Tag: Vladimir Putin

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Moscow Madness: The MSM Makes Russia Great Again

 

I have to tell you, I was very disappointed when you didn’t show up for my performance at the 2017 Mensa Worldwide Olympics competition at the beautiful Salton Sea Hyatt hard by the majestic peaks of the Chocolate Mountain Naval Aerial Gunnery Range.

As usual, I brought home a gold medal in the Mensa Pentathalon, taking first in my signature events, the modem toss and the stacked-server high jump, and racking up a new personal best, second place in the Oxford English Dictionary clean and jerk.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump’s O’Reilly Super Bowl Interview

 

Fox News released an excerpt last night of an interview of President Donald Trump by Bill O’Reilly that will air before the Super Bowl tonight. In it, O’Reilly asks Trump about Putin, noting that “Putin’s a killer.” Trump then responds, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think–our country’s so innocent?”

This is not different from things that Trump said during the campaign. In a December, 2015, appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Trump made a similar statement. When host Joe Scarborough said that Putin “kills journalists that don’t agree with him,” Trump replied “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe.” Later in the interview Scarborough asked Trump if he condemned the killing of journalists. Trump said, “Oh sure. Absolutely.” I wonder if O’Reilly will ask the president a similar follow-up question. I hope so.

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Victor Davis Hanson examines the constituent parts of Donald Trump’s political beliefs and attempts to deduce the animating principles of Trumpism.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Operation Dribble: The Game

 

“I demand equality,” Elizabeth “Dances With Wolf Blitzer” Warren screamed at the half-court line. “They have all the height. Our players need their fair share.” She pointed at Sheriff David Clarke Kent and his cowboy hat. “And, he’s a ….”

“Democrat,” I yelled to drown out whatever epithet she was attempting to hurl. “The R’s made him an honorary R, so under the rules of this game, he’s eligible to play on the RNC team.”

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Vladimir Putin isn’t going to even bother retaliating to what he dismissively called “kitchen diplomacy” after President Obama’s latest attempt to pee in President-elect Trump’s pool. I have to say I love this response. The presidency of Barack Obama can’t end soon enough… More

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Victor Davis Hanson looks at the controversies around Donald Trump’s relationship with the Russian government and analyzes the trajectory of Washington’s relationship with Moscow.

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Is Jill Stein, of course. From her website, now repurposed as a conduit for dark money towards lawfare by recount: More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Trump’s GOP and Putin’s Kremlin

 

trump-putinRepublicans have a lot of people to thank this year. For example, there is FBI director James Comey. Last summer, he was the Republicans’ goat, refusing to indict Hillary Clinton. Now he is the Man of the Hour. Then there is Hillary herself: whose corruption is a gift to any opponent, even Donald Trump. But don’t forget Vladimir Putin. Month after month, he has worked tirelessly for the GOP ticket, undermining the Democrats, mainly through his cut-out Julian Assange.

Putin has never stopped being a KGB man, just as Russian intelligence, whatever its current initials, has never stopped being the KGB. (We could go back further, of course, with this alphabet soup.)

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Russian “Reset” Going as Well as Predicted

 

1421912307508In 2012, Mitt Romney said of Russia, “This is without question our number one geopolitical foe. They fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors. The idea that [Obama] has more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling indeed.” Later, at a presidential debate, President Obama famously responded, “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

The press giggled at zinger just as they had mocked Romney’s concern about Putin’s growing belligerence. Let’s check the status of the US/Russia relationship today:

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Victor Davis Hanson explains why the waning months of Barack Obama’s presidency may turn out to be one of the most volatile periods for national security that America has seen in decades.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Snapshot of the Utter Economic Mess that Is Putin’s Russia

 

RTSKFPT_putin-e1473433976781Over on Twitter, economist Ernie Tedeschi notes, “Russia’s economy has shrunk 5% in inflation-adjusted terms since 2013. America’s has grown 7.5%.” Yes, Putin’s authoritarian populism is proving to be, among other things, simply terrible economics.

This from the Index of Economic Freedom:

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Where Does a Patriot Turn in 2016?

 
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JStone / Shutterstock.com

The Democratic Party’s national convention is attempting to lay claim to the patriot mantle. Yet the party is not quite there. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta was heckled with chants of “no more war.” The Code Pink wing lost the nomination this year, but it won the platform, and may yet win it all in the next cycle.

President Obama seeded his own speech with patriotic grace notes and, while he recoils from Trump, his horror at Trump’s style seemingly blinds him to their similarities. On substance, they are more alike than not. This shouldn’t be shocking, considering that Trump has been a Democrat for most of his life. What is stunning is the degree to which so many patriots, whose eyes water at the flag and the anthem, imagine that Trump is a patriot in the same mold.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Putin, Bukovsky, and National Sovereignty

 

shutterstock_175007894Vladimir Bukovsky was prominent in the dissident movement within the old Soviet Union, and spent 12 years in prisons, labor camps, and psychiatric hospitals. He has lived in Britain since the late 1970s, and has been a vocal opponent of Vladimir Putin, referring to Putin and his circle as the heirs of Lavrenty Beria — Beria being Stalin’s notorious secret-police chief. Bukovsky also expressed the opinion that the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko (in Britain, by radioactive polonium) was done at the behest of Russian authorities. So you can be pretty sure that Bukovsky isn’t on Vladimir Putin’s list of ten favorite people.

Recently, Bukovsky has been charged with child pornography by British authorities. Claire Berlinski believes that he was likely framed by the Russian regime. (More from Claire here.) It certainly seems quite possible that Putin’s intelligence agencies planted the evidence on Bukovsky’s computer, and I am happy that Claire is going to be further investigating this matter, which has received little attention from the legacy media.

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John Kerry: says Assad better step down by August–and not try to carve out Aleppo in the meantime–or face a changed U.S. approach to the war in Syria Vladimir Putin: sends his buddy to put on a cello concert in the ruins of the Roman amphitheatre in Palmyra More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Russian Interventionism and the Art of Confusion

 

RT_Putin“When Putin came to power, the first thing he did was take control of state television. Not the secret service, not national intelligence, but the media.” Peter Pomerantsev, senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London and expert on modern Russia, said this in an interview with Swedish national radio as they recently reported on a Swedish military official expressing concern over systematic Russian attempts to infiltrate and influence Swedish and European media.

The Russian interventionism was never more evident than during the aftermath of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 catastrophe, when a jet was shot down over Ukraine in 2014. As soon as the official Dutch crash report was published a year later, it was countered by an “alternative” report out of Russia, as well as an alternative press conference aired hours before the Dutch report came out, chronicling a reconstruction of the crash performed by Russian experts. These Russian experts, paid by the Kremlin, came to the conclusion that while it may have been Russian-made robots that shot down the aircraft and killed 300 people, these robots were no longer used by Russia but rather by the Ukrainian army, and that the Russian reconstruction had shown that the missiles probably were fired from Kiev. The findings lauded by the Russians had been investigated and debunked by the Dutch air crash investigators, but none of that information was deemed pertinent to what ended up making it on Russian TV.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Glenn Reynolds: If Putin Is So Popular with Russians, Why Is He Creating a Personal Army?

 
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Timofeev Sergey / Shutterstock.com

In a surprise move, Russian Strongman President Vladimir Putin is creating a new paramilitary police force:

In less than a week, he liquidated the federal drug control and immigration agencies, firing more than 50,000 people, including his longtime ally from the KGB, Russian drug tsar Victor Ivanov. Putin then let Russians know that he had created a new force, called the National Guard, a powerful structure that includes more than 180,000 interior ministry troops plus special police units.

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During the 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney described Russia as our greatest geo-political threat. President Obama sarcastically dismissed Romney’s trepidations, joking in their third presidential debate, “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.”  More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Poking the Bear Back

 
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DoubleBubble / Shutterstock.com

Proving that a story can be simultaneously utterly bizarre and make perfect sense, the New York Times reports that Middle Eastern and African refugees are crossing into Europe through … wait, Finland!?

Compared with the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war or hardship who made the trek to Europe last year through Turkey to Greece, the flow of refugees and migrants on the Arctic route through Russia — first into Norway and later into Finland — is tiny. But the stop-go traffic has added a hefty dose of geopolitical anxiety, not to mention intrigue, to a crisis that is tearing the European Union apart. It has sent alarm bells ringing in Helsinki, Finland’s capital far to the south, and in Brussels, where European Union leaders, at recent crisis meetings on migration, discussed the strange and ever-shifting Arctic route through Russia. The intrigue flows from a growing suspicion in the West that Russia is stoking and exploiting Europe’s migrant crisis to extract concessions, or perhaps crack the European unity over economic sanctions imposed against Moscow for its actions in Ukraine. Only one of the European Union’s 28 member states needs to break ranks for a regime of credit and other restrictions to collapse.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Why Wars Break Out: Bucharest Declaration Edition

 
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ID1974 / Shutterstock.com

Claire has started two excellent discussions here and here about the causes of war. I look forward to reading her argument in subsequent posts. But I also wanted to throw out my anticipatory two cents on the subject without being constrained by commenters’ 250-word limit. In the case of The Big One – China – the causes of war, if there is to be one, will be the same structural ones identified by Thucydides 2,500 years ago. Like Athens and Sparta, this is a paradigmatic case of rising and declining powers clashing. But in the case of lesser conflicts, one can never overestimate the role of ordinary human stupidity and inability to grasp the perfectly predictable consequences of foolish actions.

Consider the current situation in Europe. In April 2008, NATO held a summit in Bucharest, Romania. At the end of this summit — as is the custom for these kinds of things — NATO issued a lengthy declaration. Paragraph 23 of this declaration states, in full (emphasis added):

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Dying for Narva? Our Foolish NATO Commitment.

 

imageI confess I have a soft spot for Estonia. I visited for my first and only time when I was six years old. Unlike the other Soviet workers and peasants, who every August flocked en masse to the rocky shores of the Black Sea, my family preferred the wide, uncrowded, sandy beaches, cool northern waters, and fragrant pine forests of the Baltic. The three Baltic capitals – Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius – were ancient Hanseatic merchant towns that, despite 30-some years of Communism, mass-deportations, and Russian colonization, had managed to preserve their distinct Baltic character and culture. To my parents, the whole region – but especially Estonia – looked and felt like Scandinavia or, at least, what they imagined Scandinavia to look and feel like.

Tallinn itself I remember as a medieval jewel straight out of a storybook, with winding cobblestone streets, Gothic windows, and a skyline marked by crow-stepped gables, church spires, fortress towers, and red tile roofs crowned by bronze weathervanes and finials. There were pubs, coffee houses, and jazz clubs. The food tasted different. This place felt … Western. Someone told my mother that, if one stood at the water’s edge on dark nights when atmospheric conditions were just right, one could faintly see the lights of Helsinki across the Gulf of Finland. I clearly remember her standing on the beach at night squinting at the horizon, trying to catch a glimpse of the world beyond the Iron Curtain.

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