Crime time

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Have you been following the Brittney Griner saga? I haven’t followed it that closely but I can say it is surprising and not at the same time. It seems that Americans (yes, I am one) think they can get (or deserve) special treatment when they go to a foreign country. I don’t feel this way, of course, that’s why I am going to write what I write. I’ll keep it brief.

In short (as I understand it), she is a basketball player from the US who was traveling to Russia for a game. She was detained because she was trying to bring contraband into the country (from what I understand, marijuana). She broke the law of a foreign country and now is being punished for it. The verdict was handed down today – nine years in a Russian prison.

My take: If you break the law in a foreign country and get caught, you should be punished under their system of laws. I, we (as US citizens) shouldn’t expect special treatment (even if we are a “celebrity”).

Now, there is always going to be the question of whether or not this was truly a legit case because Russia is shady and there is obviously some “make an example of her” and “the US is supporting Ukraine” thrown in for good measure by the Russian authorities. That does leave some questions in my mind.

BUT, my guess is she most likely knew what she was doing was wrong and thought she could get away with it. Or, she was hoping her status as a pro basketball player would win her some favor. Or, she was hoping that being an American would mean that ol’ Uncle Sam would come to the rescue if soemthing bad went down.

Well, not so much. We shouldn’t be going around flouting the laws in our own country let alone one that isn’t our own. There should never be a “Get out of Jail FREE” card, no matter your status or country.

Put that “in your pipe and smoke it!”

Check back

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Yesterday the invasion and subjagation of Ukraine began. The Soviets, er, I mean Russian government is up to it’s old tricks. There was no doubt that it was going to happen. The writing on the wall started well before the last administration. Not to say that the previous administration could have stopped it either, but there shouldn’t have been any surprise that it was only a matter of time.

I listened to Mr. President’s speech and then Q & A after. One thing really stuck out to me.

“Let’s check back in a month and see how the sanctions are working on Russia…” or something to that effect. I can’t remember the exact wording but I was like, “Do you really think the Ukrainian people have a month? This is all going to be over in a month.”

Ukraine is vastly out manned, out gunned, and honestly there are no good options for providing aid to them. We live in a world where the spectre of a nuclear war (if not just a limited, tactical one) hangs over our heads when dealing with Russia or China. But, in this case, Putin is almost sure the Americans will do not much of anything to stop him.

Sanctions aren’t the answer and it can’t be the only answer.

Sanctions take a LONG time to have any effect and almost always it is the people of a country that is harmed by them, not the government or the elite. It’s not like Putin is going to wake up one morning, head to the ATM, and get the “Funds Denied” message so he decides the war with and invasion of Ukraine isn’t worth it. Let’s be real.

I don’t want war, but I am not sure what would convince Putin to stand down. He knows the American people don’t have the stomach for more war (after 20+ years in Afghanistan and the fiasco of a withdrawal there). Most Americans likely will rattle the sabers, talk big, even attend rallies protesting Putin’s actions, but when it comes time to actually get out of their comfort zones and ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING or SACRIFICE SOMETHNG they will balk.

So, we are left with “check back in a month”.

I feel sorry for Ukraine and the lack of action that they really needed from the West to keep it from happening.

I feel sorry for my children and grandchildren as we enter a new Cold War era…