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Whistling Past the Graveyard

March 19th, 2014 - 11:19 pm

Michael Crowley at Time asks a rhetorical question: “Could the crisis in Crimea spoil Barack Obama’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran?” He answers it himself: “No.” First, Crowley notes the Russians have threatened to do precisely that: strike back against the sanctions imposed on them by messing up the Iran talks:

On Wednesday, a senior Russian diplomat suggested as much. Emerging from talks with five other powers and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov seemed to warn that Moscow might grow less cooperative in the effort to halt Iran’s march towards a bomb.

“We wouldn’t like to use these [Iran nuclear] talks as an element of the game of raising the stakes” between Russia and the West, Ryabkov said, according to the Interfax news agency. “But if they force us into that, we will take retaliatory measures here as well.”

Then, Crowley concludes that the Russians are bluffing. They wouldn’t dare test Obama, for two reasons:

The good news for Obama is that Russia probably won’t derail an Iran deal. A nuclear Iran isn’t in Russia’s interest. Neither is a potential U.S. military action to prevent it if diplomacy fails. … Reason one is that a nuclear Iran would be bad for Russia as well as America. … Reason two is that the failure of diplomacy with Iran would likely lead to the thing Putin hates most: American-led military action.

The third reason Crowley adduces is that someone in the Obama administration told him that it wouldn’t be in Russia’s interest to link the Iran talks with the crisis in Ukraine:

For those reasons, a senior administration official speaking earlier this month discounted concerns that Russia might undermine the Iran nuclear talks: “When you look at an issue like Iran, we don’t believe that Russia has participated in the [international negotiation] process as some kind of favor to the United States or as some vehicle of improving relationships with us. I think it’s because Russia, like every other world power at the table, has an interest in nonproliferation and not seeing an escalation into conflict in the Persian Gulf.”

The administration would say that, wouldn’t they? What else could they say? That their diplomatic house of cards in Europe, the Middle East, and probably Asia has come tumbling down? Because it sure looks that way. And as for the happy talk, there comes a point in every disaster when despair takes the form of excessive optimism; when people act as if the rescuing cavalry were right over the hill, because if they weren’t then all would be lost.

Just now, the Syrians boasted that they’re not even going to consider Obama’s demand for Assad’s departure because they’ve got Moscow in their corner. The rebels have got Obama and Assad has got Putin, and they think that’s enough said:

The Syrian regime sees no point in further peace talks in Geneva if the opposition and its Western backers keep insisting that President Bashar al-Assad relinquish power, the deputy foreign minister said.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Faisal al Mekdad indicated his regime had the backing of longtime ally Russia in its stance on the Geneva talks. The stalled negotiations are one of the major Middle East initiatives now clouded by uncertainty as a standoff escalates between Russia and the U.S. over Moscow’s plan to annex Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. The bitter fallout has raised doubts about the viability of recent U.S.-Russian diplomatic cooperation on Syria.

“The issue of [Assad] relinquishing power is now behind us and this is a flagrant interference in Syria’s internal affairs,” Mr. Mekdad said from his office at the Foreign Ministry in Damascus. “This is completely finished and we are not ready to discuss it at all, at all.”

The Syrian defiance could be no plainer. The question Mr. Crowley should ask the “senior administration official” is: why, if Russia is willing to scupper the talks with Syria, should Iran be so sacrosanct?

Russia didn’t mind testing Obama in Europe. Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said: “Prime Minister has warned that Russia will try to further provoke tensions in eastern and southern Ukraine after moving this week to annex the breakaway Crimean peninsula.”

Russia didn’t mind provoking Kiev into possible nuclear rearmament. The Wall Street Journal notes that Russia’s invasion is likely to push the Ukraine to nuke up. So why should they care if Iran gets the bomb?

This story goes back to the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia’s nuclear arsenal was spread among the former Soviet republics that had become independent nations. Ukraine had some 1,800 nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, air-launched cruise missiles and bombers. Only Russia and the U.S. had more at the time, and Ukraine’s arsenal was both modern and highly survivable in the event of a first strike.

The U.S. was rightly concerned that these warheads could end up in the wrong hands, and the Clinton Administration made controlling them a foreign-policy priority. The result was the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances in which Ukraine agreed to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and return its nuclear arsenal to Russia in exchange for security “assurances” by Russia, the U.S. and United Kingdom. Those included promises to respect Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty within its existing borders, as well as refraining from threatening or using force against Ukraine.

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have blasted Russia for its clear violation of the Budapest accord, but those U.S. and U.K. assurances have been exposed as meaningless. That lesson isn’t lost on Ukraine, but it also won’t be lost on the rest of the world.

Had Kiev kept its weapons rather than giving them up in return for parchment promises, would Vladimir Putin have been so quick to invade Crimea two weeks ago? It’s impossible to know, but it’s likely it would have at least given him more pause.

Ukraine’s fate is likely to make the world’s nuclear rogues, such as Iran and North Korea, even less likely to give up their nuclear facilities or weapons. As important, it is likely to make nonnuclear powers and even close U.S. allies wonder if they can still rely on America’s security guarantees.

The last phrase in the paragraph above can be understood as: “Close U.S. allies wonder if they can still rely on Obama’s security guarantees.”

Russia didn’t mind provoking NATO. The Washington Post writes that NATO is in shock:

President Vladi­mir Putin has ignored every gauntlet the United States and its European allies have laid down. The challenge now facing the Obama administration is whether any measures it is prepared to take can deter Russia from moving beyond Crimea into the rest of Ukraine.

Indeed, the very credibility of NATO has been called into question:

Some experts think the West’s image of invincibility and its ability to stand up for its friends may already have been damaged.

“You can’t say, ‘Don’t do something’ and then have no consequences for doing it,” said a former senior national security official in the Obama administration, who described the current international climate as a “horrible environment for miscalculation.”

Obama dispatched Vice President Biden this week to calm anxious allies in Eastern Europe, where Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Tuesday that the Ukrainian situation “is a challenge to the whole world. It is not just Poland, but all of Europe must speak in a strong voice.”

Rasmussen — who flew to Washington on Tuesday for a brief overnight visit that included dinner with Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser — said that it was “now quite obvious that [NATO] can’t take stability for granted” in Europe.

Can anyone say why, having done all that, they should even mind linking Iran to the current crisis in Ukraine? Yet in the midst of this, the administration has the effrontery to claim that  they can discount “concerns that Russia might undermine the Iran nuclear talks.”

It’s like they are living on another planet.

Putin is acting in a very unstable way. Perhaps even in an insane way. Even the Europeans are running scared. And in the middle of this, where is Washington? The Syrians, who just a year ago were fighting for their lives, are confidently spitting in the president’s face. Despite all this, the administration is leaking to the press like it is business as usual. Just another news cycle, just another day at the office.

Today, Samantha Power called the Russians a well-deserved cuss name, and the Russian UN ambassador told her to shut up. The diplomatic niceties are fraying at the edges. But what the incident proves is that this time things might be different:

U.S. ambassador Samantha Power warned Russia that, two days after the Obama administration and other countries imposed sanctions on Russia, the U.S. and its allies “are prepared to take additional steps if Russian aggression or Russian provocations continue.”

She also compared Russia’s takeover of Crimea to theft. “A thief can steal property, but that does not confer the right of ownership on the thief,” she said.

The Russian ambassador shot back: “It is simply unacceptable to listen to these insults addressed to our country.”

He added, “If the delegation of the United States of America expects our cooperation in the security council on other issues, then Power must understand this quite clearly.” By then, Power had left the meeting to her deputy.

Churkin did not elaborate. The United States and Russia are the key players in efforts to establish peace talks in Syria, and also are involved in talks over Iran’s nuclear programme.

Time magazine is channeling the thoughts of the Obama administration. Cornered, in denial, and raving. The thought processes on display can only charitably be described as delusional. We need some sanity now that Putin is acting up, but Captain Queeg has taken the wheel. The Democratic Party leaders had better talk to him and steady him down, or the world ain’t seen nothing yet.

The litmus test of president Obama’s commitment is whether he is willing to reverse the tradeoffs he made to America’s strength in order to pursue his domestic redistributional agenda. The clearest signal he can give is taking every step to boost American and world oil and gas production and by so doing, eventually beggar Putin. To do this, he must take on powerful Democratic Party interest groups.

But if he’s unwilling to take on the Sierra Club, then no one will believe he is willing to take on Putin.

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Top Rated Comments   
First rule of war, don't start one unless you fully intend to dominate your opponent. Our military might has never been more lethal but our military WILL has never been weaker. We gave up in North Korea, and that has been a thorn in our sides ever since. We fought Vietnam to lose it, never committing the full of our might against the heart of the Communist forces. We decimated Sadam's forces in Kuwait but allowed him to remain in power, until we had to go back in at a much higher cost of lives and treasure. When we did go back, we made a run to Baghdad, allowing enemy combatants to stream past us into our backfield to rearm, regroup and confound our efforts in bringing peace to the commoners (saw this first hand). We waged that war like a game of capture the flag. Had we gone in heavy and hard and BROKEN THE WILL of the Iraqis, we would be in the midst of handing over a better nation and people would speak of our military in whispers for fear of summoning our wrath. Respect can't be conferred, it can only be earned. Respect for our lethality and, if used judiciously, respect for our humanity.

Military action should be used sparingly and only as a last result. But when war is required, go all in or don't go at all. This feckless half-hearted flexing of military might will only result in a much bloodier, world war. WWIII may be unavoidable at this point.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Declining Poltroon versus the Rising Bluff, or the Tale of Two Grifters.

Both Obama and Putin are criminals who sense a weakness and press to steal everything that they can pry loose. Both enable cronies at the cost of weakening the political and legal moral fabric of society. The difference is that Putin even if wrong does not despise the Russian nation but is more destructive of the international community he uses to extract benefits from. Obama extracts benefits for himself and his cronies from his domestic host and largely ignores the international community. He mostly causes harm outside of America in a negative sense through neglect. The only active policies that Obama pursues to cause harm outside of America are his hostility to the United Kingdom and Israel and his general sympathy for Shi'a Islam.

Is Putin bluffing in response to American weakness? Just how powerful is Russia and what would the Correlation of Forces (to use the old Soviet doctrine that includes more that physical military assets) be if the United States had not unilaterally disarmed? Russia was almost completely bereft of power or influence when Putin first came on stage.

They have since rebuilt some of their military and regained considerable influence. Thanks to legacy influence from decades of KGB penetration and manipulation of Western society, hydrocarbon assets and a policy of ruthless misconduct their wealth and influence have increased. Corruption gullibility and cowardice among influential people in positions of authority in the West have aided this. The career of Gerhard Schröder is illustrative.

Still Russia remains weak and the problem is largely one of willing suicidal decline among her victims. If the West reversed course and defied Putin by regaining strength, both in terms of military strength and of moral power, that is strength of purpose, then Putin would deflate.

When all the propaganda is stripped off what does Putin have? Demography is against him. His crony fascist regime is not strengthening the Russian social and economic system but exploiting it. Except for the Computer Crime and Petrochemical industries the Russian economy is not growing. Domestically Putinomics is not that different from Obamanomics, except that different groups benefit. That is a little unfair to Putin, he is as or even more destructive of the rule of law and is less racist while being hostile to homosexuals, but is less opposed to small businesses and entrepreneurs in principal.

The Russian military while no longer shrinking is not the colossus of the past. Putin has a handful of first line divisions and modern ships or airplanes. The remainders from the Soviet past are mostly a burden now, to costly to scrap. While he has some good special forces and some well trained junior officers the quality of the enlisted remains generally poor. If Nato actually mobilized and moved troops into the Baltics and Poland, and if Poland moved two divisions into Ukraine, then Putin would implode. It probably won't happen but that is not a matter of capability but of corruption and moral paralysis in the West.

Subotai Bahadur does an excellent job reviewing China's instability and the danger of aggression in the Far East. India Japan Oz and the Tigers should be forging an alliance now.

For the past 20 years the Islamists the Chinese and the Russians have been enabling each other to carve advantages out of the West. Soon thieves will fall out.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
>>>“could the crisis in Crimea spoil Barack Obama’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran?” <<<

I agree that the answer is "no", but for a different reason. The only interpretation that makes sense when looking at Obama's Iran policy, is that he fully intends that Iran get nuclear weapons. And he probably intends that they use them on Israel, who is the most consistent target of the regime's ire.

As far as the rest of what passes for a foreign policy; there is a military acronym: FUBAR Bravo Easy. We are in for an unavoidable series of international embarrassments, some of which will involve not only losing face, but also losing other body parts.

I am guessing that by the end of next month, Russia will have the whole Ukraine, albeit perhaps in a couple of bites. The Baltic countries will be next, but the order is in doubt. Being in NATO will not avail them, because NATO has neither the will nor the means of fighting. And everyone knows it.

Joe Biden went to Poland to try to reassure them. In Poland, they are now telling Joe Biden jokes.

I would draw some attention to the Far East. From what I am hearing, China is having a major commercial credit bubble popping; kind of like our collapse that got Buraq Hussein in office. Except larger and with a lot more of the residents of Zhongnanhai involved all throughout their extended families.

The lower and middle classes are the ones going to be wiped out. Which causes more social stress than those said residents like. So they need a distraction. Since the only place in the world where we are not getting pantsed and our butts kicked actively is the Far East ...... wait for it.

Japan is said to be able to measure the distance to a nuclear deterrent in turns of a wrench. If I could I would give them both a standard and metric socket set. And recommend that the Philippines, Taiwan, and South Korea work in the shop with them.

Subotai Bahadur
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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I apologize for disagreeing with so many folks here, but I see all this somewhat differently.

Putin essentially had Ukraine in back in the Russian orbit when Yanukovych won election. Unfortunately for Putin Yanukovych was too stupid to keep power.

So Putin had to seize the Crimea directly, which led to a long list of other consequences, most of them bad for Russia.

Hey, he's got the Crimea, whee. But he's lost most of the rest of the Ukraine, absent armed invasion.

Which he may do. But other consequences follow have already followed, including renewed hostility from the Zeropean Union and a revived interest in the United States in a strong defense.

I'm old enough, barely, to remember the Carter presidency. I recall that the hollow military was an active enough topic that I heard about it, and I was a child.

The slow motion collapse of American military power since the end of the Cold War has occurred without much public notice.

Perhaps the public has noticed now, and perhaps that's why the sight of Russia occupying territory that had been part of Russia for centuries seems so shocking to so many people.

I'm not shocked. As far as I'm concerned Putin can enjoy his victory lap, and perhaps award himself a medal or two.

But more interesting to me is that Europe has suddenly discovered an interest in American natural gas exports, instead of happily relying on Russia.

Bad for Russia long term, I think.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All apologies for the wall of text --but dammit this POV is important, and clearly there are several folks on this thread who are seeing this situation clearly, and could use the plethora of hyperlinks imbedded in the original of the here-quoted excerpts, at


Is the Ukraine Crisis a Provocation?

Commentary for 17 March 2014

“There exists a widespread body of opinion that describes anti-Communism as an obsession of people who are not able to think in ‘sensible’ and ‘realistic’ categories,” wrote Josef Mackiewicz in The Triumph of Provocation; “they are, as it were, affected by an incurable disease, and it is therefore a waste of time to treat them. We can only dismiss them with a shrug of the shoulders.” And so, after the fall of the Soviet Union, there was no ground left for the anti-Communist to stand upon. His last foothold was destroyed. The Soviet Union was gone.

But was it really?

What if the Soviet Union continued to exist after 1991, hidden behind the façade of Russia’s “new” democracy? What if Russia and Ukraine are now working a “scissors strategy” against the West? Half the government officials in Ukraine are Soviet in character. This is well known! Half were educated in KGB schools or other hardcore Communist institutions (according to Boris Chykulay’s research). Is it possible they are no longer taking orders from Moscow? Whatever people in positions of responsibility in Ukraine may pretend, they all have a gun to their head, and they’ve always known it. And now the whole world sees the gun, cocked and ready to fire.

The analyst scratches his head. How are we to understand a conflict between Russia and Ukraine?


...we see the Russians sending loaded bombers into the Arctic. We see the mobilization of political support from around the world. One has to ask: Are we dealing with a timetable here?
The mainstream pundits are shocked that the Cold War has restarted; meanwhile some of us concluded long ago that the Cold War never ended. The Soviet Communists continue to rule, using their KGB “sword and shield” from the shadows. They continue to support Communists abroad. After 1991 Moscow fueled the Communist military effort in Angola (against Jonas Savimbi) which won final victory in 2002. Even now the Russians continue to support the Angolan Communists (see, Surfing Russia’s Military Cooperation With Angola). Moscow also continues to support Communist Cuba’s takeover of Venezuela, and has helped to build up Nicaraguan military power (see, Russia plans to add military bases in Nicaragua, Venezuela, other countries). Then there is Russia’s alliance with Communist China (See Why a Russia-India-China alliance is an idea whose time has come.) Russia has been supporting the Communist cause in Africa, South America and Asia ever since 1991 without anyone in the West raising so much as a peep. So why are they doing it? Is it because they gave up Communism in 1991?

That would be funny, if true – and completely absurd.

As it happens, we are not dealing with the Russian Federation. No, no, no, no. This so-called Russian Federation is a façade behind which the Communist Party Soviet Union can win the confidence of its enemies – all the better to arrange their destruction.

... (ellipse)

The hapless counter-revolutionaries in America, facing the prospects of a domestic Communist imposition, have no idea what they are dealing with. Even if they know Putin is a dictator, they can hardly be expected to grasp the Communist trap into which they have all fallen.

So Russia has invaded Crimea? So Russia is loading 30 nuclear bombers in Voronezh? So Russia is positioning forces in Belarus? So Russia is uniting with China, India, Iran, North Korea, Vietnam, Venezuela, Nicaragua, South Africa, Angola, Congo, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador? What do you suppose it all means?

One clenched fist is what it means. The Communists are pulling together their forces, pushing for dominance in the open, knowing that the West is too weak to offer serious resistance.

Do we imagine that Communism’s faked death – this 22-year deception – was for laughs? Do we expect a naked Communist to pop out of a cake and say, “Ha, ha, we were Communist all along! Wasn’t our deception amazing?” Or does the deception end more realistically, with a drawn gun or a missile barrage? It is time, as well, to bring down the Western financial system, crash the U.S. dollar, crash the Western markets. Will Russian and Chinese gold be used to break Western paper currencies? We are already hearing about the supposed collapse of China’s “shadow banking system” as the Chinese premier publicly warns that we must prepare for “a wave of bankruptcies.” Are we starting to see the forest for the trees here?

As I wrote to a friend this past week, it is too soon to say anything wise about Ukraine. The politics of the country is mired in the Byzantine jockeying for power of a Soviet republic when one set of minion
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
buddy larsen
All apologies for the wall of text --but dammit this POV is important,

The threads are moving quickly these days so I don't know if you'll see this, but of course that POV, and others, are important and your efforts to keep reminding folks of these are laudable and useful.

Unfortunately, despite the remarkable assemblage of intellect and knowledge present on BC (along with occasionally a tad too much self-congratulatory preening, unfortunately), there are always going to be certain topics that "the consensus" considers not worthy of examination. ;-)

You can't fight City Hall, and you certainly can't change human nature. Intellect and erudition will always be just as subject to cognitive blinders as are stupidity and ignorance, perhaps more so because they're "so aware" and they know it. ;-)

All we can do is fight the good fight as best we can, with a smile on our face and a song in our hearts, and trust in our Faith that the Angel still rides in the Whirlwind!
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
PS, wanted to offer, that imho JR Nyquist and Wretchard the Cat have --insofar as their writings concern, an awful lot in common. Given the world situation, as it happens, the word 'awful' as used is alas often an awful lot closer to formal meaning than the slang.

So here's some detail on access: the website addy at the top of my previous comment is new since the first of the year. Author says expect a Sunday evening column to appear every, er, Sunday evening.

His archive is preserved at his previous site,

It's a long archive, running back to 2001. Several columns per month, almost invariably the same form --short, 5 minute reads, built around links to original sources, many of which are canonical treatments of the place where philosophy, psychology, religion, politics, and history meet. Others are interviews of and with dissidents and emigres from the eastern bloc, folks whose testimony ehould have had press coverage --and that is a grand understatement --in the West.

Examples of critical pieces are too numerous to list --well not really --i may list his 'best, IMHO' someday --it's closer to say that they are all critical in one or another way. The problem is like picking the 'best Wretchard' would be.

However, there is one page, from the segue of 2008 into 2009, that offers some real knowing, on the one page, without having to skip among the many pages. Take an hour some slow evening and read what's on

...commencing with "When Fortune Turns Against Us" and ending with "The Danger is Not Fully Appreciated".

--and thanks for reading --

49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another you might want to check out and/orbookmark is Ion Mihai Pacepa who, "believe it or not", has his own column right here on PJMedia.

I still get a chuckle when I remember his description of how, when he was a General in charge of Romanian State Security before his defection, they used to host Yasser Arafat when he would meet with his Soviet contacts.

Arafat, being a closet homosexual, used to "enjoy" his strapping young bodyguards in his luxurious private quarters between meetings, and of course the Romanians videotaped all of it. Arafat's favorite role play was to pretend he was a lion and he would roar like Tony the Tiger while he dominated his yelping submissive catamites. Too bad those tapes never made it public!

Nowadays, Pacepa limits his PJMedia commentary to explaining the dangers of socialism in an astounding variety of ways you'll never see in the MSM.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kagamusha... the clown has fallen off of the warlord's horse. Tokugawa and Nobunaga are probing Shingen's outer defenses.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
If he gets to keep Crimea, he has won. Ukraine will do anything he wants knowing if it doesn't it will be overtaken - the West has shown it won't do anything.
Ditto for other surrounding countries.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Chris McLaughlin of Inmarsat with Megyn Kelly

"We are absolutely certain we were seeing the readings from this particular aircraft." (1:23)

"But the 'handset', just like your mobile phone, stayed on and stayed being polled on average once every hour by the network to see if it wanted service or not" (2:36)

But she never asks him to supply all the other hourly ping-arcs. He says they supplied the data to the plane's avionics supplier first (unnamed).


49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why not look like Megyn, MP?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Have you seen her asking O'Reilly what she is supposed to do at their joint appearance at C W Post college? He told her she is going to explain how she got her prime time slot on Fox News.

1) She's pretty.
2) She looked good in her cheesecake pictures.
3) She has always shown lots of leg, setting the bar high enough for Kimberly Guilfoyle of The Five that she prominently displays her CFM shoes.
4) She worked as a law clerk (AKA a part of the royalty of the courts). Have you noticed how she sometimes tells us, "I'm a lawyer"? So is Harvey Levin of TMZ, who is old enough to say that with a sense of irony. She is part of an upscale news for LIVs.
5) She also has been known to say, "I'm not good at math."

So she is part of the problem. Dumbing down the news to get ratings. Style over substance. Of course, I may be biased. Chet Huntley was a cousin of mine. You can see Huntley Creek feeding into Holmes Bay if you zoom close enough on the Machias Bay chart.

Megyn Kelly is no Chet Huntley (and vice versa).
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Chet Huntley's final sign off.

Today's music video Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Second Movement
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
--well, yes, but DO try this one:

49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I lied, I just can't do it...

Where's my Switched on Bach when I need it?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks for that, first time I've listened to the Beet through to the end.

...remains a bit tedious.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's one of the reasons Barenboim's youtubes are so popular --the cameras moving among the players filming closeups of the actual making of the music by the makers --lend a visual to the audio, which should be thru headphones and plenty loud. Then if you read the wikis and other web essays on the pieces themselves while you listen, another whole world begins to open up --the 18th century alive, among much else.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All the way to the end includes Movement 4 and the Ode to Joy
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
If only Chet had given Bach his due.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Doug, indulge me here. It's the least you can do now that you've ruined my internet handle even worser than PJM already did.

Watch this, it's only 7 minutes & change:

then watch the Katie Derham interview with Barenboim, in the first few minutes of this:

Then, if the time commitment is too heavy, skip after Derham concludes, straight to the finale, Movement 4 and the choral, here:

This performance adds English subtitles translated from Schiller's poem, which B put to music for the choir in the finale to his final symphony.

Throughout it all, it's the expression in the peoples' faces that describe what it is about the West that makes it worth saving.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
--i think i'm gonna re-register as "Doug" and start posting knock-knock jokes
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Claiming that Michelle Robinson was somehow disadvantaged is laughable. Her father was a well-paid employee of the Chicago Water Department, who doubled as a ward heeler in the notorious Chicago political machine. In no way was her upbringing deprived. Michelle also enjoyed access to Princeton and Harvard Universities, prizes that elude students of high academic achievement. The laughably poor quality of the work visible in her graduation thesis from Princeton suggests strongly that she received preferential treatment.

The Chinese officials Mrs. Obama will meet understand the importance of political connections (guanxi in Chinese) and also of propaganda. They will no doubt be too polite to giggle at her pose as a victim, but one wonders if they will scoff at her masquerade."
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This 'Empress' certainly DOES have lots of clothes.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
She always looks like she's walkin' over plowed ground, doesn't she?

Spoiled rotten racist hag. (Hey, didn't Sheila Jackson Leigh, the woman who thought we'd landed astronauts on Mars, go to Yale? yep, and "graduated," too. She also said recently that we've been operating under the Constitution for "400 years.")
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah, 400 years of slavery. Sheila Jackson Leigh ancestors probably picked cotton and didn't do the master's accounting. She is still working for her former masters doing the work of the Democrat Party. Once a slave always a slave.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All of this could have been avoided.
We should have picked our own cotton!
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson

A thesis
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
uddy arsen...

A quote from the thesis:

the staff at the Alumni Records Office assisted the study by
selecting every fourth name on a mailing list of approxi-
mately 1200 names until 400 names were collected.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
--well, why can't 'approximately 1200' be 1600?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks, excellent article :)

I love that "Whistling Past the Graveyard" metaphor. It is just *so* appropriate for the current situation.

I will say, though, that Putin's behavior is entirely rational from the point of view of the history of military strategy. I would almost say his strategy is standard and elementary. The Russians are good strategists, whatever their other faults may be.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Michael Totten has an interesting take on the situation in Ukraine.

If his analysis is correct, it would behoove Moldova and Ukraine to adjust their mutual boundary to the Dniester River. Moldova would gain Bujak, which was part of Romania before 1939. Moldova would also give up “Transdnistria”, which would become Ukrainian territory. The boundary transfer would make a union of Moldova and Romania possible – what Moldova would lose in sovereignty would be more than made up for in greater strategic depth for a “Greater Romania”.

Ukraine would also gain a major advantage from acquiring Transdnistria – Ukraine would be able to besiege Russian forces who are far away from their lines of supply. And deny Bujak to Moscow.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The government in Kiev has a choice – it can argue in favor of Ukrainian sovereignty or it can act in a manner designed to deny Russia control over as much Ukrainian territory as it can. If Crimea can vote to join Russia, what is keeping Lviv – or Kiev – from voting to join Poland?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment

One intriguing difference between Left and Right is how each is organized. Right wingers tend to be amorphous and non-hierarchical, and they tend to create new institutions as they see fit. Once any institution gets conquered by the Left, right wingers tend to withdraw and create a new institution. In contrast, left wingers seek to conquer existing halls of power rather than create their own sources of power. Within the Left, the class structure seems to be stratified and commands get sent from top down. Rival factions seek to seize the Left's commanding heights, but once those heights are taken by a faction, that faction becomes the new orthodoxy.

Imagine, for the sake of argument, that somebody – or some faction – mysteriously seized control over the commanding heights of the Left. That faction would be ideologically opposed to the present definition of the “Left” and have a belief system closer to what people nowadays might call “conservatism”. If the Left changed its ideology to what you believe, would that be an improvement? Or is the problem with the Left not ideology at all but rather something deeper? Is the Left's real problem that it is bossy and seeks to lecture the rest of the world, and not actually what it believes?

Put another way, the Kos kids may stop chanting “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad” and start chanting “Four Legs Good, Two Legs Better”. How much of what is wrong with the Left comes from its belief system and how much of what is wrong with the Left comes from a hierarchical structure which presumes that only certain people have a moral right to say what is or is not moral?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Power and money -- and power -- are the Left's drug of choice. That, and hatred of the West, Christendom, and America. This trumps any alleged concerns for race-gender-homosexual-, heck, human rights. Note how fast they made absolute pets of the moslems, kicking aside any alleged concern for their horrible treatment of women and girls.

Folks, you need to hear this: Mark Levin had Walid Shoebat on earlier this week, and Shoebat reported that there are human slaughterhouses being operated by the Syrian rebels.

In which they are: beheading and torturing Christians, and dissident Muslims; carving their heads and limbs; pouring their blood out as "a sacrifice to allah," and hanging their bodies upside-down on meat hooks like slaughtered sheep -- hence the name "human slaughterhouses." AND they are practicing cannibalism as well. A disease that Only occurs in conjunction with cannibalism has appeared among these moslem monsters.

How many of you have heard the Lickspittle Media mention that the Syrian rebels that Obama & Co. backs are practicing human sacrifice and cannibalism???
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Agree on those Belson/Dachau level stories out of Syria. Of course they are suppressed by the government of thieves, as well as the liar media. In any case the left began as a reaction to the USA, in the french revolution. The problem is the french revolution emphasized egalitarianism and atheism instead of God and the Rule of Law. So it has always been an atheist movement. It has always been a leveling movement. Marx just took the ideas of the Paris commune and popularized them along with a myth of some idealized future world in which all humans are perfected by means of government imposed shriving, and a pseudo-economic theory based on the idea that before the first cavemen worked for themselves and their betterment, they worked for a wage.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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