Monday, August 27, 2018


We have heard of Islamophobia and homophobia but those are not phobias.  They are not indicative of mental illness. But Russophobia seems to be.  The Left and to some extent the Right never stop talking about the Russian "danger" when Russia is absolutely no danger to the United States.  NOBODY in his right mind attacks a major nuclear power.  Even the Soviets did not do that. Yet in both Congress and in the media there is this obsession with Russia. Such an obsession does appear to me to identify Russophobia as a true phobia.

Let Vladimir Vladimirovich detail some of that irrationlity.  The video below starts with a long-winded "question" from an American woman in which she asks why Vladimir Vladimirovich does not speak more warmly of the USA.  After a couple of minutes of that we hear from Vladimir Vladimirovich.

The hook on which American commentators hang their hostility to Russia is his acceptance of the request from the democratically elected Crimean parliament for Crimea to become part of Russia.  Since Crimea is and always has been populated overwhelmingly by Russians, that made perfect sense.

It is customary among Russia's critics to criticize the elections for the Crimean parliament but all sorts of international observers were present -- including the ineffable Jimmy Carter -- and found no significant irregularities.  There are probably more irregularities in American elections -- with illegals voting.

Crimea became a problem in the aftermath of the Soviet implosion.  Hastily drawn lines were put on the map which did not always take proper account of the ethnicity of the people affected.  So adjustments were inevitable.

How would Americans feel if in the aftermath of some political problem, Florida were hived off and assigned to be part of Mexico?  That was exactly the sort of problem that Russia faced in Crimea and in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. Vladimir Vladimirovich simply legalized a people's movement and won wide praise for it in Russia.

Particularly during the reign of King Obama, many conservatives liked a lot of what they heard about post-Soviet Russia.  Russians generally are intolerant of political correctness and that is reflected in the policies of their government.  It is certainly refreshing that Russians don't idolize sexual abnormality. Fortunately Mr Trump has come along to bring also to America critical thinking on many issues of political correctness.

Russia is a great country -- the largest country on earth by a long chalk.  And it has a vivid cultural life that we all to some extent can enjoy.  Below are two songs that are very popular in Russia,  Both are simple sentimental songs -- nothing warlike or aggressive about them

The first (Cranes) is sung by Dmitry Hvorostovsky, an excellent bass baritone who seems to be little known in the West. Spelling his name could be the problem! In the second Hvorostovsky combines with renowned Russian soprano Anna Netrebko to act out "Moscow nights".  Netrebko is a rather shy person when she is not belting out one of the great operatic arias and Hvorostovsky brought that out at the beginning by saying she was the girl he wanted.

Look at the audience.  They could be Americans if we did not know otherwise.  All Northern European peoples are essentially identical genetically. Any differences are tiny. Almost all differences are cultural.  Russians too are our people. They are not our enemies.

Finally, I am putting up a video of "Volga Boatmen" sung by the magnificent Russian bass Leonid Kharitonov.  Again there is  nothing aggressive about it.  It is basically a very simple sea shanty.  It does however remind us of the strength of Russia.  It basically tells of determination and endurance, essential Russian qualities, and Kharitonov conveys that very well

So that is my toe-dip into Russian culture -- in the hope that it may make some tiny contribution to friendly relations with a great country and a great people.


Tiny bridge at the centre of the Venezuelan refugee crisis

Crossing the Rio Táchira river in the eastern Andes, the Simón Bolívar International Bridge is being clogged daily with thousands of refugees, who say they will die if they stay in their motherland.

They are trying to flee from Venezuela — a country which has essentially ground to a standstill as murderous gangs roams the streets and devastating food and medical shortages leave millions of residents fighting to survive.

To make matters even worse, the country has just been hit by its most powerful earthquake in more than a century.

The bridge connects the embattled socialist nation with relatively stable Colombia and the differences between the two towns on either side are stark.

Residents in Villa del Rosario in Colombia sometimes used to cross over to San Antonio del Táchira on the other side to visit shops and friends, but now the traffic is all one-way — as millions of Venezuelans clamour to escape their homeland which has descended into an economic basket case.

President Nicolás Maduro blames the country’s woes on “imperialists” in the United States and Europe for waging “economic war”. However, critics say it’s a simple case of economic mismanagement.

The United Nations says more than 2.3 million Venezuelans have already fled the country. That’s more than 7 per cent of the country’s entire population — making it one of the largest mass migrations in Latin America’s history.

More than a million of those desperate refugees have arrived in Colombia in the past 18 months and many of them have resorted to using the tiny Simón Bolívar International Bridge as their escape route.

Some of those passing through the clogged checkpoint, left warnings on Google reviews — saying the bridge has become “overwhelming, hot and hellish” in recent months as tens of thousands of refugees flee.

Many said to avoid it all costs as border guards struggle to contend with the constant exodus of poverty-stricken refugees, however some crossing the border were sympathetic with the overworked staff.

“Here even border guards looked compassionate and kind,” said one traveller who recently crossed the bridge “Must be tough having such spectacle under your very eyes every day.”

Many of those escaping are using Colombia as a bridge to Ecuador and Peru, where some believe they will have better luck finding jobs and applying for asylum.

More than a half million Venezuelans have entered Ecuador since January, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency. In Peru, officials recorded more than 5000 Venezuelan entries on a recent single day.

Now, both countries have announced dramatic rule changes which could see thousands of refugees stranded. Both revealed they would allow entry only to people with valid passports.

Venezuelans were previously able to enter using only paper ID cards. About half of those who have made the journey so far didn’t have passports.

But obtaining a passport in Venezuela is close to impossible. The country is struggling with shortages of paper and ink — so hardly any passports are printed, let alone issued.

The situation is becoming increasingly dire in the poverty-stricken country which — despite having the largest proven oil reserves in the world — has millions of residents dying from a lack of medicine.

Four in five Venezuelans now live in poverty and millions have to queue for hours every day to get their hands on basic food rations as inflation reaches terrifying levels.

Inflation now sits at 82,766 per cent — similar to that in Germany in 1923 or Zimbabwe in the late 2000s — and experts fear it could exceed 1 million per cent by the end of this year.

The new border rules drew an immediate rebuke from authorities in Colombia.

Though his own country already imposed its own often ignored entry requirements for Venezuelans, Colombia Migration Director Christian Kruger warned that the new passport rule in neighbouring Ecuador could create a bottleneck at the Rumichaca International Bridge connecting the two countries.

Officials estimate over 4000 Venezuelans crossed from Colombia into Ecuador each day over the bridge earlier this month.

“We are immensely worried about the consequences this might present,” he said. “The exodus of Venezuelans from the country is one of Latin America’s largest mass-population movements in history,” William Spindler, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said earlier this month.

Colombia began requiring Venezuelans to present a passport or border card allowing for short trips into the nation earlier this year. But thousands still sneak in through hundreds of illegal entry points along the 2200km border with Venezuela.

Colombian officials recently agreed to provide legal status to 442,000 who participated in a registry for migrants without valid documents.

A border crossing from Venezuela into the Brazilian city of Pacaraima was closed earlier this month after a judge ruled it should be shuttered until a program to relocate Venezuelan refugees could keep pace with the hundreds arriving each day.

That decision was later reversed by an appellate court. Peruvian Interior Minister Mauro Medina said the passport requirement was needed to ensure an orderly migration.

“If something happens to them, we have a way to identify them,” he said. “Also, some bad apples — who don’t represent the majority, who are decent people — filter in and police should have the adequate tools to identify them.”

Peruvian migration officials estimate between 17,000 and 25,000 Venezuelans are now in southern Ecuador with the intention of heading on to Peru, Chile or Argentina. They will have until August 25 to enter without a passport.

Mr Kruger said the new passport rule is unlikely to stem the tide of migrants and called on Ecuador and other nations to work together on dealing with the crisis in crafting commonsense policies.

“Requiring a passport isn’t going to stop this migration,” Mr Kruger said. “This isn’t a migration of people leaving their country just because they want to. They’re leaving because they need to.”



The latest Leftist attempt to destroy America

Some top Democrats running in Texas are calling for the decriminalization of illegally crossing the United States border.

Rep. Robert O’Rourke who is running against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate, declared that illegal entry should not be a criminal matter, while he was campaigning in southern Texas:

“These asylum seekers — penniless, at wit’s end, after surviving three weeks on the road, very often with their children — then attempt to do what I think any human would do, which is request asylum in between the ports of entry,”

“We should not criminalize that.” O’Rourke stated.

Cruz’s seat is solidly red, however that fact does not deter comical publicity stunts like this one. It is safe to make the educated assumption that this message does not coincide with the vast majority of Texans, however the race has gotten interesting.

Recent polling numbers suggest the race it tighter than Cruz would like which may be a significant result of the national attention and monies being spent on the O’Rourke campaign. The campaign has raked in $23.3 million based on recent reports.

Some other Democratic candidates identified similar feelings while on the campaign trail last weekend.

Veronica Escobar, who is running to fill O’Rourke’s seat said: “The United States has built a system on incarcerating migrants, we really have to evaluate the way that we’ve criminalized migration.” “When we treat asylum-seekers like criminals, the next step is we have to jail them, we have to incarcerate them,” Escobar continued. “It’s incredibly costly.”

Former U.S. Customs agent and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez, used her experience to argue that illegal immigrants are not a public threat. “The majority of people are not coming in to do harm,” she said said. “We still have to have some kind of checking and verifying, but I don’t think coming in here undocumented should be a criminal issue.”



Arizona governor must pick a Republican to replace McCain under Arizona rules

Can we hope for Sheriff Joe?  He is very popular

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will make the appointment that will fill the seat of Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday after a year-long battle with brain cancer.

Under state law the replacement must be of the same party as Mr. McCain, a Republican, according to election experts. That ensures the GOP will maintain control of the Senate — though given Mr. Ducey is a Republican as well, that was likely anyway.

Because the vacancy happened so late in the year, Mr. Ducey’s replacement will serve through the end of 2020, and the seat will next be on the ballot in November of that year. The winner would then serve out the final two years of the term Mr. McCain won in 2016 — his sixth.

Mr. Ducey’s decision could be tricky. Arizona’s other Senate seat, currently held by retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, is up for election this year and the party primaries are on Tuesday. That race has turned into a bruising battle with an establishment-backed candidate in Rep. Martha McSally and two candidates from the right wing, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former state lawmaker Kelli Ward.

The conservatives are splitting the vote and Ms. McSally seems headed for a comfortable victory — but Mr. Ducey may face pressure from some corners of his state to name one of the others to fill Mr. McCain’s seat.



Stadium Fever Makes Taxpayers Delusional

Attention, Sports Fans: That new stadium your city is talking about is likely costing you far more than you realize. In an op-ed at Forbes, Independent Institute Research Fellow Art Carden discusses the latest evidence: a study published last month in Economic Inquiry by two academic economists who studied hotel occupancy data from Charlotte, North Carolina, to determine the financial impact of various political and sporting events.

“Back‐of‐the‐envelope calculations show incremental hotel‐tax receipts fall short of the debt service incurred in constructing and maintaining the city's sports venues,” write the economists, Craig A. Depken of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and E. Frank Stephenson of Berry College.

One extra cost that the public often ignores regarding public stadiums is extra policing, whether for a sports game or a political convention. Plus, the public often falls prey to the propaganda of developers and other special interests. “When construction starts on a new stadium or convention center, local leaders congratulate themselves like they’ve won some kind of great economic victory,” Carden writes. “They haven’t. They’ve simply fleeced the taxpayers for the benefit of construction companies, team owners, and other special interests by saddling them with white elephants for which they’ll pay for decades.”



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a youtube playlist of Russian music with lots of Leonid Kharitonov on it. My favorite is "Dark-Eyed Cossack Girl." He was also a nice man. (Died only a year or two ago.)