Russia

Pathetically Priceless

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Double standards are a strong feature of the liberal elites and Hollywood. Instead of living up to the Chanber of Commerce’s view that it does not remove stars over public backlash by citing  historical landmark status., when it comes to Trump all bets are off. While Bill Cosby, a convicted rapist, keeps his Hollywood star, Trump’s disturbing treatment of women (locker room talk and allegations of paying porn stars) is deemed a more heinous crime. Liberal logic.

The response to Trump

The resolution on which the West Hollywood City Council voted urged the removal of Mr. Trump’s star “due to his disturbing treatment of women and other actions that do not meet the shared values of the City of West Hollywood, the region, state, and country.

The Washington Time reports, “Among other things, the council’s staff report cites Mr. Trump’s border-security policies [an Obama era policy], his stance on climate change [Paris is non binding and the biggest polluters are doing next to nothing], the Vladimir Putin summit [since when did the Hollywood City Council enforce foreign policy?], and policies on transgenderism.”  

In effect, the Council endorses vandalism and destruction of public property.  Why not burn down Trump Tower or run an excavator  over the pristine greens of Mar-a-lago?

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The Response to defacing of Bill Cosby’s star

In response, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce released a statement politely asking fans not to deface anyone’s stars, no matter how many rapes they may be accused of: “When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways. 

Probably stands to reason for an industry that turned a blind eye to decades of  #MeToo antics because it self-served their careers would vote for someone that has outed them for the blatant hypocrites they are. Bill Cosby’s star will likely be defended with the fervor of the NYT backing Sarah Jeong. Why not replace Trump’s star for Jeong? Strike will the pick axe is hot!

It is just a star but symbolic of the radical left’s standards that it’s the side that matters, not the principle. We should be happy that the left champion victories like this. Ever more sanctimonious preaching of the highest moral standards to the masses who already have such low opinions of them most are suffering from vertigo – remember this?

Trump Derangement Syndrome is a national health crisis. Perhaps POTUS should direct billions to help fund a cure. Otherwise poor old taxpayers will need to fork out for even more property damage.

The NY Times lectures Americans about child rearing

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Ahh, The New York Times. No sooner had it justified the hiring of a white/male/cop hating (torn asunder if one should be all three) and newly discovered NYT loathing editor in Sarah Jeong, it went out to lecture Americans on the importance of enforcing morals when raising children.

Should we pay attention when the openly homophobic NYT, a paper whose masthead endorses everything it claims it isn’t, points fingers? So who in its view would it prefer as a role model to have American parents instill such virtues in their kids? As opinion writer/photographer Damon Winter wrote, “What is it like to see young people exposed to so much anger? Heartbreaking.

While the tear-jerking article is best read to a sorrowful violin, let’s see some of the positive role models and people of integrity the paper rarely calls into question. Those from the left which the NYT might champion as possessing the higher moral code somewhat missing in Trump voters. Here are 15 options they may consider…

1. Sarah Jeong – white, male, police, NYT hating racist ? As a NYT employee she’s been vetted.

2. Peter Fonda – who thought Barron Trump should be locked in a cage with pedophiles?

3. Samantha Bee – who is comfortable calling Ivanka a feckless c*nt who should sit in a short skirt on her daddy’s lap to change his policy?

4. Johnny Depp  – who said it’s been a while since an actor assassinated a president?

5. Madonna – who threatened to blow up the White House?

6. Michelle Wolf – who thinks its funny to celebrate abortion or characterise Sarah Huckabee Sanders (SHS) as a fat softball playing lesbian Uncle Tom for white women? Say what happened to being PC?

7. Kathy Griffin – who held a bloodied decapitated head of Trump and then complained it was unfair that Trump ruined her career? Apologised, retracted it and complained again that she wanted pay equality despite her self inflicted stupidity causing her career to be in the dumps.

8. Maxine Waters – who suggested Americans should openly attack Trump admin officials in public after SHS was kicked out of the Red Hen restaurant?

9. Snoop Dogg – who shot POTUS in a music video?

10. Robert DeNiro – who wants to punch Trump in the face? Or the standing ovation he received for saying “F*ck Trump

11. Joy Behar – who is comfortable suggesting devout Christians are mentally ill?

12. Whoopi Goldberg – for supposedly calling Jeannine Pirro a “sand n*gger”?

13. Jim Acosta – CNN reporter who can’t take a fraction of what he dishes out and expects SHS to apologize for someone else’s beliefs? Or for asking inappropriate and irrelevant questions during the Kim summit?

14. Joe Biden – former VP who threatened to punch Trump behind the school shed?

15. Or perhaps put forward all the Hollywood celebrities who threatened if Trump became president to leave America but never did?

There is no question there are some highly unsavory characters on both sides of partisan politics. Yet to sandbag all 63mn who voted for The Donald as racist, bigoted and uneducated deplorables with questionable child raising children abilities re-inforces why liberals will have such a hard time convincing people they actually stand for something. If the Dems lose the mid-terms then it must be Russian meddling again, not their unhinged lunacy.

Until the left acknowledge they have a major problem with their image (especially as they go ever more socialist) they’ll struggle to convert many to their side. Last week even Maduro in Venezuela said socialism has been a massive failure.

There is a certain hollowness to Trump celebrating  his 50% approval rating (higher than Obama’s at the same stage). Reality is that Macron, May, Merkel, Trudeau and Turnbull dwindle in the mid 20-30s.

Despite such constant overwhelmingly negative media bias dished out to POTUS, just how badly can the mainstream media be misreading the mood of the people? The more negatives they hurl, the higher his support. The more effusive praise breathed on other world leaders, the more damage is done to their popularity. What gives?

It isn’t that Damon Winter doesn’t make a valid point about the importance of teaching all children good manners and ethics, it is a bit rich coming from a paper that has virtually no moral compass whatsoever. When The NY Times walks the talk it maybe worth paying attention.

No reason why it shouldn’t convert from a broadsheet to a tabloid to keep up with its new found image of ignoring every aspect of ethics it so willingly pushes on the rest of us.

Putin’s puppet?

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Not surprising from Rasmussen overnight:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 65% of Likely Democratic Voters believe critics of Trump’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin truly believe he is a treasonous Russian puppet. Just as many Republicans (67%) disagree and think those critics are only making the charges for political purposes, a view shared by a plurality (47%) of voters not affiliated with either major party.”

Trump’s  unconventional (yet unsurprising) outburst of diplomacy against Iran (if it can be called that) on Twitter in capital letters does dispel this somewhat. To fire a social media salvo at Rosoboronexport’s second largest arms customer (one Russia has sold weapons to Iran  for 98 years) would somewhat dispel that myth of kowtowing to Putin’s every move. 85% of Iran’s military hardware is Russian. Syria is Russia’s #1 export client with the prize being the naval base in the Mediterranean port of Tartus.

In any event both Iran and Syria serve Russia’s ability to interfere with US policy in the Middle East. Israel now claims Iranian Revolutionary Guard soldiers have stepped up from being mere advisors in the Golan Heights to actively fighting. Israel has commenced day raids in Syria such has the threat escalated.

If POTUS is intending  to remove one or two of Putin’s clients (list here) then one suspects the Russian dictator should be pulling Iran’s strings to get them to arm in silence rather than pick a fight with the US.

Perhaps a more apt way to look at this is Trump’s hatred of Obama’s (foreign) policies far outweighs his supposed love of Putin. The evidence for that is not only obvious but entirely factual, backed with empirical evidence.

Koreans rake sour Krauts over hot goals

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Not a sight you see every day but hearty congratulations to the Koreans who defeated Germany 2-0 to send the reigning world champs to the bottom of their pool and out of the World Cup. The Germans looked wooden the whole match. The Korean goalie had a blinder. Korean defence seemed everywhere. Was it a case of Sth Africa vs Japan in the 2015 Rugby World Cup where the favorites treated the game as a formality? Certainly felt like that. When the German goalie left to play attacker the final goal summed up how embarrassing the match was. Not even 9minutes extra time could see the Germans penetrate the Korean goal line. It would have been nice to see the German side shake the hands of the Koreans to acknowledge the achievement rather than sit solemnly on the pitch and contemplate the lashing to be received in the press. Good sportsmanship is the sign of good champions.

Japan’s Defense White Paper 2017 – Chinese military jet incursions up 30-fold in 10 years

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Should Japan just close its eyes? The Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) has had to scramble jets almost 3x a day to intercept Chinese PLAAN aircraft flirting with Japan’s sovereign borders according to the 2017 Defense White Paper. Since 2007, the JSADF has seen an almost 30-fold jump in activity. With respect to the disputed Senkaku Islands, the PLAAN and PLAAF have been operating drones “inside” Japanese sovereign territory. While Japan can take some comfort with the US Forces stationed throughout the country, China’s increasing belligerence in the region is obvious.

With respect to China, the JMoD wrote,

China is believed to be making efforts to strengthen its asymmetrical military capabilities to prevent military activities by other countries in the region, denying access and deployment of foreign militaries to its surrounding areas (“Anti-Access/Area-Denial” [“A2/AD”] capabilities), and recently, pursuing large-scale military reforms designed to build its joint operations structure with actual combat in mind. In addition, China is rapidly expanding and intensifying its activities both in quality and quantity in the maritime and aerial domains in the region, including in the East and South China Seas.

In particular, China has continued to take assertive actions with regard to issues of conflicts of interest in the maritime domain, as exemplified by its attempts to change the status quo by coercion, and has signaled its position to realize its unilateral assertions without making any compromises. As for the seas and airspace around Japan, Chinese government ships have routinely and repeatedly intruded into Japan’s territorial waters, and China has engaged in dangerous activities that could cause unintended consequences, such as its naval vessel’s direction of fire control radar at a Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyer, the flight of fighters abnormally close to SDF aircraft, and its announcement of establishing the “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” based on its own assertion, thereby infringing the freedom of overflight.

In the South China Sea, China has continued to take unilateral actions that change the status quo and heighten tension, including large-scale and rapid reclamation of multiple features, establishment of outposts there, and their use for military purposes, based on China’s unique assertions which are incompatible with the existing international order, and has made steady efforts to create a fait accompli. In addition, a Chinese fighter is alleged to have flown abnormally close to and conducted an intercept of a U.S. Forces aircraft. These Chinese activities represent serious security concerns of the region encompassing Japan, and of the international community.

For this reason, China is urged to further increase transparency regarding its military and enhance its compliance with international norms. It is a key task to further strengthen mutual understanding and trust by promoting dialogue and exchanges with China, and make further progress on measures to build trust, such as measures to avoid and prevent unintended consequences in the maritime domain.”

Sadly Japan is unlikely to get the answers it wants to hear. So as trivial as submitting to Chinese pressure to change an in flight magazine map might seem to many, the bigger picture is what is happening on the security front. As Churchill once said, “you cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in its mouth!

 

What happens when you poke a Russian bear?

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As written earlier in the week, regardless of one’s views on the righteousness of any attack on Syria, Putin is being faced for the first time in a long time, a leader of a foreign nation (nations as it turns out) prepared to stand up to him. Obama fled the Syria battlefield after being given a two hour window when Russia first went to the aid of Assad. If that wasn’t the ultimate sign of a bully in the Kremlin it is hard to think of what is. While sanctions may have bitten to a degree post Ukraine and the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines flight, Syria is essentially a testing ground for Putin to weigh up Western (specifically Trump’s) resolve. If we look at Russia’s response post the Syrian strike,

The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard…A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences…All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris…Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible.

Kind of says it all really – Russia hasn’t been insulted. Putin has. He must have a glass jaw  like Trump! Two bullies flexing muscle. In a show down Should Putin wish to pick a direct conventional fight against 3 nuclear powers (explicitly mentioned), he knows that ‘mutually assured destruction’ is the very last option in the drawer and next to no chance of being selected despite all of the media beat up. On a conventional basis, Putin wins more battles by stirring up the hornet’s nests in other regions. Lending more support to Iran, Lebanon and Yemen. Destabilize Saudi Arabia and antagonize Israel.

CM wrote,

It is worth nothing that Syria is Rosoboronexport’s (Russia’s military export wing) 2nd largest customer after Iran. Putin is sick of having the West try to remove his clients. Assad is key to Russia’s foothold in the Middle East. With an essentially pro-Iran Iraqi government and Syria as well as Hezbollah Putin has a geopolitical doormat from the troubled separatist states to Russia’s south to Lebanon.

Some arguments have been made about the risks of the American, French or UK strikes killing Russian troops or civilians on the ground in Syria handing Russia free will to attack its enemies. Scroll back to November 2015 when the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter it claimed entered its airspace. Two Russian pilots were killed in the shooting and subsequent rescue. The Russians were incensed but President Erdogan is still in power and Ankara isn’t flailing after seeing its capitol turned into smoldering rubble.

This argument that the Russians weren’t given advance warnings of the attack is ridiculous. Had the Russian defence forces been on proper alert (they most definitely weren’t passed out behind their radar screens after a vodka binge) they would have detected the missile launches. Wind back to the 59 missile launch earlier last year against Syrian chemical facilities. We didn’t hear a peep from Putin. Why now? Of course he is incensed over the booting of diplomats on the nerve agent scandal but this is a showdown of ego.

Think of the long geopolitical chess board here. Should Trump have backed down on Putin’s threats, wouldn’t China’s Xi feel equally empowered to annex Taiwan by telling POTUS that he risks ‘grave reprisals if he meddles with Chinese sovereign territory’?

For all the initial snubbing of Trump by Macron on his historic election win in France, there is no way he would have gone in alone to attack a chemical facility without the guarantee of the military might of America. It is unlikely Theresa May would have done it either. So for all of the ‘unhinged’ lunatic rhetoric bandied about by the media, foreign nations don’t gamble their own sovereignty lightly, especially over something like Syria.

General Mattis has said they plan no further strikes at this stage. Does Putin order his forces to sink a US destroyer in the Mediterranean which launched those missiles? Highly unlikely. He does have the best weapon available to do that (the ‘Sunburn’) but sending US naval vessels to the bottom of the sea on a strategic strike would seem a big response to a targeted hit.

Let there be no mistake. There is a new sheriff in town. Russia has a bloody nose it didn’t think it would find itself. Putin miscalculated that Trump isn’t all Twitter-fueled bluster. Uncertainty in foreign leaders is always a risk for enemies. Trump has shown Putin he won’t be bullied like his predecessor.

Putin doesn’t want a hot war with America. The best way to strike at the US is like the last 6 decades. Undermine her at every opportunity. Supply her enemies. As mentioned before, if the Russians didn’t think it worth hitting back at Turkey for deliberately targeting its fighters, it is unlikely that Putin, no matter how ‘insulted’ he might feel will take a strike not aimed at Russians as a pretext to pick a fight with Trump. Putin has worked out the US president’s measure. He miscalculated. He won’t make that mistake twice.

For the media, running all the scare campaign stories is not only highly irresponsible (as it did over Yemen’s attacks on Saudi Arabia) but proving the lack of depth of analysis. They can beat Trump over the head all they wish but should note the actions of Macron and May following him into the region as a tacit approval of the US leader. Was he the madman they portrayed him as in the first place they would have stayed well out of it.

Watch for Putin’s response (unlikely but will threaten it will come when the evil Americans least expect) and think deeply about why it is important that the real despots (Putin, Xi, KJ-U, Erdogan) around the world no longer have the ability to exercise free will in knowledge that the worst they face is a slap on the wrist from the UN.

Sounds more like grounds for congratulation than censure. 

World on the brink of WW3? Press on the blink more like it

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When you read a title like “world on the brink” it is easy to be misled to thinking this is a Trump/Putin related incident. The fact is the Iranian backed Houthi in Yemen have been lobbing ballistic missiles at Riyadh and staging border skirmishes for years. The Americans have been advising Saudi Arabia where to strike the Houthi in Yemen. This is a decades old fight and since the death (assassination) of former President Saleh last year the Houthi have become even more emboldened than they were during the Arab Spring 8 years ago.

Yet it is so easy to draw conclusions. Did the mainstream media report the sinking of a Saudi naval frigate in the Bab-al-Mandeb strait in Jan 2017 which took the lives of 176 sailors? Has the Israeli shekel collapsed since Trump and Putin exchanged verbal salvos? No. The Tel Aviv indices? No. Surely a relatively liquid financial barometer in a country that has been warned not to intervene by Putin too. Would quickly price in any fears.

The situation over Syria may be tense but if you look at what Putin is really trying to do he is weighing the size of Trump’s guts to call his bluff. We shouldn’t forget when Russia first intervened in Syria several years ago, Putin told Obama that US forces had two hours to get out of harm’s way. That is the warning one would give the Luxembourg armed forces, not the most powerful military in the world. Obama heeded Putin. Putin had carte blanche. That’s why nothing happened with the Ukraine. Sanctions were put in place but no one made any attempt to ‘change behviours.’

It is worth nothing that Syria is Rosoboronexport’s (Russia’s military export wing) 2nd largest customer after Iran. Putin is sick of having the West try to remove his clients. Assad is key to Russia’s foothold in the Middle East. With an essentially pro-Iran Iraqi government and Syria as well as Hezbollah Putin has a geopolitical doormat from the troubled separatist states to Russia’s south to Lebanon.

The problem Putin faces is if Trump yanks his chain, does he shoot US missiles down as threatened? He said they’ll attack launch sites which effectively equals sinking US naval vessels as that is how they are launched. This is perhaps the easiest way to escalate a skirmish out of Putin’s control. If Putin doesn’t do anything, Trump holds one over him. So Putin is hoping by the use of very strong language that Trump backs down. It is not exactly the best way to handle on either side but this is the first time in almost a decade where the US has a leader that won’t be pushed around. Unpredictablity is a strength not a weakness

Looking at history. The NVA was supplied by the Russians during the Vietnam War and the Afghans were supplied by the Americans in the war with Russia. Nothing new. The Russians returned the favour when the “Coalition” deposed Saddam and entered Afghanistan. Proxy wars have been fought for over 50 years.

The US is dispatching a carrier battle group to the Mediterranean. Theresa May is sending a UK submarine. The Russians are conducting military exercises with 11 warships in the same area. Of course scare stories are amock and clickbait media will report how we’re two seconds from a thermonuclear exchange.

It begs the question had Obama suggested to Putin he was bombing Syria, he would be praised for level headed genius. If Trump managed to bomb Syria with no Russian response then would we see the media have a mea culpa moment? Not a chance. It would be palmed off as a lucky break. If we go back in history, we can see good nations that did nothing let tyrants get away with murder. Have a look at Russia and China in the last decade. Man made military bases in territorial waters of other nations, early warning systems on the contested  Spratly’s and agreements in Vanuatu and Sri Lanka which provides naval ports for China. Putin is getting the old ‘union’ back together and there are plenty of willing despots happy to ride his coattails.

Putin is livid at the outcome of the nerve agent scandal seeing the expulsion of so many diplomats. He is not one that likes criticism as many an oligarch has found out the hard way. The question for those that fear what Trump might do should worry more about what will happen if he doesn’t. The downside is that the media likes Putin more than Trump. For a president with a glass jaw, his moves will be far more heavily scrutinized than Putin’s. He’s damned whichever way he turns. Putin on the other hand  willl be excused for being a dictator, whatever he chooses to do. The media will hope it dies down as they turn a blind eye and pillory their own governments for not taking in enough refugees.

Appeasement is an ever widening feature of governments in the West today. There are Neville Chamberlains everywhere. Who will stand up to Putin if Trump doesn’t? Whether Syria is the right battleground is beside the point. Because if it isn’t Syria it will end up being somewhere else.  The problem is only Trump “can” credibly shirt-front the former KGB officer.