putinby baldilocks

Jeffrey Pelt: Mr. Ambassador, you have nearly a hundred naval vessels operating in the North Atlantic right now. Your aircraft has dropped enough sonar buoys so that a man could walk from Greenland to Iceland to Scotland without getting his feet wet. Now, shall we dispense with the bull?

Ambassador Lysenko: You make your point as delicately as ever, Mr. Pelt.

Jeffrey Pelt: It would be well for your government to consider that having your ships and ours, your aircraft and ours, in such proximity… is inherently DANGEROUS. Wars have begun that way, Mr. Ambassador.

The Hunt for Red October

I’m old enough to remember when this report would have made my blood run cold.

A FLEET of Russian nuclear ships have been spotted steaming out of base – and it is heading for Britain.

Vladimir Putin‘s policy of gunboat diplomacy continued as a giant aircraft carrier and nuclear submarine were among eight vessels snapped sailing south past Norway yesterday.

The fearsome fleet is headed for Russia’s Mediterranean base in Tartus, Syria.

But first, the ships are set to pass through the English Channel in the latest act of sabre-rattling from Moscow.

Royal Navy warships are being readied to intercept the fleet which could pass within miles of the British coast.

Russia’s flagship aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was amongst the ships to depart from the Arctic port of Severomorsk on Saturday.

The 55,000-tonne colossus is travelling with the Pyotr Veliky battlecruiser, the Vice-Admiral Kulakov destroyer and large anti-submarine ships.

The convoy was caught on camera by Norwegian spy planes on Monday

The show of strength is the latest act of defiance from Moscow in the face of Western pressure over its bombing campaign in Syria.

Back when the War was Cold, I thought I knew who the enemy was. Now, however, it seems that the onion has endless layers waiting to be peeled back—to reveal the true nature of our enemies and our “friends.”

Too few care about this approaching feces storm. But I suspect that we will be made to care.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>>baldilocks

 

 

by baldilocks

I found myself thinking back on the last few weeks, especially on the San Bernardino Islamic Terror Attack. This was spurred by happening upon the unbelievable libeling of one of the victims–Nicholas Thalasinos—by one fortuitously-named New York Daily News columnist, Linda Stasi. Her surname, of course calls to mind the old East Germany and, from there, I remembered one of the many other times in which a mainstream media sort received push-back from the serfs.

Originally posted on January 23, 2008.

A few years back [sic], veteran editor Tina Brown opined that “bloggers were the new Stasi.” In response, I opined that if our journalistic betters were going to hurl epithets at us that it wasn’t too much to ask that they know what those epithets mean so that they could be sure that the epithet was appropriate before hurling it. “Stasi” is German shorthand for Staatssicherheit— literally ‘state security,’ the late East Germany’s infamous and feared secret police force. Think of all the images and concepts conjured by the phrase “secret police force in a communist country.”

The Stasi not only embodied those images and concepts, it defined them. As far as I know, bloggers have not banded together to kick down doors and drag ideological enemies away for interrogation and/or confinement. Banding together to fact-check and trade information on the public writings of our betters as we imbibe adult beverages isStasianother story, however. But now, I can see where Brown’s comparison made some semblance of sense; the Stasi watched the every move of every citizen and visitor in German Democratic Republic and bloggers watch every move of professional journalists.

One might also argue that with all of the personal cameras and microphones lurking around every corner to capture images of everything happening that some bloggers are fast approaching the Stasi’s level of nosiness. But Brown’s metaphor was still a very imperfect one. I thought that journalists wanted their offerings read and dissected.

Anyway, that’s a setup to point you to the fascinating story of the STASI’s legacy, dark as it is, and the attempts to preserve that very tangible legacy as a reminder. Embodying stereotype of German efficiency, the Stasi kept meticulous records of everyone they surveilled. In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall, they succeed in destroying roughly 5% of it.

That might not sound like much, but the agency had generated perhaps more paper than any other bureaucracy in history — possibly a billion pages of surveillance records, informant accounting, reports on espionage, analyses of foreign press, personnel records, and useless minutiae. There’s a record for every time anyone drove across the border.

Which means I have one. [While in the USAF, I was stationed in West Berlin 1985-1989 and 1990-1991.]

In the chaos of the days leading up to the actual destruction of the wall and the fall of East Germany’s communist government, frantic STASI agents sent trucks full of documents to the Papierwolfs and Reisswolfs — literally “paper-wolves” and “rip-wolves,” German for shredders. As pressure mounted, agents turned to office shredders, and when the motors burned out, they started tearing pages by hand — 45 million of them, ripped into approximately 600 million scraps of paper.

There’s no way to know what bombshells those files hide. For a country still trying to come to terms with its role in World War II and its life under a totalitarian regime, that half-destroyed paperwork is a tantalizing secret.

The machine-shredded stuff is confetti, largely unrecoverable. But in May 2007, a team of German computer scientists in Berlin announced that after four years of work, they had completed a system to digitally tape together the torn fragments. Engineers hope their software and scanners can do the job in less than five years — even taking into account the varying textures and durability of paper, the different sizes and shapes of the fragments, the assortment of printing (from handwriting to dot matrix) and the range of edges (from razor sharp to ragged and handmade.) “The numbers are tremendous. If you imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle at home, you have maybe 1,000 pieces and a picture of what it should look like at the end,” project manager Jan Schneider says. “We have many millions of pieces and no idea what they should look like when we’re done.”

The wholesale destruction of the files was prevented by the East German citizens themselves.

In several small cities, rumors started circulating that records were being destroyed. Smoke, fires, and departing trucks confirmed the fears of angry Germans, who rushed in to their local Stasi offices, stopped the destruction, and spontaneously organized citizen committees that could post guards to secure the archives. Demonstrators spray-painted the walls with slogans like “The files belong to us” and “Stasi get out.” Finally, on the evening of January 15, 1990, thousands of demonstrators pushed in the front gate of the Stasi’s fortified Berlin compound.

It’s long, but very interesting–especially in light of the fact that some of our betters seem to be forgetting the inefficiencies and abuses inherent in socialist/communist governments–or hoping that the average citizens forgets. Read the whole thing.

******

That Germany is dead, but the post Reunification Germany is dying. And in spite of all of Germany’s crimes and stupidities, this makes me sad.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.baldilocks

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

The next round of US-Cuban discussions is scheduled for January 21 and 22, a week from today, in Havana.

Almost a month ago, Pres. Obama gave his Statement on Cuba Policy Changes,

In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests,

thereby implying that the Cuban communist regime had evolved and the U.S. had not.

No matter how you look at it, Cuba is firmly footed in a Cold War time capsule. Jason and Yleem Poblete, writing in the Wall Street Joournal, offer a brief list: They start with espionage,

In May 2003, 14 Cuban diplomats were declared persona non grata by the State Department and expelled from the U.S. for “unofficial activities,” which is diplomatic speak for espionage. One was the first secretary of the Cuban Interests Section, Jose Anselmo Lopez Perera. His wife, Josefina Vidal, also a first secretary and known Cuban intelligence officer, left with her husband. In exchange for her “heroic” exploits on behalf of the Revolution—yes, they still talk this way in Havana—the Castro regime rewarded Vidal by placing her in charge of North American Affairs or the “United States Division” as Cuba’s Foreign Ministry refers to it.

In her capacity as chief anti-American operative, Vidal traveled to the U.S. in May 2014 to meet with State Department officials. Her interlocutor? Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, whom President Obama has chosen to lead a high-ranking delegation to Havana this month for normalization talks.

Indeed, Vidal will most likely head Cuban delegation at the next round of US-Cuban discussions on January 21 and 22 in Havana.

The Pobletes also ask,

Is there a different leadership in Cuba—one that espouses freedom and no longer threatens the U.S. or undermines its interests and objectives? Absolutely not.

Under the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 and which could be viewed as also codifying the Eisenhower decision to sever ties with Cuba, the legal criteria for normalization of relations, including the political reward of full diplomatic recognition, have clearly not been met.

That is particularly true in the area of human rights, where the fate of 53 prisoners released remains firmly at the whims of the regime, and where any multinational who employs Cubans pays the government an amount in dollars stipulated by the government, which in turn pays the employee no more than the maximum legal wage (approx. $20 a month) in pesos.

Since Cuba has a long history of defaulting on its debts with foreigners, you may also want to recall what happens to owners of multinationals who did business with Cuba and tried to collect. Most of the businessmen mentioned in my column still remain in jail.

But if you really want a blast from the Cold War past,

Months before President Obama announced on Wednesday that he is seeking to do away with decades of U.S. economic sanctions against the communist regime in Cuba, Russia concluded a security deal with Havana aimed at bolstering intelligence and military ties to the island dictatorship.

The Russia-Cuba agreement was announced May 16 when a memorandum was signed in Moscow establishing a joint working group between Russia’s Security Council and the Cuban Commission for National Security and Defense.

The agreement’s announcement overlapped Vidal’s trip to the U.S. to meet with Jacobsen.

Will the Statement’s aftermath erode Russian influence with Havana? I wouldn’t hold my breath on it – especially not with Putin at the helm.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

…To turn a cold war victory that it took half a dozen presidents from Harry Truman to George Bush 41 to win into defeat.

The question isn’t if Putin is going to keep the Crimea that’s already been established, the question is: Will there be an independent country called “Ukraine” anymore or if it does exist how much land it will consist of?

The United States will have absolutely no say in the matter, the EU will have no say in the matter, only Russia & Putin will make that decision with only perhaps China as a limiting factor.

But that’s not a sign this president has reopened the Cold war and lost. This is:

Russia says it is negotiating with eight governments around the world for access to military facilities, to enable it to extend its long-range naval and strategic bomber capabilities.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday the military was engaged in talks with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Algeria, Cyprus, the Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore.

Meanwhile back in the us what is the leader of the free world doing:

A White House official emailed some reporters to say that President Obama’s team met today to discuss the ongoing situation on Ukraine. It appears President Obama did not attend.

Seriously?

Perhaps instead the National Security Team should have invited Sarah Palin, she apparently has a better grasp on the situation than Barack Obama.

The only thing more pathetic than the president’s response is this from the media such as this headline at Politico:

Putin’s Reckless Ukraine Gambit

“Reckless”? Reckless implies he is taking a risk, Vladimir Putin has dealt with Barack Obama and this administration he knows that opposing the man who removed the bust of Winston Churchill did not involve risk.

There is only one question left to ask in my mind: Is the defeat of the United States, the emasculation of it’s international prestige, the abandonment of our allies and the gutting of our military a bug or a feature to President Barack Obama?

If five years ago someone asked me that question I would have called them crazy,

That I am asking this question and honestly don’t know the answer, saddens me beyond belief.

Generations still unborn in countries around the world will pay for our decision to elect the first affirmative action president.

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Olimometer 2.52

Its the first day of March and we’re coming off our biggest shortfall ever for our monthly goal just under $500 shy of the mortgage.

However there is also a weekly paycheck goal which took a back seat due to the mortgage shortfall, we’re only $115 shy there and with the rest of the day to do it, that’s entirely doable.

5 $25 tip jar hits will give us that consolation prize and get us started toward making the March goal.

We’ve never failed to meet payroll & Mortgage two months in a row (in fact we’ve only missed them by any significant amount twice in 13 months). Let’s get March off to a good start to so that doesn’t happen now.

I tend to watch a lot of classic TV so when I saw this story:

China and Russia reaffirm support for Syria

China on Wednesday restated its opposition to military intervention in Syria, as Russia sought to halt fresh UN Security Council action after a massacre of civilians sparked global fury.

I thought for a second I might be watching MeTV

On a serious note to a person of my age or older this headline should not be any kind of surprise. With the Rise of Putin the old KGB man has gone fully back to its old Soviet days when it comes to foreign policy and China since it’s fall to communism has always done it’s best to protect the rights of dictators to slaughter their own people, as it’s a tactic they use themselves.

But to the young folks who have been taught that the Cold War was a fight between two equally questionable philosophies, to youth who have been taught that the US is an imperial power, to the occupods who believe that America represents the height of oppression and to the folks like Chris Hayes who don’t see our troops who stood against our cold war enemies as heroes it doesn’t compute.

There is and has been a simple reality that the US has been on the side of the angels for over 100 years and the rare times when we have looked the other way involved either fights against a greater evil (the Nazis, the Cold war) or exceptions, while for our communist friends in China since the 48 and the Soviets and the Putin era Russians, supported consistently by the left, have not. No amount of “cool” people wearing Che T-Shirts will change this.

One can debate if the US should or should not intervene in Syria, that’s legit, but the reality that Russia and China will always do their best to protect any nation that chooses to slaughter their own people can’t be debated. It is a simple fact.

There is an old tale of St. John as an old Man on the Isle of Patmos calling together Christians to be taught. When they would gather he would say: “Little children, ove one another.”

One of his disciples asked him “Master John, you give us the same lesson every week, when will we go onto the next lesson?”

St. John smiled and answered “When you have learned the 1st lesson then we’ll move onto the next.”

The moral of that story is that it is important to constantly remind people of the lessons of history.

This came to mind when I saw this post at Pundit Press this morning and saw this quote from Dmitry Rogozin:

“Today in the Senate, I met with Senators Jon Kyl and Mark Kirk. The meeting is very useful because it shows that the alternative to Barack Obama is a collapse of all the programs of cooperation with Russia,” he said. “Today, I had the impression that I was transported in a time machine back several decades, and in front of me sat two monsters of the Cold War, who looked at me not through pupils, but targeting sights.”

Monsters of the Cold War? Have we forgotten which nation kept its citizens behind an Iron Curtain. Have we forgotten which nation Crushed the rebellion in Hungary in 1956. What side in the cold war put up a wall in Berlin and shot dead any who dared cross?

Hans- Hermann Hertle, project direct of the ZZF Center for Historical Research, told journalists at a briefing in Berlin. He said the number is likely to rise and said as many as 100,000 people served jail sentences for attempting to flee the regime.

Monsters of the cold war indeed!

A whole new generation of people have been born after these events. When Rogozin says these things he is banking on their ignorance. It is our duty to make sure to make sure they are not forgotten and men like Rogozin try to play with history they are called on it.

My review of the 1969 movie Don’t Drink the Water staring Jackie Gleason and Estelle Parsons as tourists caught up in a cold war snafu is available at Amazon.com here.

I remember the movie as being pretty funny when I was a kid, unfortunately for me I’m not a kid anymore although some of the cold war themes appeal to the historian in me. I understand Woody Allen did a remake about 15 years ago. I think with a little effort I might manage to miss it too.

I reviewed her book a bit ago, you can buy it at Amazon.com here.

The terror argument she is given has some credibility due to the experience of her parents but it is still a question of defining what “torture” actually is. Before you go on about crossing the line it might be a good idea to know where the line actually is.

…in 1989.

Sylvester McCoy, the actor who played Doctor Who for two years in the 1980s, has revealed that left-wing scriptwriters hired by the BBC wrote propaganda into the plots in an attempt to undermine Margaret Thatcher’s premiership.

Shades of the Adventures of Robin Hood circa 1955:

“The idea of bringing politics into Doctor Who was deliberate, but we had to do it very quietly and certainly didn’t shout about it,” said McCoy.

“We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do. At the time Doctor Who used satire to put political messages out there in the way they used to do in places like Czechoslovakia. Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered. Those who wanted to see the messages saw them; others, including one producer, didn’t.”

And the Doctor wasn’t alone in this belief:

Sophie Aldred, who played Ace, the Doctor’s feminist companion, said a shared contempt for right-wing ideology had inspired “a real bonding process” for cast and crew.

“Thatcher was our prime minister and we weren’t happy,” she said.

Well of course they weren’t, after all you had people like Sakharov repressed not to mention people shot trying to cross the wall. Thatcher had much to answer for, oh wait that was East Germany and the Soviets the people Thatcher was opposing wasn’t it?

Well it didn’t matter after all it wasn’t as if a leftist tilt would kill a British institution that had existed for 26 years…oh wait:

However, ratings slumped from a high of 16m, when Tom Baker was the Doctor a decade earlier, to 3m and the show was taken off air twice: in 1986-7 by Michael Grade, then the director of programmes — who said it had “no redeeming features” — and again in 1989, two years after Grade had left the BBC.

Ah the joys of the left managing to make a British institution so unpalatable that it could not survive. One interesting thing to note, You see that same tilt in a few of the 7th doctor audios such as The Fearmonger. I wonder if this will come up in some of the commentaries?


Update:
I just realized that I neglected to give the deserved hat tip to Life Dr. Who and Combom. Very much my bad.