The World as It Stands

Isis(Photo, Wikimedia Commons)

It’s been a while since I last wrote here.  Life can be a whirlwind, and to be honest, I had nothing really to say.

I realize that once you start a blog, you must maintain it, like feeding a dog.  But the fact was, I dropped the ball.

So, now I’m back. And what has happened since I left?

1.  Manchester United beat a pathetic Queens Park Rangers, only to lose to Leicester City, who were 1-3 down.  Did I mention how deep the rot of Man U goes?  It’s telling that anyone can still believe in this team.  Despite nearly $200 million in acquisitioned players, the heart of the team remains weak and indifferent.  It still has no defense and no real vision.  Look for this team to continue to twaddle.  ‘Sweet Lou’ Louis van Gaal fumes now.  Man U fans, time to switch to Arsenal!

2.  Putin is not done with his real estate acquisition. The Phoney War in Ukraine continues, and will for some time until someone puts a stop to Putin.  He will be a thorn on the side of Europe and the United States for some time to come.  And no amount of pleading from the Ukraine president in the Congress to get help will change the equation.  U.S. President Barack Obama fears Russian President Vladimir Putin, so he will not really come to the rescue of Ukraine.  This war will endure for some time.

3.  Middle East got muddier.  If I were to say that World War III has started, few – if any- would believe me. But in fact, it has.  And may have had ever since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003.  The war escalates now, caused by the madness of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.  Look for this continue for some time to come.  In the photo, please note the ISIS fighter with the Giorgio Armani T-shirt. How is it:  ISIS rails against the West, cuts off the heads of its reporters, yet wears its clothes?

4.  Scotland did not break off from England.  This should not surprise anybody, since most of the time people vote with their pocketbooks.  Independence would come at a high price, initially, but in the long run be better for Scotland.  But few wanted to pull that trigger. So the status quo remains.

So what has changed since I last wrote here? As you can see, not much.  So you did not miss anything!

 

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Clipping Aerofloat’s Wings

Aeroflot_Manchester_United_Trophy_Tour_in_Tokyo_(13049137133)(Photo, Wikimedia Commons)

Nice smiles.  Good teeth. Plenty of bonhomie to to all around.

Beneath the cheer lies the brutal reality of Russia today.  They have attacked an innocent nation, taken over a part of its territory (Crimea) and now gun for more.

Literally gun for more.

Meanwhile, the nation’s main airline, Aerofloat, ferries Manchester United players around the globe.  As sponsors of the club, they can do that.

But Man U is made of sterner stuff than this, right?  They are a moral club, who look after the ethical bottom line.

Why have they not abrogated their deal with Aerofloat?  Or at least, made a statement about it?

So long as the carnage continues in eastern Ukraine, this is the only just thing to do.

It’s a shame that Man U lacks the courage to do the right thing.  It’s a shame that a club of its stature does not have the heart to lose a few million quid in exchange for a conscience.

It is within the power of chief executive Ed Woodward to stand up for justice and decency.  Russian President Vladimir Putin should not be allowed to get away with this blatant land grab.

We stopped Adolph Hitler in World War II, we can do the same now.

Man U’s action against Aerofloat fits perfectly with this goal.

Here’s to you, Ed!

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Aerofloat Not on Same Pitch as Man U

article-0-1AB713C0000005DC-220_634x431(Photo, http://www.dailymail.co.uk)

The photo found on Daily Mail’s website say sit all:  the marriage between Russian main airline, Aerofloat, and Manchester United football club cemented in March 2013.

The deal should not be abrogated.

So long as Russian troops continue to invade eastern Ukraine and make mincemeat of international agreements, then Aerofloat does not deserve to be a sponsor of the world’s biggest football club.

It is an outrage that effective CEO Ed Woodward has not made a move to remove Aerofloat from its growing list of club sponsors.

Aerofloat, while a private company, still represents Russia.  It is sad that it must pay the price for the megalomania of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but since they are based in Russia, it cannot be otherwise,

This boycott should extend to all flyers who may consider using Aerofloat.  Please don’t do this. A strong signal must be sent to Putin that the west will not put up with such blatant aggression as shown in Ukraine.

Make no mistake, there is a great “silent” war taking place between Russia’s Putin and the west.  In his eyes, we are decadent, gay-loving, drugged out wastoids with little moral spine.

Meanwhile, his Mafia leadership, responsible for the deaths of journalists and other opponents, rolls on unabated.  Unless he is stopped.

Boycotting Aerofloat is one such step.  Man U’s abrogating its relationship with Aerofloat is another.

Moral decisions must be made.  Your move, Ed.

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Man U Must Jettison Aerofloat

Aeroflot-Heathrow-High-Res-53(Photo, http://www.haystackonline.com)

The Russian airline, Aerofloat, official airline of Manchester United Football Club, should be removed from its ties to the club.

While Russian troops engage Ukrainian ones in an illegal and brutal takeover of eastern Ukraine, Man U should divest itself of ties to a company that rubbishes its reputation.

There are many other airlines in which it can offer sponsorship, but not a Russian one that threatens to further send the team into sporting oblivion with its tepid displays on the pitch.

Now, with Aerofloat on-board, decent minded folks and fans alike may ask – what is the club doing with a Russian company?

The stench grows by the day.  I know that effective CEO Ed Woodward is a master of negotiating and sales and bringing in sponsorship dollars to the club, but the Russian connect goes beyond the pale.

This is bad morals.

This is also a good test for the club to see where its priorities lies – with doing the right thing, or with simply grabbing the money, no matter how corrupt and evil it might be.

Ed, time to stand up, big boy.

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Man United Learns to Dance

FFCEBF81828744C4AFF437BC312F6636.ashx(Photo, Daley Blind, Manchester United Website)

It came fast and furious and apparently even after the transfer deadline.  Radamel Falcao is now, at least on loan, a Manchester United player.

Along with Daley Blind, and before that Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, all new signings.

Yet, go to the Man U website and you’ll still see Shinji Kagawa and Danny Welbeck on the masthead.  Is someone behind the eight ball here? Or simply just another sign of how things are slow at the club these days.

So what did Man U get for its efforts?  While Chelsea, Manchester City and even Liverpool had settled matters long ago, Man U and Arsenal struggled to the end to find new talent for their operations.

The team’s very different from the one of a year ago, or even a few months ago.  Familiar, stable faces gone.  Replaced by talent but will they have the cahones to work hard under Louis van Gaal?

Games are won or lost in the mind first.  What Man U teams have lacked in the past year since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson is a killer instinct.

That’s what took an ordinary team of players to glory under Sir Alex. When he was lost, so was the vision to fight to every ball, and claim every tackle as his own.

The team today is nominally better, at least on paper, more telling will be the coming matches, particularly against the likes of the big four – Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

I can see wins against Arsenal, and maybe a draw against Liverpool, but not Chelsea and Man City.  Those are in a different league.

Even Liverpool seems a worthy candidate for the championship of the league.

The answers are fewer now then they were a few days ago.  There still lingers the bad taste in the mouth of a Man U management that simply cannot function under anything resembling normalcy.

Effective CEO Ed Woodward may look like a drummer to a rock star band, but he acts like a manager of a department store in Peoria, Illinois.

After four humiliating games at the start of the season – Swansea, Sunderland, MK Dons and Burnley – there is little that may change in the coming weeks.

At some point, the club must win.  Even the worst teams scrape a victory or two here and there.

But sitting in 14t place in league standings after three weeks is embarrassing.

That won’t change for a while.

 

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Slow War to Hell

Blake_A_Breach_in_a_City_the_Morning_after_the_Battle_c1784_Pen_and_watercolorAckland_Art_Museum_University_of_North_Carolina_at_Chapel_Hill(Photo, Wikimedia Commons)

Before becoming a United States senator from Illinois, Barack Obama taught at the University of Chicago Law School about the U.S. Constitution.

It was a safe job since he could talk theory in the halcyon, protected space of academe with a lot of smart, talented students who worshiped him.

The real world, so messy, was far removed.  Now that he faces the test of his presidency and his own personal mettle, the result is less thrilling and, well, academic.

He’s asked to step up to the challenge of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who’s on another real estate acquisition mindset in eastern Ukraine.

But unlike what happened with similar grabs in northern Georgia, the west – Europe and the U.S. – are not taking this mildly.

Putin can claim Russia’s been mistreated by the west ever since the collapse of the old Soviet Union. And he’s right.  But to now wage a rapid war with the west, he’s entered new and far more dangerous territory.

There is a rough solution to the mess in Ukraine, but it requires both sides back down from aggression and find something resembling a Swiss-style rapprochement between the regions of Ukraine.

This means a new constitution that takes into account the Russian speakers deeply embedded in the country’s culture.

What it does not mean is a take0ver of territory that clearly does not belong to Russia, and was not part of the original agreement that saw Ukrainian independence in the early 1990s.

This war heads towards greater confrontation that in the end can only end when one side backs down – and it won’t be Putin unless he’s deposed.

China would never allow direct confrontation with the West, it would be economic suicide, but Putin has no such fear.  He’s going full bore ahead with his muscular ideas, thinking that Obama’s too weak to react.

Obama’s weak, no doubt, but the memory of the Munch appeasement hangs over a lot of western memories.  Let Putin get away with his real estate ventures now and the world stops afterwards.

History is clear about this Less so is what the next steps are.  Both sides ratchet up the pressure and the threats.  War surges on the ground.  Ukraine has more or less declared war on Russia, who has yet to respond formally to the announcement.

But for all intent and purposes, her response comes from the ground – where Russian troops now take over the fight.

There is no neat way out of this mess. And whatever he learned in the classroom, Obama is not helped in this crisis.  Unless he wakes up to an internal toughness, there is the risk this low-war will escalate.

Let’s hope this is not the start of the third world war that so many have long predicted.

 

 

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World Edges Closer to Madness

Vladimir_Putin_with_his_mother(Photo, Vladimir Putin at 6 with mother, Wikimedia Commons)

As the disaster for Manchester United continues (draw at Burnley), the world around slips into a mental coma.

I predicted a loss for Man U, but in the end they drew.  So I was half-right when I said two weeks ago that the club will lose their first three matches.  In a way, they did.

Two points out of nine possible – is that a way to start the season?

So, what does a Man U fan do?  Root for another English Premiere League club?  What are the choices:

Everton:  Scrappy but hardly a substitute for Man U.  Roberto Martinez’s men look more and more wooden with each passing game.

Chelsea:  Roman Abramovich is rich and Russian and part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mafio inner circle. They are coached by Jose Mourinho who while a football genius, has some human behavior issues.   Yes, he acquired Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid, a brilliant buy, but  really, I might as well root for the Don Corleone family!

Liverpool:  The nearest team to the old Man U club, with Boss Brendan Rogers the closest to Sir Alex Ferguson, this is a team on the march.  Mario Balotelli, their new buy, is crazy but he can score and change games.  They are a real threat to win the EPL.  And the nearest for a Man U fan to cheer.

Arsenal:  Arsene Wenger.  There is nothing further to say.

Manchester City:  Stain Manuel Pelligrini is a decent person but this is not a decent team. This is the worst Beverly Hills cocky outfit possible.

Tottenham:  Forget it.  Owner’s crazy.  ‘Nuff said.

Okay, back to reality.  As the war in “Eastern Ukraine” continues its slow build-up, we face a growing sharp divide between east and west.  I can fault Putin for his tactics, but not for his taking advantage of a weak west.  With U.S. President Barack Obama sucking his thumb, it seems a passing fancy to think that anyone can stand up against the Thug of the East.

For those heavily invested in the stock market, this is a perilous time.

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