sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

December 18, 2014

Why Normalization of Relationships With Cuba MAY Be A Good Move

Filed under: politics, Russia — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:05 pm

Russian opposition leader (unlikely to ever be elected to the highest office) Alexey Navalny tweets:

Cuba wrote off its $32 billion debt, and a half a year down the road normalized relations with the US. Once again, Putin outwits everyone.

Why would Putin write off Cuba’s debt?  In July it was said that Russia plans to reopen its Soviet-era spy base on the island.  If that’s not bad enough, now that Russo-US ties are deteriorating rapidly, they might find other use for “The Isle of Freedom”, as it was called in the Soviet days.

And yes, Castro operates a nice little Gulag, and Cuban Americans are aghast.  But the Castro brothers are ailing and Russia, with or without Putin, is capable of threatening our security to far greater extent than Cuba, and they are grinding an axe.  Drawing a wedge between Russia and Cuba is obviously in our interest.

Normalizing relations with Cuba was in the works for a while — it’s one of those things that makes Obamka think he’s historic.  But he could had accidentally done something positive for his country, provided that we insist on the Castros breaking up with Putin.

December 9, 2014

50 Shades of Lena

Filed under: feminism, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:30 am

I wasn’t quite following the campus rape stories that seemed to spring up out of nowhere, and Lena Dunham’s wholly made up date rape was not on my radar until a few days ago.  I’m yet to see an episode of Girls, and I didn’t read the Dunham’s book, but this jumped out at me:

After a month-long investigation that included more than a dozen interviews, a trip to the Oberlin campus, and hours spent poring through the Oberlin College archives, her description of the campus remains the only detail Breitbart News was able to verify in Dunham’s story of being raped by a campus Republican named Barry (here and later the bold is mine, — S).

Barry?  Which Barry?  Two years ago Dunham, as you recall, compared voting for Barack Obama to to loosing her virginity, so her overture to Mr. President is well-documented.  Scratch that.  It’s not your run-of-the-mill overture; she anticipates the rendevouz with a black power figure to be so awesome that all her previous exploits will no longer count.

Somewhere in Hollywood

Dunham’s on-screen character, I hear, once dated a black Republican, which the sitcom creator compared to dating a Nazi:

My personal position is that you should date anyone you want so long as they treat you respectfully and share your value system. So it might be hard for me to date someone who was against gay marriage and abortion rights — I don’t think I would be attracted to them — but I don’t have any personal problem with dating a Republican. I do think that Hannah has this reverse ignorance where she’s like,If they’re Republican, get them out of my airspace, and that was a fun thought to explore.

When most American women wouldn’t date a Nazi because Nazism is a murderous ideology, Dunham claims that she is not attracted to people who have different opinions.  Fair enough… except that she doth protest too much.  Mundane political opinions are hardly titillating, and the mastermind of Sex in The City knock off should sense that.

In Dunham’s world Republicans are a forbidden fruit, and no matter how much she’s secretly attracted to members of this group, she can only fantasize of a sexual encounter taking place under special circumstances.  A Republican’s ethnic minority status can potentially provide a counterbalance to his otherness — all blacks are good, all Republicans are evil.  Or else sex has to be forced. Or both.

I’m curious if there is more examples of Lena hatef***ing The Other out there.  She probably does have some peculiar fantasies of race and power.

UPDATE: Many thanks to Professor Jacobson for linking.

December 8, 2014

A Fitting Tribute

Filed under: politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:03 pm
I’m finding it difficult to stay on top of current events these days.  Eric Garner is old news now, but I’m still on Ferguson.
Let me just say that I’m absolutely in awe of whoever thought of rioting and looting following the non-indictment of officer Wilson.  What a fitting tribute for Mike Brown!  The Gentle Giant who robbed a convenience store and then taunted and assaulted the police officer while resisting arrest, would be proud to know that his death is thus commemorated.  He’d approve of the rioters’ self-serving outrage and boast of their violent exploits. Were he alive, he’d join them; a dead man, he’s the star of the show.  If I were an adviser to the organized community of Ferguson, I’d suggest yearly commemorative Black Friday looting parties.
On Eric Garner, I can quote my darling spousal unit (DSU), who, watching the protests in New York on Fox last night, said about the hipsters involved: “Oh, they are just so outraged about this dead black guy.  Why don’t they just take an acting class and be outraged there?  Same difference.”

November 17, 2014

Former US Intelligence Officer Stares at The Map of Ukraine

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:50 am

Sees nothing.  Who needs maps? (H/t Instapundit):

Far to the east, the newly elected speaker of the Ukrainian rebel regions’ parliament also sounded optimistic about the upcoming legislative session.  “I am certain that we must close the circle,” said Oleg Tsarov. “The civil war that started in Odessa must end in Odessa, as well.” That’s Odessa, Crimea, or Odessa, Russia, depending on how permanent you believe Russia’s annexation of Crimea to be.  But it’s certainly not Odessa, Ukraine, which is what it was in February.

According to his bio blurb, Andrew L. Peek, the author of the article quoted above is

A combat veteran and former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, Andrew L. Peek is a doctoral candidate at The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, where he teaches political theory and strategic studies. He served as strategic advisor to the top U.S. and NATO commander.

Despite all this impressive credentials, Peek is not aware that Odessa is a strategically important port city not on the Crimean peninsula, but in southern Ukraine.  Presumably his editors at Fiscal Times don’t know it either.

Russian-speaking since its founding by Catherine the Great, in the 2oth century Odessa became a vibrant society, birth place of Akhmatova, Chukovsky, Jabotinsky, known for its comedic talent and celebrated in Soviet popular song.  Historically, Odessa was majority Russian, with a huge Jewish minority and, some of the most horrific pogroms notwithstanding, a cosmopolitan bend.  It is now said to be majority ethnic Ukrainian (probably mixed Russian and Ukrainian), but still russophone and Russian-leaning.  A few months ago I reposted a report by British journalist Graham Phillips about a looming street fight between Ukrainian Pravy Sektor and pro-Russian locals on the streets of Odessa.

Odessa region is contiguous to Prednestrovie area of Moldova on which Russia also has designs.  It’s a warm water port and the entry point of Odessa-Brody pipeline to Poland.  It was the most important city in the region historically referred to as Novorussia (yes, it did exist, albeit the name was not in use over the last 100 years, and it was in what is now south Ukraine, not Donbass, the scene of the current civil war).  So Novorussia project is not complete without Odessa.

Ukraine map

The trouble with Peek is not just that he doesn’t know geography, but that he has no clue about the events to which Tsarev is referring.  It should be obvious to anyone who follows Ukrainian politics because the event in question was a turning point in the first stage of Ukrainian insurgency which was both fueled by Russia and genuine.

After the overthrow of Yanukovich and takeover of Crimea, there were attempts to implement “Crimean scenario” across the south-east.  In Donbass, it turned into a full-blown civil war, but elsewhere it was stomped out in a bud.  Organizers were arrested, but, most importantly, the residents of south-east, whatever their political leanings, decided that they don’t want another Odessa.

What exactly happened in Odessa on the second of May this year is hard to decipher.  Reportedly, a 2000-strong pro-Ukrainian rally made up mostly of soccer fans and Pravy Sektor clashed with 300 reported pro-Russian activists (Ukrainians say they were attacked).  After that, the pro-Ukrainian demonstrators turned to the Trade Union building which separatists were occupying.  Teenage girls cheerfully prepared Molotov cocktails that were thrown into the building, setting it on fire and burning dozens.  Several days after the incidents it was discovered that most occupiers, including a 50-year-old cleaning lady, were killed before the fire reached them.  So this look like a conspiracy.  FSB?  SBU? The oligarchs?

And yet, the day after the massacre, and before any kind of investigation took place, Vladimir Nemirovsky, then freshly appointed by the provisional government Odessa governor, took to Facebook.  Nemirovsky wrote that he considers “lawful” the action of “Odessa residents” who “stopped armed terrorists”.  And while the Western pundits are trying to figure out how this all was a false flag operation (because Ukrainian side doesn’t know how to play hardball, apparently), Ukrainian nationalists are still doing their kumbaya and thanking those who “defended Odessa”.

The Burning Trade Union building in Odessa

Peek doesn’t know it yet, but the revolutionary combat euphoria may not last very long.  Check up this update from Ukraine’s upcoming gas-less winter printed by the little Putinist mouthpiece called Reuters:

Conflict between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces in Ukraine’s industrial east has disrupted coal supplies to thermal power plants (TPP), which provide around 40 percent of the country’s electricity, and has left reserves critically low ahead of the cold winter months.

“We have no other option but to turn to the Russian producers and try to buy coal there, but we put the country’s energy security under severe threat,” Prodan said at a government meeting.

Earlier this year the government signed a deal to import 1 million tonnes of coal from South Africa and has already received three deliveries. But the supplier this week discontinued shipments amid allegations within Ukrainian media of irregularities within the deal.

Prodan on Wednesday denied the allegations and said the price struck within the deal was at market levels.

But he said other foreign traders were likely to refuse to work with Ukraine, fearing problems with the implementation of future contracts.

In other words, Ukraine is facing a cold winter and low morale which no arms supply is likely to cure.

November 13, 2014

An Abortion Barbie Is Still A Barbie

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:33 am

Being a uterati Democrat, Wendy Davis was destined to lose her bid for TX governorship.  I’ve read quite a bit about her losing TX women, doing dismally with the married ones, which some interpreted as women voting with their brains, not loins.  I have a bit of a problem with this conclusion.

We women are good at a lot of things.  We are nurturing and not exceedingly stupid (not exceedingly smart either, just average).  But we do come with one unfortunate defect, namely jealousy.

Sarah Palin wasn’t too popular with women either, often to the point of obsession, mainly because she’s a former beauty queen with good-looking, if imperfect, family and, back in 2008, a stellar career.  There is a certain class of women who will be made to feel better about themselves by Hillary Clinton because she’s a miserable wrench, and will vote for her for that reason, but cannot stand the sight of Palin.

And sure, Davis didn’t get the kind of vitriolic press that Palin had to deal with, and I’m sure she’ll be more or less left alone after the election because a) conservative women are busy moms, b) conservative women are more likely to be religious and those are warned in some shape or form that jealousy is a deadly sin and c) liberal women are technically on the same team as Davis.

BUT I is it a surprise that women didn’t vote for a noted gold-digger with a Barbie mug?

Do you see a team player? I see a queen bee

And sure, there are many beautiful women who got elected this time around — Elise Stephanic, Mia Love, Joni Ernst — but they are very different kind of beautiful.  One can almost feel the callouses on their hands by looking at their smiles.  Plus, they were elected by conservatives (see above).

November 4, 2014

Did You Have a Guilt-Free Halloween?

Filed under: Bay Area politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:15 pm

Today I had a party of NO.  I went into the voting booth and voted straight Republican ticket (plus Marshall Tuck) and NO on every proposition on the ballot.

But Friday was Halloween, which went fabulously, except that some schools in our area were encouraging kids to trick-or-treat for UNISEF.  Michelle Obama would be proud: instead of asking for candy, they walked around with orange boxes asking for money.  So nutritious!

Halloween is the Bay Area Christmas, and parties here are a lot of fun.  Some homeowners keep their decorations up for weeks after the holiday.  Unfortunately, instead of instead of congratulating themselves on being so paganized, local liberals can’t help but to be killjoys.  Is it necessary to remind kids that they are brats on a day like Halloween? Can they just have fun without thinking of the Third World?  Just once?

October 29, 2014

How Did Ukraine Do at The Polls Last Sunday?

Ukraine held emergency Parliamentary elections last Sunday.  How did Ukrainians do?

1. Nazis parties defeated, annihilated each other or outlived their usefulness?

I recently posted about Ukrainian Nazizoid Iryna Farion quoting Hitler and calling for war with Russia.  Neither Farion nor her party, Svoboda, did well at the polls.  They were a fixture of Ukrainian politics for over a decade, with Svoboda as a dominant party in the historic Galicia region two years ago, but this time  they didn’t make the 5% mark to be represented in Rada, or the Ukrainian parliament.

The case of Farion is particularly instructive — in her electoral district she lost to both Lvov mayor’s Self-Help Party and the Radical Party.  Self-Help advocates, among other things, NATO membership, and so do the Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the president Poroshenko.  So, for those interested in being in opposition to Russia, there are politicians who can stand for it, and do so without the baggage of all these disparaging things said about American actresses.  Besides, Ukrainians can hardly handle the war in Donbass, so the talk about them turning Russia into dust can be a bit overwhelming.  Let the US figure it out.

World War 2 revisionism, the staples of Svoboda ideology, are perfectly mainstream politics in this country of 45 million. Take for instance, the proclamation issued by president Poroshenko a few days ago on the occasion of liberation of Ukraine from Nazis:

The destiny of the world was decided here, on our soil.  Nearly half of strategic defensive and offensive operations were conducted at the hight of global confrontation were conducted on Ukrainian territory.  Over 60% of Wehrmacht land forces were defeated here.  More than 9 million Ukrainian-born soldiers stood up to fight the enemy in the ranks of the Red Army.  Millions more fought the Nazis and their allies in the ranks of UPA, the ranks of Soviet partisan formations, Polish Army, American, Australian, British, Canadian armies and as French, Yugoslavian and Slovenian resistance. (Emphasis mine, — EoTS)

One problem: UPA and its parent Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, OUN, *were* Nazi allies.  OUN stages pogroms in Lviv and surrounding areas on the eve of the Nazi advent.  True, OUN and Hitler had a little falling out when their leader Stepan Bandera declared himself Ukraine’s dictator, but Germany wanted to rule the country without his help.  The Germans had Bandera arrested and confined in a VIP concentration camp, releasing the Ukrainian fascist only at the end of the war, to fight the advancing Red Army.

In the meantime the members of Bandera’s organization joined the ranks of the SS, served in the Nazis’ deadly police forces, served as concentration camp guards, murdered at Babiy Yar, etc.  After German defeat in Stalingrad they went underground and declared themselves to be against Hitler.  This was a part of their reasonably successful effort to sell themselves to the Allies as a national-liberation movement.  During their UPA underground period, Ukrainian Nazis continued haunting down surviving Jews and used Jewish slaver labor in their own concentration camps.  UPA also slaughtered hundreds of thousands ethnic Poles in Volynya and Galicia. A few dozen Germans were killed by friendly fire.

Post-USSR, Ukrainians try to find something both positive and non-Soviet around which to imagine their country.  Some think of Hitler as a liberator, but that’s a hard sell outside the extreme west.  So the fairytale about Ukrainians fighting both Hitler and Stalin had to be invented.  Trouble is, in WW2 Ukrainians fought for either the Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, and any attempt to imagine their nation based on transparent lies will backfire — I hope.

The new session of Rada will likely be opened by Yuri Shukhevich, the son of UPA commander Roman Shukhevich.  This is not going to go well in Poland, for instance.  Shuhkevich, who was elected on the ticket of Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party, already opined that Ukraine has to stretch into the Caucuses.  Lyashko commanded over 8% of the vote in this spring’s Presidential election, and Radical Party commanded 7.4% a half a year later.  At the same time Svoboda gathered 4.7% of the vote, and Pravy Sektor, which is not much of a political party — 1.8%.  All three parties add up to more than 10%.

2. The dormant South-East.

This map of the turn out in the last week’s election corresponds perfectly with the ethno-linguistic maps of Ukraine and the maps of the previous elections results. And that’s after #euromaidan, Crimea annexation, the Lenin downs and considering that Ukraine is a country of joiners — but that’s a different topic

The overall turnout in the election was 52%, meeting the 50% benchmark necessary for the election to be valid.  However, across the South-East it was more than 1o points lower than average and sometimes half of the vote in the western regions.  Even then, Opposition Party, the renamed and embattled Party of Regions, earned nearly 10% of popular vote, remaining the dominant party in the east.  In Kharkov, where Opposition won every party ticket, an elderly lady was seen kissing the hand of the city’s Party of Regions mayor.  One can see how by slightly depressing the overall turn out or encouraging the South-East to turn out en mass, very different election results (or non-results) can be achieved.

Tzar, the little farther, who, for some inexplicable reason is Jewish

3. On the nepotism front, Poroshenko’s 29-year-old son was elected to Rada.

In other words, Ukraine is still Ukraine… minus Crimea… minus gas… and plus the coming default.

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