Oh look. Russia is doing bad things. Again.

I’ve said on more than one occasion that we are not only embarking on another Cold War, but that we are in one. Right now.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the conclusion of the Cold War, there was a brief glimmer of hope that Russia under Boris Yeltsin would turn into a true democratic state.

Those illusions turned murky, at best, when former KGB agent Vladimir Putin rose to power, and nearly two decades later, Russia and the Soviet Union are only different by name.

Russia is meddling in elections, they’re starting and exacerbating proxy conflicts to expand their regional and international influence, and, in yet another instance of their malice, they’re continuing to inflict harm on their citizens who present a threat to the current regime.

Numerous cases have arose where Russians who have opposed Putin have wound up sick or dead. The most famous case was Alexander Litvenenko, a former Russian agent critical of Putin who was poisoned with a rare radioactive metal. An investigation later concluded that it was probably ordered by Putin.

Now, in a another case that has rattled Britain, a former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned on British soil last week using a nerve agent. Moscow is suspected to be behind it — duh — and Britain’s reaction is expected to be severe and stern.


With each passing day, it becomes increasingly inconceivable why it needs to be explained to people why Russian behavior matters. As an explosive and unprecedented special counsel investigation intensifies stateside, the domestic conversation still revolves around whether the inquiry is politically motivated, rather than what we are going to do about Russia.

And that’s truly hard to fathom.

If the Soviet Union made a power grab to assert its geopolitical dominance at any point between 1950 and 1990, no American would question whether they deserve to be punished and held accountable.

In the 21st century, however, it appears that nearly half of America is wholly indifferent towards Russia’s actions.

Watch how Britain responds to what happened. Let’s see if their politics becomes embroiled in partisan squabbling. And this is the U.K. we’re talking about — the country that impulsively decided to leave the European Union. That we’re looking to them to set an example in international policing says a lot.

Russia is bad. That much needs to be established.

Robert Mueller has already indicted 13 Russian nationals, with very specific detail, about how they tried to influence the 2016 election. This isn’t partisan anymore.

And if people still need reminding, let’s sit down in a movie theater, use a device to prevent their eye lids from blinking a la Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork orange, and make them watch Rocky IV on repeat until they get the message.

Remember, friends don’t let friends poision former spies.

Bad, Russia. Bad.


A step towards equality in the U.K.

There is little doubt that significant progress has been made through the years to improve social inequality not only in our country, but throughout the entire world.

But we still have a long way to go when you consider that discrimination is still very much alive based on race, gender, ethnicity and sexuality, among other things.

However, with each incoming generation comes a renewed sense of tolerance and acceptance, and it’s a comforting thought.

That being said, regardless of how much social change occurs, we must never forget where we’ve come from. It’s important to document history so future generations can fully understand and appreciate the progress we’ve made, and to remember all those who were the victims of social injustice.

Take, for instance, the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. in September. Whether we like to admit it or not, slavery is a major part of our country’s history. You can’t inform students about American history without touching upon slavery.

A rainbow flag flies with the Union flag above British Cabinet Offices, marking the first day Britain has allowed same sex marriages, in London

Kids who enter that museum will be amazed to learn that even though we now have had a black president, that this is once how we treated people of African-American descent.And it’s important that they learn early that change can happen.

Another important milestone was the Supreme Court ruling last year to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. In less than 50 years, we went from organized police beatings of homosexuals to protecting them under the law.

But again, we’ll know never know how far we’ve come unless we acknowledge how low we once were.

And recently, that’s a step that was taken from our friends across the pond. Last week, the United Kingdom government announced it would pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men — most posthumously — who were criminalized for having sex with another man.

It’s one of those things that sounds great on the surface, but then makes you furious to turingrealize that this was ever a crime.

England decriminalized consensual homosexual sex between men over age 21 in 1967. Wales did it in 1967, Scotland in 1980 and Northern Ireland in 1982. In 2001, the U.K. lowered the age of consent for homosexual men to 16, the same for heterosexual sex.

The law is named the Turing Law, after renowned mathematician Alan Turing, the subject of the 2014 movie The Imitation Gamewho only did that small little thing of cracking the Nazi enigma code during World War II. He was repaid by being convicted of homosexuality in 1952 and committed suicide by eating a cyanide-dosed apple in 1954 (though some wonder if it was not suicide and simply one of his experiments gone awry).

Either way, it was still a tragic fate for someone who should have been memorialized as a hero. He was formally pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013.

A lot of people will look at this and wonder what it actually accomplishes. It may even serve as a harsh reminder of how cruelly homosexuals were once treated. And it will likely piss people off that homosexuals who were found guilty of having sex in a bathroom won’t be pardoned since it’s still illegal today, despite the fact that the unjust laws at the time forced homosexuals to have sex in bathrooms, away from the public eye.

However, I look at it from a symbolic standpoint. It’s another major country making the effort to right its wrongs.

Should it have ever happened in the first place? Of course not.

But in history books, it will go down as another step towards progress.

It’s no enigma code, but wherever he is, Alan Turing can finally take solace in knowing that his country figured this one out.

If you took one thing away from the U.K. prime minister change today, let it be Larry the Cat

One of the first major events in the aftermath of the Brexit took place on Wednesday, when David Cameron officially stepped down as the prime minister of the United Kingdom, to be replaced by Theresa May.

May, the nation’s second female leader, is a moderate conservative who was against the Brexit but didn’t publicize her stance before the referendum. She has pledged to adhere to voters’ wishes to remove the U.K. from the European Union, and she won the endorsement of her predecessor in recent days.

In short, she’s a much more favorable choice to lead the U.K. than those on the far right who had been floated around in the past week.

But while Cameron and his family formally removed himself from 10 Downing Street, and May entered, one thing will remain the same.

Larry the Cat.

Larry the Cat

A 4-year-old tabby cat who was rescued in 2011 to tend to a rat problem at the headquarters of Her Majesty’s Government, Larry holds the official title of chief mouser.

It was later reported, though, that Larry wasn’t so good at catching mice. Instead, he endeared to the British by scratching TV reporters and attempting to photobomb Kevin Spacey.

But having been introduced to Larry the Cat today, I think my fears over the Brexit have officially been minimized. The greatest concern was the instability that the nation would find itself in following its removal from the European Union.

A new prime minister, new laws and regulations, and a whole new stature in the global economic and political landscape. That’s a lot to take in. It’s scary.

But now that I know there will be some consistency and stability in the form of Larry the Cat, I am no longer worried. As long as that furball resides at 10 Downing Street, then I am at peace.

It’s been a wildly turbulent last few weeks for the U.K., but it was with remarkable efficiency that they picked a new leader and quickly put them into power.

Meanwhile, it’s been well over a year since the American presidential election got underway, and we still have four months left. I’m getting bored of it already. I know Bernie endorsed Hillary on Tuesday, which is pretty significant and could unify the Democratic Party moving forward, but perhaps we need to take a page from our friends across the pond and throw some animals into the mix.

Let’s give Hillary and Trump animals that best depict them to serve as their mascots. How about a weasel for Hillary, and a for Trump … a blobfish.

Screw vice presidents.

There’s your ticket right there.

What America can learn from the Brexit

If you told me that the residents of a nation would give into fear-mongering, populism and xenophobia, I would have never guessed it was any country besides the United States.

Turns I had been giving the British too much credit my entire life.

Call it reverse stereotyping, but I always assumed that just because some one is British, that they are smarter. They dress fancier, they sound more eloquent, and their use of the English language is impeccable.

All of that changed last week when British voters stunned the world by voting to leave the European Union.

The post-war bloc of 28 nations represents the world’s largest single market. Goods and labor flow freely through the member states’ open borders. When a country faltered economically, the E.U. would step in and do everything in its power to pick it up (see: Greece).

Remain reacts

But — and tell me if this sounds familiar — the European Union’s open borders also allows the free flow of people to immigrate from one country to another. That fact, coupled with the fear of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, has stirred a huge sense of nationalism that some politicians have exploited and baited in recent months.

The unprecedented vote has divided residents and created economic uncertainty for the U.K. The stock markets plunged. The value of the pound plummeted. Northern Ireland and Scotland might secede. And young people, who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the E.U., are angry at their elders for sacrificing their future.

Oh, and their prime minister is resigning.

And amazingly, after the vote, campaigners on the Leave side are suddenly backtracking on some of the “facts” they claimed would be beneficial if Britain left the E.U.

But the most astounding part in all of this was when news came out that the top Google eu-google-trendssearches after the vote from British residents were: “What does it mean to leave the EU?” and “What is the EU?”

Here’s where America can learn. Witness the turmoil that is occurring in Britain right now. Feel the regret.

What’s happening in Britain right now is what happens when you give into fear. When you make short-sighted, impulsive decisions simply because you have the option to. When you take out your anger and frustration in the form of a protest vote without understanding the consequences.

If we elect the man who is currently the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, the reality will sink in the next day. The ramifications of what it means will suddenly set in. And mark my words, we will wish we can go back and change it.

Fortunately, the vote hasn’t happened yet. We still can alter the future.

We have one chance to get this right. There’s no practice vote. Because once we place those ballots, there is no do-over.

So America, I’m going to put this as delicately as possible. Look at the anguish the British are experiencing right now. They wish they were in our shoes, and still had the opportunity to make the smart decision in an important referendum.

America, we have four months left.

Get your shit together.