Saturday, September 27, 2008

Throwing Sarah Under the Bus

I opened up my newspaper while enjoying breakfast Friday morning, and quickly turned to my favorite page, opinions & editorials. I immediately saw a piece by one of my "favorite" Conservative columnists, Kathleen Parker. What I read soured my stomach. What I read angered me.

Said Ms. Parker: "Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League....If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself. If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes.But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true."

Not content to simply insult Governor Palin, she suggests subtle ways for the obviously weak-minded "pit bull with lipstick" to crawl away like a frightened little poodle.

"McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden. Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first. Do it for your country."

D.R. Tucker of Human Events noted that "Kathleen Parker has joined the ranks of anti-Palin conservatives George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum and Ross Douthat(as well as moderate-conservative David Brooks" in their criticism and negative views of the Republican VP nominee.

Tucker also observes that "Movement conservatives and the “conservative intelligentsia” are united in their desire for a McCain victory—but if that desire is not fulfilled, one hopes that the dream of harmony between these two conservative factions will not be deferred as well."

Well, now it's MY TURN. First, some clarification. I have been a "movement conservative" since the first term of Ronald Reagan. While other "College Republicans" were out getting drunk to celebrate the 1984 Reagan victory, I was planning to attend the inauguration, cooperating with conservative candidates for the Legislature in North Carolina on local elections and issues, and working to implement the Reagan agenda.

As a bona fide "movement Conservative," up until late August, I had NO plans to vote for John McCain. While I respect D.R. Tucker and agree with the overall premise of his column, I think he is DEAD WRONG that "movement conservatives and the “conservative intelligentsia” are united in their desire for a McCain victory." Many of the Conservatives I know vowed, as I did, not to be "Bushed or Doled" again.

Then, the unthinkable happened. John McCain, in what can only be called an epiphany, chose the governor of a small state, FAR away from Washington, who is an "outside the box" reformer, a pro-life mother of five children including a Downs Syndrome baby, a hunter, and worst of all (*GASP*) and Evangelical Christian! Short of resurrecting Ronald Reagan himself to replace McCain at the top of the ticket, Palin was the ONLY thing that swayed me to support a McCain bid for the White House. I remain -- as a "movement Conservative," loyal to Sarah Palin. Period.

The so-called "conservative intelligensia" who have come out against Sarah Palin should be examined to determine whether they are actually either "conservative" or "intelligent." George Will hasn't been "conservative" since the Reagan era. Charles Krauthammer, despite being spot on in matters of defense and the War on Terror, is pro-abortion and generally socially liberal. I don't really know WHAT has gotten into David Frum (just being frumpy?) and WHO the heck IS Ross Douthat?

These so called "conservative intelligensia" are actually from the more libertarian wing of Conservatism -- more interested (supposedly) in economic and civil liberties than in social conservatism and values. They offered up McCain in 2000. They offered up Dole in 1996. They offer only defeat and permanent minority status for Conservatism.

So here's the newsflash. The Parker's and Krauthammer's and Will's and Doughnuts and Frumpy's need to understand that without us ignorant, "God and Guns" Reagan Conservatives from flyover country, Republicans can't WIN this election, or any other. And if these folks succeed in scuttling Sarah, not only will they not win this election (because I won't vote for a single Republican!) but they will ensure a schism that will split and likely kill the Republicans for good.

So, a note to the so-called "conservative intelligensia": Get off your high horses and help the ticket, rather than cowering in fear to your former masters, the Democrats. If you don't the only thing you all will have left is your lucrative jobs. Real conservatives will be LONG GONE.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

It’s Broke: But this ain’t the way to fix it!

How we got here

The current financial crisis the United States finds itself in is something relatively responsible adults have seen coming for many years. Of course, many in the media, and certainly Democrats have been quick to lay the blame at the feet of George Bush. And while he and the Republicans deserve their share of blame, that’s not where this colossal problem began.

“To hear today's Democrats,” said Terry Jones in a September 18th Investor’s Business Daily piece, “you'd think all this started in the last couple years. But the crisis began much earlier. The Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act forced banks to lend to uncreditworthy borrowers, mostly in minority areas.”

Jones continues, “Age-old standards of banking prudence got thrown out the window. In their place came harsh new regulations requiring banks not only to lend to uncreditworthy borrowers, but to do so on the basis of race.

“These well-intended rules were supercharged in the early 1990s by President Clinton. Despite warnings from GOP members of Congress in 1992, Clinton pushed extensive changes to the rules requiring lenders to make questionable loans.

“Lenders who refused would find themselves castigated publicly as racists. As noted this week in an IBD editorial, no fewer than four federal bank regulators scrutinized financial firms' books to make sure they were in compliance….Failure to comply meant your bank might not be allowed to expand lending, add new branches or merge with other companies. Banks were given a so-called "CRA rating" that graded how diverse their lending portfolio was.”

Jones has further noted that this crisis did not just pop up unexpectedly. There were warnings. There were calls for reform. “President Bush in 2003 tried desperately to stop Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from metastasizing into the problem they have since become,” Jones reported. And indeed, The New York Times lead story on September 11, 2003 began, “The Bush Administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.”

John McCain stated just two years later, “If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole.” McCain said that over three years ago, and I could be considered a prophet, because he was right on.

Still, Congress would not act. Republicans, who were in the majority until 2006, were paralyzed by fear that they would be accused of “protecting the rich” or being “racists” who didn’t want the poor to own their own houses. In the end, their timidity cost the Republicans both the 2006 elections and control of both houses of Congress. It also all but insured the current crisis.

Then Congress fell into the hands of the best friends these irresponsible government programs ever had. Terry Jones notes that Democrats, flush with the “deep financial and patronage ties to the two government-sponsored agencies, Fannie and Freddie,” came to the defense of their bosom buddies.

"These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis," said Rep. Barney Frank, then ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. "The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."

Exaggerate, Mr. Frank? Really?

That’s the reason the United States financial system now stands on the precipice, and may very well topple over the edge into depression. Not recession, depression.

How do we fix it?

Last night (September 24th), President Bush addressed the nation, and basically said ‘It’s a bailout, or a disaster.’

Really, Mr. Bush? One or the other?

Why does the idea of giving the Federal Government a $700 Billion blank check make me certifiably anxious? And, simply examining history will show that if the Government tells us it will cost “no more than $700 Billion,” the actual cost will almost certainly surpass $2 trillion.

Also consider the ramifications of this so called “bail out.” What this implies, on its face, is that the Government is about to nationalize the majority of our financial system. Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning mourned a few days ago on the Senate floor that this was “the death of free market capitalism.” And in fact, if US banks and financial institutions are taken over by the government in the fashion this bailout demands, our economy with be converted to state Socialism virtually overnight. The heart of Capitalism and a free market is an independent banking and finance industry. If that industry is overseen by government bureaucrats, the heart of Capitalism stops beating.

So, a summary of this “bailout plan” goes something like this: Over the last 2-3 decades, Congressional Democrats devised a way to use taxpayers money to create Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which allowed them to simultaneously buy the votes of their “underprivileged” constituencies by allowing them to purchase housing they could not afford, enrich their buddies who were running these programs into the ground, enjoy hefty campaign contributions and Lobbyist perks from those same wealthy friends, and now that these entities have collapsed, they demand $700 Billion MORE of the taxpayers money to fund the SAME system that has screwed us already – and they are holding our retirements, savings accounts and investments as hostages to get what they want.

I’m sorry, Mr. President. I trust neither you, nor Secretary Paulson, nor Ben Bernake, nor Congress with that kind of money and power. The answer is NO.

This problem cannot be fixed by MORE government control. In fact, some economists and financial experts say there are far simpler and less intrusive ways to preserve the free market, restore the integrity of the financial system, and thaw out the frozen credit system. The following are a few excellent ideas which are so simple and basic, most politicians probably haven’t even thought of them. But then, if they did, they would probably reject them because nothing would be in it for them.

First, financial expert Dave Ramsey points to a single “rule change” that could potentially free us from as much as 60% of the problems that created this financial crisis. Ramsey says, “Remember Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, and other companies had artificially put assets on the books? They'd say something was worth $10M when they bought it, but eventually it decreased in value, and they never updated the value in the books. That was part of the fraud. Under current laws at that time, they were all convicted and put in jail for fraud.

“Then we got all mad and made all these new laws that are coming out the wazoo called sarbanes oxley. It's a huge, massive law but the idea is that we were going to mandate ethics to corporate America because apparently they didn't have any, according to the Enron failure. It's now a total pain in the butt to execute it in a publicly traded company.

“It didn't work because you can't cause ethics to happen. However, it does make each company each day restate what their assets are worth if sold on the market. This accounting procedure is mark to market accounting--you need to remember that. It's a good concept and keeps companies from having loaded balance sheets….

“Economist [Brian] Wesbury is saying that if we change that one rule and don't force [the banks and mortgage holders] to mark down to market value and just let them hold on to all the stuff, and say just on sub-primes for this period of time you can change that rule -- a temporary change -- that'll free the market up. It's seized right now; it's frozen. This will thaw it out and get it going again. He says that'll solve 60% of the problem ... and I think he's right.”

Dave Ramsey’s proposal, which he picked up from Economist Brian Wesbury to just change one accounting rule, makes a lot more sense than the Government taking over the majority of mortgages in the nation! But that’s not the only possible fix-it that can be made easily. The next is SO simple – but the Democrats would literally rather die in a bloodbath of the House and Senate floor than to let it happen.

Ready? Suspend the Capital Gains Tax. That’s it. Right now, taxes are 15 percent on invested money and assets. If the capital gains rate is suspended – say, just until the end of 2009 – money would RUSH into the troubled markets by the dump truck loads. If people knew their gains on investments would NOT be taxed, they would be happy to take a little more risk – because the reward will be greater. Otherwise, expect further stock market loses as people pull their money out for fear of losing it.

Another possibility suggested by Dave Ramsey is to provide government “mortgage insurance,” but not to outright “buy” the mortgages. “Why don't we just take the FHA insurance program and extend it across these sub-primes? What that means is that you and I are guaranteeing the lender that they're not going to lose as much or any money on those mortgages. Now I don't like guaranteeing them, but I like it better than buying them. In other words, instead of $700 billion in tax-payer debt going out there to bail out these companies, just extend the insurance out. You could probably do that for less than $40 billion. It's like a 95% savings!” I think this idea has merit as well.

Yet another possibility is to allow states to set up “mortgage arbitration” plans, where a bank and/or mortgagee can appeal to have their loan terms restructured to make the loan perform again. Banks don’t want non-performing loans nor real property on their books. That’s what bogs them down and drives us to the point of financial collapse. Some banks have figured this out and have tried to renegotiate with borrowers, because “a little is better than nothing.” However, two problems have plagued these banks – many of the unfaithful borrowers have simply walked away from their responsibilities to repay the loan, and left the property on the books. Also, some borrowers are actually expecting the Government to swoop in like Super-Bureaucrats and save their bacon by buying their loans and letting them stay in “their” houses virtually for free.

Mortgage arbitration would allow for easier terms of repayment for borrowers, while requiring them to meet their responsibility to pay their debts. It would also allow the banks to have performing loans rather than dead loans and abandoned properties on their balance sheets.

Finally, the financial system as we know it now has no integrity. It has been abused by politicians and their patrons who have profiteered on the desires of the poor and on the dime of the taxpayers. The last element to fix this financial crisis, is the perp-walk. That’s right. Congressmen like Barney Frank and Charles Rangel, and Senators like Chris Dodd and Charles Schumer, all of whom sit on banking, finance and ways and means committees, who protected these blood sucking entities, should be investigated for possible fraud and bribery.

Additionally, Senators and Congressmen who have received large campaign donations from these entities should also be investigated for malfeiscence. Incidentally, Barack Obama has received more contributions from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae than any other politician. His VP running mate, Joe Biden is third on that list. A coincidence? I think not.

In addition to these crooked politicians, those “executives” who oversaw the collapse of the financial institutions should be tried for violations of public trust and even outright theft. If they have received “golden parachute” deals when they left or retired from the institutions they’ve run into the ground, that money should be taken from them and distributed to those they stole it from – TAXPAYERS.

The United States financial system is in a place it has not been since October 1929. Government control will not solve the problem. FDR’s New Deal proved that. Even after 10 years of his virtually socialist economic policies, the Depression continued, and only the advent of American involvement in World War II brought the nation out of Depression. But this time, we’ve already had our “Pearl Harbor” on 9/11. This time we are already involved in a Global war. And our politicians did not learn. They did not stop spending. They did not stop playing the game. And that’s what brought us here.

Giving them ALL that money as a reward for their treachery would spell doom for us. And the People with any sense know it.


Barack Obama: The Alinsky Connection

Guess who recommended Obama to enter Harvard
Mystery man in senator's memoir now revealed as disciple of socialist agitator

September 24, 2008
8:54 pm Eastern

In a revelation tying Barack Obama even closer to radical community organizing, WND has learned that a renowned disciple of the late socialist agitator Saul "The Red" Alinksy wrote a letter of recommendation for Obama when he applied to Harvard Law School.

Obama approached Northwestern University professor John L. McKnight – a loyal student of Alinsky's radical tactics – to pen the Harvard letter in the late 1980s. McKnight serves on the boards of radically anti-American groups in Chicago, including one accused of thuggery.

Obama in his 2006 memoir alludes to McKnight – whom he describes as an "older man who had been active in the civil rights efforts in Chicago in the sixties" – but stops short of identifying him by name. He referred to him only as "my friend."

But McKnight, who enforced affirmative action for Attorney General Robert Kennedy, was far more than that to young Obama. He helped trained him in the agitation tactics of Alinsky, who wrote the organizing manual, "Rules for Radicals," which he dedicated to mankind's "very first radical, Lucifer."

The Chicago-based Gamaliel Foundation lists McKnight as a board director. From1985 to 1988, Obama worked for a subsidiary of Gamaliel, where he cut his teeth as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side. McKnight and Gamaliel, which was founded on Alinsky's principles, provided training for the budding radical.

Before leaving for Harvard, Obama wrote an article published in a journal titled, "After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois," in which he praised McKnight and his organizing strategies. He also decried "institutional racism" and called for more "power" to put in place "a systematic approach to community organization."

While at Harvard, he found time to take advanced training courses at the Industrial Areas Foundation, a group founded by Alinsky and affiliated with Gamaliel. He also would return to Chicago to work as a consultant and trainer for Gamaliel.

Under the tutelage of McKnight and other hardcore students of Alinsky, Obama says he got the "best education I ever had, better than anything I got at Harvard Law School." He made the remark last year while campaigning in Iowa.

His mentor McKnight also sits on the board of a militant leftist group called the National People's Action, the professor's curriculum vita reveals. NPA employs the hardball street tactics of Alinskyite organizing.

NPA claims to be simply a coalition of neighborhood advocacy groups based in Chicago, but conservative analyst Michelle Malkin describes it as a "left-wing goon squad." She says NPA has been known to bus hundreds of angry protestors to the homes of business and government leaders to demand "justice" for inner-city blacks.

While preparing to intimidate the families of officials and trample over their private property, she says NPA picketers belt out the following battle cry:

Who's on your hit list, NPA?
Who's on your hit list for today?
Take no prisoner, take no names.
Kick 'em in the a-- when they play their games.
"NPA's militant tactics cross the bounds of decent political debate," Malkin wrote in 2004.

Obama, in his 1995 memoir, said he wanted to go to Harvard Law School to "learn power's currency in all its intricacy," with the goal of "making large-scale change" as a national politician.

Before writing his recommendation, McKnight, a former ACLU director, advised Obama not to "compromise" his principles.

While Obama says he's perhaps more tolerant of compromise than McKnight, he says his views haven't really changed from his days organizing on behalf of radical Alinsky groups like Gamaliel and ACORN in Chicago.

"My views are not so much more refined than they were when I labored in obscurity as a community organizer," he averred in his 2006 autobiography.

Socialist dream

Alinsky, the father of community organizing, dreamed of socialism one day replacing the "jungle" of American capitalism. He wrote that he hoped "for a future where the means of production will be owned by all of the people instead of just a comparative handful."

Alinsky dedicated the first edition of his book, "Rules for Radicals," to Satan: "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer."

McKnight has advocated for another war on poverty, something Obama is proposing with his "Urban Prosperity" plan.


Any astute and somewhat well read political observer could have seen the Alinsky-esque campaign tactics being utilized by Senator Obama's campaign. "Rules for Radicals," Alinsky's classic book of how to organize political extremists to destroy their competition and the case they attempt to make to oppose their radical agenda is demonstrably on display in Obama's strategy. This connection comes as no surprise to me.

Incidentally, "Rules for Radicals" by Saul Alinsky is one of the best books I've ever read. If you read that book, you will understand many of the tactics, actions and ultimate goals Marxists, secularists and other assorted Leftist wing-nuts have and wish to impose on YOU. Alinsky was brilliant. In dedicating his book to "the first rebel, Lucifer," we also know his source of inspiration.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Barack Obama: Just Poor Judgment, or a True Radical Marxist?

Top Obama Campaign Member Met With Ahmadinejad in New York Tonight
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 | Kristinn

Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 10:42:49 PM by kristinn

A founding member of the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois met in New York City tonight with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Jodie Evans, who co-hosted Obama's first major fundraiser in Hollywood in February 2007 just after Obama announced his candidacy and is a top fundraiser and donor to Obama's campaign, led a delegation of leftist anti-American groups that held a private meeting near the United Nations. The stated purpose of the meeting was to "serve as an opening for diplomatic resolution" to prevent war between Iran and the United States.

The government of Iran is listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department and is strongly believed to be developing nuclear weapons.

Obama has stated that he would be willing to meet with Ahmadinejad and other enemies of the United States without conditions. Evans met with Obama in Beverly Hills last week at an exclusive $28,500 per person fundraiser. As a bundler for Obama, Evans is granted regular briefings with top Obama staff members and meeting with Obama and his vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.

Obama has come under heavy criticism from military families and troops support organizations over his alliance with Evans.

Evans is co-founder of the pro-terrorist group Code Pink and works with state sponsors of terrorism to undermine America in the war on terror. She also has publicly announced her support for the terrorists in Iraq, her sympathy for Osama bin Laden and her "love" of Hugo Chavez.

Given Evans' closeness to regular contacts with Obama and his campaign, it is fair to ask if she is acting as an intermediary for Obama.

Obama recently put his seal of approval on Evans' attempt to storm the stage during the acceptance speech of Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska when he welcomed her to his two Hollywood fundraisers last week, the exclusive $28,500 per person event and the $2500 per person event Barbra Streisand sang at the same evening.

Others attending the meeting with Ahmadinejad included anti-American activists who support the terrorists in Iraq and work anti-American governments: Medea Benjamin, Brian Becker, Leslie Cagan, Larry Holmes and Ramsey Clark.

The press release announcing the meeting can be found below:

FOR convenes meeting of peace activists and President Ahmadinejad

Posted September 24th, 2008 by FOR.

BREAKING ANNOUNCEMENT: FOR convenes groundbreaking dialogue between President Ahmadinejad and American peace activists
Media Advisory - Wednesday, 9/24/08 5:00pm

What: The Fellowship of Reconciliation will convene a meeting between U.S. peace activists and the President of Iran.

Who: Over 150 leaders of the U.S. peace movement (see selected list below) and Iranian leaders, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, and U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee.

When: Wednesday, September 24th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Where: Mid-town Manhattan, in a location convenient to the United Nations.

Why: The Fellowship of Reconciliation sees connection between people as a constructive way to address the conflict between our governments. While we have disagreements with President Ahmadinejad, we believe there is value in engaging him in dialogue so that we all have the opportunity to better understand each other's perspectives. Public conversation between civil society and policy-makers is a goal we also seek here at home in the United States. We hope that meetings like this may serve as an opening for diplomatic resolution of our problems, so that we can avoid military solutions. We are united in our desire to prevent a possible war with Iran.

Selected list of participants:

Leaders of all three national peace and anti-war coalitions: United for Peace and Justice (Leslie Cagan, national coordinator; Judith Le Blanc, national organizing coordinator; George Paz Martin, national co-chair); Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (Brian Becker, Sarah Sloan, Monica Somocurcio); and Troops Out Now Coalition/Stop War On Iran Campaign (Larry Holmes, director; Sarah Flounders, campaign director; Dustin Langley; Joyce Chediac Wilcox).
Leaders of religious organizations: Rev. William Sinkford, president, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations; Marie Dennis, president, Pax Christi International; Rabbi Michael Feinberg, executive director, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition; Joe Volk, executive secretary, Friends Committee on National Legislation; The Rev. Rick Ufford-Chase, executive director, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.
Leaders of advocacy & activist organizations: Rostam Pourzal, president, U.S. Coalition Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran; Medea Benjamin, cofounder, Global Exchange and CodePink; Jodie Evans, cofounder, CodePink; Nick Jehlen, founder, Enough Fear
Leaders of policy organizations & NGOs: Robert Naiman, national coordinator, Just Foreign Policy; Jonathan Granoff, president, Global Security Institute; Vicente Garcia, program director, Americans for Informed Democracy; Ambassador William Miller, Search for Common Ground.
Plus leaders in Iranian-American organizations (American-Iranian Council, American-Iranian Friendship Committee, American Iranian Friendship Council); peacemaking groups (Peace Action, Nonviolence International, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Women Against War); professional networks (Physicians for Social Responsibility, Union of Concerned Scientists); former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark; and many more.
More information about the meeting's proceedings and outcomes will be released on Thursday, 9/25/08.

The Evans lady was one of the women who stormed the stage during Sarah Palin's Republican Convention speech -- and Obama welcomed her with open arms to his $28.5K per plate fundraiser -- in Hollywood shortly thereafter. And Ramsey Clark was a founding member of ANSWER, and was Saddam Hussein's defense attorney at his State trial in Iraq.

Either Barack Obama is so terminally stupid about whom he associates with that he cannot possibly have the judgment to be President, or he thinks Americans too terminally stupid to figure out with whom he associates. Either way, Barack Obama in the White House spells a complete disaster at the hands of both Jihadists and neo-Marxists.

Why does it bother me even more that Obama seems completely at home in this kind of company?


COLD WAR II: The Axis Comes Together - Part 2

More from the last couple of weeks:

India to Order 29 MiG-29Ks in Russia

September 19, 2008 - India intends to order additional consignment of 29 MiG-29Ks in Russia, reported with reference to defense sources of Indian Express. The cost of the order is estimated at around $2 billion, but the negotiations with Moscow haven’t been launched yet.

In 2004, India ordered 12 one-seat MiG-29Ks and four two-seat MiG-29KUB under the complex contract for supply of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier cruiser. The deal budget amounted to $1.6 billion.

The purchase of the second consignment will enable India to create additional squadrons. India plans to extend the 50 MiG-29K fleet to 50 jets.

Russia deploys warships to the Caribbean

Russian warships are sailing towards the Caribbean for the first time since the Cold War to take part in a joint naval exercise with Venezuela.

September 22. 2008 - In a display meant to show off Russia's military resurgence and to provoke the United States, four vessels from the Northern Fleet set sail on a mission replete with an atmosphere of Soviet-era bombast and brinksmanship.

Symbolically at least, the manoeuvres represent the Kremlin's boldest challenge yet to US military hegemony. By sailing so close to the American coastline for a series of exercises with Washington's principal detractor in Latin America, Russia seems to be deliberately attempting to irritate the White House.

The flotilla that left the northern port of Serveromosrk on Russia's Arctic coast was lead by the guided missile cruiser Peter the Great, one of the largest warships of its kind. The Kirov-class warship is equipped with cruise missiles that can be armed with nuclear warheads.

It was accompanied by the Admiral Chabanenko, an anti-submarine destroyer, and two support vessels.

Although navy chiefs insisted that the exercises had no political overtones, most analysts believe the Kremlin is signalling its determination to challenge the United States and retaliate for Washington's support of Georgia during last month's war in the Caucasus.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, vowed that Moscow would respond in kind after accusing American naval vessels ordered to Georgia to deliver aid of carrying weapons to re-arm the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The mission, which will formally begin in mid-November, will delight Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President, who has already revelled in the presence of two Russian bombers in his country earlier this month.

"It is a message to the empire that Venezuela is no longer poor and alone," Mr Chavez said last week.

Over the past 18 months, Mr Putin has unnerved the West by ordering the resumption of long-range bomber patrols close to the airspace of several countries, including Britain and the United States.

Whatever their private reaction, American officials are likely to mock Russia's latest attempt at swagger. The White House has already derided the Kremlin's attempts to court Latin America's socialist states, including Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua as part of a newly assertive foreign policy that again has many echoes of the Cold War.

There were also insults from the Pentagon over the state of Russia's ageing air force and those jibes are likely to be revived with even greater intensity over the feeble condition of the country's navy.

According to some military analysts, about half of Russia's navy is in dry docks at any one time undergoing repair. The Peter the Great itself was put out of commission for several months in 2004 after Russia's navy chief warned it was in such poor condition it could "explode" at any moment.

Last week two sailors were killed aboard another Russian ship after it caught fire - a regular hazard on many vessels.

Even so, Russia is undergoing a rapid modernisation of its armed forces. While the focus has been on upgrading the country's nuclear capability, Russia unveiled plans last week to increase its defence budget by 50 per cent over the next three years.
Moscow is also seeking the international presence of its navy by building naval bases outside Russia for the first time since the Soviet Union collapsed and could build a new port in Syria, another close ally.

As it tries to reassert itself as a power, Russia has offered itself as a champion of many countries that are bitterly opposed to the United States, among them Iran, Burma and Zimbabwe.

Many of Russia's new friends will be addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which convenes on Tuesday. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran will address delegates in a speech that is expected to echo Russia's demands for an overhaul of the world order.

Mr Chavez will make his speech on Wednesday, with President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe due to talk on Thursday.

Stealth in Venezuela
by Michael J. Economides and Nate Evans
09/23/2008 - Nearly five decades after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Russians are once again trying to increase their influence in Latin America. On September 11 (which is fascinating timing), two Russian Tu-160 long-range nuclear-capable bombers arrived in Venezuela, along with a contingent of Russian warships. The jets and 1,000 Russian troops were there to begin training exercises with Venezuelan forces.

Much of Venezuela’s weaponry is Russian-made, a result of a $3 billion arms deal between the two in 2006 that allowed Hugo Chávez to purchase 53 Mi-28N helicopters, 24 Su-30MK2 jet fighters, TOR-M1 anti-aircraft systems, and 100,000 AK-47s. A more recent arms deal calls for Venezuela to buy Russia’s Varshavianka-class (aka Kilo-class) submarines. Chávez, never at a loss for blustery rhetoric, declared after the Russians’ arrival: “Yankee hegemony is finished.”

The reaction of the United States to all this has been rather muted. Because the U.S. is so heavily committed in other parts of the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan, Chávez believes he has free rein in South America. But while the international community has come to expect bluster and aggression from him, it is Russia that has surprised many. First came the invasion of Georgia. Now it appears that Russia is directly challenging the U.S. in Latin America.
Mighty Russian Black Sea fleet making waves

By Tom Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers – Fri Sep 19, 2008

SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine — As the Kremlin seeks to reassert its sphere of influence around its borders and beyond, this home port for Russia's Black Sea fleet — marooned in the south of Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union — has moved to the center of tensions between Russia and U.S. allies in the region.

Some Ukrainian politicians worry that Russia will stoke anti-Western sentiments in Sevastopol and cities around it on the Crimean peninsula to create an opportunity to annex the area, the same way Moscow did with two breakaway provinces in Georgia last month, or at least use its considerable influence here to push the central government in Kiev to drop plans to join the European Union and NATO.

Either move would heighten the rising tensions between Russia and the United States , which have returned to Cold War levels over the past year.
Georgia and Ukraine , with American backing, angered the Russian leadership with their NATO aspirations. If they were to join, Russia's Black Sea coastline would be surrounded by members of the military organization.

Sergei Zayats, the administrator of Sevastopol's largest district, said he thought the Russians would be willing to resort to force to keep their ships docked in Crimea, where their fleet has operated since the 1780s. "The events in Georgia show that this may happen at any time," said Zayats, who was appointed by Kiev .
Russia has said it has no plans along those lines.

OTTAWA (September 19, 2008) - Canada is stepping up its military alertness along its northern frontier in response to Russia’s “testing” of its boundaries and recent Arctic grab, the prime minister said yesterday.

“We are concerned about not just Russia’s claims through the international process, but Russia’s testing of Canadian airspace and other indications ... (of) some desire to work outside of the international framework,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“That is obviously why we are taking a range of measures, including military measures, to strengthen our sovereignty in the North,” he said, highlighting a new sensor net, navy patrols and a military training camp in the Arctic.

Five countries bordering the Arctic – Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the US – claim overlapping parts of the region, which is estimated to hold 90bn untapped barrels of oil.
Russia's envoy mocks NATO rapid-response force plans

BRUSSELS, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's envoy to NATO dismissed on Monday the military alliance's plans to create a rapid-response force to be deployed in member states that feel threatened by Moscow.

Dmitry Rogozin called the plan a "noisemaker," and said it was nothing but part of the 'arsenal of weapons' used in the current U.S. presidential campaign.

NATO defense ministers considered at an informal meeting in London on September 18-19 the creation of a rapid-response force that could be deployed to threatened member states.

The Russian envoy said the idea was destined to fail as there was no major European country that feels threatened by Russia.

"I am very skeptical about this idea," Rogozin said, going on to say that the idea was "a distraction from the real work of the rapid-response forces."

Though the plan is widely supported by NATO member states, it is still unclear who would staff and equip the force, as well as who would have the authority to deploy it and under which circumstances.

The plan was formulated in the light of the five-day Russia-Georgia war over South Ossetia.
France-Russia business booming despite Georgia crisis

Published: Monday 22 September 2008

French Prime Minister François Fillon and his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin met in the Black Sea Resort of Sotchi on Saturday (20 September). Unveiling an impressive bilateral economic package, they seem to have put disagreements over the recent Georgia crisis on the back burner.

Putin described the energy sector as "the locomotive" of bilateral economic relations, announcing French confirmation that Total would participate "at all stages" in the development of the Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea, one of the biggest offshore gas fields in the world.

Total has a 25 percent stake in the Shtokman Development Company, the company which is to develop the 3.7 trillion cubic metre field. The rest of the company is controlled by Gazprom (51%) and StatoilHydro (24%). Faced with the need to address huge technological challenges, such as developing floating platforms, for when global warming unleashes huge icebergs, Gazprom badly needs Western expertise to develop the Shtokman field.

Nuclear energy also featured at the top of the bilateral agenda, with Russian company Atomenergomash and French firm Alstom to jointly develop steam turbines for nuclear power plants, Putin said, quoted by the Russian government's website. The Russian prime minister also announced plans to further develop cooperation between the two countries' electricity giants – Electricité de France and Inter RAO UES, as well as a series of projects in the transport sector. French companies Vinci and Bouygues will be building roads in Russia, while there are "big plans" for carmakers Renault and Peugeot in the country, Putin said.

He also highlighted cooperation in the space sector, with French company Arianespace, the world's first commercial space transportation company, to buy ten Russian booster rockets.

Russian warships in Syrian waters
Sat, 20 Sep 2008 01:15:34 GMT

Ten Russian warships have been deployed at the Syrian port of Tartus based on an accord reached by the two sides after the August south Caucases conflict.
Rear Admiral Andrei Baranov, head of the Russian Black Sea Fleet's operations directorate, said Friday the Russian engineering crew was at Tartus to expand the capacity of the harbor to host additional fleet vessels.

The teams will also be working on expanding Latakia, another Syrian port, possibly for aircraft carriers or guided missile cruisers, said Baranov.

On Sept. 12, nearly one month after the south Caucases conflict broke out, Russia and Syria reached an agreement that would provide Moscow with a long-term base rights at Syrian ports.

DEBKAfile's military sources reported that Israeli military leaders were stunned at the news of the Russian fleet being deployed near Israeli shores.
The Moscow Times
Israel Says Russia Feeds Tips to Syria

22 September 2008JERUSALEM -- Israel believes that Russia passes intelligence it gathers about the Jewish state to Syria and indirectly to Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon, a senior military officer said Friday.

"My assessment is that their facilities cover most of the state of Israel's territory," Colonel Ram Dor, chief of information security in the armed forces, told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, describing Russian spy ships that dock in Syria and Russian personnel who he said serve in electronic eavesdropping stations on the Syrian side of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

"The Syrians share the intelligence that they gather with Hezbollah, and the other way around. This we know, because we know how to build a mirror-image that shows us what enemy intelligence knows about us," Dor said.

"So if the Russians help the Syrians get information, and the Syrians constantly pass it on to Hezbollah, it is a reasonable supposition that the information gathered by the Russians also reaches Hezbollah's hands."

Russian officials were unavailable for comment. Moscow has denied providing Syria or Iran with support that could boost their offensive capabilities and in recent years has offered to host Israeli-Arab peace summits.

Russia plans delivery of more air defense systems to Iran

Source: Press TV 9/21/08

Russia is negotiating the delivery of more air defense systems to Iran in defiance of Western pressure to halt the move, an official says.

General Director of Russian arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, made the remark while talking to reporters at the Africa Aerospace & Defense-2008 (AAD-2008) exhibition near Cape Town in South Africa.

According to RIA Novosti, , Anatoly Isaikin added that contacts between Iran and Russia on the delivery of air defense systems are continuing and Moscow sees no reason to suspend the negotiation.

""Deliveries of Russian anti-aircraft weaponry to Iran were aimed exclusively at increasing its air defense capability and were not subject to international restrictions,"" he reiterated.

The report said that Iran recently took delivery of 29 Russian-made Tor-M1 air defense missile systems under a USD 700m contract signed in late 2005 and trained Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders.
At the same time, Israel has urged Russia to halt its sale of advanced weapons to Iran and Syria.

This is while the U.S. and Israel have consistently refused to rule out the possibility of military action against Iran.

Iran, however, has denied reports that it has purchased the advanced Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft defense system.

S-300 surface-to-air missiles could greatly improve Iranian defenses against any air strike on its strategically important sites, including nuclear facilities.
The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), has a range of over 150 km (100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes, making the system an effective tool for warding off possible air strikes.

Tehran has carried out several high-profile war games this year, including a three-day series of Air Force and missile defense exercises on September 15-18 aimed at achieving preparedness against all possible threats.

Russia courts leftists in Latin AmericaU.S. influence dwindles
Friday, September 19, 2008


Russia is expanding its presence in left-leaning Latin American nations, with an offer of aid to Bolivia to replace drug-fighting money cut off by the Bush administration - the latest expansion of Moscow's ties with a region beset by declining U.S. influence.

Iran and China are also actively courting several nations in the region. The efforts typically target nations that have turned leftward in democratic elections, with Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela among the most prominent.

"The Embassy of Russia has officially requested that a government delegation come to Moscow to discuss cooperation in anti-drug efforts," Felipe Caceres, Bolivia's drug czar, told The Washington Times in a telephone interview Thursday.

"There are two kinds of support we are talking about. First is support for officials and personnel, and the other is the possible use of high-altitude helicopters."

Tensions between Bolivia and the United States neared the breaking point this month, when dozens of people were killed in a battle between loyalists and opponents of the government of leftist President Evo Morales for control of natural gas exports.

Bolivia and the U.S. have expelled each other's ambassadors, and the U.S. has begun evacuating nonessential personnel from its embassy in La Paz amid bloody battles that pitted Morales supporters - mostly Indians from the nation's eastern highlands - against Bolivians of European descent in the energy-rich east.

As the battles raged, the Bush administration "decertified" Bolivia as a nation cooperating in the U.S.-led war on drugs, putting up to $30 million in U.S. aid in jeopardy.

Mr. Caceres said proposed cooperation with Moscow was not intended as a slight to the U.S. and that Bolivia welcomes help "from any state that does not put conditions on us."

In recent years, Russia has stepped up its outreach to Latin America, as has China and, to a lesser extent, Iran. Efforts typically include foreign aid, joint ventures to develop energy resources, technology transfers and weapons sales - developments that defy centuries of U.S. domination of the Western Hemisphere under what is known as the Monroe Doctrine.
Russia Successfully Fires New Ballistic Missile
By VOA News
18 September 2008

Russia has successfully fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile.

Russian Defense Ministry officials say the Bulava missile was launched Thursday from a Russian nuclear submarine. Its warheads struck their designated targets on Russia's far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.

The Bulava missile has a range of 10,000 kilometers and can carry six individually targeted nuclear warheads. Some previous tests of the missile failed and Russia appointed a commission to investigate.

Bulava missiles will be deployed in new Borei-class nuclear submarines - the first of which is to be commissioned this year. News media reports in Russia say the Bulava missile has the ability to penetrate any future missile shield.

The Bulava test comes as the United States has reached agreement on deploying an anti-missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The plan to put 10 missiles in Poland and tracking radar in the Czech Republic has angered Russia. But U.S. officials say the system is designed only to counter potential threats from rogue states that develop missiles that could threaten the U.S. and its allies.


September 24, 2008
On September 25, there will be a press conference and a rally outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City at 5:30 p.m. to protest the five Christian organizations that are welcoming Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Those organizations are the World Council of Churches, Religions for Peace, the Americans Friends Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee and the Quaker United Nations Office; they are hosting a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner (Iftar).

Over 50 organizations have now joined the protest, which is being sponsored by Women International; see for more information. Catholic League president Bill Donohue explains why his organization is participating:

“The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has secured evidence from 10 countries demonstrating Iran’s nuclear development activities. Because Iran is not cooperating with IAEA inspectors, the U.N. Security Council has thrice imposed sanctions on Ahmadinejad’s regime. The concerns are obvious: the Iranian president has said that Israel ‘must be wiped off the map.’ Moreover, Iran is now about to formalize its stricture on apostasy: this would mean certain death to any Muslim who converts. But none of this matters to the Christian appeasers who will greet him tomorrow.

“The most prestigious organization welcoming Ahmadinejad is the World Council of Churches (WCC). Its politics are so radical that its agenda could easily be endorsed by any Marxist atheist. It was not for nothing that Jewish interreligious leader Israel Singer once branded the WCC ‘the head office for the dissemination of antisemitic statements.’ Indeed, after Yasser Arafat died, the WCC stated that the Arab terrorist ‘came to the recognition that true justice embraces peace,’ something that many Israeli mothers must have found mind-boggling.

“To appease someone like Ahmadinejad is sickening, but for it to be done in the name of Christianity is enough to induce vomiting. We strongly encourage Catholics and others to attend the rally.”


And the good news keeps on rolling in.....


COLD WAR II Update: The Axis Comes Together - Part 1

Russia's Medvedev:armed action on Iran unacceptable

MOSCOW, Sept 12 (Reuters) - A military solution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions is unacceptable and there is no need at the moment for new sanctions, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.

But Medvedev said Russia continued to support a diplomatic drive led by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to offer Tehran a package of incentives in return for it reining in some of its nuclear activities.

Western states are anxious that a rift between Moscow and the West over Russia's intervention in Georgia may shatter the fragile international coalition that has been applying pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme.

'We should not take any unilateral steps. It is not acceptable to opt for a military scenario. It would be dangerous,' Medvedev told the Valdai Club, a panel of journalists and academics who specialise in Russia.

'The key is that negotiations be pursued... They have been quite positive,' Medvedev said. 'We should not adopt any additional sanctions now.'

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was in Moscow on Monday for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the two countries' first high-level contact since Russia angered the West last month by sending troops and tanks into Georgia.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said Western states will have to tackle Iran without Russia's help if they withdraw cooperation in other areas as punishment for the Kremlin's actions in Georgia.

The United States and other Western powers say they suspect Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb under cover of its civilian nuclear programme.

Tehran denies it has any such intention. It says it is exercising its sovereign right to develop nuclear technology for generating electricity.

U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to rule out the use of force against Iran, though he has said he favours a diplomatic solution.

Russia has consistently opposed military action against Iran and has also used its veto power in the United Nations Security Council to dilute U.S.-led attempts to impose tougher sanctions.

Existing U.N. sanctions include financial and travel curbs on a list of Iranian individuals and companies linked with the nuclear programme.

'We will use only proportionate sanctions. They will be aimed at individuals and organisations involved in Iran's nuclear programme,' Lavrov told the Valdai Club at a separate session earlier on Friday.
Answering Iran

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, September 12, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Foreign Policy: Tehran has elevated its effort to become a member of the nuclear arms club. That leaves our government with a tough choice: Will it make a firm stand or be rolled over by a lawless regime?

Our own media haven't been paying much attention lately to Iran, but a couple of enterprising reporters in England have been keeping up with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration. What they found is alarming:

"With almost every day that passes, the crisis over Iran's nuclear program appears to move a step closer to what looks increasingly like its inevitable conclusion — military action," Con Coughlin writes for the Telegraph.

Meanwhile, reported Friday that the Russian who is president of the state-owned company building Iran's nuclear power plant in Bushehr says Iran will not be stopped from becoming an atomic nation.

"I think that in December, January and February, a whole range of technological events will be conducted that will demonstrate the irreversibility of the plant's physical launch in the foreseeable future," said Leonid Reznikov, president of Atomstroiexport.

Is it all just an innocent commercial reactor, as Iran claims?

Coughlin and a colleague report that international inspectors, whose movements in Iran are restricted by the government, believe the Iranians have moved 50 to 60 tons of uranium from a complex in Isfahan to a covert site, where inspectors won't have access. The amount of material is enough, once processed into weapons-grade uranium, to build five or six nuclear bombs.

As one International Atomic Energy Agency official said, if Iran's nuclear ambitions are only peaceful, why would they have moved the uranium? Don't expect answers later this month when IAEA governors meet to talk about Iran's nuclear program. The IAEA, an arm of the United Nations, is as feckless as the U.N. itself.

The most likely entity to take action against Iran is Israel, which helped the world avert an inevitable crisis when it disabled Iraq's Osirak atomic reactor with an air strike in 1981. The bold raid justly derailed Saddam Hussein's goal of developing nuclear weapons.

But the U.S., if a report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper is true, has Israel on a short leash. No U.S. bunker-buster bombs to destroy hardened nuclear facilities in Iran. No permission to use Iraqi air space, under U.S. control, as a flyover space into Iran. And no advanced tankers for refueling Israeli fighters for their return flights.

We have no way of knowing if this is true, or if, as Haaretz says, the U.S. is still seeking a diplomatic resolution. We hope the U.S. isn't holding back Israel. Yes, we recognize an attack during the current campaign would be questioned, and that Israeli warplanes flying over Iraq is a sensitive issue.

But the ugly wound on our planet that is Tehran's deranged regime can't be allowed to fester much longer. A nuclear-armed Iran may just try to act on its threats to raze Israel. And it will certainly try to bully intimidated nations in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Diplomacy can be effective if both sides are rational. But when outlaw governments are in control, as in Tehran, diplomats' failures turn up as legions of battlefield corpses. Sometimes a short burst of force is the only way to ensure a long spell of peace.

Turkey Walks a Tightrope Between Russia and the West

By Daniel Steinvorth in Istanbul

Turkey was traditionally adept at maintaining good relations with both Russia and the West -- until the Georgian crisis came along. Now both sides are making demands on Turkey. Has the time come for Ankara to choose sides?

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, 62, is Russia's most flamboyant far-right politician and professes to be big friend of Turkey. "No one loves you the way I love you," the thick-set populist who speaks fluent Turkish, recently sang before a Turkish audience in Istanbul.

Zhirinovsky, a graduate of Oriental studies, visited Turkey for the first time in 1962 as a translator for the Soviet Union's State Committee for Exports. During his visit he was arrested for spreading "communist propaganda" and spent 17 days in jail. Later he wrote a pamphlet about his experiences and recommended that his country annex all Turkic countries because the Russian soldier "must clean his boots in the Indian Ocean."

Now Zhirinovsky's passion for the southern neighbor has been reignited once more. "Learn Russian, don't look to the West, look north," the troublemaker preaches during his regular visits to Turkey. "The EU doesn't want you, but we want you. We'll give you gas, you give us nuts!"

Russia is Turkey's Biggest Trading Partner

It's true that Turkey and Russia have moved closer to each other recently, and not just because of energy resources. Russia is the NATO member country's biggest trading partner. Turkey imports almost 70 percent of its gas requirements and 50 percent of its coal from Russia. On Turkey's riviera, in Antalya and Side, Russian tourists now outnumber Germans.

And whenever the Europeans criticize his government, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan grumbles that Turkey has an alternative and could align itself with another country. There's little doubt he's referring to Russia.

If he were to pursue an alliance with Russia, Erdogan would be turning history on its head, though. The Crimean War of 1853 to 1856 was the ninth war between the two countries. More followed, until eventually the Ottoman Empire lay in ruins after World War I. Then Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, did what he could to shield his country from Stalin's agents. Atatürk's successor later allowed the US to station nuclear missiles in Anatolia, along with whole forests of aerials to eavesdrop on the Soviets.

Turks as Model Europeans

Turkey has always looked westward, an aspect that has been overlooked in Europe in the debate about Turkey's bid to join the EU. The Turkish government in 1999 offered ground troops in the conflict with Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic. Turkey, like Europe, maintains good relations with Israel and opposes Iran's nuclear ambitions. Last week Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan signed an agreement with the Arab Gulf states which is aimed at curbing Tehran's influence.

And it was the Turks who pushed for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline through which Caspian oil is pumped to Europe, bypassing Russia and Iran. Aside from the Cyprus conflict, the Turks are, in foreign policy terms, model Europeans.

But their balancing act between Europe and Russia has rarely been as difficult as after the Georgian war. Erdogan's government had no choice but to join the EU and US in supporting the territorial integrity of the small republic. The pipeline from the Caspian Sea means there are common interests with Tbilisi. That has led to consequences for Turkey.

In mid-August Russia began to punish Ankara. Since then customs officers at the Georgian-Russian border have been scrutinizing Turkish trucks with unprecedented thoroughness, causing a tailback of several hundred trucks and $500 million in losses. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has promised that the "technically necessary" controls will soon be lifted.

'Welcome to the Lukewarm War'

Russia is also angry about Turkey's stance on the presence of American and European naval ships in the Black Sea, regardless of the fact that those vessels were supposedly delivering aid to the Georgian port city of Poti. Lavrov described the West's ships as a form of "gunboat diplomacy" and called on Turkey to tighten control over the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles straits. Under an international agreement dating back to 1936, naval vessels must spend no longer than 21 days in the Black Sea.

But the US was also angry because the Turks -- referring to the same agreement -- were refusing to allow the passage of further warships, saying they were simply too big.

"Welcome to the lukewarm war," wrote Turkish columnist Cengiz Aktar about the new dilemma facing his country. Ever since the end of the Cold War Turkey has been putting its feelers out in all directions. But now the time had come to set priorities, wrote Aktar. "Do we want to behave like our northern neighbor and create peace by means of war?" he asks. "Or do we want to be like the European Union and conduct policy by peaceful means?"

Flexibility is Turkey's trump card. All doors are open to it. It has always pursued good relations with the US, Europe and Israel. And after the end of the Cold war it extended its sphere of influence among its "Turkic brothers" in Central Asia.

Friend to All

Even the Islamic-Arab world has moved closer to Turkey since the moderately Islamic AKP party of Erdogan came to power. Turkey's move to initiate secret talks between Syria and Israel is regarded as the biggest foreign policy success of the conservative government.

And the Georgia conflict? The Turkish prime minister responded with a suggestion that could have come from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He proposed am international forum -- a "Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform" -- in which all states could resolve their differences.

The forum is to include Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia and Armenia -- the country Turkey has been in dispute with for decades over the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces in World War I. To this day Ankara refuses to recognize the killings as genocide.

But diplomatic relations between the two countries weren't broken off until 1993 after Armenia seized control of Nagorno-Karabach, an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.
Nevertheless, the fact that Turkish President Abdulla Gül flew to the Armenian capital Yerevan last weekend to watch a football match with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian is being seen as the beginning of a thaw in relations.

And Zhirinovsky? The Russian nationalist recently travelled to Turkey again. He called the NATO an "imperialist club" and once again urged Turkey to forget about Europe and forge an alliance with his country -- the peace-loving Russia.

US stops being polite as spat with Venezuela grows
By FOSTER KLUG and IAN JAMES, Associated Press Writer
Friday, September 12, 2008

The United States stopped trying to be polite Friday in an escalating diplomatic shoving match with the populist leaders of Venezuela and Bolivia. Washington slapped new sanctions on three aides close to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and called him weak and desperate. The Venezuelan ambassador got the boot for good measure, a move that was purely for show. Chavez had already brought his man home.

"Those who shout the loudest are not making the real news in the Americas," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said after Chavez used bathroom profanity to accuse the Americans of meddling in Latin America.

The rupture began Wednesday when Bolivian President Evo Morales expelled the U.S. ambassador there, accusing him of inciting violent protests. Chavez followed suit Thursday, accusing the "U.S. empire" of helping plot a coup against him. He later gave the American ambassador 72 hours to quit the country.

McCormack adopted a grave tone to read a long defense to reporters Friday.

"The only meaningful conspiracy in the region is the common commitment of democratic countries to enhance opportunities for their citizens," he said. "The only overthrow we seek is that of poverty."

Separately, the United States accused three members of Chavez's inner circle of aiding Colombian rebels known as the FARC by supplying arms and helping drug traffickers.

Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement that the "designation exposes two senior Venezuelan government officials and one former official who armed, abetted and funded the FARC, even as it terrorized and kidnapped innocents."

Violent clashes over Bolivia's future have claimed eight lives. U.S. diplomats say Chavez and Morales are punching the United States to distract attention from mismanagement and unpopularity at home.

"This reflects the weakness and desperation of these leaders," McCormack said.
Not long after he spoke, Honduras announced that it will hold off on the accreditation of a new U.S. ambassador in solidarity with Venezuela and Bolivia. Honduran President Manuel Zelaya said the Central American nation is not breaking relations with the United States.

Zelaya said small nations need to stick together. "The world powers must treat us fairly and with respect," he said. Zelaya previously planned to receive credentials Friday from U.S. diplomat Hugo Llorens.

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega, a close ally of Morales, has not announced yet whether he will take any action against the U.S. ambassador in Nicaragua.
"Dark forces of the empire are conspiring against the government of Morales," Ortega said Thursday, referring to the United States.

By the end of the week, it was clear that the Bush administration's second-term strategy to get along with many left-leaning governments in Latin America while saying as little as possible about Chavez had fizzled.

Chavez and Morales suggested they had no interest in improving ties with Washington until a new administration takes over in January.

Chavez has made a specialty of anti-American broadsides, including an infamous 2006 reference to President Bush as the devil. Morales, on the other hand, was seen by Washington as a potential partner. The former coca growing union boss campaigned with a mild anti-American edge, but shook hands warmly with Rice at a much-watched get-acquainted session in 2006. He gave her a present she couldn't keep: A traditional Bolivian string instrument plastered with coca leaves.

A two-week protest against Morales' plans to redo the constitution and redirect gas revenues turned violent this week as demonstrators in the country's energy-rich eastern provinces stormed public offices, blocked roads and seized gas fields.
His surprise move Wednesday to kick out the U.S. ambassador drew a mild response from Washington at first. The State Department said the diplomat had done nothing wrong, and then stalled for time to see if Morales was serious.

All hesitation was gone Friday.

"The charges leveled against our fine ambassadors by the leaders of Bolivia and Venezuela are false — and the leaders of those countries know it," McCormack said.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said Bush's government is "the only one responsible for the state of deterioration" of its relations with Latin America.
The government said it will "submit all its relations with the United States to an intense process of evaluation."

The new sanctions target Hugo Carvajal Barrios and Henry Rangel Silva, both chiefs of Venezuelan intelligence agencies. A former government minister, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, was also named. The officials have served as Chavez's most trusted security chiefs.

U.S. drug czar John Walters has said Venezuela, which suspended cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2005, is failing to take action against a sharp rise in cocaine smuggling. By U.S. estimates, the flow of Colombian cocaine through Venezuela has quadrupled since 2004, reaching an estimated 282 tons last year.

U.S. officials said the sanctions had been in the works for some time and are unrelated to the diplomatic dispute.


Watching the developments both internationally and here in the United States economically and politically, it is not difficult to see the design of the enemies of our country to bring us to our knees.

The shear weight of financial pressure that a War such as we must fight against Islamofascism has placed on our nation, as well as the unyielding greed and vote-buying of both political parties that has gone on for decades, is finally catching up to us.

Hate Bin Laden, but don't underestimate his intelligence. He knew the vices of our political system, and the fragility of the house of cards they've built. He also sensed the indecision or apathy of the American people. And he accurately observed that the generations of history during which the American nation and her principles have crushed their ideological foes has left wreckage and carnage out of which new generations of hate could be harnessed to bombard the United States here at this time.

And indeed, our enemies are piling on -- economically now, but how much longer before a China lunges for the wayward Taiwan? Or a stricken North Korea strikes South Korea? Or the Fascist thugs in charge in Russia now take out another former "satellite state"? Or Iran develops nukes and tries to take out Tel-Aviv to kill all the "Zionists"? Or all of the above -- at the same time?

More to follow....


Friday, September 12, 2008

Yet Another Liberal Speaks!

I'm so thankful for Pam Anderson. The Scandal-ridden, multi-married (and divorced) Animal rights PETA supporting Bottle blond Hollywood Liberal shared her profound view of Sarah Palin:



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Please, Liberals, Keep Talking...

Just like this from Matt Damon:

Matt, you are awesome as Jason Bourne. When not on the set, you should just shut up. But between now and November 4th, PLEASE keep talking! ... re=related

Barack Obama may not have meant his comment about Governor Sarah Palin. BUT, the crowd certainly thought they knew what he meant. Which indicates his absolute lack of judgment...

Apparently Representative Steve Cohen (Democrat - Tennessee) has become a theologian! Just 17 seconds -- ya gotta see this one!

Don't ya love it!? On the FLOOR of the House of Representatives no less!

We just LOVE the Fowler's here in South Carolina! A prominent Democrat family, they supply us with no end of little verbal gems! Like this one!


Can't hear it? Here's a cleaner version:


Yeah, gotta LOVE them Fowler's! Honest Democrats!

THEN, we have Carol Fowler, Democrat Party Chair for SC -- and WIFE of godd ole' boy DON, saying this:

If I can actually find the audio or video of Carol's statement, I'll post it. There are numerous affirmations of it's accuracy, and just as many liberals falling all over themselves to apologize -- like a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign and another big named Democrat from here in SC, Dick Harpootlian:

Senator Joe Biden is so shaken by what's happened in the campaign over the last week or so that he's decided there may be a better VP candidate for Barack:

Ah, yes. And this is just from the past few days! PLEASE, liberals, keep talking like this! Keep it up and the Wellstone Memorial a few years ago will pale in comparison!


Monday, September 08, 2008

Cold War II -- Ralph Peters Weighs in on Russia


IN the wake of Russia's ruthless invasion of Georgia, the United States sent relief supplies on military aircraft and ships. Our vice president went to Tbilisi. And we promised a billion dollars in reconstruction aid.

The European Union sent a get-well card. With no return address.

Washington asked that Georgia and Ukraine be put on the fast track to NATO membership to deter further Russian aggression. The EU suggested sending unarmed civilian observers, instead.

The Bush administration begged for a unified front against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's barbarism. Rejecting any penalties for Russia, the EU took the bold step of postponing talks on a trade deal.

Within the EU, Britain and Poland insisted that Russia needed a good slap for its latest strategic tantrum. Other Europeans found that ill mannered.

As I'd predicted, the Europeans found the rape of Georgia an embarrassment, nothing more. The odious former German chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, even took Russia's side. (Of course, Schroeder also took a highly paid job with Russian energy interests, so he may not have been entirely impartial.)

Back when the United States went ahead with the liberation of Iraq over protests from France and Germany - whose corporations made money off Saddam - Washington was damned for going it "alone." Now, as we try to build a consensus to respond to brutal aggression, the same countries want no part of it. (Financial interests are involved again - this time, it's gas, not oil.)

Russians are not by nature disposed to much happiness, but Putin and his paladins must be downright gleeful.

The tragedy is that the West could have made Putin pay. And we didn't need a military confrontation. We needed unity.

Together, the Euro-American democracies had the power to inflict serious economic and political pain on the Putin regime. But Europe lacks a conscience - and, without Europe, we lack the clout.

This is all going to end badly. Putin's feeling invincible now, and, just to keep in practice, he's gone back to killing journalists who criticize the czar. Last week saw the murder of two more Russian-citizen media figures.

Magomed Yevloyev, a Web-site publisher from Ingushetia, was abducted from a commercial airliner by the police. The cops shot him and dumped his body.

Two days later, TV reporter Abdulla Alishayev was shot and killed in the nearby "republic" of Daghestan. Russian government sources blame "Wahhabis."

Plus, a reporter and editor, Milosla Bitokov, from the Karbardino-Balkar "republic," was beaten so badly he had to be hospitalized. But, given all the journalists Putin has murdered since he came to power, a few broken bones or a fractured skull hardly count.

This recent violence suggests an effective response to resurgent Russian imperialism: Each of those journalist critics of the Putin regime came from a different, but equally restive, province on the northern slopes of the Caucasus. (Historically, Daghestan was a tougher nut for czarist troops to crack than Chechnya.)

The dominant Muslim populations - and some Christians - in the region view today's ethnic-Russian presence as an unbroken extension of Soviet and czarist tyranny. And the locals are tough customers - even Stalin couldn't break their will completely.

Given Putin's brutality and the belligerent threats from his gang (including Flunky, the eighth dwarf, a k a President Dmitri Medvedev), it may be time to dust off our anti-Soviet strategy from Afghanistan: Arm and fund militant separatist movements in the Russian-occupied Caucasus.

Yes, there are risks. Some of those local nationalists are also Islamists. Well, just don't give them another batch of stingers until they can prove they've expended the previous lot.

Sometimes, the best way to take down Lucifer is to back Beelzebub.

Let's face it: We've got Islamist extremism on the defensive. That's one thing the Bush administration got right. The Muslim-terrorist problem will be with us to some degree for years to come, but it's not remotely as great a threat as a resurgent militarist Russia bristling with missiles and led by a reincarnation of Ivan the Terrible.

The Russians chose to play hardball with Georgia, a democracy allied to the United States. They won the first inning. Now it's time to dust off our Louisville Sluggers.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "Looking for Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World."

Cold War II -- Update

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will send a nuclear-powered battleship to the Caribbean for a joint naval exercise with Venezuela, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

The maneuvers later this year will be the first Russia has conducted in Washington's traditional sphere of influence since the end of the Cold War.

Russia has heavily criticized the United States for sending a sophisticated command ship and two other naval vessels to Georgia, on its southern border, to deliver aid and show support for President Mikheil Saakashvili after Moscow sent troops into Georgia.

Kremlin leader Dmitry Medvedev asked on Saturday how Washington would feel "if we now dispatched humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean...using our navy."

Later that day, a Venezuelan naval official said four Russian warships would visit the Caribbean in November.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said on Monday that the naval mission to Venezuela would include the nuclear-powered battle cruiser "Peter the Great," one of the world's largest combat battleships.

Moscow's most modern destroyer, the "Admiral Chabanenko," will also steam to the Caribbean, along with other ships, including a fuel tanker, he added.

Russia denied that the move amounted to retaliation against the United States over its action Georgia.

"We are talking about a planned event not linked with current political circumstances and not in any way connected to events in Georgia," he told a news briefing. The exercises "will in no way be directed against the interests of a third country."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an outspoken critic of the United States, said during a visit to Moscow in July that Russian warships or warplanes were welcome to visit.

"If some day a Russian fleet arrived in the Caribbean, we will raise flags, we would beat drums and play the national anthem of Venezuela and the national anthem of Russia because it would be the arrival of a friend," he said.

Chavez is a major arms client of Moscow, saying he needs Russian weaponry to dissuade "the North American empire" from invading his country.

Medvedev responded by declaring that Venezuela was "the most important partner" of Russia in the region.

Chavez has bought fighter jets and submarines from Russia to retool Venezuela's aging weapons and says he is also interested in a missile defense system.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Torchbearers: The Future of Conservatism

When John McCain won the nomination of the Republican Party earlier this year, many pronounced Conservatism -- the vision of Ronald Reagan -- dead. I never bought that, but I did conclude that the Republican Party had shelved it indefinitely, preferring to attempt to out-Democrat the Democrats.

Since that time, McCain has done little to convince me any different. His constant drumbeat to "reach across the aisle" is worn and faded, and will obviously follow the same trajectory as did George W. Bush's early strategy of "working together" with Democrats -- right into the trashcan of history. One does not "work with" Liberals, nor does one engage in "bipartisanship" with Democrats. One simply surrenders to them. THAT is their definition of "bipartisanship." If John McCain doesn't know that by now, he's too dense to be President.

But I digress. McCain did manage to impress me with his performance at the Saddleback Valley Church forum a few weeks ago. He said all the right things to Rick Warren, and he did so with conviction and candor. He did what he HAD to do to impress Evangelicals -- and me. I'm really not sure it was anymore than that.

However, with his pick of Sarah Palin last week as his running mate, he started something I don't know that he entirely foresaw. I'm sure he was going for the Hillary Clinton female demographic, and he certainly scored with the Conservative base, Christian voters, pro-lifers, gun rights advocates, etc. But the enthusiasm demonstrated for Palin was more than just the satisfaction of the various "special interest" groups.

Sarah Palin embodies the vision of the late and great Ronald Reagan. She embodies Reagan's trajectory to power as well, though his base was California, and hers is Alaska. Her resume is a bit slimmer than was Reagan's when he made his definitive bid for the presidency in 1980; yet, she has clearly demonstrated the strength of her principles and their solidarity with the Reagan vision. In four, or perhaps eight years, she will be prepared to appear at the top of the ticket. And it appears at this point that Republicans can only benefit from it.

John McCain has, perhaps unknowingly, re-launched the Reagan Revolution. In Sarah Palin, Conservatives finally have one of their own on the ticket, and they have someone to look to in the future. McCain has virtually sealed his fate as a transitional figure in Republican politics -- a bridge between the Reaganism in the 1980's and the New Reaganism a generation later. The bridge has produced potholes and detours like Bushes, Doles and McCain's. But in Sarah Palin, the far shore may be coming into sight. And she may be the one to bear the torch over.

Another Governor has been prominent recently in the media -- but for far less glamorous reasons. Three years after Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Gustav took aim once again at the Louisiana coast. New Orleans was again threatened. As Gustav approached, day after day, Governor Bobby Jindal appeared before the press, outlined and detailed all the work and organized preparation for the coming storm, and clearly demonstrated that he was in charge. He was in charge of the facts, he was in charge of the process, he was in charge of the people. He worked WITH others, rather than laying blame after things went wrong. He demonstrated responsibility and capability.

Thankfully, Gustav was not quite the storm Katrina was. Thankfully, the rebuilt levees were strong enough for the task. Thankfully, the evacuations and aid was orderly, sensible, well thought out. The steady hand of a young governor with a lot of potential should not be dismissed.

Bobby Jindal, like Sarah Palin, is in his first term as a Governor. He has already faced "crisis" in his leadership. He shares the values and convictions of Governor Palin. He has many of the same excellent characteristics as Palin, and stands upon many of the same principles. Bobby Jindal is, like Palin, one to watch. He, too, is a worthy torchbearer.

Whether or not McCain wins the election this year -- and his choice of Palin only HELPS -- he has secured a place for the return of Reagan Conservatism to the leadership of the Republican Party. If that's ALL that John McCain does, it is enough. In four, perhaps eight years, one or both of these young Conservatives will -- and MUST -- be at the top of the Republican Party ticket. If that does not happen the Party will not survive.

At least now, Conservatives can see the distant light of the torch, and we know who is bearing it.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarah Palin: Zing! Pow!!

It is no secret that I do not like John McCain. I opposed him in the Republican Primaries, and when he won, I declared I would not vote for him unless something changed.

Something changed.

No, John McCain didn't admit he was wrong on illegal immigration. He didn't change his mind about embyonic stem cell research. And despite his excellent appearance at the Saddleback Valley Church Presidential Forum with Rick Warren a few weeks ago, I didn't trust him. Honestly, I still don't.

HOWEVER, I have to say that John McCain's choice for his Vice Presidential candidate, the Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, was inspired. No, excellent! Not even close!.... Dare I say perfect?!

Back in the spring, when it became clear that McCain would be the candidate, I prognosticated as to whom he might choose as a running mate. I figured, in keeping with his maverick tendency to "reach across the aisle," he would choose a Joe Leibermann. I feared he might decide to play the "big tent" Republican and choose pro-abortion Tom Ridge. The name of Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, came to mind. But he was deeply needed in his home state in the aftermath of the Katrina debacle. I thought about Sarah Palin, but as quickly as she crossed my mind, I dismissed the possibility. Too Conservative for McCain, too far away from Washington.

McCain finally, happily, surprised me. And tonight, having just watched Governor Palin's acceptance speech at the Convention -- wow. WOW. The whole hockey mom = a pit bull with lipstick... It works! Can she lay it all out! Excellent! Effective! Honest! And did she ever get it right about Barry Obama! I felt like I was watching an old Batman episode -- Zing! Pow! Smack!

I left the Republican Party in 1996. The Republicans have not given me many reasons to return to the party in the last 12 years. If Sarah Palin is the future of the Republican Party, however, I could reconsider my future affliation. At least, I would entertain the idea at the moment.

No, I haven't definitely decided I can vote for John McCain. He is still on the top of the ticket after all. But if he was really "talking straight" at Saddleback Church, and if Governor Sarah Palin is an example of the kind of people he will bring into his administration, I might be able to work with him. We shall see. Regardless, however, I think we will see much more of Governor Sarah Palin, whether as Vice President or in future races for national office. And that's a GOOD thing.