Thursday, March 6, 2014


First, the financial news from Over There.  Sr. Draghi allowed the discount rate at the ECB to remain at 1/% whilst announcing the rock solid stability and strength of the Euro.  Huh.  He also suggested that Over There's inflation rate of 1% was dangerously low.  Huh.  Now I am generally a fan of Sr. Draghi but like all other central bankers he is beginning to fall into the trap of making grand announcements which, while often contradictory, are almost all unintelligible or self-evident; nothing in between.  The fact is the Euro economy across the board stinks and isn't going to be helped by the little dust-up in the Crimea which takes us to our next subject, the international politics Over There.

A couple of days ago, our friends, particularly Angie, issued a stunning rebuke to The Leader in his call for sanctions against the Russians.  Now, why The Leader would be dumb enough to ask for such concerted action without knowing before hand that it would be forthcoming is a different story, but there one had it and to clear up the confusion, The Leader went on some political speaking tour Somewhere in America.  

The Euros consulted.  It would appear that someone had the bright idea that dissing POTUS might not have been the smartest thing to do despite the fact that he has a disability factor which is off the charts and furthermore, as the Poles and no doubt the Baltic states pointed out, many of the same factors which existed in the Ukraine exist in their own countries and Putin might get other ideas given how good this is working out, in which case Angie, schatzi,  let's not forget that we are in NATO with the U.S. and there is this Article 5 thingie.  Next thing you know, the U.S. announces a set of sanctions against Russia that don't amount to very much but at least it is not pure blabber  Then so does the EU.  But they are a different set of sanctions!  And they are even more meaningless!  And finally,they announce the intention of granting relief to the extent of 15 billion Euros, desperately needed by the Ukraine, which for all practical purposes could be best delivered thru a cheque to the order of Gazprom as suggested in a dark, viciously funny piece in the FT today by a guy named Shramsley.  Read it.

While all this was going on, this new phony parliament in the Crimea announced its intention to join Russia and scheduled March 15 as a referendum date to decide the issue.  So there we have it; Vlad wants the Crimea and will get it.  There's no pulling back, no graceful exit, no negotiated compromise.  The Leader spoke again with him today and apparently got stiffed.  There is no way of denying that this development is a grave one and one which will have not only immediate impact but repercussions for many years.  The scary part is everyone seems to be winging it with no strategy in place due to a complete lack of game-planning on the chance of this occurring.  I find that hard to believe and impossible to accept but there we are.  We'll be back tomorrow, with a few prayers thrown in between now and then.

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