party’s capacity for evil, the parties get together to arrive at a compromise that minimizes the evil that  either party does to the other. That’s in successful diplomacy. Diplomacy often fails however. In 1939, Hitler and the Brits were talking to each other until the exact eve of the invasion in the west.

So, in this case, diplomacy only has a chance of  succeeding if doing severe harm is on the table in a credible manner. No perceived credible threat, no diplomacy.

Does anyone really believe that you can talk softly, talk sweet reason to Putin and that he will come to his senses and begin acting nice at last?

Another thing: As everyone knows, Obamacare is foundering. I am beginning to believe it’s a blessing in disguise. Whole young generations who really needed it are learning why Big Government is bad even when it’s trying to act nice. One of my young liberal friends is in the process of making a U-turn, I think. I don’t give myself the credit, much as I would like to. Mr Obama did it. My friend has a new bumper sticker on his car that says: “Obama- Dick-Dick.” That’s in Santa Cruz County so, it takes some courage. At least, he does not care a bit if his car is scratched! (My, that’s was evil and sly; I already feel a little ashamed!)

The Obama administration is not releasing figures the citizenry has a legitimate interest in knowing, such as: How many who signed up are also paid up? How many of the new sign-ups were without health insurance before? What is the net gain – if any -in insured  people who did not join publicly supported health insurance?

Refusing to divulge these figures has only one purpose. It’s to impede the opposition. That’s already Fascism. Not gathering these figures when you can and when you know some part of the public wants them is also Fascism. (Fascism is not an epithet, it’s political description. (See:  “Fascism Explained” and others on this blog. )

ObamaCare was a dishonest venture from the first. If it had not been, its first act would have been to make all health insurance available across state lines so as to maximize competition between insurance companies. If any Republican lawmakers had resisted, it would have been a blood feast for the Democratic Party. Large-scale buddy capitalism is also part of a  classical Fascist program.

Undercover Occupants

[Editor's note: the following is a short essay by Payam Ghorbanian. Payam was born in Tehran, Iran. He got his bachelor of science in Engineering from Zanjan University in Zanjan, Iran. He has been participating in liberal political activities and he was involved with some think tanks in Iran. He is doing research in the field of international relations and Iran's foreign policy as an independent activist. He is now living in San Jose, California.

I am excited to post his thoughts because of their potential as a conduit for intercultural dialogue and exchange. I have left his essay largely intact, but did break up some of his longer paragraphs for clarity's sake. Thanks to Payam for taking the time to write this.]

One of the worst Persian attitudes, which really makes me upset, is that we really like make everyone feel pleased and at the same time we are trying to make our friends, our families member, and finally ourselves feel proud. This seems to be just wasting of time and even sometime more than wasting. It really holds us back from being flexible and being more focused just on our life.

The fatal mistake in terms of power games is taking one step back because of pacifying your enemies. I remember these fatal mistakes occurred during Mr. Khatami presidency (1997 – 2005) and it seems that it is going to happen again. During that time reformists tried to please everyone. Liberals, communists, and extremists could fit in themselves in what they portrayed for future of Iran. The goal of “let’s get together” is just useful for the specific action and in a limited time not for unstable country like Iran. We are not taking the issues for the country like Switzerland. In fact, you cannot just chant when your enemies are ready to die for their sinister goals.

Mr. Rohani and his consultants during last month just tried to convince the middle class people that they are so preoccupied about what he has promised during his presidency campaign.  Rohani also said: “… I have never forgotten what I had said to my people but you should understand; there would be a prolonged way with unforeseen obstacles that we have to pass it through together…”. However, this is not the way that people of Iran are thinking and believing at this time. The fact is that the imprisonment of leaders of green movement has been lasting up until now and there are still so many political prisoners in prison. In fact the pace of executions is still through the roof and opposition can be called easily sedition.

All of these issues just mean that the new government and the new goals of basis changes have not been acknowledged by the powerful organizations that live in the parallel world of responsibility. These groups of extremists can take any action whenever they want without taking any obligation and no one has the authority to prosecute them. They are not supposed to be questioned and on the other hand, no one knows who they really are. I call them “Undercover Occupants” which means obviously they are connected to somewhere but where exactly this department of power is remains the question that no one has the answer of. There are always lots of rumors which they are the members of Basij militia or some religious departments but it is still in denial.

Four years age, in 2008, during the rebellious days of Tehran, these undercover occupants attacked The University of Tehran. So many students were injured and finally the supreme leader commanded the “Supreme National Security Council” to get involved and back them off. They also tried to condemn in public during the chairman of Islamic parliament (Ali Larijani) speech. In fact Ali Larijani is so close to the supreme leader! These undercover occupants were also involved in occupation of the embassy of the Great Britain in Tehran, which caused the big collapse of foreign policy for Iran. I can count thousands of these nonsense and non-logical movements which sometimes caused the supreme leader’s reactions. Occupants recently confronted president Rohani and actually went up against him after he got back home from New York. They criticized him that he was not authorized to talk to president Obama and that he put country down.

They are just like the people who think the mission of possessing of sacred goal is on their shoulders, no matter what would be the responsibility. When they think there is a threat they just interfere. I heard some of them are the presidents of the industries who occupied the manufacturing companies of Iran after the revolution and also the business men who could take advantage of governmental economic rent during these 35 years; therefore, they should be concerned about their positions when the wind of change flows.The undercover occupant groups really remind me of the Nomenklatura category inside the Soviet Union

Obviously President Rohani has decided to discard his goals about his domestic policy for a while until the nuclear issue and sanctions are still on the table. He really thinks being triumphant in talks between Iran and 5+1 can help him precede his domestic policy inside the country. However and on the flip side, the extremist members of the Islamic Parliaments and some members of the Revolutionary Guard put their total vigor to not let him proceed. The upcoming parliament’s election and economical situations will be so important for the players of this poker table. The supreme leader has not taken a side yet which is so meaningful in Islamic Republic of Iran. As I have heard, during this year the economic situations in Iran are getting better. The hope of better future has still long way to be cultivated but people are still hopeful to upcoming talks. These are all proofs that show us having better relations with powerful countries will help you to have better chances. We are not living in the separate worlds and our planet is so combined that being isolated just deprives you not anyone else.

Last month, foreign ministers of European countries and especially Mrs. Ashton had several meetings with foreign minister Zarif. Mrs. Ashton recently went to Iran and talked in person with Mr. Rohani. She had also a meeting with some political prisoners and their family members, which dragged the undercover occupants to the front of the Austria Embassy where that meeting had occurred. They were claiming who let her to talk to the “Fitna” followers, the name which they have been using for naming oppositions in Iran during election in 2008. After while the extremists in parliaments called up Mr. Zarif and the Minister of Intelligence and Security. They asked the same question that undercover occupants had asked before.

One of the recent issues which might partially help the extremists inside Iran for improving their positions is the issue of Ukraine. The commander of IAF (Iranian Armed Forces), Hassan Firuzabadi, clearly shows respect to what Russia has done inside the Ukraine and Crimea. He also said the vandals just pulled off the coup and it was not the process of legitimate transactional and transformational leadership. Now they believe the most newest powerful country just pops up and subsequently the consolidation of 5+1 is fragile right now so there is no need for retreating at this time which I think it could be somehow the fact that the United States and the NATO don’t want to respond literally to the Russia and president Putin in order to force them back. Finally the internal battle inside Iran would go on and this battle would demonstrate the balance of political groups, the supreme leader and the Revolutionary guard. It could be one of the effective occurrence for Iranians.

Demos sin cracia


Las democracias modernas instituidas como “el gobierno de la mayoría” comenzaron a aparecer ya entrado el siglo XIX y se popularizaron velozmente.  Al lado de ella, la promoción de los ideales del sufragio universal, la igualdad de derechos y obligaciones entre hombre y mujer, la abolición de la esclavitud y del trabajo forzoso de curso legal, entre otros principios empezaron a dispersarse como un veloz germen en las sociedades occidentales y sus ex-colonias.  Han pasado ya 200 años desde que el germen democrático se dispersó por el mundo.  Sin embargo, los más recientes acontecimientos que han perturbado el flujo de las democracias de mayorías se ha visto afectado en Ucrania, Venezuela y desde hace dos días en El Salvador.

¿Por qué será que el ideal de la democracia ha “fallado” en estos países? 

Los argumentos a favor y en contra son muchos y muy complejos. Deben ser comprendidos desde distintas perspectivas y entender las posiciones tomadas por todos los actores que se han visto afectados de manera directa e indirecta por estos eventos.  Nosotros, el resto del mundo observador, podemos participar con ideas para ojalá descubrir más preguntas en nuestro camino. Hoy quiero compartirles una idea que cruzó por mi mente.

¿Acaso nuestro problema no ha sido que hemos tenído más “demos” que “cracia” en nuestro gobierno y en el desarrollo de nuestro rol ciudadano?

¿A qué me refiero con esto?

El término democracia es antiguo y complejo y se forma a partir de los vocablos “demos” traducido al castellano como -pueblo y/o poder- y “cracia” que indica un -gobierno o sistema-.  Así y actualizando el término desde la antigua Grecia a nuestros días, la democracia se refiere al gobierno del pueblo.

¿Pero acaso no ha sido el pueblo el que se ha volcado a la rebelión en Ucrania, Venezuela y El Salvador? Entonces, ¿la democracia reaccionó en estos países contra la democracia?

Quizás lo que ocurre en estos tres países (que son producto de la colonización y de la subyugación a los imperios durante la Guerra Fría) es que quizás no han pasado el suficiente tiempo en independencia institucional y maduración de sus gobiernos como para lanzarse desbocados a procesos democráticos que deben ir de la mano de una reforma educativa y cultural de la ciudadanía.  Pero, ¡alto! Que conste, que no me refiero a que estos países post-coloniales y post-guerra fría deban regresar bajo el control de un dictador o de una metrópoli.  Sino que, la participación del pueblo (demos) no debería avanzar cuando se ha descuidado o se ha impedido continuar el proceso de institucionalización de la democracia en la vida ciudadana.

Ucrania, Venezuela y El Salvador tienen como un común denominador la inmensa pobreza y la enorme desigualdad educativa y cultural entre la elite gobernante que heredó el poder de sus antiguos amos colonizadores y el grueso de la población. La mayoría de la población en estos países ha sido condicionada a servir como un “agente legitimador” al momento de ejercer su voto pero no se le ha permitido adquirir conciencia absoluta de su rol como “ciudadano legitimador empoderado”. Porque es su voto el que le permite exigir responsabilidad, honestidad y resultados en el equipo de gobierno que eligió en las urnas.

Titulo: 7 killed in post-election protests
Via: FoxNews

En Venezuela ha sido la población cansada y agotada de la corrupción la que ha tomado conciencia del poder de su voto al exigir la renuncia del gobierno revolucionario (aún a pesar de que recientemente había sido electo por el voto de las mayorías).  Es acá que el pueblo ha empezado a ilustrarse en su poder como votante y garante.

Titulo: Days of Protest in Ukraine
Via: The Atlantic

En Ucrania ha sido el pueblo el que también ha tomado conciencia del poder de su voto y de su derecho de autodeterminación pidiendo la anexión de Crimea y su mayoría étnica rusa a Rusia debido a sus distintos intereses económicos, políticos y culturales con el resto del país.

Titulo: El TSE pidió a los contendientes que respeten los resultados que el pueblo decida.

Y en El Salvador desde el día lunes debido a que las elecciones presidenciales concluyeron con una cercana diferencia de votos entre los partidos ARENA y FMLN. ARENA rechazó el conteo de las elecciones luego del anuncio de su derrota. 6,000 votos marcaron la diferencia y el partido ARENA rechazó la legalidad del proceso democrático.

Espero que no sea aún tarde para extender una invitación a reflexionar a los ciudadanos salvadoreños sobre el funcionamiento del gobierno democrático y de la necesidad de estudiarlo a más profundidad y, quizás, comprender que el voto de la mayoría (aún si efectivamente ganará por 6mil votos de diferencia) no es garante suficiente de legitimidad.  Y que, es urgente que ambos partidos realicen un pacto serio, democrático y honesto antes de queso se derramé una sola gota de sangre.

En Venezuela, Ucrania y El Salvador es aún posible alcanzar acuerdo y pactos de concertación que partan del respeto al gobierno democrático y que busquen una inclusión de ideas, actores y modificaciones a los actuales procesos en los que el Pueblo (demos) colabore en la construcción y progreso del del Sistema de gobierno (cracia).

Esto evitará muertes y violaciones a los derechos individuales.  Pero más importante aún, permitirá la evolución y maduración de sistemas democráticos de gobierno en estos países que aún ahora se vieron afectados por la injerencia de los poderes imperiales en sus asuntos. Que envidia que en estos países quizás estén a las puertas de un desarrollo democrático del cual nuestros países vecinos podrían aprender mucho.

El legado de Hugo Chávez

Propuesta del Candidato de la Patria Comandante Hugo Chávez Para la gestión Bolivariana socialista 2013-2019. Via:

Hace un año el actual presidente de Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, anunció la muerte de Hugo Chávez.  Chávez fue el líder de la Revolución  Bolivariana en Venezuela y gobernó el país durante 14 años.  Maduro fue juramentado luego Presidente y recientemente ganó la reelección popular con una campaña que prometía continuar  con el legado de su mentor.

En el 2013, los datos del legado que dejaban los 14 años del gobierno socialista presentados por el Centre for Research on Globalization y por la Embajada Venezolana en los Estados Unidos son reveladores:

  • Venezuela cuenta con servicios de salud y educación universales gratuitos. Antes, 70% de los venezolanos no tenía acceso a servicios de salud.
  • Se eliminó el analfabetismo en el país.  Antes, 40% de los venezolanos eran analfabetos.
  • En los últimos 10 años, el PIB venezolano ha crecido al ubicarse en un nivel alrededor de los 300 mil millones de dólares. Esto representa un crecimiento sustancial frente a la década de los noventa cuando el PIB del país no llegaba a los 100 mil millones de dólares.
  • Se redujo en un 40% el costo de los productos de la canasta básica.
  • Aumentó el salario mínimo en más del 600%
  • Redujo el desempleo del 20% al 6%
  • El Índice de Desarrollo Humano (IDH) en Venezuela aumentó de 0,69 en  1998 a 0,84 en  2008, lo cual eleva a Venezuela a ser un país con rango de desarrollo humano medio a uno con rango alto.
  • De 2008 a 2012, el IDH descendió a 0,748 y alcanza el puesto 71 de 187 naciones y territorios que participaron de la medición.
  • Venezuela ocupa el puesto 71 entre los 179 países que figuran, según el informe anual del Programa de Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD). El coeficiente de Gini, que mide la desigualdad de ingresos, alcanzaron en 0.390 en 2012, el nivel más bajo en la historia de Venezuela y el más bajo en el Continente latinoamericano. En 1998, era de 0,4865.
  • Desde 1999, Venezuela incrementó sus relaciones comerciales con otros países en el hemisferio, así como con otras regiones del mundo. La mayor parte del comercio de Venezuela continúa siendo llevado a cabo en la región, con alrededor del 70% de las exportaciones de petróleo con destino a los países de las Américas, y los mercados de América del Sur, América Central y el Caribe están ganando importancia.
  • En 2012, un año antes de la muerte de Chávez, Venezuela era el tercer socio comercial más grande de Estados Unidos en América Latina y el número 14 más grande en el mundo, además de ser el cuarto proveedor de petróleo a EE UU.

Pero no todo ha sido fácil de conseguir en esta bonanza de estadísticas sociales y los drásticos cambios en el nivel de vida del pueblo venezolano han sido el resultado de muchos sacrificios impuestos en la población venezolana.

Con el ascenso de Chávez y el éxito inmediato de los cambios socioeconómicos en la población, la élite política chavista se aseguró el poder absoluto al conseguir el voto mayoritario en elecciones democráticas gracias a millones de venezolanos beneficiados por las reformas socialistas.  Este poder absoluto (democrático) permitió al gobierno socialista continuar con su plan e imponer restricciones a la libertad de expresión de la oposición, expropió sin muchos problemas industrias, eliminó fácilmente y sin mucha oposición el derecho a la propiedad privada y capturó los ahorros de millones de venezolanos.

Para Maduro, Chávez y muchos otros ideólogos socialistas antes de ellos, cualquier medio era justificable para la consecución del ideal revolucionario socialista.  Latino América, que durante décadas sirvió de laboratorio para experimentos económicos y políticos de líderes del mundo desarrollado fue la arena idónea para regresar a la dulce tentación socialista que había sido lograda con relativo éxito en otros continentes.

La fórmula del legado de Chávez es simple y poderoso:

Populismo anti-imperialista


petróleo nacionalizado


Socialismo clientelista 

Titulo: Sembrar petróleo. Por Emiliano Teran Mantovani. via:

La movilización y apoyo de los votantes en una nación democrática es fácil de conseguir cuando se posee el capital económico, político y/o militar para ofrecer al pueblo una salida de los sistemas de economía mixta extractivos que durante el siglo XX fueron implementados por las naciones desarrolladas del Norte Global y que fueron apoyadas por elites patrimonialistas en los territorios del Sur. El éxito de la revolución Bolivariana aseguró para otros países interesados en este experimento una segura y jugosa fuente de donativos para facilitar el efecto domino socialista que tanto temieron los ideólogos realistas gringos durante la Guerra Fría.  Sin duda, el legado de Chávez sigue vivo un año después de su muerte.

En los últimos dos meses la movilización de un importante grupo de la población venezolana causó manifestaciones en las ciudades más importantes del país.  Los manifestantes tenían muchas peticiones que iban desde reclamos por la corrupción del partido gobernante, reclamos por los altos índices de inflación que afronta el país y solicitudes de renuncia de los líderes de la revolución bolivariana.

Independientemente de cuántos  años más dure el partido revolucionario en el poder es seguro que su legado fue la implementación de una exitosa revolución socialista clientelista sostenida en la venta de petróleo a las economías mixtas del resto del mundo que mejoro los índices de desarrollo humano como nunca antes habíamos visto.  Así es que mientras el mundo siga dependiendo del oro negro, el mundo seguirá escuchando del legado de Chávez.

Este caro legado ha costado la libertad y los derechos de propiedad de miles de individuos. Venezuela sigue y continuará enfrentando desafíos en materia de seguridad, pues la tasa de homicidios de la región es la más alta del mundo. El regimen chavista es diariamente acusado de corrupción, incompetencia y la probabilidad de que esto cambie no es del interés de nadie. El año pasado la inflación fue del 56% y la escasez de productos básicos continuó agudizándose hasta este año.  Caracas se ha convertido en una de las ciudades más caras del mundo ocupando el puesto #6 según datos del WSJ.

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A Bit More on Ukraine

Evgeniy’s plea for balance in the Russia-Ukraine conflict has produced, in my mind, an interesting dialogue on propaganda – both of the Western and of the Russian variety.

Let me come out and say with some conviction that I am not a supporter of the Putin regime. Nor do I believe much of the analysis that comes out of the Russian press. (This is because the vast majority of the Russian press is controlled by the state, and not because it is Russian or because it generally espouses pro-Russian sympathies.)

Evgeniy, for example, cites reports from the Russian press claiming that half a million people have fled Ukraine for Russia since the beginning of the year (when the demonstrations started). If half a million people fled from one place to another in a month, from anywhere in the world it would be headline news, but for some reason only Russian citizens have heard of this exodus? I don’t buy it.

Now, this number may be a misunderstanding based on a bad translation. In fact, I think this may be the case. My translation of Evgeniy’s comment states that the Russian press reports that “since the beginning of the year (January 2014) in Russia has resettled about 500,000 refugees from Ukraine.” Emphasis mine. Has this resettlement been ongoing since the end of the Cold War? However, judging by Evgeniy’s comment, it looks as if resettlement has only begun in January of this year, so if this is indeed the claim that the Russian press is making then it is obviously false.

Terry’s excerpted quote from the Daily Beast fares no better in the facts department, though, despite the Daily Beast being a private organization. The op-ed is an attempt to debunk “Putin’s Crimea Propaganda Machine” as if Putin has the power to control everything the Russian press publishes. State control of the media, especially in a country as large and diverse as Russia, does not mean that the bureaucratic process magically disappears. Bureaucracies and especially regulators are actors in their own right, and as such are beholden to certain constraints and processes that come with the way these institutions are organized.

So in the spirit of open inquiry and debate, there are a couple of facts I’ve gathered that I think are important to note.

  1. The President of Ukraine was ousted in a coup. He was elected by a very slim margin and accusations (from both sides) of voter fraud were rampant.
  2. The opposition that recently installed a new President therefore gave democracy the finger. This is not in itself a bad thing, but many Western observers tend to side with the pro-West faction as if it was democratic. It is not.
  3. The exiled President signed an agreement with the opposition last month guaranteeing early elections and more power to the legislature at the expense of the executive branch. This is as peaceful and as democratic as it gets, and the opposition gave, as I said, the finger to this agreement.
  4. The opposition has fascists in its cabinet. It has also installed Ukrainian Jews to high-ranking positions. The Muslim Tartars in Crimea stand to lose the most during Russia’s occupation.
  5. Ukrainians are sick of their government – right or left, pro or anti -and this has yet to be addressed by anyone other than Dr Foldvary as far as I can tell.
  6. No shots have been fired. Moscow has reiterated that it is in Crimea to protect its naval base and Russian citizens. I have a feeling that Russian troops will be back in Russia within the year. Crimea will get to keep its autonomous status within Ukraine, and Kiev will be forced to think twice before it attempts to impose its will on Crimea arbitrarily. This is a good thing, as it limits the size and scope of government.
  7. So far most, if not all, information about military activities have been coming from governments, not from the free press. This can only lead to more misunderstanding and more suspicion.
  8. War is the health of the state. In times like these, journalists should be criticizing their own governments rather than the governments of others. In the West, where the press remains relatively free, there is more criticism of government policies concerning foreign affairs than there is in Russia.

At the end of the day, I have to agree with Evgeniy’s plea for toleration and prudence: “Please do not judge this conflict only from one side.”

Are small businesses entrepreneurial?

Between 1958 and 1980 the number of businesses in the U.S. economy increased from 10.7 million to 16.8 million. But the relative economic importance of small business in the overall economy declined over this period. Between 1958 and 1977 the share of employment accounted for by firms with fewer than 500 employees decreased from 55.5 percent to 52.5 percent. Between 1958 and 1979 the share of business receipts obtained by companies with less than $5 million in receipts declined from 51.5 percent to 28.7 percent. Between 158 and 1977 the share of value added contributed by firms with 500 or fewer employees decreased from 57 percent to 52 percent. (Zoltán J. Ács, Bo Carlsson, and Charlie Karlsson 1999, 7)

That’s an enormous relative increase in the importance of big businesses. Consider that change in light of macroeconomic conditions and political thought at the time. It seems almost like the dark ages. I think it also shows an apparent correlation between business, government, and ideology. Since the mid ’70s, small businesses have gained importance in the U.S. economy while also leaving the dark ages of mid-20th century illiberalism.

From the Comments: Musings on the Ukraine Fiasco

Riffing off of my post about the current crisis in Ukraine, Matthew writes:

Based on the track record of Russia vis a vis the West, I imagine the following scenario unfolding:

Russia (continues) to occupy the Crimea, while America and Europe (continue) to demand the withdrawal of Russian forces from the province. Putin, calculating that the West lacks the stomach for direct confrontation, refuses. Hysteria in the media and in government publications, which are ultimately the same thing, rises. A lack of direct conflict between Russian and Ukrainian forces, however, lends little credence to the mass panic broadcast over Western media. The furor dies down in time. Russian presence becomes normalized in the Crimea.

Or, the interim government, bolstered by further illicit monetary aid from America, pulls a Georgian move and attacks the Russian forces stationed in Crimea. Russian forces will quickly rout the Ukrainians sent against them, and most likely march towards Kiev – whether they take it or not will depend on the response of the international community, as with Georgia. Regardless of who instigated the violence, the Western media will blame Russia, and the war drums will grow louder. UN sanctions are unlikely, since Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, but some form of economic punishment will occur. Russia will draw closer to China, Iran, and Syria. The status quo ante will be upended in no one’s favor: Ukraine will be in shambles, Russia and America will be set at odds.

Regardless of the above two scenarios, meanwhile, the Ukrainian economy is in free fall, and the IMF offers the dual poisons of austerity and liberalization to the interim government. Facing an intransigent Russia and the wolf-faced smile of the West, the interim government accepts the IMF’s offer. Like Russia before it, Ukraine is left even worse for wear by the rapid pace of economic liberalization, and is thus too weak to resist the Russian presence in Crimea. Thus, the West has succeeded in breaking off a chunk of post-Soviet Ukraine and bringing it into its influence, while Russia largely retains what it had beforehand: its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, along with the de facto annexed province of Crimea. It is too early to tell, but perhaps the rest of Russified Ukraine will also join their brothers in Russified Crimea, and the state will break up along linguistic lines.

Who can tell what will occur? My money is on Russia, but maybe Obama will come up with some game winning stratagem (don’t snicker!).

Does anybody else care to make their predictions? You know where the ‘comments’ sections is!