Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Day Late, A Dollar Short -- February 27, 2016

I don't think there's been an 6-year period in modern history in which geo-politics has changed so much at the detriment of the US.

The Drudge Report has this headline: massive Russia deployment in Armenia rattles Washington. The story is reported at The Washington Post with this headline: the Russian-Armenia alliance is threatening Turkey, a critical US ally.

This was reported at the blog a few days ago, and now The Drudge Report and The Washington Post and the Obama administration are now aware of this.
The February 21, 2016, front-page article “For Turkey, high stakes as troubles intensify” highlighted a critical development: The growing military alliance between Russia and Armenia is threatening Turkey, an indispensable U.S. ally and partner in the fight against the Islamic State.
The announcement that Russia is sending a new set of fighter jets and combat helicopters to an air base only 25 miles from the Turkish border is just the latest example of this alliance.
The two countries’ economic and military ties run deep, bolstered by economic and security agreements and two military bases — including one just outside the Armenian capital. Most significant, Armenia is the only country in the region that shares a border with Turkey and has Russian troops permanently stationed.
Although Armenia has welcomed thousands of Russian troops and advanced weaponry, these developments seemed to have escaped the notice of U.S. officials, who were settling in for the holidays while Russia and Armenia signed a sweeping air defense agreement two days before Christmas.
It’s time for Washington to assess who our real allies in the region are. A couple of points:
  • Turkey is hardly an indispensable US ally
  •  Turkey has been a fair-weather friend, at best, for the past two decades
  • Turkey was not particularly helpful for the second Gulf War in which Bush toppled Saddam Hussein
  • Turkey has been "swinging" to an Islamic Republic for the past decade and as such is hardly much of a US ally any more
  • if the US has any real ally in the area it's Kurdistan, and Turkey has been waging war on the Kurds for as long as I can remember (I was stationed in eastern Turkey, 1994 - 1996, and saw the Turkish war on the Kurds first-hand
At the end of the day, some folks in Washington may be "rattled" but:
  • Obama and his staff certainly aren't; this all occurred while the president was golfing the weekend of Scalia's funeral
  • the US military "puts up with Turkey" but no one in the Pentagon has seriously considered Turkey a true US ally for decades.
A Note To The Granddaughters

The most difficult movie, without question, for me to watch is Doctor Zhivago. I don't recall when I last saw it, perhaps when I saw it for the first time, many years ago. I am watching it again. Last night I watched the first half; tonight I'm watching the second half.

Today, thinking back on the first half of the movie, I thought that the millennials supporting Bernie Sanders:
  • need to watch Doctor Zhivago (while reading the history of the Bolshevik Revolution at wikipedia);
  • need to read a really good biography of Ayn Rand; and,  
  • spend a year in Moscow, if they still don't "get it."
Value-Pricing At Disneyland

From The Los Angeles Times:
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure have been charging $99 for a one-day ticket. Under the new policy, each day on the calendar will be designated a "value" day, a "regular" day or a "peak" day. The new price will be $95 for a value day, $105 for a regular day and $119 for a peak day.
Over a 12-month period, 30% of the days will be "value" days, 44% will be "regular" days and 26% will be "peak" days, Disney calculates.
Disney has long been rumored to be considering a pricing change. Walt Disney Resorts put out feelers to annual pass holders last year, asking their opinion of a three-tiered pricing system aimed at charging more during Christmas, spring break and summer.
The pressure for Disney to address its overcrowding problem has been growing.
In the three-month period that ended in December, the company reported a 10% increase in visitors at its domestic parks, reaching a new attendance record. During the holiday season, Disneyland has been forced to shut its gates for a time when the park reaches maximum capacity.
Although daily ticket prices will rise for most days under Disney's new policy, park officials note that they are adding attractions to help justify the extra costs.
Disneyland is now working to add a 14-acre "Star Wars" land and plans to add a new stage show based on the popular "Frozen" movie later this year. An opening date for "Star Wars" land hasn't been announced.
"Soaring Over California," a simulator attraction at Disney California Adventure Park, is being overhauled with a new film that features giant-screen images from around the world. The revamped version is opening this year.

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