Health Futures Blog
4 months ago
permalink
Our Hollow Navy
Theodore Roosevelt famously said “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick”.  A possible reason for our flaccid response to foreign outrages: a hollow Navy.   We actually have about 100 ships deployed in regions that matter, including three of our nominal eleven aircraft carriers.  The remainder are in port, or being repaired.   Creative accounting is required to get to the 293 ships in our fleet:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303563304579443490102014208?mod=hp_opinion&mg=reno64-wsj
This article suggests that our Navy is as small as it’s been since 1917.  No wonder no one really listens to what the US has to say.. . 

Our Hollow Navy

Theodore Roosevelt famously said “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick”.  A possible reason for our flaccid response to foreign outrages: a hollow Navy.   We actually have about 100 ships deployed in regions that matter, including three of our nominal eleven aircraft carriers.  The remainder are in port, or being repaired.   Creative accounting is required to get to the 293 ships in our fleet:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303563304579443490102014208?mod=hp_opinion&mg=reno64-wsj

This article suggests that our Navy is as small as it’s been since 1917.  No wonder no one really listens to what the US has to say.. . 

4 months ago
permalink
How to Deal with a Bully?
Why, you tell him that if he doesn’t stop, you’re going to tell his mother!  Vladimir Putin has annexed a piece of a formerly sovereign neighbor, the Ukrainian province of Crimea.    Our response:  sanctioning eleven peripheral Russian and Ukrainian politicians, many of whom have no foreign financial holdings: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304747404579445171323503270?mod=hp_opinion&mg=reno64-wsj
The logic of what Putin is doing applies with equal force to the Baltic states, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. There are lots of “homeless Russians” in those places, “intimidated” by the free societies around them.
 Our US policy so far seems to be premised on the fact that Putin has made some kind of mistake in Crimea:  we’re providing him face-saving “off ramps” before we get really serious.
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Putin’s actions come after the President’s budget announced massive US defense cuts and after our embarrassing failure to stop his murderous proxy, Bashar Al-Assad, from slaughtering his Syrian countrymen.   Putin knows exactly what he’s doing.  He’s made a correct judgment that we have no stomach to confront him.  We’re almost daring him to go further.  
He and his cronies have made tens of billions in private wealth selling the west natural gas and oil.  Managing their wealth, which is kept in the west in dollar-denominated assets,  has generated tens of millions in fees for western bankers.   We’ve got a huge opportunity to help the rest of Europe wean itself from Russian energy sources by opening up energy exports to the EU.
We will know we’ve actually struck Russian nerves when we attack the sources of their wealth, and the ruble descends to the level of the Argentinian peso. We will actually strike Russian nerves when we sanction the billionaires around Putin and Putin himself.  (We’ve already given them weeks of “off ramp” time to move their money).    Putin is betting that the west is too irresolute to sacrifice our wealth to stop him.  Let’s see if he’s right.  

How to Deal with a Bully?

Why, you tell him that if he doesn’t stop, you’re going to tell his mother!  Vladimir Putin has annexed a piece of a formerly sovereign neighbor, the Ukrainian province of Crimea.    Our response:  sanctioning eleven peripheral Russian and Ukrainian politicians, many of whom have no foreign financial holdings: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304747404579445171323503270?mod=hp_opinion&mg=reno64-wsj

The logic of what Putin is doing applies with equal force to the Baltic states, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. There are lots of “homeless Russians” in those places, “intimidated” by the free societies around them.

 Our US policy so far seems to be premised on the fact that Putin has made some kind of mistake in Crimea:  we’re providing him face-saving “off ramps” before we get really serious.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Putin’s actions come after the President’s budget announced massive US defense cuts and after our embarrassing failure to stop his murderous proxy, Bashar Al-Assad, from slaughtering his Syrian countrymen.   Putin knows exactly what he’s doing.  He’s made a correct judgment that we have no stomach to confront him.  We’re almost daring him to go further.  

He and his cronies have made tens of billions in private wealth selling the west natural gas and oil.  Managing their wealth, which is kept in the west in dollar-denominated assets,  has generated tens of millions in fees for western bankers.   We’ve got a huge opportunity to help the rest of Europe wean itself from Russian energy sources by opening up energy exports to the EU.

We will know we’ve actually struck Russian nerves when we attack the sources of their wealth, and the ruble descends to the level of the Argentinian peso. We will actually strike Russian nerves when we sanction the billionaires around Putin and Putin himself.  (We’ve already given them weeks of “off ramp” time to move their money).    Putin is betting that the west is too irresolute to sacrifice our wealth to stop him.  Let’s see if he’s right.  

4 months ago
permalink
What Does Phil Jackson Want?
Hope you can reach this hysterical WSJ article on how desperate the hapless New York Knicks are to hire their former reserve Phil Jackson, proud owner of eleven (!) NBA rings, to coach their team: 
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304704504579431441282920568?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLE_Video_Top&mg=reno64-wsj
Jackson was a neighbor during his astonishing 6 championship run in Chicago (lived a half a mile away in Bannockburn and never saw him once). It was a privilege to watch him work his magic: coaxing intensity and effort from a bunch of high strung, very highly paid kids, the Chicago Bulls,who clearly revered him, and wouldn’t have done what they did without his guidance.  The fact that he did it again in LA shows it was him, not the players, that made the difference.  
I’d suggest him as a Presidential candidate, but he’s WAY too cool to do something so foolish, which is why I don’t think the Knicks can hire him.  
This is an extraordinary leader who has earned his rest in Montana!

What Does Phil Jackson Want?

Hope you can reach this hysterical WSJ article on how desperate the hapless New York Knicks are to hire their former reserve Phil Jackson, proud owner of eleven (!) NBA rings, to coach their team: 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304704504579431441282920568?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLE_Video_Top&mg=reno64-wsj

Jackson was a neighbor during his astonishing 6 championship run in Chicago (lived a half a mile away in Bannockburn and never saw him once). It was a privilege to watch him work his magic: coaxing intensity and effort from a bunch of high strung, very highly paid kids, the Chicago Bulls,who clearly revered him, and wouldn’t have done what they did without his guidance.  The fact that he did it again in LA shows it was him, not the players, that made the difference.  

I’d suggest him as a Presidential candidate, but he’s WAY too cool to do something so foolish, which is why I don’t think the Knicks can hire him.  

This is an extraordinary leader who has earned his rest in Montana!

4 months ago
permalink
North Korea from Space
This light signature photo from space shows North Korea (the large dark place) at night.  The tiny white dot in the middle is Pyongyang, a city of 3.2 million. China, which effectively abandoned Communism under Deng Xiaoping, sprawls to the north. Seoul, South Korea’s capital, with about three times Pyongyang’s population, stretches toward the border.
One picture is worth a million words.  

North Korea from Space

This light signature photo from space shows North Korea (the large dark place) at night.  The tiny white dot in the middle is Pyongyang, a city of 3.2 million. China, which effectively abandoned Communism under Deng Xiaoping, sprawls to the north. Seoul, South Korea’s capital, with about three times Pyongyang’s population, stretches toward the border.

One picture is worth a million words.  

4 months ago
permalink
We’re Going to Miss Joe Biden!
Who was it who defined a gaffe as someone telling you it exactly how they see something at the wrong time or in the wrong place, an inconvenient truth.   Joe Biden is sometimes referred to as a “gaffe machine” by the reporters who cover him.  Here are some of his greatest hits, courtesy of POLITICO: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/joe-biden-bidenisms-103689.html#.Uw8scf2grS4

We’re Going to Miss Joe Biden!

Who was it who defined a gaffe as someone telling you it exactly how they see something at the wrong time or in the wrong place, an inconvenient truth.   Joe Biden is sometimes referred to as a “gaffe machine” by the reporters who cover him.  Here are some of his greatest hits, courtesy of POLITICO: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/joe-biden-bidenisms-103689.html#.Uw8scf2grS4

5 months ago
permalink
Red Line Alert
After viewing the carnage in Kiev, President Obama warned Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych: “We have been watching very carefully and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters.  There will be consequences if people step over the line”.   Like Syria, right?  If Yanukovych steps over the line, Obama will tie himself in an embarrassing knot and then ask Congress what to do.  Ukrainian authorities are quaking in their boots. 
This time, you can bet that Vladimir Putin will not bail him out… 

Red Line Alert

After viewing the carnage in Kiev, President Obama warned Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych: “We have been watching very carefully and we expect the Ukrainian government to show restraint, to not resort to violence in dealing with peaceful protesters.  There will be consequences if people step over the line”.   Like Syria, right?  If Yanukovych steps over the line, Obama will tie himself in an embarrassing knot and then ask Congress what to do.  Ukrainian authorities are quaking in their boots. 

This time, you can bet that Vladimir Putin will not bail him out… 

5 months ago
permalink
Revolution in Ukraine?
How badly do the Ukrainian people not want to be restored to Russian colonial status?   25 Dead, 240 injured in bloody clashes in Kiev.  Bread and circuses in Sochi, deaths in Kiev. This is the other side of Putin’s foreign policy. 

Revolution in Ukraine?

How badly do the Ukrainian people not want to be restored to Russian colonial status?   25 Dead, 240 injured in bloody clashes in Kiev.  Bread and circuses in Sochi, deaths in Kiev. This is the other side of Putin’s foreign policy. 

5 months ago
permalink
The Forgotten War
Scenes of carnage from Aleppo, one of numerous Syrian cities being transformed into heaps of smoking rubble by an intractable civil war.
It’s completely believable that we Americans could not have done anything meaningful to avert this chaos, which has claimed 130 thousand lives so far, and shows no sign of burning itself out. Iraq, where we spent a futile eight years, seems headed in the same direction.    It’s still painful to think about people starving to death amid siege conditions in what was once a cradle of Arab civilization.  

The Forgotten War

Scenes of carnage from Aleppo, one of numerous Syrian cities being transformed into heaps of smoking rubble by an intractable civil war.

It’s completely believable that we Americans could not have done anything meaningful to avert this chaos, which has claimed 130 thousand lives so far, and shows no sign of burning itself out. Iraq, where we spent a futile eight years, seems headed in the same direction.    It’s still painful to think about people starving to death amid siege conditions in what was once a cradle of Arab civilization.  

5 months ago
permalink
Coming Soon to A Power Substation Near You?
This WSJ article details a methodical and well planned sniper attack on April 16, 2013 on a PG&E substation that supplies the Silicon Valley! http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304851104579359141941621778?mod=WSJ_hp_RightTopStories
The article says drily that this wasn’t a situation of Billie Bob and his buddies getting tanked up and firing a few shots.  It was a Special Forces quality assault with automatic weapons, preceded by someone entering and disabling a nearby fiberoptic telephone conduit “in a way that could not easily be repaired”.  The shooters marked their firing lanes with small piles of rocks, and aimed for the cooling reservoirs of oil around the transformers, not the transformers themselves.  After 52 thousand gallons of oil leaked out, the seventeen transformers burned out.  It took a month to repair the damage.  
THere has been speculation that our energy grid is vulnerable to cyberterrorism-e.g. to hacking that would shut down the grid.  This article chillingly suggests that the physical grid itself may be an even easier target, and that a surpassingly small number of similar attacks could knock out power to “most of the country”.   

Coming Soon to A Power Substation Near You?

This WSJ article details a methodical and well planned sniper attack on April 16, 2013 on a PG&E substation that supplies the Silicon Valley! http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304851104579359141941621778?mod=WSJ_hp_RightTopStories

The article says drily that this wasn’t a situation of Billie Bob and his buddies getting tanked up and firing a few shots.  It was a Special Forces quality assault with automatic weapons, preceded by someone entering and disabling a nearby fiberoptic telephone conduit “in a way that could not easily be repaired”.  The shooters marked their firing lanes with small piles of rocks, and aimed for the cooling reservoirs of oil around the transformers, not the transformers themselves.  After 52 thousand gallons of oil leaked out, the seventeen transformers burned out.  It took a month to repair the damage.  

THere has been speculation that our energy grid is vulnerable to cyberterrorism-e.g. to hacking that would shut down the grid.  This article chillingly suggests that the physical grid itself may be an even easier target, and that a surpassingly small number of similar attacks could knock out power to “most of the country”.   

5 months ago
permalink
Does This Look Like Revolution to You?
These remarkable photos from POLITICO show the “protests” against the nearly bankrupt and destitute government of Ukraine, as it edges closer to returning to being a Russian satellite: http://www.politico.com/magazine/gallery/2014/01/ukraines-song-of-ice-and-fire/001582-022535.html?hp=pm_1#.UuKILfYo5DQ
It isn’t even front page news… 

Does This Look Like Revolution to You?

These remarkable photos from POLITICO show the “protests” against the nearly bankrupt and destitute government of Ukraine, as it edges closer to returning to being a Russian satellite: http://www.politico.com/magazine/gallery/2014/01/ukraines-song-of-ice-and-fire/001582-022535.html?hp=pm_1#.UuKILfYo5DQ

It isn’t even front page news… 

Powered by Tumblr Designed by:Doinwork