Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The fearsome Russian Bear appears to be coming out of a 16-year hibernation. President Vladimir Putin says he wants to regain Russia's prominence in the world community, and his actions are backing up his words. Unencumbered by Marxist dogma, he is attempting to regain Russia's superpower status by the old Soviet method of intimidation.

Putin has directed the seizure of assets of the oil giant Yukos, and restricted oil supplies to Eastern Europe. But if he can decree such gross confiscation of property, then there is no rule of law and Russia's reforms mean nothing. Moreover, Moscow has drastically raised energy prices and threatened an oil cutoff in former client nations that have had the dared to pursue economic and political independence apart from Russia.

Putin sees Russia's vast petroleum reserves as more than a means to economic growth, but as an avenue to superpower status once again. Last year, Russia was the second-highest oil producer in the world after Saudi Arabia. Their GDP has grown at an average rate of 5.5% since 2000, largely by energy exports. Now that world oil prices are high, and rising, his strategy is working. But if they fall, Russia will be in trouble, as was the USSR following the price collapse of oil in the 1980s.

Russians wearily remember the early days of democracy following the collapse of the USSR. That was a time when an erratic, and perhaps alcoholic President Yeltsin governed the country. It was a time when their money became worthless, and crime ran wild.

Most Russians would rather have a strong and secure nation than one that guarantees personal freedoms. This sentiment, and the growing economy, is the basis for Putin's broad popularity. A recent poll found only 16 percent of Russians surveyed want to see Western-style democracy remain in their country. Predictability is perhaps the greatest comfort to the average Russian.

Demographically, however, Russia is a nation that is slowly dying. The country has dwindling birthrates, and amazingly, declining life expectancy. That portends a bleak economic outlook unless they can leverage their energy resources to attain higher growth rates. This is Putin's strategy. Since he became president, rising oil revenues have allowed the Russian defense budget to grow enormously. Defense outlays for 2007 are at a post-Soviet high of $32.4 billion, rising 23 percent in the past year, and four times expenditures of 2001.....

These days, the most important political question in Russia is over who will succeed Putin when his second term expires in 2008. He is much admired, and almost certainly would be reelected if he were eligible to run. Though the Russian Constitution forbids him from running for a third term, it doesn't stop conjecture that he may do so anyway. No matter what the law or his legitimacy may be, many believe he has the support and authority to stay in power. His actions in 2008 will foretell much about which direction, whether cooperative or confrontational, the country is heading.

Russia's culture and history are tied to Western civilization. While recent events may give pause, we should encourage those foundations, and work to advance our common interests. The fight against radical Islam -- whether in Iran, Iraq, Chechnya, or elsewhere -- is one that Russia should unite with the West.

More here



The above graphic is from Gateway Pundit -- which see for commentary -- if any is necessary.

France to get a Conservative President: "Conservative leader Nicolas Sarkozy finished first in the opening round of France's presidential election on Sunday and will meet his Socialist rival Segolene Royal in a runoff vote, television polls showed. Projections by four polling institutions showed Sarkozy leading the field with from 29 to 30 per cent of the vote, Royal in second place on around 25-26 per cent and centrist Francois Bayrou in third place on around 18-19 per cent. Far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who stunned France by coming second in the 2002 election, looked set to finish a distant fourth with around 11 per cent. As expected, no-one won an absolute majority, so the top two candidates will go forward to a second-round ballot on May 6. Initial estimates pointed to a huge turnout of up to 85 per cent, which if confirmed would be a record for a first-round vote in more than 40 years and stand in a sharp contrast to the 2002 ballot when the turnout was just 73 per cent.... Whoever replaces Chirac will inherit a fractured, fragile country that has the highest unemployment rate of any major industrial power, poor, multi-ethnic suburbs simmering with discontent and a dominant state sector resistant to reform. Sarkozy wants the French to work harder and pay less tax, and is promising a deluge of reforms in his first 100 days to curb some union powers, slim down the government and toughen sentencing for repeat offenders. France's head of state is among the most powerful in the West. The president is commander-in-chief, dictates foreign and defence policy, appoints the prime minister, presides over Cabinet meetings and can dissolve parliament. [Sarko will get the NF votes in the runoff so should be a shoo-in]

It takes an intellectual to be really stupid: "A third of women graduates will never have children, research has concluded. The number of highly educated women who are starting families has plummeted in the past decade, according to findings that provide the most detailed insight yet into education and fertility. While some women are making a conscious decision not to have children, others are simply leaving it too late after taking years to build their careers, buy a home and find the right partner. Graduates who do become mothers are having fewer children, and later. If the low birth rate trend continues, then the eventual rate of childlessness among graduates now aged in their twenties is likely to be even higher than a third".

Students getting high on righteousness: "Stanford University officials agreed to pay its "living wage" to all contract workers, ending a nine-day hunger strike by some student protesters. Officials on Friday revised the school's policy to include all employees hired through contractors. Loopholes in the wage policies previously allowed the university to pay less than the "living wage" - $11.15 to $12.59 per hour - to contracted employees who work less than 30 hours per week. "We're very happy to have reached this agreement," Stanford spokesman Alan Acosta said. Protesters with the Stanford Labor Action Coalition celebrated with food and music at their 10-tent encampment in the campus' White Plaza after Friday's meeting announcing the changes. "The process is not over by any means, but we felt like we have reached a point where we could stop fasting," said Daniel Weissman, 22, one of four students who began a hunger strike April 12."

WaPo now basically supports Wolfowitz: "Despite having megaphoned distortions of what happened at the World Bank for over a week after the exculpatory documents were made public, the editors of the Washington Post finally seems to be backing off and supporting Wolfowitz"


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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".


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