April 17, 2014 Spy Vs Spy
Spy vs Spy is a comic strip in Mad Magazine, but it seemed appropriate this week. I’ve been watching The Americans. The Americans is an FX show that began May of 2013. It stars Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings. I thought it was so cool that JJ Abrams came up with Alias imagining Felicity’s secret life and now Felicity s a Russian Spy! Her husband Philip Jennings is played by Mathew Ryes, better known as Kevin Walker on Brothers and Sisters. Anyway, the show was created by Joe Weisburg, a former CIA agent. Despite the political intrigue, the show is really about the marriage between the two characters. The depth and intelligence of the writing has gained the show much praise.
Interestingly, the first time I even heard about the how was from an actual Russian! Greg at Concessions International mentioned it last year, saying it was inspired by real events. “We Russians are tricky like that,” he told me. “ I know,” I laughed. Greg never said much about his life in Russia, except that his family wasn’t worth sticking around for. He’d been in America for a while—like 8 years or so—working, but he couldn’t afford to become a citizen as it was several thousand dollars he didn’t have. He had a girlfriend was currently in the Philippians. He also liked my Salmon Bagels.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, American relations with Russia had improved greatly. In the early 90s it was all about Perestroika. However, the new government was unstable and the Russian economy wasn’t doing well. Yeltsin was president from 1991 to 1999. When he resigned, Putin became the acting president for a year. He was elected in 2000 and remains in office. Around 2010, the USA discovered Russian Spies here in America once again. Since then the tensions have been high between our two countries. Now with the Crimean Crisis, we are back to being enemies more or less.
As the Winter Olympics came to an end in February, the demonstrations began. Soon Russia was trying to Annex Crimea yet again. When I heard this I remember thinking, “Wasn’t there a Crimean War once before?” So, I googled it and found my memory correct. Russia fought to expand then and suffered for it. You think that they might have learned something from that chapter in their history! While religion and self-defense played roles in the 1853-1856 war, they don’t appear to have anything to do with the current conflict. It seems to boil down to sense of heritage and entitlement. On the surface it looks like naked greed, but things are always more complicated they they appear. Perhaps Putin has grudge left over from his days in the KGB. Or maybe he thinks he’ll gain respect by doing whatever he wants. Who knows?
Obama’s way of dealing with this? Threaten to isolate Russia by boycotting them. This seems like a better idea than getting directly involved. Military action would overtax us and probably cause a lot of resentment here in the USA.
I wish I could say Obama’s approach to Healthcare was as smart. While I get why everyone should have Health Insurance, making in mandatory like Auto Insurance isn’t the answer. Auto Insurance is logical because of liability, but Health Insurance is way more complicated. People are resistant to the idea of socialized Health Care. Despite success in Canada and other countries, the USA tends to associate socialism with communism and Russia. Stubbornly clinging to our independent mindset, we don’t see the advantages. Meanwhile, the Medical Industry and the Big Pharmaceutical Companies keep turning a huge profit at our expense. Capitalism has created an unfair advantage, leaving many poor people without car. Yes, there is Medicaid, but plenty of people don’t qualify who still can’t afford Health Insurance. And some people can only afford crappy insurance, which still leaves them a huge debt in addition to their monthly premiums. Obama Affordable Care seems to have a good intention behinds it, but the companies continue to keep turning a profit anyway.
What needs to be done is stricter legislation on these insurance companies. Government regulated fees and regulations might keep these companies from getting too greedy. But of course, these companies lobby against fees and law so that nothing ever gets put in place. These corporations essentially govern us and the government and will NOT be told what to do. Obama’s plan met with great resistance and it wasn’t near as dramatic or extreme as it needed to be. Obama’s lack of influence and lack of power is why the whole thing has failed. It wasn’t a bad idea, just badly implemented idea.
As a friend sharply pointed out, socialism means that the rich have to give up what they believe is rightly theirs and they don’t wish to share. The people of America are like spoiled only children who don’t care about their less fortunate cousins.