Laguna's past comments

  • 2

    Laguna

    The strange financial deal of Rosneft, a major, "private" oil company, tells much. Rosneft had asked for $40 billion from Russia's sovereign wealth fund to repay foreign currency debt, but the government didn't have sufficient foreign exchange. Instead, several "private" banks were directed to buy ruble-denominated bonds in the amount of $40 billion at an interest rate well below market. These banks were then allowed to use the bonds as collateral to borrow an equivalent amount of money from the Central Bank. Meanwhile, Rosneft presumably used the rubles to buy foreign currency with which to repay its debt, a major cause of the recent ruble plunge.

    If Rosneft defaults on its debt, the banks will be on the hook for the full amount - unless, as the Central Bank has already accepted them as collatoral, it decides to forgive the debt, thus vastly inflating the Russian money supply.

    We can probably expect to see similar deals in the future as Putin attempts to prop up his cronies. The result will be a further plunge in the ruble and very high inflation in Russia.

    Posted in: Putin promises economic recovery to worried Russia

  • 1

    Laguna

    My dog can barely concentrate on two things at once - and three is way beyond him - yet he's marginally smarter than your average tea partier. So now we have the ACA, immigration, and Cuba. My, my - so much outrage, so little time. I do look forward to what Obama throws in the mixer next.

    Posted in: Obama announces U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba

  • 2

    Laguna

    If Obama can pull this through, it will be his lasting legacy.

    There's likely more here. If the US would be so pig-headed as to ignore Cuba, what chance would Iran have? My guess is that the lower oil prices Obama has (most certainly) orchestrated will bring Iran to the table, and he'll leave office with the only regime ostracized North Korea. Historical.

    Posted in: Obama announces U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba

  • 6

    Laguna

    The Vatican is technically a country. Certainly, it is a theocracy, but so is Saudi Arabia, and the US commonly cooperates with that country to deal with various situations.

    Posted in: Obama announces U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba

  • 3

    Laguna

    2016 can't here fast enough!

    Completely agree. Some Repubs are threatening to block funds needed to reestablish relations and to refuse to confirm an ambassador. Knee-jerk reaction, to be sure (not that they normally think much anyway), but how long do they think they can keep this up?

    Posted in: Obama announces U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba

  • 6

    Laguna

    Always figured a marathon course starting in Fukushima heading south would result in a world record ( or several).

    Posted in: Fukushima wants to host Olympic events in 2020

  • 1

    Laguna

    Where are all the folks saying how "weak" Obama and his sanctions were now? Cat got your tongue?

    Right. And I remember comments to the effect that Russia has no debt, and I pointed out that it does - it's just placed on the balance sheets of so-called "private" companies that are actually the archipelago of kleptocracy under Putin's cronies that compose the Russian economy, and hence its financial basis.

    These companies are now locked out of Western financial markets but still must repay tens of billions in Euros at a time when their debts in terms of rubles are skyrocketing. There is no way out - except, maybe, China? China has always had a legitimate claim on Siberia, and they'd likely pay good money - in hard currency - for it (but not too good; like the deal they got with Russian oil, they know how to negotiate with Putin when his back is to the wall).

    Posted in: Ruble collapse shakes Russian economy, consumers

  • -1

    Laguna

    A former Marine sergeant locked in a custody dispute so bitter that his ex-wife feared for her life - a guy well-known to be trained in weapons and ready to use them, yet nothing was done?! If waterboarding is not justified in this case, when is it?

    Posted in: Ex-Marine wanted in 6 killings in Philadelphia commits suicide

  • 0

    Laguna

    Played the charade with milk and cookies left out for Santa (and hastily consumed by me after waking up late) - but I had no hand in disillusionment. As my kids grew, I turned towards the "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" mode. As in, "He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy." As a non-Christian, I am still able to enjoy Christmas with this in mind.

    Here is the full piece; it is useful to read during this season:

    Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

    Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.

    We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

    Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

    You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

    No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

    Posted in: Do you, or did you, encourage your young children to believe in Santa Claus?

  • 8

    Laguna

    The half million Muslims in Australia must be so thrilled by this news.

    Jcapan, I understand what you mean. The vast majority of Muslims simply want to get on with their lives, but it only takes a few maniacs to turn a majority against a minority. Things will be nasty for law-abiding Australian Muslims for quite a while, I suppose.

    I hope this serves as a wake-up call for Islamic communities to better police themselves.

    Posted in: 5 hostages escape from Sydney cafe

  • 5

    Laguna

    Fresh milk sells for more per ton than butter, so dairy producers are said to be giving butter short shrift....

    Insanity. Fresh milk could never be supplied from abroad - it's volume and short shelf life would prohibit it. Processed dairy, though - cheese, butter, sour cream - could. Fresh milk aside, the diary section of a typical Japanese supermarket, honestly, probably differs little from one in North Korea, with an almost complete absence of quality items and outrageous prices for the pittance the farmers deign to produce. I feel very sorry for Japanese consumers; those who have never traveled abroad really have no idea what "dairy" means.

    Bring the dairy tariff down to, say, zero, and support the farmers only with milk production. That way, everyone wins.

    Posted in: Japan runs short of butter as dairy farms dwindle

  • 3

    Laguna

    Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

    Posted in: Tohoku University team discovers blue light is effective at killing insects

  • 2

    Laguna

    Perhaps the FBI should adopt the CIA's tactics and subject certain gun owners (and their cohorts) to "enhanced interrogation." It's not torture, they claim, so if such methods could prevent another Newtown, well, who could complain?

    To which the reply was:

    You're not dealing with the real world now. Come on....

    But then (!):

    I don't care Americans or non-Americans, I looked at Tim McVeigh not different than Al Qaeda or anyone that wants to harm or kill innocent Americans, if they do, then those people have to deal with whatever consequences comes their way.

    Logical segues have never been a hallmark of the right.

    Posted in: CIA chief challenges Senate torture report

  • 1

    Laguna

    When I arrived on these shores in 1991, the yen was about 150 to the dollar - and now people look at a return to those days as a catastrophe. In reality, perhaps the intervening years have been unreasonable. Look at this graph of the yen/dollar exchange rate since the Plaza Accord, which unpegged the yen in 1985 (when it was about 260 to the dollar).

    http://tinyurl.com/l85olqt

    Posted in: Market bears bet on Abe victory, then a yen disaster

  • 4

    Laguna

    Some interesting circular logic going on here:

    Q: Did the US conduct torture? A: Nope. It was not torture.

    Q: But many international statues define US actions as "torture," and the US has accused other governments who have conducted similar practices of torture. A: Okay, maybe it was "torture lite," but we got some invaluable information.

    Q: Didn't the head of the CIA himself say it was "unknown and unknowable" whether CIA torture led to the acquisition of useful information? A: Nope. It was not torture.

    Those who condone the actions of the CIA under Bush might as well admit it: Torture by the US government is fine as long as it is brought against non-American citizens (at least for now, heh heh heh). Talk about those who will sacrifice liberty for a temporary safety being undeserving of both.

    Posted in: CIA chief challenges Senate torture report

  • 6

    Laguna

    ...the interrogation program “saved thousands of Americans lives” while the country faced a “ticking time bomb every day.

    Since 2006, there have been more than 200 mass killings in the United States. Newtown, Aurora and Virginia Tech have captured America's attention, but similar bloody scenes happen with alarming frequency and much less scrutiny.

    Perhaps the FBI should adopt the CIA's tactics and subject certain gun owners (and their cohorts) to "enhanced interrogation." It's not torture, they claim, so if such methods could prevent another Newtown, well, who could complain?

    Posted in: CIA chief challenges Senate torture report

  • 1

    Laguna

    So no Lady and the Tramp, dog-kissing-dog action there, eh? This is what it should be:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gwZC5s2IU0

    Posted in: Restaurant refuses to serve couples on Dec 24 so singles won’t be reminded of their loneliness

  • 3

    Laguna

    The GOP nominated as its presidential candidate just six years ago John McCain - a guy I have serious differences with except when it comes to torture. (You know, experience and all.) How so many in the GOP ignore his sage advice here is telling. A link to his floor statement is below, but consider this:

    Our enemies act without conscience. We must not. This executive summary of the Committee’s report makes clear that acting without conscience isn’t necessary, it isn’t even helpful, in winning this strange and long war we’re fighting.

    Counterproductive, in a word. Has the GOP drifted so far to the right that they can no longer hear their champions of just yesterday?

    http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=1a15e343-66b0-473f-b0c1-a58f984db996

    Posted in: Brutal CIA questioning didn't work, Senate report says

  • 1

    Laguna

    Any one of those styles would get me fired.

    Bye the way, does anyone remember The Undertone's "Mars Bar"? (I'm really dating myself with this.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5elUkRT1Fc

    Posted in: Snickers may have come up with their best campaign ever: A free barber shop

  • 1

    Laguna

    ...without a single vote against or even an abstention....

    The rats know the ship is sinking and which way to flee, is all this says. Send the Olympic games permanently back to Greece and disband the IOC.

    Posted in: IOC passes votes on bidding, more sports and TV channel

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