Saturday, August 9, 2008

President Mikheil Saakashvili have to pull the tiger's tail

Is this nuts or what?

I suppose it had to come to a head, Russia always wanting to dominate its neighbors.

But did Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili have to pull the tiger tail?

It would have been nice to include Georgia into NATO, but do we really want to go to war with Russia?

"War has started," Vladimir Putin said yesterday as Georgian and Russian forces fought over the breakaway Georgian region of South Ossetia. War is certainly what the two countries have seemed to want for some time, and the chances of avoiding a drawn-out conflict now are slim.

The biggest question now is whether Moscow will simply try to restore the previous status quo in South Ossetia -- with Russia and the rebels controlling most of the territory -- or go further and crush Georgia while deposing Mr. Saakashvili. Russian state TV yesterday reported that Georgian soldiers had killed at least 10 Russian troops and were "finishing off" wounded Russians, a worrisome sign that the Kremlin is trying to inflame public opinion ahead of a major operation.

I would say this is not good.

War in the Caucasus

Sunday, August 3, 2008

FOOD vs BioFuels

Seems to me that at least once before I posted here my complaint that use of food to for fuel is not such a grand idea.

Well anyway, enjoy this little ditty by Peter Nicholson.


Survival of the Sudsiest

I never had this problem before. Two articles that deserve equal attention.
The first by George F. Will
Survival of the Sudsiest

Perhaps, like many sensible citizens, you read Investor's Business Daily for its sturdy common sense in defending free markets and other rational arrangements. If so, you too may have been startled recently by an astonishing statement on that newspaper's front page. It was in a report on the intention of the world's second-largest brewer, Belgium's InBev, to buy control of the third-largest, Anheuser-Busch, for $46.3 billion. The story asserted: "The [alcoholic beverage] industry's continued growth, however slight, has been a surprise to those who figured that when the economy turned south, consumers would cut back on nonessential items like beer."

"Non wh at"? Do not try to peddle that proposition in the bleachers or at the beaches in July. It is closer to the truth to say: No beer, no civilization.

Well Mr. Will goes on, it is a good read.

The development of civilization depended on urbanization, which depended on beer.

Just a little teaser.

But more seriously is an editorial from the Wall Street Journal.

This Bud's for Belgium

Politicians and Wall Streeters are starting to ask why the Belgian beer company InBev purchased Anheuser-Busch and not the other way around. Anheuser-Busch is an iconic American firm and some find it almost unpatriotic that Anheuser CEO August Busch IV allowed the "King of Beers" to relocate across the Atlantic -- though shareholders were the big winners here with a $50 billion-plus takeaway.

Things have gotten pretty bad when U.S. companies relocate to Europe to cut their tax payments. But a research analysis by Morgan Stanley finds the combined company's corporate tax bill will be lower than in the U.S. and that the tax differential indeed figured into the economics of the sale.

So while John McCain may have benefited from his wife's ownership of Anheuser stock (estimated at between 40,000 and 80,000 shares), the country will continue to see its competitive edge wither away without a corporate tax rate cut. Mr. McCain to his credit wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 25%, close to the global average. Senator Obama is more interested in raising tax rates than cutting them.