The Ten Russian Spies arrested here, fizzled out in a two-for-one exchange in Austria with the US getting four of 'our guys' out from behind the Iron Curtain in exchange. US spies it would seem are worth two and half times a Russian agent. Not very flattering to the Russian SVR Intelligence Service, but I think it is a fair trade....

These Russian Keystone Cops were a really incompetent bunch and didn't merit serious espionage charges, only with being agents of a foreign power. Not very exciting.

Exchanging these Russian agents so soon was not the best move the US could have made. These agents were in-place for ten years, much of that time, under FBI surveillance. It's hard to believe that in ten years, they didn't come up with something. Anything!

One of the Russian agents initially declined to return to Russia and had requested she be deported to Brazil or Peru. After living a state sponsored life of ease in the US, this spy doesn't want to return to Russia to be a supervisor in a state owned potato factory.

I don't think they were trying to infiltrate the YMCA or learn the recipe for McDonalds Special Sauce. These spies must have accomplished something in ten years and should have been thoroughly interrogated. Considering what fate awaits them back in Moscow, they would have been very chatty.

We now have the release of four US agents from Russia. Former intelligence officers who were convicted of passing information onto western intelligence. The Russians don't execute spies anymore as they are always useful for trades later on.

The exchanged individuals released by Russia are Alexander Zaporozhsky, Gennady Vasilenko, Sergei Skripal, and Igor Sutyagin. Any intelligence information these four possess is purely historical and not much use now. It is good to retrieve spies though.

And I thought the Cold War was over......

The Republican Party is the 'The Party of Hope'. Meaning most Americans hope they don't get re-elected or somehow gain the majority in the House and Senate. They have adopted a 'Scorched Earth' policy to sharing power and have blocked funding for millions of unemployed Americans collecting benefits.

This is a really cold hearted move in the middle of a recession.

In politics the party in power has to appease the opposition party and independent parties, guaranteeing we can only have watered down reforms or legislation. Whether it is Parliament or Congress, changes rely on concessions and backroom deals.

Democracy in economic hard times seems to fall apart, and we now have a grassroots 'Tea Bag' movement. 'Baggers' as they are called, take their name from the Boston Tea Party incident and are a New England ultra-conservative movement, allied with the Republican Party.

The Tea Party believes that President Obama is a foreign national with radical Muslim agenda, Swine Flu is a government created conspiracy, and Israel secretly controls the US Government. An interesting Republican agenda.

They have the collective political savvy of a breadstick and aren't really taken seriously by rational voters.

It's not often politics is so amusing and The Tea Party does provide an entertaining distraction.

Across the Pond