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Just Me And My Gang

March 27th, 2014 No comments

link Barack Obamas first visit to Brussels to cost Belgium more than €10m | World news | theguardian.com.

With the ever escalating costs of moving political dignitaries around, maybe it would have been more efficient to move the mountain to Mohammed as the old proverb goes.  It would have been cheaper for Hollywood set builders to create a mock up city of Brussels on an LA movie set and bring the heads of Europe there than to fly half of DC to Europe.  Even with union labor, it shouldn’t cost much more than a couple of million dollars especially if only facades were built.

Instead, the Presidential entourage to Europe is composed of 900 staffers, numerous airplanes, limos, food tasters, door openers and secret service agents for a simple meet and greet.  This massive movement of people is like a summer migration of wildebeest on the Serengeti plains; probably visible from space.  Hasn’t anyone heard of Skype? Couldn’t they use Dropbox to exchange a few messages?  It’s as if a hundred years of advances in communications never happened as the politicos meet in the fashion they have established for thousands of years, with big delegations, pomp and circumstance.  The only apparent concession to modern times is the omitting of the elephants and palanquins.

The real problem is the accepted delusion that politicians and sundry dignitaries are in need of coddling, deferential treatment and expensive security at all.  Sure, someone’s going to hurl a few eggs once in a while, but for the most part, the scrum around politicos is pure theatre.  In real life, no one wants to be near those guys.  And let’s remember, since they are politicians, there’s no shortage of them; they can be replaced.  They’re as common as lawyers at an accident scene, not Faberge eggs.   If there’s any security detail needed, it’s probably back at the home turf where the constituents really hate them.

If a phone call or Skype conversation doesn’t meet the needs, the logical thing to do is to convene somewhere that’s so hard to get to, very little security is needed.  It would reduce or  eliminate the cost of the regal entourage, fleets of cars, food tasters and assorted hangers-on’ers.  A bare, isolated wasteland with no civilization and no paparazzi or protestors; Newfoundland pops to mind.

 

 

 

Don’t Make Us Send Joe…

March 18th, 2014 No comments

link Biden Arrives in Europe to Reassure Allies – NYTimes.com.

By now of course, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has firmly secured his grip on Crimea, that southern chunk of the Ukraine that is coveted for its strategic geographic locale.  While this did occur ostensibly with the full approval of the Crimean residents with a convincing 95% approval vote and without the necessity of firing even one shot from the Russians, the posting of 60,000 troops at the borders may have been a bit of an influence.

Ukrainians who may be somewhat averse to the possibility of the entire nation being pulled back into the grip of the Russian Bear are feeling just a bit lonely here. It’s as if their erstwhile political buddies disappeared like frat boys at a seedy bar when the big guy at the corner table stands up and bellows “hey you!” in their direction.

On the face of it, sending the second-in-command of the most powerful nation on earth to assuage the percolating fears of the European states appears to be a strong message to both the Europeans as well as to the Russians.  If this were Dick Cheney, definitely. But this is Joe Biden.  Was Pee Wee Herman not available?

Hopefully, Plugs has brought with him an arsenal of strong words and lots of chalk because he’ll need it when Putin keeps walking across the chalk line that Biden dares him to cross over.  This is the equivalent of sending Gilligan to threaten Goldfinger.  We can imagine the Europeans figuratively checking his luggage for guns.  “What? No guns? You brought no guns?”  Joe replies, “We’re civilized, we don’t do that anymore.  We’ll hit him with the finger waggle.”

What seems to be playing out here is the battle between the rule of law, as it’s believed in the West, versus the rule of the jungle, which is how the rest of the world operates.  It’s like the idiot pedestrians who are so confident that the rule of law will protect them at crosswalks that they blithely walk into the path of ‘rule-breaking cars’.   Joe Biden is going to tell the Europeans that they are in the right and that will protect them against Vlad’s dash through the crosswalk in his SUV.  Yeah, good luck with that.

 

 

 

 

Guilt By Guacamole

March 10th, 2014 No comments

link Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse | ThinkProgress.

Of all the spurious reasons to join the march of the Global Warming parade with the deluded idiots, at least this one has the potential for mass outrage.  Whereas for most people, the odd missing penguin, scarce butterfly or dwindling owl population may be somewhat abstract, the thought of missing out on a main food group, Mexican, is unthinkable.

If you removed avocados from the mix in offerings at Mexican restaurants, what would you be left with?  Tomatoes, beans, cheese, beef, chicken and pork.  That may as well be Italian food.  Or if you take out beans and use chopsticks, it’s Chinese food. We can see where this would cause serious social upheaval.  If all of a sudden, the Chipotle restaurant chain loses access to avocados, then they are essentially Olive Garden with corn chips.  Why would anyone go to Chipotle when they can get bottomless bread at Olive Garden?

This isn’t about guacamole, it’s about the very survival of culture.  While it’s one thing to have a melting pot nation, when it comes to food, Americans want a smorgasbord of choices.  Nobody wants McOliveLobsterHut.  Whatever we need to do, however high the tax hikes or however much we have to pay to keep guacamole on the menus, let’s do it. Because it’s not just avocados.  It could be tomatoes that next disappear as a result of  Global Warming.  There goes Pizza Hut; there goes Chef Boyardee and you may as well say goodbye to salsa.

Luckily for Chipotle, the chances of avocados disappearing are as probable as eating a no gas burrito.  Good try though.  What they could do is to put images of missing penguins on their drink cups to raise consciousness of global warming.  Missing penguins cute; avocados, not so much.