Tuesday, 29 July 2014

British ambassador to the United States (rightly) calls Putin a thug and a liar

Sir Peter Westmacott: This man is a thug and a liar

Kudos to Sir Peter Westmacott, the British ambassador to the United States, who´s characterization of Vladimir Putin is spot on:

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, is a “thug” and a “liar”, one of Britain’s most senior ambassadors has said, as the EU prepares to approve tough new sanctions against Moscow.
Sir Peter Westmacott said the West’s increasingly firm response to Russia was beginning to have an impact on the Kremlin.
The British ambassador to the United States said Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine was starting to look like “the wrong call”.

The Church of Sweden has joined the International Church of Global Warming

 "The lifestyle of the industrialised world is untenable"  
The Church of Sweden

The bishops of the Church of Sweden have published a letter about climate change, which proves that this once venerable church is now a full member of the greenie leftist international Church of Global Warming.

Here are a few samples from the letter:

Climate change is probably the biggest common challenge

ever faced by humanity. The work to face this challenge must be

reflected in social development and make us reassess how we
think about lifestyle, welfare, sustainability and justice, for the

sake of creation, for the sake of life and for the sake of our

grandchildren and our grandchildren’s grandchildren. --

As long as the profitability of many companies

depends on fossil fuels, there will be considerable opposition to

change.28 For many years, what could be called the ‘fossil fuel

industrial complex’ has obstructed the development of renewable
energy sources and the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies. Solar

cell producers and other companies that have developed technologies

for the transition to a fossil free economy are still too weak
to seriously challenge those with interests in preserving the prevailing

system. --
Peace with the earth is increasingly becoming a precondition

of peace on earth. The role of oil in many of the world’s conflicts

has long been obvious. It is not yet equally clear whether these

conflicts will be enhanced by climate change, but competition
for limited resources such as water, agricultural land, air space

and ocean regions is already creating tension that may worsen as

the climate changes. A shortage of food and sustainable supply

potential is creating uncertainty and flows of refugees, and is

contributing to conflicts.

An awakening is required among the world’s decision makers.

They must realize that it is not possible to win a war against the

planet or to deny that the planet has limits. We must make peace

with the earth. For the sake of the poor and the vulnerable, for

the sake of future generations and for the integrity of creation.


we probably need to reconsider our consumption patterns more

fundamentally. Consumption of goods produces higher emissions

than consumption of services, and private consumption produces

higher emissions than public consumption. The knowledge that

public consumption largely consists of healthcare, education and

social services further emphasizes the fact that the balance between

goods and services needs to be highlighted.

We believe and hope that we can see new alliances between,

for example, scientific climate research, happiness and welfare

research and religion. The desire to make good change can be

enhanced if we can show how energy transition, sustainability

and welfare promote each other. If it is also possible to show

that a climate-friendly life is also a happier life, then we have

made a major advance and the willingness to give up old

patterns increases.
(Bolding by NNoN)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Europe finally gets tough with "erratically" behaving Putin?

Finally some good news from Europe:

After weeks of ignoring American demands to get tough with Moscow expectations are rapidly rising in Washington that Europe will agree a significant package of new sanctions as early as this Tuesday.
As recently as last Friday night, sources in Washington involved in tracking the negotiations were deeply pessimistic that a divided Europe could muster the collective political will to impose meaningful economic pain on Moscow.
However the mood in Europe is understood to have changed radically over the weekend after Mr Putin failed to return several phone calls from Angela Merkel, the German chancellor.
A separate western diplomatic source cited worrying Russian reports that Mr Putin was now behaving "erratically" in meetings and noted that he had failed to offer any last-minute concessions to mollify and divide Europe, as in the past.

The "erratic" dictator in is clearly in need of some kind of professional help. Hopefully there are some sane forces in Moscow who will be able to provide it ...

Meanwhile, there is an urgent need for tougher sanctions.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Meet multi millionaire Michael Moore

(image by Wikipedia)

"Capitalism is an organized system to guarantee that greed becomes the primary force of our economic system and allows the few at the top to get very wealthy and has the rest of us riding around thinking we can be that way, too - if we just work hard enough, sell enough Tupperware and Amway products, we can get a pink Cadillac."
Michael Moore

Michael Moore´s criticism of the capitalist system has apparently not prevented him from building an impressive $50m fortune:

Don’t be hoodwinked by his casual demeanour and capitalism rants – Michael Moore’s millions make him one of the richest men in American media.
Film-maker Moore, 60, made his name for anti-establishment politics with Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) – accruing a multi-million dollar fortune in the process.
Moore’s impressive property portfolio was laid bare during divorce proceedings from his wife of 22 years, Kathleen Glynn.
The political controversialist finalised his split from 58-year-old Glynn on Tuesday in a US court in northern Michigan, where the couple owns a £1.2m lakeside home.
The 10,000 square-foot luxury pad is one of nine properties belonging to the couple, who wed in Flint, Michigan, in 1991.

Putin is evil

Western leders, particularly those in Europe, should read what Alexander J. Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers University and an expert on Russia, has to say about Vladimir Putin:

Many people -- in Ukraine, Europe, America and even Russia -- probably share Biden and Putin's estimation of the Russian president's spiritual condition. In saying Putin has no soul, it means he seems to lack both the capacity to feel emotions and to show empathy.
Russia's leader certainly has a long record of inhumanity. He was an agent of the Soviet secret police, a criminal institution with a record that goes back to the purges of Stalin, a record more bloody than that of the Nazi SS.
John Dunlop of Stanford's Hoover Institution wrote in "The Moscow Bombings" that there is strong evidence to suggest that Putin was in on the plot to bomb two apartment buildings in Moscow in September 1999, in which 300 Russian citizens were killed and several hundred others were wounded. He says the bombings were blamed on Chechen rebels as a pretext to invade Chechnya.
Putin has funded, promoted, supplied and aided and abetted the Russian and pro-Russian terrorists in eastern Ukraine. And by invading Crimea, he created the conditions of war, hatred and fanaticism that led to the destruction of 298 innocent lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on that day of infamy, July 17.
Is Putin evil? His actions certainly are, if by evil we understand behavior that willfully, consciously and purposely destroys human life. Perhaps we can call his actions undeniably evil and Putin himself "evil enough." Evil enough for what? Evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
If Putin is "evil enough," what are the implications for policy-makers?
First, they should openly state that they condemn Putin's behavior. Because silence implies approval, policy-makers must understand that their moral standing, like that of the countries they represent, is on the line. Evil is indivisible. If they refuse to condemn this instance, they effectively surrender the right to condemn any instance of evil.
Second, they should refuse to shake his hand, engage in chitchat, attend photo ops with him and in any way create the impression that they accept his behavior as a socially acceptable. German Chancellor Angela Merkel would not hobnob with a German neo-Nazi; President Barack Obama would not have drinks with the head of the Ku Klux Klan. By extension, neither of them should hobnob with Putin at World Cup soccer games.
Third, policy-makers should avoid doing anything that aids and abets Putin's proclivities. Since those proclivities largely rest on his ability to employ armaments to cause death, any form of assistance to Putin's war machine or repressive apparatus is the moral equivalent of supplying barbed wire and bullets to Auschwitz.

Friday, 25 July 2014

The private life of dictator Vladimir Putin: "Singing songs together" with his English teacher on Sundays ...

 "His teacher helps him learn difficult words – singing songs together".
The result of Putin´s Sunday singing sessions with his English teacher?

Ben Judah´s Newsweek article "Behind the Scenes in Putin's Court: The Private Habits of a Latter-Day Dictator" makes interesting reading. This is how Judah describes the research behind the article:

In the course of my research I had the chance to interview everyone from former prime ministers, to Putin’s current ministers and regional governors, down to senior bureaucrats, close advisers, personal aides and ordinary people. Using information from these interviews, I have pieced together the private habits and routines of this latter-day dictator.

 The article includes e.g. the following interesting information:

The President keeps busy, even on Saturday and Sunday. At weekends, his schedule becomes more haphazard: but there are sometimes study sessions in the afternoon. Mostly, English language. His teacher helps him learn difficult words – singing songs together. There are times on Sundays he is said to pray or make a confession. But courtiers familiar with the office of the Patriarch are at pains to clarify – though not an atheist, perhaps a believer – his life is not that of a Christian. --

The President behaves as though he is made of bronze, as if he shines. He seems to know that they will flinch when meeting his eye. There is a silence around him. The voices of grown men change when they speak to him. They make their voices as low as possible. Their faces become solemn, almost stiffened. They look down: worried, ­nervous, alert.

Who ever told this to Judah, was spot on:

“The impression... you get from being close to him is that he would have been quite happy to step down. But he knows he has failed to rule Russia in anything else but a feudal way. And the moment his grip falters... it will all come crashing down and he will go to jail... and Moscow will burn like Kiev.”

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

French philosopher on Putin: "He has taken thugs, thieves, rapists, ex-cons and vandals and turned them into a paramilitary force"

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy on Vladimir Putin´s "achievement" in Ukraine:

He has mobilized the worst elements to be found in the region.
He has taken thugs, thieves, rapists, ex-cons and vandals and turned them into a paramilitary force.
He has permitted ad hoc commanders of separatist groups to kill or chase off intellectuals, journalists and other moral authorities in the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk.
He has watched as a vodka-soaked rabble army destroys or takes over public buildings, hospitals, schools and municipal offices of the country it is pretending to liberate.
He has allowed a veritable gang war to take hold — without caring that he is losing control of the forces that he has unleashed, with rival bands pitted against one another and carving out fiefs amid the growing anarchy.
Most troubling of all: To this underworld without structure or discipline, to these undisciplined louts who know only the law of the jungle, to this new brand of fighting force that has only the dimmest idea of war and no idea, God knows, of the laws of war — to this motley collection Mr. Putin, the Russian president, gave a terrifying arsenal with which the amateur soldiers were unfamiliar and with which they have been playing, like kids with fireworks.
We know that Russia supplied vast quantities of heavy weaponry to the separatists and trained them to use the SA-11 surface-to-air missile system — the kind believed to have been used to bring down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
One can envision the victorious gang celebrating with its trophy, playing with it as if it were a toy — one that can reach altitudes of over 70,000 feet.
One can similarly imagine Russian military officers — not so secretly assigned by the Kremlin to watch over the missiles and their use by amateur artillery crews targeting Ukrainian military aircraft — being overtaken by events and seized with panic.
One can even imagine their consternation when Igor Strelkov, the self-proclaimed defense minister of the Republic of Donetsk, claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian military plane — which turned out to be Flight 17.