Daily Archives: September 4, 2008

September 7, 2008 — Contents

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 7 —  CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Russia, Sicker by the Minute

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Serge Schmemann Blows it (Again)

(3)  Kozlovsky on the Blogger Crackdown

(4)  Kiselyov on the Big Fat Medvedev Lie

(5)  Aslund on Economic Cold Warfare

(6)  Europe Doing its Best on Georgia

NOTE: Sarah Palin now has a higher approval rating than either Barack Obama or John McCain, and she is ahead of Joe Biden by a landslide margin. Only 69% of Democrats say Obama chose the right VP, while 81% of Republicans approve McCain’s choice (Biden’s approval rating is 10 points lower than Palin’s).  37.2 million viewers watched Palin’s acceptance speech, more than watched Obama on the networks that covered both (Obama was covered by four networks that didn’t cover Palin, drawing just 38.4 million viewers all told). Go, Sarah, go!

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EDITORIAL: Russia, Sicker by the Minute

EDITORIAL

Russia, Sicker by the Minute

Russian officials have said Michael Lee White was a U.S. agent involved in the recent fighting between their troops and Georgia. They claim to have found the Army veteran’s passport in Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia. But in his cramped teacher’s apartment at a business college in southern China, the American said Wednesday that he’d never been to Georgia. When the five-day war was raging last month, White said, he was in his hometown of Austin, Texas, caring for his sick father. The CIA denied that White was working for it. White thinks the passport the Russians have is one he lost during a flight from Moscow to New York in October 2005. White said he reported his lost passport and was given a new one the same year. “It still seems bizarre that they would make accusations like that with so little evidence,” said White, a soft-spoken English teacher. Russian officials have suggested that Americans directly supported Georgia’s Aug. 7 assault on South Ossetia, which is backed by Russia. Russian Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, showed reporters a copy of what he said was White’s passport Aug. 28. He said it was found in a basement among items that belonged to retreating Georgian soldiers.

— The Los Angeles Times, September 4th

Russia is a sick society, and it is getting sicker by the minute.  And we don’t mean physically sick, although Russia is about as ill in that manner as you can get, with the average male not living to see his sixtieth year and pandemic crises in AIDS, smoking, drinking and all manner of accident fatality.  What we’re talking about is between the ears:  Russia is a mental case.

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EDITORIAL: Serge Schmemann Blows it (Again)

EDITORIAL

Serge Schmemann Blows it (Again)

We’ve pointed out the malignant activities of Russophile scum bag Serge Schmemann, editorial page editor of the International Herald Tribune on several prior occasions.  We’re not the only ones who see the gaping flaws in Schmemann’s “analysis” of Russia by any means, and now the New York Times itself (IHT’s parent) has caught him in the act.

On August 22nd, Schmemann penned a book review for the Times headlined:  “To Russia with Love.”  The book was an account of a Soviet spy named Cy Oggins.  In it, Schmemann claimed that Oggins had been executed by Stalin because the dictator believed he had been “turned” by the West.  False.  In fact, Oggins was killed because he new too much about Soviet espionage to be repatriated. Schmemann also misspelled the name of Oggins’s wife and published a photograph with an erroneous caption claiming a mugshot was dated to the night of Oggins’s execution.  The Times was forced to append an embarrassing correction of this set of three shamelessly sloppy errors by its own editor. Think Schmemann insisted on apologizing for his profusion of gaffs? Think again. If the editor is this bad, can you imagine the quality of those Schmemann hires and supervises? We hardly dare to try.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg as far as the accuracy of Schmemann’s review is concerned.

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Kozlovsky on the Blogger Crackdown

Writing on Robert Amsterdam’s blog, opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky, whose recent conviction and 13-day sentence for civil disobedience has now been reversed on appeal and declared to have been illegal, calls the Kremlin to task for its recent assault on blogger Dmitry Soloviev:

Dmitry Soloviev, a leader of the Oborona youth movement in Kemerovo region, faces criminal charges for criticizing the “siloviki” in a LiveJournal blog. He is accused by the regional prosecutor of posting information that “incites hatred, hostility and degrades a social group of people—the police and FSB”. According to the anti-extremist legislation introduced in 2006 (more specifically, the infamous paragraph 282 of the Criminal Code), he may face up to two years imprisonment if convicted.

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Kiselyov on the Big Fat Medvedev Lie

Writing in the Moscow Times pundit Yevgeny Kiselyov exposes the walking falsehood known as Dimitry Medvedev:

Another August has ended. One would think that the last month of summer would be calm and quiet, but something dramatic and unusual happens almost every August. This was particularly true during the first presidential terms of Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin and now Dmitry Medvedev.

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Aslund on Economic Cold Warfare

Writing in the Moscow Times Anders Aslund, a senior fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the author of Russia’s Capitalist Revolution: Why Market Reform Succeeded and Democracy Failed, gives Russians the bad news about their economic future under the dictator Vladimir Putin, a proud KGB spy with no economic training who has never run a business.  Following, a second piece from Aslund in which he explains how Russian economic weakness can be exploited in the new cold war to the West’s advantage.

Aug. 8 stands out as a fateful day for Russia. It marks Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s greatest strategic blunder. In one blow, he wiped out half a trillion dollars of stock market value, stalled all domestic reforms and isolated Russia from the outside world. Russia’s attack on its small democratic neighbor was bad enough, but its recognition of two conquered protectorates as independent states has been supported only by Hamas, Belarus, Venezuela and Cuba. Putin is turning Russia into a rogue state.

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Europe Doing its Best on Georgia?

Transitions Online, via Business Week, says that Europe is being much tougher than some perceive on Russia’s Georgia atrocity. But is it tough enough?

Even allowing for the difficulty of the situation, the European Union’s reply on 1 September to Russia’s aggression against Georgia might seem weak and meager. Suspending talks on the EU-Russia framework agreement—which weren’t going anywhere anyway—unless Moscow does something it had already promised to do—withdraw its army to pre-conflict positions—is really very little.

There is little that can be done. The war is over, Georgia has been humiliated, and it’s not as if anyone’s going to send tanks to dislodge the Red, sorry, Russian army from its positions in the faraway Caucasus. Certainly not the EU, for it hasn’t any. Frankly, the Russians have won and it’s too late to do anything about it.

Actually, the EU’s reaction, agreed at a special summit of its leaders, may amount to a bit more than we were led to expect. For one thing, there was a special summit. That happens very rarely; the last one was in 2003 on the eve of the Iraq war. That in itself shows that Europe, as a whole, takes the matter seriously, something that hadn’t always been clear.

For another thing, based on the pre-summit newspaper reports, which ranged from cynical to hysterical, on the “deep split” among members, the bellicose and the “appeasers,” one might have expected there was never going to be a common position at all. That the EU, too, would be left humiliated, its pretense to a common foreign policy—and to being a great power—in shambles again.

That didn’t happen. There did emerge a common position, perhaps not as strong as the hawks in Eastern Europe and Britain would have liked. But strong enough to momentarily satisfy them and to contain the seeds of further escalation if Russia doesn’t comply. Much stronger, also, than the draft circulated by the French EU presidency before the summit, thanks primarily to the Baltic states and Poland. These are the countries that are the most concerned, understandably, about the bellicose new Russia.

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