August, overall, was good to us. Here on the Kremlin Stooge, we had our second-best month ever in terms of hits, and sometime a couple of days ago we rolled quietly past a quarter-million – we now sit at 256,093. That’s not much compared with, say, Alexei Navalny and his million hits a day, but it’s not bad for a small blog. The weather here where I live finally turned for the better, and we got payback in spades for the lousy start to summer we saw in June and the first half of July. Best of all – for me – the last two posts were guest efforts which did extremely well, so I just coasted and racked up the hits with absolutely zero work; Kovane’s “Russia At The WTO Gate” drew 3,143 hits as of today, and 547 comments, while Yalensis’ “The KirovLes Case and the Navalny/Ofitserov Email Trail” pulled in 2,600 hits and elicited 494 comments. Great job, guys. Hopefully your tour-de-force performances will inspire some of those slackers out there.
Then, just when the genteel golden dying of summer in all its splendor brought tears to the eyes of the poets…the 3:10 from Ignorance pulled out of the station, with Shoshana Bryen shoveling on the coal (thanks to Mike Averko for the link). Figuratively speaking, of course; the only coal-fired steam trains left in the United States are novelties.
Is everyone familiar with the phrase, “to have a chip on one’s shoulder”? It is believed to originate from boys placing a small chip of wood on their shoulder, daring anyone to knock it off, whereupon there would be a fight. Shoshana Bryen’s ignorant blather is as full of casual and deliberate insult as a peapod is full of peas – I wonder who she’s challenging? Let’s see.
Well, she’s right that the Polish government did beg for a missile shield to protect it against Russian missiles. And that’s unfortunate, for a couple of reasons, from the western standpoint. One, it exposed the soothing official explanation that the missile shield was purpose-built to protect Eastern Europe from an attack by rogue missiles from Iran as the high-octane horseshit it is. Oh, no, said Brigadier-General John Hesterman of the Joint Staff; radars could be re-oriented and the missile shield could be adapted to thwart missiles coming from elsewhere. Precisely what the U.S. government said all along it could not do, or that it had no intention ever of doing. Other options which were eagerly discussed by the Polish government were a revolving deployment of American F-16 fighters and a small support element – doubtless to guard against rogue fighter elements of Iranian aircraft which managed somehow to fly nearly 2,500 miles when the combat radius of the average fighter is a little better than a tenth of that – C-130 Hercules rotations from Ramstein AFB in Germany (perhaps to airlift Polish troops to meet a rogue element of the Republican Guard that had just run 2,500 miles with fixed bayonets to rape Polish girls and spear Polish babies), or a Naval Special Warfare unit to be stationed at Gdansk or Gdynia (to protect Poland from attack by rogue units of the Iranian navy who had sailed around Siberia to…well, you get the picture). Obviously, the pre-chewed nonsense about the missile shield being oriented against Iran was always specious, and the shield was specifically designed to weaken Russia’s nuclear deterrent capability. Which would hardly provide a direct benefit to Poland, by the way, as it is within easy reach of conventional forces it would not have a hope of stopping. Weakening the Russian nuclear deterrent would give the USA and UK more bargaining power, however.
Oh; and two, the installation of a missile shield in Poland has always been a government pet project that has been consistently opposed by a majority of the Polish electorate. Not that something like the public being opposed to it is going to deter a neoconservative Likudnik like Bryen. Still, it does make it difficult to sell the notion that America is all about spreading democracy and the religion of one man, one vote, don’t you think?
She also avers that Russia has “staked its position as the guardian and defender of Syria”. I understand why that might upset her if it were true, because there is nothing the United States could do to more clearly stake its position as the guardian and defender of Israel that would suit her – you could move the entire U.S. Armed Forces to Israel and she would still cluck with worry that Israel’s ambitions and activities were not sufficiently secure, while Syria is an objector to those selfsame ambitions and activities as well as being directly confrontational over the ownership of the Golan Heights. But where did Russia state its willingness to go to war on Syria’s behalf? I mean, there’s no shortage of such bellicose rhetoric on America’s part where Israel is concerned, is there? Prominent American media sources say President Obama not only expressed “rock-solid resolution” on the question of Israel’s security, he and the American people paid for and installed Israel’s Iron Dome short range anti-rocket system. Did President Putin ever express such guarantees on Syria’s behalf prior to American-led western efforts to topple the Syrian government using proxy forces which include international terrorists al Qaeda? Show me. Did Russia design, build and install a defensive missile system for Syria courtesy of the Russian taxpayer? Sure, most of Syria’s military equipment was supplied by Russia – all contracted for and paid for by the Syrian government. I hope we’re not going to imply some degree of equivalency there, considering the United States is the world’s biggest arms dealer by a wide margin, and you couldn’t swing a cat by the tail in Saudi Arabia without hitting an F-15 Eagle or an M1-A2 Abrams tank, despite Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the Camp David Accords, support for a peaceful solution to Palestinian sovereignty aspirations and absence of diplomatic relations with Israel. It is also, according to Freedom House, among the world’s 20 most repressive regimes.
What Russia – and China, as well – did was insist on adherence to international law, which prohibits initiating wars of aggression. The world had the example of Libya to sample as a blueprint, and believe me, this would be exactly the same, extending even to the same actors – Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan high in the ranks of al Qaeda, who was instrumental in the NATO-backed overthrow of the Gaddafi government in Libya, currently commands the “rebels” known as the Free Syrian Army, together with some 600 “volunteers” from al Qaeda in Libya.
What else you got, Shoshana? Oh, here we go – Putin is jailing rock singers for “hooliganism”, jailing businessmen (spelt “K-h-o-d-o-r-k-o-v-s-k-y”) for “corruption”, murdering journalists and dissidents, stealing elections and eviscerating civil and contract law which was just fine until he messed with it.
It’s difficult to describe how tiresome this is getting. Pussy Riot are not rock singers. They are not singers of any description, and have never released a record – although their special front-girl, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, did participate with the “art collective” Voina in an impromptu performance in a Moscow courtroom (during a trial); an “action” they titled “Cock In The Ass”, featuring a song called “All Cops Are Bastards”. Nice. Want them for neighbours? They claim to be opposed to salaried employment, and live by stealing food and drink from stores. This enthusiastic review of the performance artists, by Forrest Muelrath, burbles on about “artistic cleverness” which is “breaking through the barriers of liberalism”: Americans love them – provided they stay in Russia, making trouble. I somehow can’t imagine the residents of Jesus Korners, USA welcoming their shenanigans with open arms, especially if they knew the “art collective” was planning on settling in the community. Hello, Steve? Yeah, listen; why don’t you and Shoshana come on over – a few of us are getting together in the back yard, and Pussy Riot’s going to come by later! Right; hey, maybe they’ll do “Cock In The Ass!!” Or paint a six-foot dick on our garage door; you just never know with those zany artists, do you? Bring the grandkids!! Oh, and don’t mention that you have a job, it makes the girls a little twitchy.
Any number of legitimate rock acts have played Russia, with no more problems than anywhere else – Monsters of Rock (AC/DC, Metallica, Pantera, Queensryche, Motley Crue and The Black Crowes) played Tushino airfield in 1991 in front of a half-million people, when Russia was still fresh from being the core of the Soviet Union. The vocalist from Pantera wore a full-face devil mask. Nobody freaked out, or suggested he should be jailed. Mind you, he didn’t do it in a church. Modern international rock acts play Moscow every year, without a murmur of protest from the public or the ROC.
And once again, the conversation turns to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, wrongfully-jailed businessman extraordinaire, political football in the cut and thrust of gutter politics in Russia. Say, did you know that after he was found guilty the second time and sentenced, he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)? You’d sort of expect, you know, because they have “Human Rights” in their title, that if they could have found even the slightest pretext to rule in Khodorkovsky’s favour – given that he became overnight like one of those pictures of the little dog with the huge, sad eyes, and everyone just wanted to take him home and love him and give him all their money – they would have done so; take that, Putin, you lousy political fixer. Did you happen to catch the verdict? The EHCR ruled that Khodorkovsky had failed to prove his arrest and subsequent trial were politically motivated. They didn’t say they weren’t politically motivated – just that Khodorkovsky with his platoon of lawyers and the most sympathetic judicial ear this side of Samuel Alito had been unable to convince the court. I don’t know why we have to keep going over and over this. Khodorkovsky is in jail for “corruption” because his conviction for corrupt practices was upheld by an international court comprised of countries strongly biased in favour of the defendant.
Did Putin steal the presidential election? Well, of course the west would like to think so, and does think so. But this pretty much sums it up: “Monitors Say Vote Skewed For Putin“. You don’t say. The vote was skewed in favour of the winner. Hey, wouldn’t it be embarrassing if the vote was skewed in favour of the loser? Think you’ll ever see that? There were all kinds of allegations of fraud, like there always are, but there didn’t seem to be any stomach for pursuing them once it was established that they were not going to make the public rise up in wrath and chuck Putin out on his ear. Every time western “monitors” see a bus with people in it on voting day, they yell, “carousel voting” and “Putin is busing in supporters”. Nobody seemed to think it strange that the whole area to one side of Bolotnaya Ploshchad was shoulder-to-shoulder with empty city buses on the day of the “massive public demonstration”, so apparently it’s okay to “bus in supporters” as long as they are carrying anti-Putin signs. Nobody ever provided any real proof of carousel voting, and any allegations of ballot-stuffing were promptly dealt with by junking the whole box. But the real story is down at the bottom, under “in other developments” :
- The UK acknowledged the Russian presidential election had delivered “a decisive result” in favour of Vladimir Putin despite “some problems”
- French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said: “Despite some criticism… the re-election of President Putin is not in doubt”.
That would seem to be at odds with the title “Monitors Say Vote Skewed For Putin”, wouldn’t it? Unless that’s British for “Putin Won, Damn It”. What a spiteful bunch of nancies.
Winding up this broadside of bullshit, yet another “fact” that is unsubstantiated by anything – “The rise of the Orthodox Church – and its popularity with young people – is striking.”
Does “striking” mean “totally fabricated”? Yes, as so often happens when some Russophobe just pulls the information from their hindquarters, the opposite is true. Or is probably true – nobody could know for certain, because the Russian Orthodox Church keeps no membership rolls or parish registers. But Nationmaster – sourced from the World Values Survey – puts all church attendance in Russia at 2%: less than one-tenth the weighted average, bottom of the list at number 53 of 53 countries surveyed and less than one-twentieth the total of United States church attendance. If the rise in the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church is striking, what are we to make of those buggy-eyed zealots who are twenty times more in thrall to the church’s power?
This is nothing more than Shoshana Bryen slapping another coat of booga-booga scary nonsense on her conservative agenda. When I referred to her as a Likudnik, I wasn’t kidding. Her husband was a co-founder of the neo-conservative Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and Shoshana Bryen succeeded him as Director for 10 years, from 1981 to 1991. When she was forced out of there (fired, actually; apparently there is such a thing as too conservative for JINSA) earlier this year, she took the helm at the Jewish Policy Institute. She characterizes the notion that America’s one-sided support for Israel is harmful to national interests as “a fraud of the highest order”, although it has cost the USA the moral high ground it once owned, time and again. An aim of JINSA is assuring strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel, pushing U.S. – Israeli weapons contracts, nurturing military-to-military relations and pushing a hard line on Middle East peace negotiations. “JINSA”, writes journalist Jason Vest “relishes denouncing virtually any type of contact between the U.S. government and Syria and finding new ways to demonize the Palestinians.”
And, if you needed reminding, Shoshana Bryen is too conservative for JINSA. This is just more of Shoshana, unfortunately, being Shoshana.