Vladimir Putin

It wasn’t Putin, it was Hillary

There are a great many people in the Media party trying to blame Russia for Hillary Clinton’s disastrous loss.

The Guardian thinks that only Hillary Clinton is to blame.

The US political and media establishment is in a state of mounting frenzy over alleged Russian interference in the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. The source of what has been called a “swell” of “circumstantial evidence” is the CIA, an agency which has been known to interfere with an election or two itself, and isn’t really a paragon of honesty.

And what exactly are the claims made by these Putin-did-it stories? That were it not for Russian chicanery, Hillary Clinton would have won the popular vote by five million and not almost three million? That displaced machinists on the banks of Lake Erie were so incensed by the Podesta emails that they voted for Trump instead of Clinton? That Putin was pulling FBI director James Comey’s strings in his investigation of the Clinton emails? That those scheming Russians were clever enough to hack into voting machines but not clever enough to cover their tracks?

It’s strangely reminiscent of the days of the Red scare, minus the Reds.

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Phil Quin on Trump’s proposed appointments

Phil Quin comments on Donald Trump’s proposed appointments and gives, for a lefty, some reasoned advice:

US President-elect Donald Trump is said to be considering one of his most vocal internal critics, Mitt Romney, as Secretary of State.

Howls of outrage, left and right, predictably ensued since the the GOP’s 2012 nominee – a mainstream Republican from Central Casting – berated Trump mercilessly in the lead-up to the recent election. He couldn’t even bring himself to vote for him.

And yet, at this turbulent moment, as Trump installs one far-right figure after another to his cabinet, accusations of hypocrisy against Trump and Romney – fair game in the normal course of events – should be set aside.

Trump would be wise to offer the Secretary of State post; Romney should accept it; and the Senate should rush to confirm him before the wildly erratic President-in-waiting changes his mind. Here’s why.

While no doubt Mitt Romney retains his view, expressed as recently as August, that Trump is a “con man” and “fake” who threatens to bring “trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny” to America, the stakes are too high to allow politics as usual to get in the way of what would be a profoundly reassuring appointment.

Romney at the State Department would go quite some way to quelling fears among US allies, in particular NATO, that the Trump presidency is set to redraw the geopolitical map in terrifying and unpredictable ways.

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Robbie Williams comes good…first time ever

The Russians are attacking Robbie Williams for his latest video.

It was not reports from the war in Syria or the investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that outraged Russians at the weekend, but a new music video by Robbie Williams.

Released to accompany the song Party Like a Russian, from his new album, Heavy Entertainment Show, the video outraged viewers for its crude stereotyping of Russian culture, with some tabloids suggesting the singer would never be able to perform in Russia again.   Read more »

This is what happens when you go dog on your mates

Like NZ did to Fiji when we turned or backs on our mates, the US has done the same to Israel.

When you are spurned you find better friends. Fiji tuned north, and now Israel has cut a deal with Russia and is improving relations with Sunni states in the region, while Obama looks on.

There is perhaps only one thing harder for the American mind to process than the fact that President Obama has been a terrible foreign policy president, and that is that Bibi Netanyahu is an extraordinarily successful Israeli Prime Minister. In Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, Israel’s diplomacy is moving from strength to strength. Virtually every Arab and Middle Eastern leader thinks that Bibi is smarter and stronger than President Obama, and as American prestige across the Middle East has waned under Obama, Israel’s prestige — even among people who hate it — has grown. Bibi’s reset with Russia, unlike Obama’s, actually worked. His pivot to Asia has been more successful than Obama’s. He has had far more success building bridges to Sunni Muslims than President Obama, and both Russia and Iran take Bibi and his red lines much more seriously than they take Obama’s expostulations and pious hopes.

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Perhaps Andrew Little could try this to lift his approval ratings

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Andrew Little’s approval ratings are in the toilet as our recent INCITE: Politics/Curia poll showed. He is lagging way behind John Key.

Labour and Andrew Little are going to have to address that imbalance, so perhaps they could take a leaf out of Vlad’s play book.

What has been missing from our lives?

Have we ever stopped to think what would add colour and meaning to our barely-there existence as we embark upon 2016?

The Daily Mail gleefully reports it’s none other than a Vladimir Putin calendar that’s touted as the mother of all 2016 calendars, if rumours are to be believed.    Read more »

We kill people, Russia kills people, and that’s just “the way it is”

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There is a lot of liberal anguish over The Donald’s brutally truthful statement on the situation in Syria.

We kill people, Russia kills people, and that’s just “the way it is”: Donald Trump explains why it’s really all just relative.

Trump speculated early in the campaign that he would “get along very well with” Russian President and bare-chested equestrian Vladimir Putin. And on Friday, a day after the 60 Minutes “stablemates”traded effusive compliments, we got our first idea of what a diplomatic bromance between the two strongmen might look like.   Read more »

Is Erdogan a double-dealing tyrant helping Daesh?

From what I can tell Turkey was seriously over-reaching shooting down Russian’s Su-25 when it was barely over Turkey.

Putin won’t be pleased but there are other reasons why we shouldn’t be that pleased with Erdogan and Turkey at the moment.

Michael Burleigh writes in the Daily Mail about Erdogan’s actions and duplicity

Despotic presidents tend to have many admirers who will hail them as saviours of their nations. But they also have a tendency to lock horns with other despots.

The clash between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian fighter, is one which has set the entire world on edge as diplomats desperately work overtime to reduce the tension.

Putin is not blameless in this affair. His air force has been probing Western air spaces provocatively in a number of different locations in recent months. But was the Russian president right, after the downing of the jet, to accuse ‘back-stabbing’ Turkey of being the accomplices of ISIS terrorists?

And was there any truth in Putin’s accusation yesterday — made just as Moscow was expelling 39 Turkish businessmen attending a conference in Russia — that Turkey is propping up ISIS by buying oil from them?

This latest claim inevitably prompted a furious response from Erdogan, who accused Putin of slander. But the fact is that Erdogan’s regime has on many occasions turned a blind eye to ISIS activity in Turkey, as well as to Turkish businessmen and smugglers doing trade deals with the jihadist butchers.

To be fair, on the surface, Turkey’s president is fully involved in the fight against ISIS. In October he allowed U.S. jets to use Turkey’s Incirlik air base for operations against ISIS, pledging that his forces, too, would join the fight.

But the truth is that Turkey’s planes have aimed their missiles almost exclusively at the one army which poses a real threat to ISIS, and has won countless battlefield victories against them — the Kurdish PKK forces inside Syria.

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Obama breaks promise, puts troops into Syria

Barack Obama has been shamed into action on Syria by Vladimir Putin.

But in doing so he has made a liar out of himself.

Truth Revolt reports:

On September 10, 2013 President Barack Obama addressed the American people and promised, “I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria,” as he called for limited strikes to take down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Yet on Friday the Obama administration announced they were doing just that: putting American special forces on the ground in Syria. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted the deployment of less than 50 special forces troops was not a combat mission and was meant to train and assist local groups battling ISIS.

“That has been the core element of the military component of our strategy from the beginning: building the capacity of local forces on the ground,” Earnest said.   Read more »

Putin: Global warming is ‘a fraud’

There is much to admire about Vladimir Putin at the moment.

He is taking the fight to ISIS and bombing them back to the stone age, forcing the Obama administration to appear to do something in Syria.

And now he has come out labelling global warming ‘a fraud’.

While Western media have examined the role of rising temperatures and drought in this year’s record wildfires in North America, Russian media continue to pay little attention to an issue that animates so much of the world.

The indifference reflects widespread public doubt that human activities play a significant role in global warming, a tone set by President Vladimir Putin, who has offered only vague and modest pledges of emissions cuts ahead of December’s U.N. climate summit in Paris.   Read more »

Surely even the Russians wouldn’t be so stupid as to cut off the Internet?

They can bomb, they can annex and they can do whatever they like invading other non-relevant (non-western!) countries, but if they ever cut off the Internet, the backlash they’ll face will be unprecedented.

You can kill every day, but if you take away our Facebook, it will be the last thing you ever do.

The presence of Russian submarines and spy ships near undersea cables carrying most global Internet communications has US officials concerned that Russia could be planning to sever the lines in periods of conflict, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The Times said there was no evidence of cable cutting but that the concerns reflected increased wariness among US and allied officials over growing Russian military activity around the world.

The newspaper quoted naval commanders and intelligence officials as saying they were monitoring significantly greater Russian activity along the cables’ known routes from the North Sea to Northeast Asia and waters closer to the United States.   Read more »