Sunday, September 21, 2014

ZenTiger Elections and the Media

In the inevitable post election analysis, seems to me the mainly left leaning media are the ones most shocked at the result.

For some strange reason, the hundreds of hours spent on Hager's Dirty Politics and Kim Dot Com's spying revelations and various other side issues, National still came in on top.

The question the media could consider in their election analysis was did National win in spite of the media frenzy, or because of the media frenzy?

If the latter, then they need to consider how to become something more than print bloggers.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ZenTiger How I voted

I went to the polling booth, stated my name and showed my easy vote card, then ticked the ballot paper.

Lucia Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania Form Joint Military 'LITPOLUKRBRIG' Brigade


This of course, has everything to do with increased Russian aggression against Ukraine. 

Related links: Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania Form Joint Military 'LITPOLUKRBRIG' Brigade
Polscy żołnierze w jednym szeregu z Litwinami i Ukraińcami. Powstaje LITPOLUKRBRIG

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lucia Putin has threatened to invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic States

A private threat, but a threat none the less.

From The Telegraph:

President Vladimir Putin privately threatened to invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic states, according to a record of a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart.

"If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest," Mr Putin allegedly told President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, reported Süddeustche Zeitung, a German newspaper.

If true, this would be the first time that Mr Putin has threatened to invade Nato or EU members. Any threat to send Russian troops into the capitals of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Romania would cause grave alarm among Western leaders.

If Mr Putin were to act on this, Britain could find itself at war with Russia. All five countries mentioned in this alleged conversation are members of both the EU and Nato. They are covered by the security guarantee in Article V of Nato's founding treaty, which states that "an attack on one is an attack on all". In a speech in Tallinn earlier this month, President Barack Obama confirmed Nato's commitment to this doctrine.

Mr Putin's alleged threat bears similarities to remarks he made to Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, in which he warned: "If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks".

Meanwhile, in Poland there is a general feeling that war might be coming:

It was an unexpected question from a woman hoping to sell me her Warsaw apartment: "Are you sure you want to buy now, when war could be coming?"

Though she was half joking, her comment revealed an anxiety Poles express frequently these days — that Russian aggression in Ukraine could spread, upending this NATO and European Union member's most peaceful and prosperous era in centuries.

The woman was the third Pole in the past couple weeks to advise me to think twice about investing in Polish real estate, forcing me to start wondering if it really is wise for me, an American, to risk my savings here.

Anxieties hang in the air as Poland marks the 75th anniversary Wednesday of the Soviet invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, one of several Russian attacks on its neighbor over the past centuries. With President Vladimir Putin showing renewed imperial inclinations, some Poles can't help but wonder if the 1939 invasion by the Red Army really was the last time Russia will make an unwanted foray here.

As well, Russia was threatening the United States with nuclear war when NATO was meeting to decide what to do about Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

Last week, two aircraft took off from an air base in western Russia, just east of the Russian city of Saratov. The aircraft, Tu-95 strategic bombers code-named Bear by NATO, flew northwest, skirting Iceland, Greenland, and Canada.

Once beyond Canada, the two lumbering, propeller-driven bombers settled on a heading straight toward the United States. Their goal was a "launch box" off the coast of the U.S. from which, during wartime, they would fire nuclear-tipped cruise missiles towards American cities and military bases.

The provocative flights were timed to a NATO summit, attended by President Obama, then taking place in Wales. On the agenda in Wales: what to do about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Welcome to diplomacy, Putin-style, in the 21st century.

Now that Ukraine's President is in Washington asking for military help from the West, I wonder what Putin is going to do next. If he were a school yard bully, the only way to effectively deal with him would be to punch him in the nose. I'm not sure the US is really up for doing any punching at this point, thus ensuring that the bully will continue until he does something completely unacceptable, beyond kidnapping an intelligence officer of a neighbouring NATO member.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lucia Poland marks 75th anniversary of Soviet Invasion in 1939

President Komorowski unveils huge epitaph to over 20,000 Polish officers murdered by the Stalinist secret service, known as the Katyn Massacre': photo - PAP/Jacek Turczy

At 3.30 am on 17 September 1939, the Polish ambassador in Moscow was handed a note, in which Moscow announced that the Polish state had ceased to exist.

In the wake of the Soviet invasion, mass arrests and deportations were carried out. By June 1941 over one a half million Poles were herded into trains, to work as slaves and forced labourers near the Arctic Circle and in the steppes of Kazakhstan.
My Dad's family was swept up in the deportations.  They were sent to Siberia in trains normally used to transport cattle, in the middle of winter.  Many died on that journey.

In Poland, the invasion has often been described as a ‘stab in the back’, which Poland received from the Soviet Union seventeen days after the Nazi attack and less than a month after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.
A few years ago, Russia seeking to make it illegal for anyone to say that the Soviet Union occupied Poland or the Baltics during WWII (See Russia accuses Poland of starting WWII)).  I'm not sure what came of that, but the fact that it's even suggested shows how contentious the 1939 Soviet invasion still is in Russia, and how they are unable to come to terms with the part they played in WWII as the aggressors before becoming "the victims of the Nazis".

In Warsaw on Wednesday, President Bronislaw Komorowski unveiled the Katyn Epitaph – the first batch of plaques with the names of over 20,000 Polish officers murdered by the Soviet NKVD police in 1940.

The epitaph is located in the Warsaw Citadel, the site of a future Katyn Museum, now under construction.

President Komorowski described the search for the truth about Katyń and the memory of that tragedy as one of the most important foundations of a free Poland.

Komorowski admitted that the efforts to gain access to all documents relating to the Katyn massacre possessed by Moscow have failed.
How Russia continues to deal with the Katyn Massacre is to me, the deciding factor as to whether or not the past has been fully recognised.  That Russia continues to stonewall Poland with regards to the evidence as to what exactly happened, shows that the Russians have not dealt with their Soviet past in any meaningful way.

President of the Institute of National Remembrance Łukasz Kamiński has told Polish Radio that the Polish nation has to preserve the memory of its plight under the Soviet occupation.

“World War Two and the Katyń massacre of 1940 are the cornerstones of the nation’s collective memory,” he said, adding that Poland needs a museum dedicated to the Katyń crime.
That will annoy Russia.  Maybe Poland will be cast as fascists and Nazis to the world in the next year or so, as a pretext to another invasion.
Lukasz Kaminski also stressed that for the past few years Moscow has been pursuing an aggressive propaganda in regards to Soviet policy during WWII, resorting to Stalinist lies including claims that the Soviet invasion of 75 years ago was undertaken to protect the Ukrainian and Byelorussian minorities in Poland’s eastern territories.
It always amazes me that people in the West actually believe the propaganda that is coming out of Russia.  If only they knew the history of how the Soviets have been acting over the last century - then they would be immune to any attempts to rewrite history.

Related link: Poland Marks 1939 Red Army Invasion

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lucia Colin Craig is a disappointment

At a time when our democracy is under attack by foreign criminals (DotCom/Greenwald/Snowden/Assange), Colin Craig is disappointing, to say the least, in his response:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig told RNZ the core issue was whether Mr Key could be trusted.

"I have to say, I have doubts."

Mr Craig believed on balance there was mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

"I think John Key's been, shall we say, vague at best around the truth.

"And I think that matters, because we want to know that we can trust our leaders, trust our politicians and most importantly that our prime minister is at least either going to tell us the truth, or if he can't tell it because it's far too secure, maybe he can say, 'Guys, I can't tell you the answer to that'."

Colin Craig is either showing he cannot be trusted or is totally oblivious to the danger DotCom has exposed NZ to.

Related link: Answers needed on mass surveillance - minor parties ~ Otago Daily Times

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lucia Single Issue Voting - The Abortion Issue

Right Reason has highly amusing post about single issue voting in NZ: Single Issue Voting and Killing Poor Coloured People. Though, "poor coloured people" is not a normal phrase commonly used in NZ, but then maybe that was the point.

A highlight:

As we travel further towards the right, we reach the heavily populated centre zone. Before reaching the middle, we encounter the Naybour Party, arrayed in red. The Naybours’ focus on good old-fashioned social democratic values: Good social services and strong welfare, giving everybody a fair go no matter where you come from. Social engineering (i.e. progress) towards the Naybours’ vision of utopia is what this party is about.

I think Glenn is missing his calling as a satirist. He really ought to do more of this stuff and give The Civilian a serious run for his money.

In all seriousness, though, Glenn's post is about the validity of single issue voting, whereby "poor coloured people" are presumably substituted for babies killed through abortion in NZ. The "poor coloured people" are popped in there to gain attention.

I personally don't think that laws around abortion will change in NZ until enough people are clamouring for a law change.  Also, in general I believe that change should not occur from the top down, but from bottom up. Society needs to change before the laws do, because that's how it should work in democracies - laws reflect the will of the people. Anything else could be considered totalitarianism, or faux morality (thinking gay marriage for the last example).  Except, if I were hypothetically in a position of power, able to tighten up the abortion laws in NZ, I would do so, because when it comes down to it, you do the right thing, no matter what.

Also, just to be clear, the abortion laws in NZ are very conservative.  Abortion is only legal if there is a threat to the mental or physical health of the mother.  This threat has to be verified by TWO certifying consultants.  When this law was passed, it was considered a safeguard against abortion on demand.  The only reason we in effect have abortion on demand is because the two consultants do not consider each case seriously enough and just sign off on each abortion as if it meets the very stringent criteria as demanded by Parliament.  As far as I know, no abortion request has been denied in NZ, which is contrary to the original intent.  Which goes to my original point - if there is no widespread support for a particular position, then it's almost useless (though, not completely) legislating for it, because people can be oh so inventive in finding ways around it.

On single issue voting, consider the following position (source: Are you impressed with Internet-Mana? ~ The Herald:

I am of the "student loan" generation and the announcement around wiping student loan debt has seen my entire circle of Uni' friends and those still studying switch their party vote to Internet Mana."

This is naked self-interest at work, wider issues be damned. The same people have presumably ignored Minto's desire for 100% tax above $250K, an income rate that many educated people might otherwise be eligible for. For starters.

Should I feel contempt for these people? What if a party were promising to wipe out my mortgage - completely? Would I be tempted to be a single issue voter? I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be because my mortgage is scary and any political party promising to stick it to those bankers would warrant serious consideration. Except, I would have to think - what else to they want to do? Is my issue worth it? What about everyone else in the country? I could vote for my single issue and thereby condemn everyone in NZ to a worse fate because I don't care about anything else than my single issue and everyone else be damned. Whether for naked self interest or holier than thou issues.

Ultimately, I think, we put too much emphasis political solutions and not enough on societal change. The focus on politics means that too much power is given to the lawmakers, hence NZ's obsession with rules and laws. We should instead make sure the political sphere is assigned it's proper place and vote according to the lesser of all the evils rather than expecting it to be all there is, when it is not, and just vote strategically rather than puritanically.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ZenTiger Minto Madness

Total madness. Or do some people think it's just the amount we need to debate? For one thing, Lotto sales would fall off.
So where should the appropriate maximum income be set? Paul Reynolds's obscene $5 million income is close to 200 times the minimum wage. My pick would be to set the maximum income at 10 times the minimum wage. This would mean a maximum income of $250,000. The easiest way to enforce this would be setting a 100 per cent income tax rate for the combined income from all sources (including share allocations, allowances etc) above this level.

Linking the maximum salary to the minimum wage would have the added advantage of providing an incentive for the highest paid to lobby for increases in the minimum wage, unlike the present situation where the corporate sector argue for the lowest minimum wage possible.

Minto Madness

You can vote for the Mana Party next week, and John Minto is ranked number 4 on the list.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lucia Should John Key make it easier for the Conservatives to get into Parliament

John Armstrong seems to think they should in Key needs to offer hand up to Conservatives:

If John Key wants to avoid having to govern with Winston Peters perched constantly and awkwardly on his shoulder, he is going to have to help Colin Craig get his Conservative Party across the 5 per cent threshold.

That is the unambiguous message to National's leader from today's Herald-DigiPoll survey.

National's support is starting to slowly slide below the 50 per cent mark. Key would still be able to govern with Act's and United Future's two MPs - plus any Maori Party MPs who survive the election. Key would still want some insurance, however, should his party slip further during the eight days left until election day.

Well, given that NZ First in Parliament this time around has been all but completely useless (I voted for them last election because I thought they'd add a counterbalance to the mix), it looks like the fear of the gold card voters is starting to set in.

It's a difficult one for John Key. Personally, if I were him, I'd see if they can get in by themselves. They'll have a stronger position in Parliament if they do it alone.

Meanwhile, as I explained to my 17 year old son, the conservative position will be to vote for National, and not a new, untested party. If the Conservatives do get in, it will show that NZ is becoming more radical (oh, the irony, I know!)

Related link: Key needs to offer hand up to Conservatives ~ NZ Herald

Lucia Is Russia Cold War Communist or Imperialist Tsarist? Part II

Continuing what I started with answering the question whether or not Russia is Cold War Communist or Imperialist Tsarist earlier this week, I've found an article on the Moscow Times titled Russia Is Scared of the 21st Century — For Now, which I discuss:

As the dust settles over eastern Ukraine, the consensus is solidifying that the conflict there was the first battle of an attempted Cold War revival. A Cold War requires a Soviet Union, and the government of President Vladimir Putin has finally embraced it as a role model, more than a decade into his reign.

It is a strange Soviet Union: sans communism, but with religion thrown into the mix. It owes as much of its official ideology to the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire, with its state-dependent capitalism and traditionalism. Added to bans on political freedoms and grassroots activity, Internet censorship spreading like cancer and a crackdown on LGBT rights (admittedly mild, compared to Soviet times), this is, in essence, a nanny state with an anti-West complex and an instinctive penchant for militant — if not caveman — conservatism.

The religious part disturbs me as it seems staged. What I'm seeing is many religious people in the West supporting Russia because of this apparent faith revival. Yet, I have been always skeptical as to how deep this revival has gone, because I've not really seen any sign of the type of change of heart that comes with growing faith. Putin has been widely touted as a religious man, yet he recently divorced his wife and used the most incredible subterfuge to invade a neighbouring country. His actions belie the image he has been trying to portray. His Russia has also not repented in any way for the sins of her past. That more than seeming to come down hard on gay rights, and saying all the right things about family values (while failing to live them) would indicate a true change, and that true change is pretty much thin on the ground, it it exists at all.

As for the "Caveman conservatism", that is just as disturbing, because it seems it's providing a propoganda bonanza to the West, one that is all talk and some laws passed, yet very little lifestyle change to back it up  (See Russia's Conservative Family Values are a Sham).

The political scientist Samuel Huntington would argue that this is a clash of civilizations spilling out into the open after Russia's failed attempt to integrate with the West, and so it undoubtedly is, to some extent. But there is also a generational aspect to the story, which is that Russia, in a nutshell, is struggling to handle the modern world.

The modern world has been defined by the West, so struggling to handle it is a part of the clash of civilisations, in my opinion.

The 21st century is a complex time in which to live. Old economic templates have been rendered null and void by the post-industrial economy, based on factors like social mobility and innovation, and championed by unruly nerds promoting crypto-currencies and using blimps to spread Internet access. State governance means sharing power, cooperating with grassroots activists and upholding the rights of minorities and majorities in a balancing act worthy of Cirque du Soleil. And that's before even getting to soft power: elusive but arguably more powerful than tanks and Buk missile systems.

Meanwhile, Putin does not use the Internet.

Probably would have caused cognitive dissidence if he did use the Internet.

He was recently reported to be slowly overcoming his disdain for the world wide web, much flaunted through the 2000s. But no one would call Putin, 61, a man of the Internet age: He is a child of a time when information was disseminated by state-controlled print and television media, power meant factories and tanks (and Buks), and dissent was outlawed, not tolerated. And much of Russia's elite and general public shares this worldview because they also grew up with it.

It's important to note here, that the Internet is considered to be a threat to the Government in Russia. Putin called it a "CIA Project" and has clamped down severely on internet users in Russia. Hence, there are not that many who use it, not like countries in the West where a great deal of news is spread very quickly online. (See Russia Tightens Grip on the Internet)

For too many Russians, the 21st century has proved hard to handle, which is understandable, given the economic shock of trying to adjust to it. The GDP slump in Russia during the 1990s was worse than during World War II, according to leading Russian economist Konstantin Sonin. Little wonder that the nation hungered for stability, certainty, familiarity — for historical safety.

Given Russia's history of the past 100 years of Soviet Communism, mass death and imprisonment that is hardly acknowledged - it's not just the shock of the 90's - it's the entire background!

This is why Russia has fallen back on the dream of a past Golden Age. It is easier to censor or ban the Internet than to cope with independent news websites and opposition bloggers. It is easier to throw trillions at the military-industrial complex — just as the Soviets did for decades — than to foster innovation. It is easier to boost national self-esteem by piggybacking on old Soviet achievements than to painstakingly attain new feats worthy of global respect.

The Soviet revival was made easier by the fact that Russia never really got the Soviet Union out of its system, at least not nearly as thoroughly as its former Warsaw Pact satellites or even ex-Soviet republics did. Soviet bureaucrats remained the backbone of the ruling establishment — case in point: Putin — and imperial ideology was never replaced by nationalism as elsewhere, including Ukraine.

How can Russia get the Soviet Union out her system?  It was imposed from within, not by invasion, and then exported!  It's been part of her national identity for nearly a century now, and in order to purge it, it needs to be objectively scrutinised by shining light into all the dark places, yet the Russians have not be able to do anything the sort on a large scale. The people who live in Russia now are the benefactors of the Soviet system that they survived, when so many did not. People like that need serious help, yet the avenues of help are being shut down through clamp downs on independent media and social media, and the classifying of those who don't tow the line as agents of foreign powers.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lucia Australian PM Tony Abbott to visit Ukraine

It's heartening to see a real connection being made between Australia and Ukraine, after the horrific shooting down of passenger jet MH17 by Russian backed rebels a couple of months ago.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:


Prime Minister Tony Abbot is planning to visit Ukraine, according to the country's president.

Mr Abbott phoned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday, the president's press service reported.

During the phone call Mr Abbott promised to send military equipment to Ukraine's army, the president said.

A week ago Mr Abbott told parliament that Australia would send "non-lethal military assistance" to Ukraine such as military winter clothing, blankets and first-aid kits.

According to the president's press office, Mr Abbott told Mr Poroshenko "Australia will consider the opportunity of enhancing military-technical cooperation and, as the first stage, will send the lot of military equipment and means of warming.

"Also, Australia is ready to begin programs of training and equipment of Ukrainian servicemen."

Australia will also allocate $1 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine via the Red Cross.

Mr Abbott praised Ukraine's implementation of the new ceasefire and peace plan, and thanked Ukraine for its help in the aftermath of the crash of flight MH17, in which 27 Australian citizens died.

Mr Poroshenko thanked Mr Abbott for Australia's "timely assistance and support".

Mr Abbott "expressed intention to make an official visit to Ukraine," the statement said.

Australia will soon open an embassy in Kiev, which will make it easier for Ukrainians to travel to Australia.

I'm very impressed with Australia's vocal stance over the MH17 tragedy and their support for Ukraine.  Some countries might be cowed by Russia, but not Australia.  I wonder, though, how much this support for Ukraine has influenced China in declaring Australia a military threat.

Read more: Tony Abbott plans visit to Ukraine and promises to send military equipment: Petro Poroshenko (link contains a video that autoplays that can be turned off)

Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lucia NZ Russian man wounded in Ukraine - who is he?

Is New Zealand embarrassed that one of our own country men was off in Ukraine, fighting with the pro-Russian separatists, and is now back being treated for a gunshot wound and concussion? What if he had come back from Iraq after being wounded by fighting for ISIS? Maybe that wouldn't be a big deal either.

From Stuff:

A New Zealand Russian has been wounded fighting in Ukraine, community sources say.

The man, who has flown from the conflict wounded is being treated by the New Zealand health services.

Sources say he suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and concussion after a firefight in eastern Ukraine.

He had left New Zealand several months ago to fight with the Russian-backed separatists, which are trying to break away from the Kiev government to create separate states, or to join Russia.

"His wounds are not difficult, he was hurt by gunfire in Ukraine," a source said.

Leading members of the Russian community in Auckland were angry at attempts to contact the wounded man.

Let them be angry. Anyone who goes overseas to fight in other countries outside of the normal NZ military should answer as to their actions.  Was he trained in Russia before being sent to Ukraine, as Anton Shekhovtsov alleges French extremists who headed off to fight for the Russians were?  I suppose his answers would make it difficult to deny that this is a Russian invasion, maybe that's why the "leading members" were angry.  And how many others are over there from this country?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lucia Is Russia Cold War Communist or Imperialist Tsarist


Last week it was asked on this blog whether or not Russia is Cold War Communist or Imperalist Tsarist.  It wasn't really something that could be answered without a bit of research, hence the delay. In summary, I now think the Putin and the elites of Russia are trying to be both Soviet and Tsarist to a certain extent, yet are also neither.  I've linked to articles exploring this and related ideas, with the more relevant and interesting parts quoted below:

Putin Accepts Only ‘Imperial-Militarist’ Component of Soviet Inheritance

Vladimir Putin is often accused of wanting to restore the Soviet system or at least its core values, but in fact, the Kremlin leader is interested in promoting the its “imperial-militarist” element and not its “revolutionary” component, a pattern that has the effect of limiting Russia’s ability to deal with the rest of the world, according to Vadim Shtepa.

In a new commentary, the Petrozavodsk-based federalist thinker notes that as a result of this, Putin is even more interested in promoting “the cult of ‘the Great Victory’” in World War II than Brezhnev, even though “it would seem” that that event is “ever further receding into history.”

Putin’s use of this “cult,” the commentator says, reflects the Kremlin’s understanding that it is “an extraordinarily useful technology for political repressions and territorial expansions” because “any opponent can with ease be designated ‘a fascist’” and thus deserving of destruction.

“And so,” he continues, “the post-Soviet evolution [of Russia] has led to a strange ideological remake from the Soviet inheritance and the pre-Soviet imperial tradition,” a combination that despite its obvious logical problems as “a post-modern mix” has nonetheless “proven quite popular.”

This next section talks about no real break from the Communist past of the USSR and today:

Because “no historical border between the USSR and the Russian Federation” was drawn, the two “began to be considered one and the same country,” even though it was Russia’s Boris Yeltsin who precipitated the demise of the Soviet Union by his actions at Beloveshchaya rather than any actions by non-Russian leaders or nations.

Many Russians today believe just the reverse and that shift in understanding “has led to a situation in which ‘the near abroad’ in contemporary Russia is conceived not as consisting of independent states but ever more as some kind of ‘separatist provinces.’” And that has been particularly true with regard to Ukraine.

According to Shtepa, ”the worldview sources of this conflict are rooted in the reborth imperial myth of ‘a triune people’ (the Great Russians, the Little Russians, and the Belorussians),” a myth that Shtepa argues is “incompatible with contemporary state-legal principles.”

On Putin's tsar-like power in Russia:

In Shtepa’s telling, “the first major political event of independent Russia was the signing in March 1992 of the Federal Treaty.” But even this document contained within itself “fatal imperial aspects:” It was not concluded by equal subjects but between “’the center’ and ‘the provinces.’”

And 18 months later, this document was superceded by a new Constitution which “gave the president almost tsar-like authority and significantly reduced the importance of the parliament.” And that bow to the past in turn in “a logical way” restarted “the endless Caucasian colonial wars.”

From Putin is ‘Last Soldier’ of a Dying Empire
... Like many in the Moscow elite, [Putin] has a dual national identity: he feels himself at one and the same time Imperial and Soviet, “not noting the anti-natural nature and even historical absurdity of this combination.”

As the Kremlin leader appears to have forgotten or not understood, “Soviet civilization destroyed Imperial Russia and was by definition deeply hostile to it.” At the same time, “Soviet identity was built on the denial of Russian identity and its suppression.” But what is most curious is something else, Pastukhov says.

Imperial values were “directed toward a real Russian past, which it canonized,” and Soviet ones were directed toward “a Russian future which had never existed but which it idealized.” Putin in contrast seeks to restore a Russia which never existed and which no one lost.”

“Such a philosophy of Russia, while deeply Russophobic toward existing any existing Russian, raises to the heavens a mythical Russian in the name of which power is realized.” This approach is in fact a form of bolshevism but one “directed not toward the future but toward the past.”

Putin has thus “transformed himself into yet another Russian utopian, who lives by a mythological consciousness within his own person oikumen which is separated as if by a Chinese wall from the external and real world.” All Russian leaders, of course, have been guided by myths, but they have been constructive because they were directed toward the future.

“The Putin myth,” in contrast, Pastukhov argues, “is destructive because it is redirected toward the past and brought down to earth.” It doesn’t inspire anything creative “except bureaucratic” things. It is, in short, “an unconstructive myth of an era of collapse.”
Interesting.  It's always difficult to really understand a society that works off myths to such an extent.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lucia Russia has threatened Ukraine with nukes if they continue to resist

I am so disgusted and outraged and horrified by the sneaky invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and now what is escalating into a full scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, complete with threats of nuclear weapon use, that I will now be deleting any trolling comments to do with this subject. Any comments on the rightness or justness of the invasion by Russia will also be deleted. As will any comments on how the "evil fascists" of Ukraine had it coming, because those especially, just feed into the Russian propaganda machine.

Anyway, now Russia is threatening Ukraine with nuclear strikes if Ukraine continues to resist the Russian invasion that can no longer be hidden.

From The Interpreter:

Ukrainian Defence Minister Says Russia Has Lost Hybrid War, Begun Invasion, And Threatened Nuclear Strikes
Interfax-Ukraine reports that Valeriy Heletey, the Ukrainian defence minister, has written on his Facebook page that Russia has lost its "hybrid war" against Ukraine. Instead a conventional war has now begun.

Heletey also said that Russia had, off record, threatened Ukraine with the use of tactical nuclear weapons. 

Interfax-Ukraine reports (translated by The Interpreter):

"Russia has lost its hybrid war in Ukraine. Our armed forces have confidently pushed back the gangs of Russian mercenaries and killed the saboteurs and special forces operatives. That is why the Kremlin has been forced to jump to a full-scale invasion of the Donbass with regular troops. Today we already dealing with divisions and regiments. Tomorrow it might be the corps itself," wrote the head of the Ministry of Defence on his Facebook page on Monday.

According to him, the operation to liberate eastern Ukraine "from the terrorists" is over. "We urgently need to build up our defence against Russia, which is attempting to not only gain a foothold in areas previously occupied by the terrorists, but also to advance into other areas of Ukraine," affirms V. Heletey.

He stressed that "a great war has come to Ukraine, the likes of which Europe has not seen since the time of the Second World War," and also expressed an opinion that the losses "will run not into the hundreds, but the thousands, even tens of thousands." In addition, the minister said that, according to unofficial channels, the Russian side has threatened several times that "in the event of continued resistance, they are prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons against us."

V. Heletey also said that, in order to survive, Ukraine needs the "full consolidation of all available forces." He also described calls for the dismissal of the chief of the General Staff, Viktor Muzhenko, "a Russian provocation," noting that this head of the Ukrainian General Staff has been "the architect of Ukrainian victories in the east."

"Were it not for the Russian invasion, we would have completed the active phase of the ATO by early October, liberating the entire area," said the minister.

This "hybrid war" that Russia has lost is mentioned here: Russia's Slow Motion Invasion Of Ukraine. The writer believes that rather than a new form of warfare, Russia has merged new tactics with the old Soviet strategy of Maskirovka:

...Putin's particular style of deception recalls the Soviet strategy of Maskirovka (masking), which was developed in the 1920s and defined by the Soviet Military Encyclopedia as "complex measures to mislead the enemy regarding the presence and disposition of forces, military objectives, combat readiness and plans."

"[T]he idea is to create political uncertainty and ambiguity in order to make it hard for an enemy to know how to respond militarily," Stephen Badsey, a professor of conflict studies at the University of Wolverhampton in the U.K., told me by email.

During the Cold War, the Soviets hatched scenarios for making incursions into Western Europe that in many ways resemble Russia's behavior in Ukraine—"for example, a fire-engine crew crossing into West Berlin to help with a fire, followed by police, followed by soldiers, who then refuse to go," Badsey said. "Putin learned all this as basic early in his career, as did all his generals."

In drawing on these decades-old techniques, he added, Russia has now pulled off the "first ever opposed but successful seizure of territory of one UN member by another since the UN's foundation in 1945," leaving the U.S. and its Western allies "confused and uncertain as to how to respond."

Ultimately, Russia's invasion/incursion/aggression/staycation in Ukraine isn't quite Maskirovka, and it's not an entirely new breed of warfare. It is, perhaps, new tactics in the service of an old strategy. It's a "total system of measures designed to deceive and confuse the enemy," as one U.S. military study described Maskirovka in 1981. But it's also the sleek, social media-savvy propaganda campaigns of Russian news outlets like RT.

With that last point, on the "sleek, social media-savvy propaganda campaigns of Russian news outlets like RT", note that the Russian media is also expanding in Europe (Russia Ramps Up Information War in Europe).

Meanwhile, protesting against the war against the Ukranians will get you arrested in Russia.



The video above shows a whole lot of young Russian men being interviewed about the war. At the end, several women holding up signs against the war were taken away.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lucia Is James Foley a Martyr?

Pia de Solenni has written a post on whether or not James Foley is a martyr. I tend to think he is, as I doubt he would have been murdered had he converted to Islam. Anyway, here is some of her reasoning, and her blog post has more:


So, is James Foley a martyr?

According to his siblings, Katie and Michael, who were interviewed on the Today Show, when Pope Francis spoke with the family by telephone, he said that their brother James is a martyr:
The brother and sister also spoke in slight detail about what the Pope said to the family when he called on Thursday afternoon. Michael said that the pontiff labeled James an martyr, who sacrifice would not be forgotten.
  • Has the Pope canonized James Foley? No.
  • Do we know that he officially said this? Nope.
  • Did he say this in a formal pronouncement? Negative.
Do I think the Pope could’ve said it? Yep. Absolutely.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
Here’s why:
  1. We know that IS/ISIS/ISIL generally offers its captives a choice: convert to their brand of Islam or die, as witnessed by the thousands of people fleeing Iraq these past few weeks. It could be that they only wanted Foley because he was a US citizen and that they would have killed him regardless, but I doubt it. I think they would have celebrated if he’d become one of them. Heck, they’ve got plenty of Westerners joining them. The man who beheaded him is possibly a UK citizen.
  2. More and more is coming out about his faith , his prayer, and the way he lived his life, particularly while in captivity. All of it suggests that he lived his faith well.
  3. I don’t think it’s insignificant that they “made him stand against a wall and pose as if he had been crucified.” (h/t Deacon’s Bench)
  4. If the terrorists had his family’s email addresses, then they probably knew of his faith experience while captive in Syria. They certainly would’ve done their research and there was a clear trail on the internet.
  5. Martyrdom is not something that happened a long time ago in ancient Rome, or more recently in the founding of the Americas a few hundred years ago. It’s something that’s happening a lot, most – if not all – of the time. Pope Francis is well aware of this, more so than most of us. If it takes the death of James Foley for us to realize that people are dying because of their faith every day, then that makes him even more of a witness to the truth.
Read more : Is James Foley A Martyr? 16 Points To Consider. ~ Pia de Solenni

Other stories on James Foley today, showing the world wide impact of his death:
James Foley beheading video ‘was like watching the murder of Lee all over again’ says mother of Drummer Rigby

Chinese People are also Horrified by the James Foley Video ~ Foreign Policy
This story reports on the interesting angle that some Chinese media tried to use James Foley's murder as a means to attack the US, "only to be clobbered by Chinese netizens" who were outraged over this attempt use his death in this way.