It was a weird weekend and so far today the situation has not improved.
Saturday, NJ Governor Chris Christie spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. He had just been cleared of any wrong doing in the George Washington Bridge scandal by a panel he commissioned. Although those doing the reviewing were members of a law firm he has close connections to, he had to feel the tide had turned and he could finally concentrate fully on his presidential bid. In addition, he was scheduled to have a private conversation with gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, during which the Governor would presumably kiss Mr. Adelson's ass numerous times while in search of a large campaign contribution.
Then, in a surreal moment of political nihilism, or gross stupidity, he placed his foot squarely into his mouth. During the speech he recalled a helicopter tour he once took in Israel. While he was telling the gathering about it, he referred to Gaza and the West Bank as, "the occupied territories."
It isn't clear who wrote the speech, but the author really needs to understand you don't stick your guy in front of a bunch of influential, rich, American Jews, then have him use the term occupied territories while he talks about Israel. NBC reported Christie ended up apologizing personally to Adelson afterward. It is unknown at this time if Sheldon put a stop payment on a check, or simply told the Governor he'd have better luck getting funds from a roulette wheel at the Venetian than he would from anyone in the audience.
Out over the Indian Ocean, the search for Malaysian Airlines flight 370 continues to prove utterly futile. All the promising pieces of flotsam turned out not to be from the missing Boeing 777. The debris was described as discarded, or lost fishing boat gear.
Meanwhile, in their never ending quest to fuel conspiracy theories, the Malaysian authorities are now claiming the final radio broadcast from the aircraft was, "Goodnight: Malaysian flight 370." This is opposed to the, "All right, goodnight," broadcast they previously insisted was the last audio contact from the plane that went missing on March 8th.
The latest revelation moved former head of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, James Hall to say, "This investigation is an example of what not to do. Everything they do, they change."
While the Malaysians maintain the person who spoke the last communication was co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, there is no telling if tomorrow they'll decide it was pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, or even Rich Little. It is increasingly clear Malaysian Airlines and the government of Malaysia itself, hired their staffs from the same agency who provided Governor Christie with his invaluable personnel.
Finally, the Russians are conducting military exercises about 150 miles from their border with Finland. They claim the maneuvers were "pre-planned."
That won't ease nerves in Helsinki. The Finns have a long history with Russia. They were occupied by them for a little over 100 years beginning in the early 19th century and fought them in couple of wars during the 1940's.
In addition NBC says a short while ago, former Putin economic advisor, Andrei Illarionov told a Swedish publication his old boss will, "seek historical justice by reclaiming Finland and ex Soviet countries."
It might be time to ask ourselves a dreadful question. Is, Vladimir Putin off his nut? Let's face it, the parallels are becoming a little eerie. The late, unlamented, Herr Hitler hosted an olympics in 1936. In 1938 Germany annexed the Sudetenland in order to protect "ethnic Germans." Sound familiar? Not long afterward he had all of Czechoslovakia, was invading Poland, and a war, which left most of Europe in ruins, was in full swing.
Various experts quoted by NBC, think the risk of the Russian army moving against Finland is low. Of course in 1938, Neville Chamberlain told the population of Great Britain he had achieved, "Peace for our time." Within a year the terrible conflagration began.
Indeed, as the last part of the old saying goes, "...sometimes the bear eats you." It looks like Vlad is going to keep pushing until someone gives him the old, enough is enough talk. We should all hope a reasonable person has the guts to deliver it and Putin has the brains and sanity to believe him when things are explained in full.