Friday, December 09, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
President Dmitry Medvedev says alleged vote fraud in Russian parliamentary elections that led to major protests will be investigated .
Medvedev told reporters Thursday — after meeting Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus — that the law may have been violated during Sunday's vote, because "our electoral law is not ideal."
He called for Russians to remain calm during any inquiry, adding that "experts, not ordinary people" would investigate.
Stalin once famously observed that its not who votes that counts, its who counts the votes. "Experts," my ass.
This statement by Medvedev comes on the heels of, well, almost neo-con-like charges from once and future Russian President Vladimir Putin that the US and in particular, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were fomenting unrest among the populace:
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin strongly criticized U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday, accusing her of encouraging and funding Russians protesting election fraud, and warned of a wider Russian crackdown on dissent.
By describing Russia's parliamentary election as rigged, Putin said Clinton "gave a signal" to his opponents.
"They heard this signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began their active work," Putin said in televised remarks. He said the United States is spending "hundreds of millions" of dollars to influence Russian politics with the aim of weakening a rival nuclear power.
I speak fluent Russopolispeak too, so let me translate: "The sheeple noticed? Holy crap! Who can I blame?"
Let me sum up events for you quickly, to comprehend what happened here: the United Russian party (basically, the former KGB-sponsored political arm) held something like 70 percent of the seats in the Russian Duma after the 2007 elections. After the 2011 elections, the margin was narrowed considerably, and the actual results, discounting any fraud as claimed, may show Putin losing the Duma completely.
Since he planned on running for President in 2012, this would effectively scuttle his presidency, win, lose, or draw.
And so now you understand why there's some resistance to the official results, despite Medvedev's claim that the results are in line with polling done before the election (which you might expect...indeed, it's how closely the results hew to that polling that make me sit up and take notice.)
There is to be a rally in Moscow on Saturday, for which the Moscow police have issued a permit for 300 people. More than 17,000 have pledged on Facebook to attend.
Muscovite officials have said strong police action will be triggered if more than 300 show up. If 17,000 show up, then I would imagine all bets are off.
It will be interesting, over the next few days, to watch the rabid anti-Occupy forces spin trying to reconcile support for what may be violent Russian dissidence while mocking and deriding peaceful, non-violent domestic protests.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Mitt Romney vows to make his "closing argument" for the GOP presidential nomination, including drawing some sharp distinctions with new front-runner Newt Gingrich.
Romney has led or been near the top of national public opinion polls this year, only to lose ground to Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry., Herman Cain and now Gingrich. They have been viewed as more conservative than Romney, who has drawn the ire of some in the GOP for the health care law he signed as Massachusetts governor.
Newtiechoo has taken a pretty commanding lead in Iowa polling, has pulled ahead in New Hampshire and has a strong lead in South Carolina, all states now critical to a Romney victory. Until now, Mittman had been able to rise above the crowd, confining his direct confrontation to the endless debates.
The two combatants find themselves in similar straits, with similar weapons and similar strengths and weaknesses (save for Newtiechoo's immoral behavior all his life.) This creates a distinct problem for Romney since the "Anyone But Romney" vote is almost three times as big as Romney's poll numbers.
Romney's saving grace is that Gingrich has his own baggage as far as the rank-and-file Teabaggers go. For example, his comments on Paul Ryan's "conservative social engineering" healthcare proposal could not have sat well, nor his flip-flop on an individual health insurance mandate. Both seem to support Obamacare. Both seem to support Romneycare. The debate on the far right will be about the lesser of two weasels.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
How did it come to this? The culprits include the internet, labor expenses, and, as with pretty much every problem our country faces now, Congress.
Monday, December 05, 2011
Newt Gingrich drips with disdain for sound-bite politics, but last week he authored perhaps the best bumper sticker of the Republican primary race. “I don’t claim to be the perfect candidate,” he said. “I just claim to be a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anyone else.”
In and of itself, that's a remarkable statement: Gingrich hasn't been on the national political scene since he was forced out as Speaker of the House way back in the Clinton administration. Even President Dumbya was smart enough to stay away from this pudgie toxic waste dump of stoopid.
But when you consider how Gingrich both withered away-- revelations of his demanding a divorce from his wife on what could have been her death-bed, complete with notepad of how to divide the marital assets, his numerous affairs with women clearly out of his league, his tantrum when he was forced to sit in the back of Air Force One on a state visit-- and his intervening years-- making television commercials with both Al Sharpton and Nancy Pelosi, calling out Paul Ryan's budget plan, accepting money from Freddie Mac while deriding them publicly, coming out in favor of a healthcare mandate, to name just a few-- make his "comeback," however temporary it is fated to be, pretty astounding.
It would not be unlike Eliot Spitzer deciding to run for President, and becoming the front-runner by basically making shit up about his past: "Twitter? What's that?"
I'm pretty convinced by now that President Obama and the Democratic party are egging on this "flavor-of-the-month" gallop by the various nags and dodgepots in the horserace to accomplish two things: to force the nomination into Mitt Romney's hands and then to force an insurgency candidacy by (choose your poison.)
Newt is just the current bookmark until the race begins in earnest early next year. The ideal scenario for the Democrats would be a bloody, heated battle between Newt (or whomever) and Mitt that would last well into the spring, exhausting the financial resources of both while tallying up much-needed ammunition for the general campaign.
I know, it's really unfair to hold a candidate to his own words, but what the hey, right?
That Newt believes he is more electable than anyone else running is a black mark on both the Republican party and Newt himself.
Newt's self-image is grossly out of proportion to his actual essence as a cad, liar, and coward. Somehow, tho, he's managed to surround himself with enough desperate people to "yes" him to death. This, I think, explains the mulitude of enticements that have been put in his way. Too, I think his success has come about because he operates at his best in an environment that applauds mediocrity. If Newt was playing tee ball today, he'd get a trpophy for getting the bat off his shoulder, is what I'm saying.
As for the party, that Newt can still be taken seriously as a candidate speaks to the shallowness of the gene pool, which happens when a small but vocal minority of your party has oversized influence. It would be nice to see the Olympia Snowes and Amo Houghtons of the GOP get a chance in the spotlight, but those candidacies would be non-starters, precisely because they want to work to make the country a better place, not pray it does.