Inflation Is Worse Than We Think

In February, core consumer prices rose 6.4% from a year earlier, the highest rate in 40 years. The core CPI (consumer price index) does not include food and energy prices since those tend to be volatile and somewhat seasonal.

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Midweek Quick Takes and Random Observations

Remembering Obama On Russia

In the campaign for President in 2012, then President Obama made fun of his opponent, Mitt Romney, who said that Russia was one of the main national security threats. Obama flippantly said “The 1970’s called and want their foreign policy back.”

Russia invaded and annexed Crimea two years later after Obama’s comment and, of course, we are seeing the Russian invasion of the Ukraine play out before our eyes right now.

Romney’s thoughts about potential threats to national security and world peace do not seem quite so dumb, after all, huh Mr. President?

Prices

Yesterday the Labor Dept. announced that wholesale prices went up 10% in February from a year ago, the highest monthly increase on record. 

Unfortunately, the February results were prior to seeing the effect from the sanctions from the war in Ukraine so it is likely that March’s wholesale inflation will be even worse.

United Nations Views On Women’s Rights

Next week, Iran becomes a member of the United Nations Women’s Rights Commission.

We’ll just leave that right there

US Lawmakers for Putin

As hard as it is to comprehend, there are US lawmakers that seem to be ok with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion of neighboring democratic country, Ukraine.

At the end of the day, issues of war and conquest through the use of military force are the ‘big’ issues in the world. Almost all other things pale in comparison. How can anyone still support these people?

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Biden Refuses To Stop Importing Russian Oil

If we really want to support Ukraine, oppose Russia and believe Putin is evil, why does President Biden refuse to say we will stop importing Russian oil? That is the only thing they export and from which they get money.

For that matter, we can talk about short-sighted policy and lack of thinking ahead…why would a nation voluntarily go from being energy independent to having to rely on others for energy without / before having another alternative?!

If we hadn’t made that move, we wouldn’t have to worry about whether refusing to buy Russian oil would drive up prices too much and we wouldn’t have to beg Saudi Arabia to pump more oil, as we did last week.

Stacy Abrams Just Not Ready For Prime Time

Stacy Abrams just keeps showing us that she just isn’t ready for prime time or public office. As a candidate for governor of Georgia, Abrams is certainly a media darling among certain segments, but she just is not that bright and she showed us that again this week.

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Russia Feels Effects Of Invasion, Not Just From Other Governments

For those who are in constant criticism of wealthy people and large corporations, we will note that several have been among the leaders in punishing Russia for the invasion of its democratic neighbor, Ukraine.

BP, the largest investor in Russia’s oil and gas industry, announced that it will divest itself from all Russian investments.  Shell Oil later joined BP in divestiture.

Russia had targeted to take down Ukraine’s internet, so Ukraine President Zelensky appealed via social media to Elon Musk for help. Musk responded quickly. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine”, Musk responded, adding “More terminals are on the way.”

The largest sovereign investment fund in the world, Norway’s Investment Management Fund which takes oil revenues from the country and invests it for citizens, announced that it will divest all of its Russian holdings.

These are only examples. However, there are private individuals and companies that are rallying behind the effort to make Russia pay for their crime of aggression and it may very well be that the lack of foreign investment may be the thing that has the largest impact in the longer term.

Europe Leads the Way

As Russia has invaded Ukraine, the response by nations of the world has been surprisingly strong and we can only hope it did not come too late.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has also done something no one else has been able to do, and also has done that which he most feared:   he has united Europe, but united Europe against him.

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Putin Goes All In…And May Have Gone Totally Crazy

Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine last week, in an unprovoked attack on a democratic country.

Putin has always been a brutal, dictator who has crushed all who oppose him. He has done cruelly and inhumanely, often killing opponents in slow and painful ways. Yet he has also been cold and calculating. Last weekend, we may have seen a Putin that has gone over the edge (even more than a power-hungry brutal dictator already is).

Putin’s mindset has become that any of Russia’s neighboring countries that don’t do what he wants, he threatens. The Russian government held up Ukraine as an example and threatened action against Finland and Sweden if they cooperated with or joined NATO. But Putin was not done. In a dramatic escalation, Putin raised the alert level of Russian nuclear forces, putting them in a “special state of readiness”.  Additionally, he hinted that Russia may use tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

These are major escalation points in what is already an unprovoked war of aggression against a neighboring country for the sole purpose of gaining more power. Russia was not facing any threat but Putin has made it clear that he has become a threat to international peace and world order.

The Soviet Union and now Russia have been threats to international peace for one hundred years, and over the last week, Putin has reminded us just how far he is willing to go to get his maniacal demands met. The rest of the world must respond, and respond in the longer term in such a way as to make sure the world will not be threatened by Russia again.

Additional note:  below is a long, but very good, article based on an interview with a long time Russian analyst who worked in Administrations of both Republicans and Democrats.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/02/28/world-war-iii-already-there-00012340

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