Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mr Putin will need to be put in line!

Like someone said, the scales should fall of Europeans´eyes now at the latest, if they haven´t fallen before. Mr Putin is clearly a Hitler-Stalin-Napoleon -hybrid, who will understand only force and military threat at this point. With a serious Napoleon-complex this little man will now stop at nothing. He is also pushed forward with nationalist fervor rising from his view that the great Russian superpower has been pushed to the sidelines after the fall of the Great Soviet Empire. No more, he thinks, now is time to take back all that prestige and power!

Having practised with Georgia annexing few parts of that independent country back in 2008 successfully and with impunity, he won´t stop at Crimea and will not be deterred without military force. NATO will have to stop with military action the Russian forces from penetrating the rest of Ukraine - it will be too late to act if Russia already controls most of Ukraine.

I hope the Europeans and the US have woken up to the reality that Mr Obama´s soft touch will never work here. Mr Putin now understands only force and will only sneer and snigger at sanctions. If NATO has not prepared and mobilised for fast action, it most probably will be late this time next week or the following week. Hopefully, at least Nato´s Secretary General seems to have woken up.

Mr Putin´s strategy here is clearly to move fast before the West realises what really is happening. He and his administration is busy laying the groundwork by steadfastly denying they have any intention to gobble up more of Ukraine than Crimea and hoping the West is still blue-eyed enough to believe them. When the time comes and occupation is a fact, they will simply state that the situation changed rapidly and they had to act quickly to protect ethnic Russian population in Ukraine.

Truth is, that this Mad Conqueror won´t stop with Ukraine. The next countries in line are the ones that were in the sphere of Soviet influence. Putin´s New Russian Empire will force their will either militarily or with blackmail on other countries of their choice. Economic blackmail is also one of Mr Putin´s favourite tools and it will be all the more efficient with military threat looming on the horizon.

In behavioural game theory terms,  this moment in Ukraine is the Game of Chicken. Who will blink first? Putin won´t, not without military action. A grave error on the part of the Western World was to take military threat off the table in this crisis like they did when the world leaders opined, that "there is only political solution to this crisis". You never take your options off the table before you even enter negotiations! That is a child-like error and needs to be corrected soon as at this point in time Putin is convinced that NATO will not act and he can do what he likes with total impunity.

Western World, this is a watershed moment. The Mad Dog of Russia, Mr Putin, will need to be put down like the rabid dog he is. Or at least caged...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Putin will invade Ukraine, it is now a given!

There is no doubt in my mind anymore that the Russians will invade Ukraine. The surest sign of this is Russian foreign minister Lavrov's adamantly today denying any Russian plans of invading Ukraine. The only question is the timing. Will it take place right after Sunday's "referendum" or  later?

Maybe Putin needs a few more days to mobilise an overwhelming occupation force and to produce an excuse to attack. However, they have been busy working for the excuse and that won't take long anymore. My quess would be right after the "referendum", Sunday or Monday at the latest. I sure hope NATO is prepared to stop the Russians and at the same time I fear the USA and Nato haven't taken this seriously enough...

In these articles you will see clearly how the next steps of this process is being orchestrated from Moscow:

My deepest sympathies are with you, Ukrainians! I dearly hope the Western World will not leave you behind when the push comes to shove...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Examples of Russian mentality

Is it the old tradition or just brainwashing by Mr Putin? Either way, these examples illustrate a totally sick mentality...

Example number One:
A scuffle followed - that was when the police intervened to arrest Alexei for violating public order. It was probably just as well, as he could have been seriously beaten. A woman then offered to fabricate a more serious charge against him. "I can testify that he was beating up a child," she suggested, enthusiastically. The policemen decided not to take her up on it.
Example number Two:
Andrei Zubov, a highly respected professor at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations, wrote an article in Vedomosti newspaper comparing a Russian annexation of Crimea to the German Anschluss of Austria in 1938. He was immediately told to resign or face the sack but the threat was retracted after colleagues rushed to his support.
 Example number Three:
The editor of the influential Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Konstantin Remchukov, has meanwhile spoken out against the idea of holding an "illegal" referendum in Crimea. In a radio interview he also criticised, in no uncertain terms, the Russian establishment's apparent readiness to quarrel with the West. As he uttered those words listeners started calling in to brand him a "traitor" and worse.
 Example number Four:
Last week small improvised protests were held in some Russian cities. In St Petersburg, 75-year-old Igor Andreyev was fined 10,000 roubles for holding a banner saying "Peace to the World".In Moscow, hundreds of protesters were detained by police, many of them also later fined, though city authorities have now given permission for a bigger March of Peace, planned for Saturday.
Examples 1-4 can be found in

Example number Five:
Russian TV's role in the current crisis has been crucial because it has been widely watched in Ukraine, especially the mainly Russian-speaking east and south of the country.In Crimea, Russian TV channels have now almost completely replaced Ukrainian ones.Ukraine's media news website Telekrytyka has been at the forefront of efforts to confront what it calls the "manipulation of facts" and "overt lies" disseminated by Russian TV.It pointed to a Rossiya 1 report from 1 March, which appeared to show a gun battle outside a government building in Crimea. "An analysis later showed the video was staged," Telekrytyka said.Reports like this were used to justify Russia's stepping up its military presence in Crimea and supporting the separatist movement there.
Example number Six:
Russian TV has also repeatedly alleged that Ukrainian "extremists" have been harassing and terrorising journalists, though until recently it had provided little actual evidence for this.That is, until pro-Moscow journalist Sergey Rulev told several of Russia's leading TV channels how he had been set upon by a gang of nationalists who had punched and kicked him, and tried to rip out his fingernails. A report on Gazprom-Media's NTVon 6 March even showed YouTube footage of the alleged attack.But, as Ukrainian blogger Pauluskp pointed out, the full video of the incident (which took place on or before 20 February) clearly shows that Rulev was attacked not by nationalists but by ex-President Yanukovych's hired heavies - the so-called titushki.

 More to read and ponder:

    Activists at StopFake, a website set up by Ukrainian journalists to monitor media coverage of the current crisis, have compiled a whole dossier of what they call "distortions and propaganda"
    Highlighting evidence that contradicts Russian media claims of a mass exodus of refugees from Ukraine to escape the violence and chaos there
    Collecting extensive photographic and video evidence that appears to show that parts of Crimea are occupied by Russian troops - something flatly denied by President Vladimir Putin and ignored by Russian TV.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Background motives of Mr Putin

In trying to understand Putin´s motives behind the current skirmish in Ukraine,  it is important to look at the broader picture and understand what are the deeper motives for Putin´s behaviour and actions.

He has been in power for a long period of time and has ruthlessly cleared his path also domestically and even inside the ruling elite in Kremlin. He has placed his confidantes in important places in the bureaucratic machine as well as in the Russian government-controlled business machine. His grip on power is an iron grip and he has masterfully silenced dissent and free speech of which a perfect example is the latest initiative by Putin-controlled parliament of a law criminalising dissent a.k.a wrongful reporting. In other words, if a reporter writes something Mr Putin dislikes, he/she can be conveniently convicted and put away.

If a minor slap on the wrist is deemed adequate, the end result could remind us of Khodorkovsky, Pussy Riot etc. with a few years or decades behind bars. If Mr Putin is most dissatisfied with an individual, the end result could be more final like in the cases of Anna Politkovskaya, Aleksei Litvinenko etc.

I have long ago independently surmised that Vladimir must also have accumulated wealth along with his quest for unrestricted power, but the book "Mafia State" by BBC correspondent Luke Harding nicely corroborates it. I have also long ago realised that he must be afraid of giving up power and possibly facing the same fate he fed to Khodorkovsky. So, Vladimir and his band are facing an enormous problem in the future they are desperately trying to figure out.

I believe Vladimir is not going to be able to successfully resolve this future dilemma. I also believe the Ukraine skirmish is not going to end well for him. If it ends in a humialiating defeat for him, he may yet face a successful Russian Revolution at home absolving him of power. That must be a source of nightmares for this KGB-educated dictator.

This excerpt from Mafia State by Luke Harding sums thing up perfectly (pages 27-28):

"In the dying days of 2007, then, the question of who will succeed Vladimir Putin as the president preoccupies the Kremlin´s twitchy elite. This isn´t just a question of political preferences but of financial - possibly even personal - survival. In theory, any new president can take away the old elite´s assets, just as Putin did with Yeltsin-era oligarchs like Khodorkovsky. Yeltsin was canny enough to strike a deal with Putin, his successor: Putin´s first act as president was to grant Yeltsin and his family immunity from prosecution.
"Once Putin leaves power he will be accused. Inevitably. It´s the great tradition. When Putin quits he faces the question of how to legalise his funds, and all his friend´s funds and assets in the West."
But for Putin, Medvedev´s selection is entirely logical. In an illuminating Wikileaks dispatch, the US deputy assistant secretary of state David Kramer refers to Putin´s "hidden assets", and suggests that they play a crucial part in Russia´s Byzantine succession process.  Citing opposition sources, Kramer repeats the view that Putin won´t stay on as president for an unconstitutional third term. Instead, Kramer writes to Beyrle, Putin is "nervously trying to secure his future immunity from potential law enforcement investigations into his alleged illicit proceeds."

How to handle Pussy Riot in Sochi Olympics the Putin way...

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A perfect example of Putin's way of resolving problems...

This little excerpt from a BBC article sums it up perfectly. This is Putin's way of resolving problems:

It started peacefully. Ukrainians - many of them middle-aged women - waved flags and sang songs to celebrate the birth 200 years ago of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. They see him as the father of the Ukrainian language.But by the end of the rally, pro-Russian demonstrators had turned up to gatecrash the celebrations. A line of young men and Cossacks with whips stood and glared at the rally menacingly - tension rose, and arguments broke out, both sides telling each other that Crimea is "our country".Then it turned nasty, very nasty. The pro-Russians chased a group into a nearby car park. First, they set upon the driver of a white van, smashing his windscreen. He tried to drive through the mob to get away but crashed into another vehicle and was attacked again.Another person was dragged into some bushes, kicked, beaten and lashed with a Cossack's whip.We were threatened, too, by the pro-Russians and ran away before they set upon us as well. It was a terrifying moment, and a glimpse into the abyss that Crimea now teeters over.

The whole article can be read here:

I really hope that this international and national bully and dictator is soon stopped. My belief is that Putin is afraid of West´s economical and political sanctions, but they won´t be enough to drive the Russians out of occupating Crimea.

When Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons, Russia, Great Britain and USA committed to quarantee the security and integrity of Ukraine. If the Brits and the Americans can´t soon stomach putting military threat with concrete actions on the table in addition to economical and political sanctions against Russia I believe Russia will keep occupating Crimea and may also annex it to Russia. My quess is that without concrete military threat the sanctions will not be enough.

Poland, Baltic states etc. know very well that if Russia is let to keep Crimea and perhaps soon also other parts of Eastern Ukraine, other European and Eurasian countries may in the future face forced annexation to the New Soviet Empire. Near future will tell if the West can stand up to Putin with his unquenchable thirst for unrestricted power, political clout and wealth.

This article of a legal analysis of the situation in Ukraine is also well worth a read:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

OS-ishockeyfinalen 3- 0 och Sveamammans småpojkar...

Sveamammans småpojkar gråter...
Efter presskonferensen fortsatte Pär Mårts att prata med de svenska journalisterna.
Han var förbannad över att Sverige fick beskedet två timmar före nedsläpp.
– Det känns som en lek det de håller på med, så här gör man bara inte, säger Mårts.
– Jag tycker att det är ett justitiemord. Nicklas har inte gjort det minsta fel, det är de andra. IOK har bestämt. De ska ta beslutet 36 timmar innan, inte två timmar innan.

Och gråter... sku nån hjälpa torka deras tårar och skicka tillräckligt med krishjälp åt dom stackars...
"Skulle ha spelat största matchen i min karriär”
Erik Karlsson vill sälja silvermedaljen
”Det kommer att ta tid innan jag kommer att kunna reflektera”

... och äntligen någon säger något klokt...
”Någon ljuger”
Mysteriet kring Bäckströms dopningsprov: ”Det är något som inte stämmer”
Både Tre Kronors ledning och Internationella Ishockeyförbundets medicinskt ansvarige Mark Aubry tog "Bäckis" i försvar på den efterföljande presskonferensen.
– Det är ingen dopning utan medicinering, säger landslagschefen Tommy Boustedt.
Men nu reser flera experter frågetecken för svenskens testvärde på 190 mikrogram/liter, 40 mikrogram över den tillåtna gränsen.
Arne Ljungqvist var delaktig i arbetet med att återinföra substansen på Wadas dopningslista igen hösten 2009.
– Eftersom det var kontroversiellt att ta tillbaka den på listan så sattes ett högt gränsvärde, och kommer man över det gränsvärdet så är det ett fall, säger han till Sportbladet.
"Stefan Holm oförstående till Tre Kronors anklagelser
Den svenska landslagsledningen har rasat mot IOK.
Men Stefan Holm, medlem i IOK:s aktiva råd, slår tillbaka.
– Bara för att det är en svensk idrottare som åkt fast riktas konspirationsteorier mot IOK. Det håller inte, säger han."
"Även från svenskt läkarhåll är kritiken hård.
I en inervju med Expressen i dag är han förvånad över Bäckströms testvärden.
Oj. 190, det är riktigt jäkla högt. Han måste ha haft världens klantigaste läkare eller så tog han kanske två eller tre tabletter, säger Ericsson."
"Finns inga ursäkter
Wennerholm: Landslagsledningen har orsakat en av de största skandalerna i svensk idrottshistoria
SOTJI. Nicklas Bäckström åker fast i ett dopningtest i OS och det enda jag hör är ursäkter.
Det jag ville höra?
Att det inte finns några ursäkter.
Att en nation som Sverige klantar till det så fullständigt är helt obegripligt i mina ögon."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Who really are the most fooled by the Republican hypocrisy?

As there are interesting developments in the Arab world with probably Libya's and Bahrain's autocratic governments as next to go, there are also interesting developments in the USA. Developments that once again highlight perfectly the hypocrisy of the Republican - or Repuglican, rather - establishment. If you take at face value what they say instead of thinking and following what they really DO, you really are fooled. And the most fooled are the majority of Republican voters. Why? I'll get to that later...

This round of development has started in Wisconsin with their newly elected Repuglican governor Scott Walker opening the play. He is trying to muscle through a legislative bill that would strip worker unions of most of their bargaining rights and make their existence as difficult as possible. In other words, he's trying to make them disappear. He also demands some cuts to their entitlements and the unions have signaled they are willing to absorb them, but that is something he really doesn't care much. He really wants an end to labor unions.

When he acquired the governorship a few months back the Wisconsin budget was either a little on the surplus side (according to liberals) or seriously on the red (according to Repuglicans). As I did some googling I couldn't really discern the truth. I found out that the official budget two years back put the 2009-2011 budget shortfall at $5.363 billion and the then-governor's plan was to bring it at $245 million in surplus at the end of that budget period. I couldn't find out what the end result looked like. (Edit: Later it turned out that the current two-year budget was balanced, but the long term budget billions in the red, partly due to the economic recession of the last few years. Check the links and excerpts in the end of this article!)

Be it as it may, the governor's first order of business was to give tax breaks to the businesses to the tune of 120-150 million. After that, he sounded the alarm that there was a bugdet crisis! So, according to the Repuglican playbook, there is always room for tax cuts for the businesses and the wealthy. After that the usual move is to cut benefits from the poor and middle class families and make them pay for the shortfall. Pretty much what George W did after he inherited a massive projected government surplus from Clinton. He hammered through massive tax breaks for the rich and for the big businesses and so, in effect, gave them the surplus. He kept other big items out of the official bugdet so that it looked more rosy than the real situation and created massive debts with his wars and such and helped the economic crisis to come about by deregulating as much as possible. Idea here was to benefit certain wealthy interest groups and run the budget to the ground in silence so that the middle class and the poor would have to foot the bill. And when things get a little better economically, do it all over again - skim the cream of the cake for the wealthy through tax breaks etc and therefore create huge debts until the situation once again proves untenable and the taxpayers will have to foot the bill...

This is exactly the same pattern in miniature form in Wisconsin - the Governor either creates a budget crisis or makes it worse and immediately after that he tries to force the average citizen to pay one way or the other. This time, however, he is not only interested in making average citizens to foot the bill, but he also wants to strip labor unions of most of their bargaining power so that in the future they couldn't put up a fight. That way the unions couldn't annoyingly finance the Repuglican opponents in the future and the only campaign financing would be supplied by big business interests for the Repuglican benefit.

That is pretty much the plot in this play and other Repuglican governors are simultaneously doing exactly the same thing. And why am I saying that the majority of the Republican voters are the ones most fooled by this? That is because majority of them are more or less average workers and don't stand to reap in any benefits from the Republican policies that favor bigger earners at the expense of middle and low income earners. According to Pew Center, "Republicans have a median annual family income of $64,000; Democrats have a median annual family income of $46,000, according to a February, 2008 Pew survey".

That means that half of all the Republican households earn less than 64,000 USD every year, making them part of the majority that has to foot the bill. Just like they have to foot the bill for the economic crisis of 2008. Even then they still vote Republican for their own demise. So, either they don't realise that the politicians they vote for work to their detriment instead of for their benefit or they are just ideologically so driven that they don't care if they harm themselves. Either way that makes them the biggest fools in this game. Sad.

I've often wondered why the situation in Finland is not as extreme. The politicians and their tendencies are the same, but still I don't see the same excess here. I am sure there are a myriad of reasons for this, but I see a couple immediately. Here the big business hasn't been able to grab as much influence and is mostly in check compared with the US where they seem to run rampant and are gaining more and more influence each passing year. And the businesses here are not that BIG, so they may not have as vast resources of cash at their disposal. As the other reason I see the versatility and greater competition in our political landscape. In the US, they have in effect only two possibilities, the Democrats and Republicans and therefore limited choices and competition. Here we have three bigger political parties and lots of smaller parties, and soon we seem to have four bigger parties in our political spectrum. You know, like in business world there's monopoly, oligopoly and free competition. China is one-party-monopoly, the US has two-party-oligopoly and the real free competition happens where you have more than two dominant players. So, two-party-oligopoly is apparently only one step better than one-party-system...

Links and excerpts:

New York Times: Wisconsin Power Play

Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau: General Fund Tax Collection Projections
2010-11 General Fund Condition Statement
Based upon the November/December reports, the administration's general fund condition statement for 2010-11 reflects a gross ending balance (June 30, 2011) of $67.4 million and a net balance (after consideration of the $65.0 million required statutory balance) of $2.4 million. Our analysis indicates a general fund gross balance of $121.4 million and a net balance of $56.4 million. This is $54.0 million above that of the administration's reports.

New York Times: Wisconsin May Take an Ax to State Workers’ Benefits and Their Unions
But the plan in Wisconsin, which faces a $137 million shortfall in the current budget and a gap in the billions for the coming cycle, is among the most far-reaching of such proposals to be delivered to lawmakers. Mr. Walker expects swift approval.

Among key provisions of Mr. Walker’s plan: limiting collective bargaining for most state and local government employees to the issue of wages (instead of an array of issues, like health coverage or vacations); requiring government workers to contribute 5.8 percent of their pay to their pensions, much more than now; and requiring state employees to pay at least 12.6 percent of health care premiums (most pay about 6 percent now).
Mr. Walker made several proposals that will weaken not just unions’ ability to bargain contracts, but also their finances and political clout.

His proposal would make it harder for unions to collect dues because the state would stop collecting the money from employee paychecks.

He would further weaken union treasuries by giving members of public-sector unions the right not to pay dues. In an unusual move, he would require secret-ballot votes each year at every public-sector union to determine whether a majority of workers still want to be unionized.

He would require public-employee unions to negotiate new contracts every year, an often lengthy process. And he would limit the raises of state employees and teachers to the consumer price index, unless the public approves higher raises through a referendum.