Archive for Russia

John Kerry Gets One Right

Hey, even a stopped clock finds a nut once in a while:

Though it went entirely unnoticed in the Western press, all major Russian news outlets – RIA Novosti, Sputnik, RT, and others – were only too happy to report on what US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in private: “Just ignore Obama’s statements.”

According to Mr. Lavrov, John Kerry advised him not to pay too much attention to the US President’s harsh rhetoric directed toward his state. As recently as September, during his speech to the 69th UN General Assembly in New York, Mr. Obama puzzled and shocked Mr. Lavrov by placing “Russian aggression in Europe” in second place among the world’s threats, behind only the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, resigning to third place the “brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq.” “Aggressive Russia” again was included in Mr. Obama’s world top-danger list during November’s G20 Summit in Australia.

According to a translation commissioned by the Observer, Mr. Kerry advised Mr. Lavrov to “just ignore Obama’s statements.” Google translator phrases the nuance slightly differently: “Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says US Secretary of State John Kerry called on him to ‘pay no mind’ to a statement by President Obama.” But the take-home message is clearly the same.

“Talking to John Kerry,” said Mr. Lavrov in his speech to the State Duma assembly, “I asked him, what did it mean. He said to me: ‘Just ignore it.’ You understand, if this is so serious, then, of course, it is very sad. And he said ‘just ignore it’ because he wanted at that moment to discuss how we were going to co-ordinate our approaches on solving Iran’s nuclear program and on the situation on the Korean peninsula.”

Actually, Kerry was accurate but premature. We will be able to ignore Jumbo-ears soon enough, just not yet.

It’s no secret that the country is in the hands of a bunch of rodeo clowns (hence the presence of so much bullsh*t, so many horse’s asses). Watching their press conferences is like watching the freaks who audition for American Idol.

But it is a secret to our press barons and anyone who reads their rags. How can any election be valid if the public is not informed?

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What Did One Leninist Dictator Say to the Other?

“Hello Vladimir? It’s Barack.”

Ha-ha.

Anyway, this is how Putin slinked away and licked his wounds after getting the cold shoulder at the G-20 meeting last week:

Meeting supporters in Moscow, Mr. Putin corrected another speaker who said that the United States wanted to humiliate Russia. “They don’t want to humiliate us, they want to subjugate us, to solve their problems at our expense,” he said. “They want to bring us under control.”

Mr. Putin added: “Throughout history no one has ever succeeded in doing that to Russia and they never will.”

Before his speech, the Russian leader was shown a new military vehicle described as a cross between a car and an armoured personnel carrier. Manufacturers had jokingly labelled the vehicles “polite armoured cars” – in reference to “the polite people,” a phrase that became popular in the spring to describe the Russian soldiers who led the Kremlin’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

On seeing the machine, Mr. Putin quipped: “You can get a lot more done with weapons and politeness than you can with politeness alone.”

The phrase appeared to echo a saying attributed to Al Capone: “You can get much further with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.”

Putin quotes a real Chicago tough guy, while Obama quotes a movie about Chicago tough guys: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

Need we say more?

PS: Suggest your own movie quote as it applies to Obama. Here’s mine from Apocalypse Now: “The horror…the horror…”

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Speaking Of Weakness

Tanks roll into Ukraine

Ukraine’s military accused Russia on Friday of sending a column of 32 tanks and truckloads of troops into the country’s east to support pro-Russian separatists fighting government forces.

Thursday’s cross-border incursion, if confirmed, is a significant escalation of a conflict that has killed more than 4,000 people since the separatists rose up in mid-April and would call into question Russia’s commitment to a two-month-old ceasefire deal.

Obama is such a dope. Appeasement never works, whether you are trying to appease the Iranian Ayatollah, the Palestinians, the Russians or the Nazis. Obama deserves this:

PutinSpankingObama

– Aggie

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Once Upon a Time in America

That was then:

This is today:

The foreign minister of Russia has said it is time for a “reset 2.0″ in ties with the US, while blaming the Obama administration for their poor state.

Sergei Lavrov, who was minister during the 2010 “reset” of relations, said the current US administration had “wrecked much of the co-operation structures”.

“It is absolutely in our interests to normalise relations but we didn’t wreck them,” he told a Russian TV channel.

“Now there’s a need for what the Americans might call a ‘reset’,” Mr Lavrov told Russia’s Channel Five (in Russian).

“The current US administration is today wrecking much of the co-operation structures that it created itself along with us. Most likely, something more will come up – a reset No 2 or a reset 2.0.”

If not for the birth of her granddaughter, and if not her departure from this gaggle of losers a year and a half ago, I would call that a bitch-slap of Hillary Clinton. So I won’t. But it ain’t a peck on the cheek either.

Hey Barack, the 1980s called: they said you suck.

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“Be With You in a Minute, Mr. Peabody!”

Cineastes will recognize the title of this post as the line repeatedly shouted out by Cary Grant in that screwiest of screwball comedies, Bringing Up Baby, as he chases Katherine Hepburn and a leopard around a country estate. Mr. Peabody is the potential donor to Grant’s paleontological studies, but poor Cary can barely catch his breath, let alone his quarry, the eponymous Baby the leopard.

President Obama can relate. Can’t a man take a two-week Martha’s Vineyard vacation—interrupted by a bachelor party—followed by a weekend wedding and several fundraising appearances without the world falling apart? To quote from another great film, The Incredibles, “No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved, you know?”

So I just have to ask, do we have a strategy for this?

Ukraine’s president has said his country is “close to a point of no return – full scale-war”.

Petro Poroshenko was speaking in Brussels, where he said a meeting of EU leaders had agreed to prepare more sanctions against Russia.

Outgoing EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton earlier accused Russia of “direct aggression” in east Ukraine.

Russia denies that its forces are backing rebels, who have been gaining ground on Ukrainian forces.

Mr Poroshenko said Ukraine was a victim of “military aggression and terror”.

He said: “I think that we are very close to the point of no return. Point of no return is full-scale war.

Because it would appear this is Putin’s strategy:

Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists in Kiev that Russian tanks had entered the small Ukrainian town of Novosvitlivka on the border with Russia and fired on every house.

“We have information that virtually every house has been destroyed.”

That strategy would appear to be: first they came for Crimea, but we did not speak up because we were not Crimean; then they came for Donetsk, but we did not speak up because we were not Donetskan; then they came for Novosvitlivka, but we did not speak up because we were not Novosvitlivkan.

That strategy appears to be working so far.

Our strategy…well, maybe we’re playing the long game:

President Obama was among the guests at the wedding of White House chef Sam Kass late Saturday, according to a White House pool report.

Obama, the first lady and their daughters, Sasha and Malia, attended the ceremony at a farm-to-table restaurant in Westchester County, New York.

The first family departed Blue Hill at Stone Barns at 1:05 a.m. Sunday morning after spending six-and-a-half hours at the wedding festivities, according to a reporter traveling with the president.

The Obamas returned to the White House shortly before 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning, approximately two-and-a-half hours behind schedule.

You say two and a half hours, I say two and a half years. But we can all agree that this sort of behavior has no place in the 21st century. Okay, Vlad? So, just cool it.

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Welcome to the 21st Century

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”

Oh really?

Pro-Moscow rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers, battled government forces on two fronts Thursday, a Ukrainian military official said.

The fighting was taking place southeast of Donetsk, and along the nation’s southern coast in the town of Novoazovsk, about 12 miles (20 km) from the Russian border, according to Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion.

“This is a full-scale invasion,” Lysenko said, referring to the fighting in the south.

In a Cabinet meeting Thursday, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, called for an immediate U.N. Security Council meeting.

“Russia has very much increased its military presence in Ukraine,” he said.

Then again, this administration finds much out of place in the modern era:

“One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.”

These poor boys. They see the Summer of ’14 as a time of yachting and golf, of gins and tonic and cucumber sandwiches, of Vineyard Vines and Tommy Bahama, of cycling, wind-surfing, ice cream, watermelon (for Kerry, I assure you!), and corn on the cob.

They see the world as it appears from the inarguable Edens or Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Elsewhere, however, but also in the sand, exists the world as it really is:

Michelle Obama would counsel a hat or other head covering. The sun is awfully strong in Iraq. Or Syria. Or wherever ISIS squats and defouls the land.

But I wonder if a world that is admittedly more 19th century in behavior (or 12th century) needs 19th (or 12th) century leaders? Maybe we need a real wartime president, like the Republican Abraham Lincoln. Or the Republican General William Tecumseh Sherman (who may be persuaded to reconsider his statement: “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”)

I don’t think Genghis Khan was a Republican, but I’m sure he’d be up to the job. And John Kerry is all too familiar with him.

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Putin Is Scared, Real Scared

Does he think that Obama is “unmanly”? Is he calling him a Pajama Boy?

The Unclenched Fist Works Its Magic

The Unclenched Fist Works Its Magic

One Russian leader has made it very clear what the Kremlin thinks of the US in a tweet mocking their president’s masculinity.
In a strange display of one upmanship, deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin posted a picture on his Twitter account of President Vladimir Putin petting a leopard next to one of Mr Obama holding a fluffy poodle, with the caption “we have different values and allies.”
The post, which was meant as a dig at the US President’s unequal manly status, was retweeted more than 600 times in two hours.

– Aggie

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He’s Getting Better

Credit where it’s due, President Barack Obama isn’t a complete dipstick when mass murder occurs.

It took him only 10 seconds to interrupt his fundraising happy talk to address what “may be” a terrible tragedy—the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian plane by Russian terrorists. Forty seconds later he’s said all he has to say, and it’s back to “Good morning, Delaware!”

This may look shallow and callow to many, but remember whom we’re talking about.

Remember:

It took him well over two minutes of out-shouting before he got around to mention the murder of American servicemen by a Muslim zealot. Ten seconds is a massive improvement.

I would ask what the odds are that Obama would be at two separate PR photo ops on the occasions of two separate terrorist atrocities…but when is he not at a PR photo op? Especially lately? The “bear” is constantly on the move these days, and no burger shack is safe from his unannounced assault. If he’s going to flit about the country, hitting diners, drive-ins, and dives like some sort of South Side Guy Fieri, the least he can do is to learn how to pay lip service to the reprimitivized world he helped recreate—as he wipes the ketchup and relish off his own lips.

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Our Friends, the Russians

Okay, so maybe Hillary’s embarrassing Reset Button gag went over like a lead balloon:

Nothing cements relations like mutual derision:

Russia is somewhat obsessed with Jen Psaki.

The State Department spokeswoman has turned into Russia’s boogeyman (boogey-woman?) and favorite punching bag as relations with the United States have deteriorated over the crisis in Ukraine.

She is demonized on television. Her gaffes are celebrated widely as internet memes on Russian social media. A popular radio morning show even mocked her in a song set to a popular children’s tune.

“There is nobody more competent than Psaki, nobody more pretty, or smarter,” sang the chorus, sarcastically. The song accused her of peddling “nonsense” to journalists and urged her to “keep it up, we want to laugh more.”

In April, Psaki was taunted by Russian media for using the hashtags #RussiaIsolated and #UnitedforUkraine on Twitter, including sending a photo of herself holding a #UnitedforUkraine sign with a thumbs up. (The Obama administration’s social media campaign on Ukraine, led by Psaki, was ridiculed by some at home as well, including the New York Post and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.)

ABC News calls this an “obsession”. But can you blame Russia? Psaki is pure comedy gold.

Yup:

Not just hashtags; sometimes there are bracelets:

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And perhaps the pansiest response of all:

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Those aren’t pansies? Sorry.

Anyway, if the French can love us for Jerry Lewis, why can’t Russia love us for Jen Psaki? She’s funnier.

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Jewish Community In Odessa, Kiev In Hiding

Our brilliant young President and his brilliant foreign policy have brought us back to 1903.

One of the saddest aspects of modern American Jewry is our near universal ignorance of our own past. Many of us are children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of people who fled places like Odessa and Kiev. And why? Because of stuff like this:

Odessa’s Jews are prepared to evacuate should the violence in the western Ukrainian city get significantly worse, several community leaders told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

Odessa’s Jewish community numbers some 30,000, down from nearly 40 percent of the city’s population before the Holocaust.

The Odessa bloodshed came on the same day that Kiev launched its biggest push yet to reassert its control over separatist areas in the east, hundreds of kilometers away, where armed pro-Russian rebels have proclaimed a “People’s Republic of Donetsk.”

While Jewish community leaders are unanimous in asserting that the violence is unconnected to the Jewish community and that they do not feel specially targeted, they agreed that, should the situation deteriorate, it would be easy for the spillover to affect their constituents.

According to Rabbi Refael Kruskal – the head of the Tikva organization, which runs a network of orphanages and schools and provides social services to the city’s elderly – several of the wounded from Friday’s clashes were Jews, and the community is taking all necessary precautions.

And how will they evacuate? And where?

“Over the weekend we closed the [Great Choral] Synagogue,” Kruskal said. “We took all the students out of the center of the city where the violence was, because we were worried it was going to spread. We sent a text message to everybody in the community on WhatsApp that they should stay at home over the weekend.”

While the synagogue, which is located close to the site of Friday’s clashes, was reopened Sunday morning, Kruskal said he planned on closing it again later in the day.

The Jewish community, he added, is hunkering down and trying to ride out the storm.

“When there is shooting in the streets, the first plan is to take [the children] out of the center of the city,” Kruskal said. “If it gets worse, then we’ll take them out of the city. We have plans to take them both out of the city and even to a different country if necessary, plans which we prefer not to talk about which we have in place.”

Fearful of further “provocations” on Friday, which marks the anniversary of Soviet Russia’s victory over Germany in the Second World War, Kruskal said that he was considering renting a holiday camp to house 600 Jews away from the fighting he expects next week.

“The next weekend is going to be very violent,” he said.

They have apparently rented busses and they are fueled up and waiting in parking lots. (This reminds me of Hurricane Katrina… but in Katrina we didn’t see competent community leaders.)

And this is truly horrifying:

The Jewish community, together with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, has prepared a fleet of 70 buses, fueled and ready to go, “if, God forbid, we have to evacuate” the community’s children and any adults who want to leave, he said.

During Friday’s clashes, 20 buses were parked outside of Chabad’s school, but went unused.

There are a number of evacuation plans, ranging from relocating within the city to sending community members to Kishinev, two-and-a-half hours away in neighboring Moldova.

What is so horrifying about Kishinev? This. Many, many American Jews are here because of the pogroms in Kishinev. The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a book of forged documents claiming Jewish plans to rule the world, was first published by the local newspaper in Kishinev. And, according to some linguistic research out of Stanford, that editor was actually the author. The Protocols is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews, was required reading in classrooms in Nazi Germany, and is widely read in the Muslim world today. It was even made into a 40something part television series in Egypt a few years ago, and ran every night during Ramadan. So the safety plan is running to Kishinev?

I can honestly say that I am sick. The American Jewish community overwhelmingly voted for Obama – twice. We voted, knowingly voted, for foreign policy weakness. We chose Neville Chamberlain. We are such dolts.

– Aggie

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War is What Happens While You’re Telling Jokes

President Obama was madly busy yesterday playing golf and telling jokes.

Others were involved in more serious pursuits:

Pro-Russian militants stormed a Ukrainian police station in Odessa on Sunday and freed 30 fellow activists as the prime minister blamed police corruption there for dozens of deaths in rioting on Friday.

“Russians won’t abandon their own!” militants chanted as they smashed windows and broke down the gate at the compound, where comrades had been held since Friday’s mayhem. Others shouted “Russia! Russia!” and “we will not forgive!”

Odessa police said 30 activists had been released.

Some police officers were offered the black and orange St. George’s ribbon, a Russian military insignia that has become a symbol of the revolt, and were cheered when they accepted it.

Except for tanks, Russia has invaded Ukraine. (They can shoot down helicopters, evidently.) So far, our response has been to ban sales of peanut butter to the Moscow elite and cancel Putin’s subscription to Jugs.

Best question of the day:

What’s often misunderstood about Putin is that, while he pines for the vanished image of Soviet power, he knows that Communism didn’t work. Nor does he expect to re-establish the Soviet Union’s domination over Europe’s eastern half (as much as he’d welcome it). Putin has become a Great-Russian nationalist, a bigoted throwback to the days before the Bolsheviks arrived. His intent is to regain all the lands that once belonged to the czars.

When President Obama declared in March that Putin “has no ideology,” he betrayed his ignorance of both history and Putin. Who’s briefing this guy?

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Putin’s ideology is nationalism, the only belief system that may have killed as many human beings as Marxism. And when a “post-modern” talk-talk America president faces a Russian leader who’s a man of action and whose concept of nationhood refers to the late 19th century, our cherished negotiations merely seal the deal on what Putin’s already taken (anyone really think he’ll give back Crimea and flee from eastern Ukraine?).

Obama talks, Putin kills.

And make no mistake, Putin truly believes he’s entitled to reclaim Ukraine and a great deal more. In his view, independent capitals from Warsaw (yes, Warsaw) to Bishkek are integral and natural parts of the Russian imperium. He regards them as property stolen from its rightful owner: Moscow.

Putin is a student of history and of Shakespeare:

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

Translated: Putin seen his opportunities, and he took ‘em.

PS: Obama’s favorite line of Shakespeare: Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…

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The Odessa File

You know what happens when Israelis around in a crisis.

The doctor (or medical student) is in:

A few hundred Israelis studying abroad in Ukraine have been treating victims of the violence between government forces and pro-Russian militants.

Gonen, a 25-year-old from southern Israel studying medicine in Odessa, described the mayhem that has engulfed the city since Friday. “Yesterday noon the hostilities started. An activist friend of mine asked me and my friends to help treat the wounded.

“We set up a command and control center just like Magen David Adom (emergency personnel) and brought in the victims. We were three Israelis and four Turkish nationals. We treated about 30 people across the city.”

Gonen, a second-year medical students who served as a medic in the IDF, said local residents bought the team bandages and disinfectants: “You can’t rely on the Ukrainian authorities from a medical point of view. There were few ambulances so we arrived at different places and simply treated people in the street.

“We treated them until nighttime. We saw fatalities; this usually-pastoral scene became a war zone. I treated one wounded man while he was surrounded by corpses and people crying and screaming.”

“I felt safe until now, but I won’t walk around the city anymore. There are pro-Russian militants carrying Israeli flags to provoke the population. The Israelis here just want to go home,” said Gonen.

Sadly, in this world we live in, home is where you belong.

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