sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

May 19, 2016

Clearly We Need A Dictator

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:20 pm

Robert Kagan frets about fascism coming to America:

The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.

But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.

I don’t know about the “historic role” bit, but the cult of personality is definitely there.  As is always the case with the strongman types, what the fans find charismatic is highly subjective.  Was Hitler not a bloviating idiot with a funny mustache?  Is Putin’s bare chest something to laugh about?  Is our short-fingered vulgarian too bloated and pasty?

Graceful!

Are Americans too bloated?  Yes.  Good news, there is always time to slim down.  Take the example of North Korea, the world’s number one thinnest nation:

Don’t mention it to the exalted leader Kim Jong-un, but his people are literally starving. They’re poor (earning an average of only $2-30 per month), their every move is monitored and controlled, and the government constantly mismanages the economy by buying weapons for a hypothetical war it is obsessed with, but would never win. North Korean food, to its credit, is relatively healthy (and includes dishes like rice, noodles, corn porridge, kimchi, soybean sausage, and bulgogi), so that deserves part of the credit for the population’s shockingly-low 4.4 percent overweight/obesity rate. Yet an even bigger factor is the ongoing famine, which caused the deaths of as many as 3.5 million citizens in the last 20 years.

I suspect the bulk of the 4.4% overweight/obesity population of the Hermit Kingdom hails from the nomenklatura class:

While malnutrition is widespread in North Korea, the restaurant scene in Pyongyang is thriving. It is never a problem to find a really good meal if you can afford it – and you know where to look. The newer, semi-private eateries tend to keep a low-profile, and often have their windows covered with heavy curtains. The signboards are also small, if not absent, so outsiders would have few clues of the luxury inside.[…]

All these pleasures might appear cheap for a visiting foreigner, but for the average North Korean restaurants are prohibitively expensive. A dinner in a regular upmarket restaurant would cost about $7-10 (excluding alcohol), but the most expensive places charge around $30-40. To appreciate how out of reach this is, remember that the average monthly salary of a university professor in North Korea is about 80 cents. In most cases, the consumers pay in foreign currency, usually Chinese yuan, which has long been a currency of choice in the up-market North Korean shops.

While Mr. Dpumpf lacks the trim physique, so does Baby Kim, and Putin’s been getting bloated lately.  Yet They are not us, and as a country we can stand to lose some weight.  It’s good for us.  Michelle Obama said so.

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January 26, 2016

No Really

Filed under: politics, Russia — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:58 am

Vladimir Putin invites Jews back to Russia:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called on European Jews who are facing anti-Semitism to move to Russia.

In a meeting with members of the European Jewish Congress, held in the Kremlin, Putin heard from congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor about the rise in anti-Semitism in Western Europe.

“They can come here,” Putin said to Kantor. “During the Soviet era Jews would leave, but now they can come back.”

Giggling ensured.  According to the 2014 ADL survey, 30% of the residents of Russian Federation are hardcore anti-Semites.  The number, while way above the regional low of just 13% for Czech Republic, is, on the other hand, way below the regional high of 45% of Poland and slightly below the regional average.  I’m not sure what the 30% figure tells us about the attitudes of ethnic Russians because the country has a relatively high percentage of ethnic minorities and those may have different opinions on this subject.  Both Ukraine and Belarus, on the other hand, are 38% anti-Semitic, so if I had to guess, the “titular nation” of the Russian Federation, as they like to call themselves, are probably similarly predisposed.

I first heard about Putin’s invitation on twitter where it was posted by a Kremlin journalist.  Although he was trying to sell it as a positive development, the reactions among his countrymen were far less than enthusiastic:

rusantisemitism1

“Russia is not Israel!!!” -Opined the individual whose handle name reads Antifascist. “Let them go to their motherland”.

rusantisemitism3

“Let them go to their shitty  israel” another user echoed this sentiment.  “That’s their promised land”.

rusantisemitism2

Everything according to Torah and Talmud! Divide and rule. “One Slav kill another, but we will live well.”

russianantisemitism4

“Patriot Wolf” who describes himself as “patriot… not putinoid” explained that “anti-Semitism is a normal reaction of non-Jews to actions of Yid-Hebews”

To be sure some expressed different sentiments: “Good tactical move! Amnesty of capitals, return of Jews – will bring their capitals! Throughly stubborn and hardworking nation!”  In Russia, just like in other European countries, Jews are considered a separate nation.  Still, I’ll take the compliment.

For all of his complains about “color revolutions”, Putin is a master of getting into domestic politics of EU nations and exploiting ethnic tensions.  Here he aims to score a point with Jews at the expense of the West.

The overwhelming majority of Jews left Russia in the 1990’s.  The intermarriage rate among the remaining 150,000 (albeit the number depends on how one defines a Jew) is about 80%.  Many of the remaining Jews think of themselves as Russians first.  Others, having background in humanities — writers, journalists, etc., have calculated that they will be unable to find jobs abroad.  For about 20 years, Jewish immigration subsided, then picking up again around the time of the failed protest movement of 2011.

Most Russian Jews are secular and (small l) liberal.  They held on to the dream of transforming Russia into a normal Western country.  About four-five years ago they, along with much of the Russian intelligentsia, saw the writing on the wall and started packing.  I’m not sure it has anything to do with anti-Semitism which over the last decades remained a sad constant in Russian life.

And by the way, I thought about putting “normal Western country” in the paragraph above in quotation marks, but out of cultural sensitivity to the Russian intelligentsia, did not.

A minority of Russian Jews are religious.  They see Putin in more traditional terms, as a protector, and write opuses like this one citing the strongman’s personal biographic connections to Jews.  Some credit the autocrat with protecting them from pogroms, but if we take Ukraine and Belarus as a control group, we see that these two eastern Slavic nations didn’t stage large-scale pogroms either.  So maybe the pogroms weren’t going to happen this time around, in part because it’s hard to have a good one with so few Yids left.

On the other hand, the Kremlin did rule out Jews as scapegoats in 2013, when homosexuals took the place traditionally reserved for us.  The current favorite target, however, are the liberals, and by liberals many “patriotically”-oriented Russians understand Jews.  There is a kind of one-drop rule for that: if a liberal in question can be shown to have a Jewish ancestor, or if he’s married to a Jew, he will be deemed a Yid.  And sure enough, many in Russia’s capital where, in the Soviet days, Jews were the largest minority group after Ukrainians, have a Jewish granny.  That they are baptized Russian Orthodox may not matter so long as they believe in free speech or free markets.

A few days ago Chechen warlord turned Moscow’s figurehead Ramzan Kadyrov fumed in best Stalinist traditions:

After calling Vladimir Putin’s foes “enemies of the people,” and after the speaker of his rubber-stamp legislature called liberal media outlets like Ekho Moskvy and Dozhd TV “traitors” and a “fifth column,” Kadyrov upped the ante with an article in the pro-Kremlin daily Izvestia calling Russia’s opposition “jackals” and suggesting they be placed in a psychiatric hospital in Chechnya.

“I promise not to skimp on the injections,” Kadyrov wrote. “In cases where one injection is prescribed, we will double the dosage.”

So, even if Putin, credit where credit is due, has a working relationship with Israel and is reasonably committed to protecting his Jews, I’d worry about the autocrat who will come after him.

That the normal Western countries Russian liberals yearn for might not exist much longer is another matter.

And here I want to introduce the story of my cousin.  She was born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.  After the breakdown of the Soviet Union the city was getting a bit creepy: my cousin was telling me that in certain neighborhoods women in pants would get rocks thrown at them.  My relatives decided to leave, settling in Boston, MA, of all places.  Twenty five years later Muslim refugees from the Russian Federation blew up an international sporting event there while the utterly corrupt Uzbekistan is considered a model moderate Islamic nation.

The Russian dissident news network TVRain recently reported about the outstanding job the former Soviet “republic” of Tajikistan is doing in curtailing Islamic radicalism. There, cops shave men’s beards, women have their hijabs forcefully removed, private mosques are banned, and functioning mosques have to have their sermons approved by a religious affairs committee.

Meantime the Leader of the Free Worlds imports hundreds of thousands of poorly vetted migrants from majority anti-Semitic countries and signs one executive order after another.  It is hard not to worry about the future of freedom and the future of world Jewry.

July 6, 2015

Gay Marriage As Foreign Policy Weapon

Filed under: politics, Ukraine — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:10 pm

When in November 2013 I first started following the events in Ukraine, I noticed that Maidan supporters were reassuring their reluctant countrymen that no, Eurointegration doesn’t equal gayification.  “Look at Georgia,” they said. “They broke off with Moscow, but when local homosexuals tried to stage a Pride Parade in Tbilisi, it was attacked by vigilante patriots”.  They were referring to the failed Pride attempt in Georgia’s capitol earlier that year.

A few months later President Yanukovich fled to Russia and a new government was established.  That government, lauded in English-language media as “pro-Western”, is ostensibly eager to establish Ukraine’s European credentials.  What better way to do it than to show tolerance towards sexual minorities?

Unfortunately for the new Ukrainian leadership, they are ruling a country where attitudes towards gays are not very different from Russia’s.  My readers recall that a few years ago the latter caught a lot of grief, deservingly, for it’s anti-gay anti-free speech laws.  Putin became quite a bogeyman for both the Left and the Right, and in 2014 The Advocate even made him villain of the year.  Not sure why, because, as heinous as the new Russian laws are, they are no match for sharia-sanctioned homophobia.

Can we please go easy on Hitler comparisons?

So, naturally, when the Kiev protests made headlines, the Right sided with the protesters because of Putin’s authoritarian expansion, and the Left sided with the protesters because of Russia’s homophobic sentiment.  Lets set aside the small issue of Ukraine’s own history of totalitarianism and look at homophobia.

In June 2013 the country’s first LGBT “Equality March” ended without an incident, but last year’s Pride was canceled out of security considerations. When in October 2014 promoters attempted to show a gay-themed film in Ukrainian capital, the theater, oldest in the city, was set on fire.  Perpetrators were never found, but homophobes are naturally suspect.

This year Kiev decided to hold the LGBT parade, albeit to make things interesting Ukrainian military command announced that draft papers will be served to participants during the march. (See my previous post on draft dodging in Ukraine). Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of “far right” Right Sektor, the group instrumental in bringing down Yanukovich little more than a year ago, threatened to call up troupes from Azov Battalion stationed in east Ukraine to prevent Pride Parade from happening. If one has any questions about the nature of that military organization, take a look at one of their pictures below. The flag in the middle reads Azov in Cyrillic. Can’t say I like them holding that NATO flag.

Which Azov Battalion? Why, this one!

The LGBT march did take place June 6 in a Kiev suburb, a location held in secret until the very start, and it lasted about a half an hour.  300 modestly dressed participants marched 500 meters before being stopped by police when dozens of the Right Sektor men hurled petards.  Skirmishes between the Right Sector and residents of the neighborhood also took place.  Several policemen were wounded (out of hundreds deployed) and tens of people were arrested.  It should be noted that the Kiev police chief is also a Nazi.

Since Ukraine did get the pictures of rainbow flags in Western media outlets, the march can be considered a success.

This brings us to gay flags being flown by US embassies and John Kerry making LGBTBBQ issues a US foreign policy priority.  Ukraine today is a moribund state kept together by IMF loans co-signed by the United States, but all they could produce for our viewing pleasure is 30 minutes of a gay pride.  Can’t say I’m impressed.

I am very much in favor of gay marriage for ISIS; in fact, I think we should force them to adopt it.  Unfortunately, the only places where we have leverage with this issue are the ones who depend on us, and ISIS doesn’t.  As for the basketcase called Ukraine, it should really have other priorities.

March 16, 2015

Crime Mysteries of Eastern Europe

Filed under: politics, Russia, Ukraine — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 2:23 pm

It’s not just who killed Nemtsov, which, as we all know, has to be Putin, but nobody can prove it.

1.  Where or where was the chief suspect?  Was he recuperating from the common cold?  Or bonding with his newborn son?  Such a sentimental sovereign…

Both death and palace coup scenarios were thrown around.  I heard some Ukrainian nationalists were already having second thoughts about wishing death of their nemesis — because who’s going to come in his place?

Another possibility is that the strongman wanted the world to note his absence:

He might be not quite Ivan the Terrible, but he is a master manipulator.  My guess is that he wanted the world to pay attention to the saber-rattling which he put on upon his reemergence.

2. Putin is believed to be annihilating his critics at the rate of about one man a year.  A reptilian in charge of a country with major baggage, Vlad knows he’s being watched; plus he doesn’t quite have the will to go full-on gullag.  Even before Stalin assumed the duties of General Secretary in 1922, he already had a great many massacres under his belt.  Putin has now been in charge for a full 15 years, and while he successfully thwarted whatever moves towards democracy Russia had made in previous decade, his reign pales in comparison to that of his Bolshevik predecessor’s.

But what about Ukraine?  Their SBU (Slavic acronym for Служба безопастноти Украины) is former KGB, and their oligarchs perfected the art of the hostile takeover.  In the last month and a half a suicide epidemic swept the former Party of Regions functionaries.  Three days ago BBC reported:

Oleksandr Peklushenko, former head of Zaporizhzhya, suffered a gunshot wound to the neck and authorities said initial inquiries pointed to suicide.

A member of Ukraine’s Party of the Regions, he was being investigated over the dispersal of protesters last year.

Five other officials also died in mysterious circumstances this year.

All of them supposedly took their own lives in the past six weeks

  • Stanislav Melnyk, 53, an ex-MP was found shot dead in his bathroom on 9 March
  • Mykhaylo Chechetov, former party deputy chairman, died after apparently jumping from a window in his 17th-floor flat on 28 February; he had been accused of abuse of office and fraud
  • Serhiy Valter, a mayor in the south-eastern city of Melitopol, was found hanged on 25 February; he too had been accused of abuse of office
  • Oleksandr Bordyuh, a former police deputy chief in Melitopol linked to Mr Valter, was found dead at his home on 26 February
  • Oleksiy Kolesnyk, ex-head of Kharkiv’s regional government was found hanged on 29 January

An interior ministry source told Interfax Ukraine news agency Mr Peklushenko, 60, had committed suicide in the village of Sonyachne, near Zaporizhzhya city.

However officials said other theories were being investigated including murder.

Since then an opposition party prosecutor in the Southern port city of Odessa jumped out of the window.  I suppose at some point the panic will set in and a great exodus of PoR officials to Russian Federation will commence.

Although this wave of suicides is a new phenomenon, in March last year, Sashko Bily, aka Alexander Muzychko, an Ukrainian militant with a Neo-Nazi background and experience fighting for Chechnya against Russia in the 1990’s, died under mysterious circumstances in the Western Ukrainian city of Rivne. Bily was an ardent Maidan activist who generated a great deal of unwanted attention immediately after his comrades’ victory in Kiev when videos of him threatening local Rivne officials were posted on youtube.  According to the official version, this veteran Ukrainian fighter shot himself.  Two or three times.  Ukrainian interior ministry closed the case, but Pravy Sektor demanded further investigation.

Then there is the case of Kharkov mayor Gennady Kernes who survived assassination attempt in May 2014.  Although, like much of the rest of Ukrainian political elite, Kernes shifted his loyalties multiple times throughout his carrier, he was a lifelong member of Yanukovish’s Party of Regions.  During the winter riots of 2013-2014 he is widely believed to had organized anti-Maidan activities and anti-Maidan street thugs.  After the overthrow he appeared to be sincerely outraged and believed that Russia will take eastern Ukraine under its wing.  After the assassination attempt he started signing a different tune.

Gennady Kernes (middle) speaking at a meeting shortly after the overthrow of Yanukovich.  Quite a few Ukrainians despise Putin for not sending in the tanks

I’m sure Ukrainian investigators have their hands full even without this suicide epidemic.  My parents recently wanted to send some money to friends in Kharkov, which seemed like a good deal with hryvnya, the Ukrainian currency going through the floor.  Turns out, this is not an easy task because money wired to Ukraine is known to not reach its destination.

3. Crimea referendum.  Putin recently admitted that the decision to annex Crimea was made in the Kremlin, not on the streets of Yalta or Simpheropol.  If the poll was conducted in a totally bogus manner, the results probably reflect the genuine sentiment of Crimeans.  A Gallup survey of Ukrainians conducted in April last year showed the population of the peninsula looking forward to being Russian.  British journalist Shaun Walker recently visited the region.  He  reports:

[A]ll memory of the region’s Ukrainian past is being erased, and a harsh crackdown on voices of dissent is under way.

But at the same time, Russia’s police, judicial and civil servant corpus on the peninsula is almost entirely made up of those who used to serve Ukraine.

[…]

“Perhaps a few dozen top leaders have come in, but everywhere else, the structures which were Ukrainian before simply became Russian,” said Ilmi Umerov, who was the head of Bakhchisarai region before resigning in September because he did not want to work with the Russian authorities.

“In my region about 80% of the Ukrainian soldiers joined the Russian army, about 90% of the prosecutors’ office have gone over, and 100% of the SBU [security services] and police. I don’t know a single case of anyone from the SBU not going over to the FSB.”

Walker concludes that the ease with which Russia assumed control of the peninsula points to a lack of resistance and is perhaps indicative of loyalties of the Crimean population.

Crackdown on dissent in Ukraine is not going so smoothly.  Looks like the revolutionaries will have to break some eggs.

January 30, 2015

Where Putin Doesn’t Go (And More About WW2 Ukraine)

When the Cold War was coming to a close, it became customary for both the West and the Eastern block to note how similar we are — we wear blue jeans, fall in love with attractive people, our youths are charmingly decadent — and so on.  Too bad we no longer feel this kinship because similarities still abound.  For instance, the Presidents of our two countries didn’t show up for both the Paris Unity March following Charlie Hebdo terror attack and the ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Unlike our own Leader of the Free World, Putin, who had been run out of Europe, now avoids uncomfortable situations like that G20 summit in Brisbane.  So he sent foreign minister Sergei Lavrov to the Paris Unity March, and Lavrov was put in a back row, while jovial Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko marched in the front.  I guess Poroshenko is now an indispensable in our war against Islamism.

At some point, probably around the time of Pussy Riot affair, Russians decided that a state’s proper functions extend to the protection of subjects’ religious feelings, no matter how shallow they run.  According to a recently released poll, while only a small minority of Russians justifies the terrorists, a majority blame either the cartoonists themselves for provoking the attack or the government for allowing freedom of expression.  So when he ditched the March, Putin didn’t exactly let his countrymen down.

I don’t think he let them down when he skipped the Auschwitz ceremony either.  The Soviet Army liberated the camp seventy years ago, but Putin, who was not personally invited by the Poles, the nation entrusted with preserving the memory of the Holocaust for reasons of geography.  The Russian strongman opted for a Holocaust Remembrance Day in Moscow.  As a descendant of people who worked and fought for the World War Two victory on the Soviet side, I’d rather see him swallow his pride and go to Poland, but I have a feeling that most Russians support their leadership in their decision to stay put, and had those who died liberating the camp been alive, they’d get Putin’s position too.

In the week before the observance Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna produced another triumph of Western diplomacy:

In a radio interview Wednesday, Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna was challenged over what the journalist called the “pettiness” of not inviting Putin, given that he is the inheritor of the Soviet Union and that the Red Army freed Auschwitz.

Schetyna replied that “maybe it’s better to say … that the First Ukrainian Front and Ukrainians liberated (Auschwitz), because Ukrainian soldiers were there, on that January day, and they opened the gates of the camp and they liberated the camp.”

Which gave Mr. Lavrov an opening to lecture the world about Soviet internationalism:

“It’s common knowledge that Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, in which all nationalities heroically served,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “We believe that the mockery of history needs to be stopped.”

The group of forces involved in the liberation of Auschwitz was called the First Ukrainian Front after it pushed the Nazis back across the territory of then-Soviet Ukraine before moving into Poland.

It should be noted, that the war was more or less a stalemate until Soviets pushed back into Ukraine and began conscripting men from the newly liberated lands.  This, however, is Soviet Ukrainian history, the one that New Ukraine turned its back on last year.  In fact Ukraine now celebrates Defender of Fatherland Day once known as Soviet Army Day, on the anniversary of establishment by the Nazi Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist of Ukrainian Insurgent Army.  As I’ve said before, Ukraine has some soul-searching to do, and they have to come up with something better than unfolding of the Ukrainian flag at Auschwitz. Was it in honor of the victims or the guards, by the way?

The man who opened the gates of the concentration camp is said to be major Anatoliy Shapiro.  Goosebumps.  He was a Jew born in a town near Poltava in the Russian Empire’s Pale of Settlement, now Ukraine.  Shapiro, who died in 2005 in Long Island, New York, didn’t learn about the Holocaust until he immigrated to the United States in 1992.  Shortly before his death Shapiro recalled Auschwitz liberation in an interview to Jerusalem Post:

“When I saw the people, it was skin and bones. They had no shoes, and it was freezing. They couldn’t even turn their heads, they stood like dead people.

“I told them, ‘The Russian army liberates you!’ They couldn’t understand. A few who could touched our arms and said, ‘Is it true? Is it real?'”

As a commanding officer, his task was to direct his men. Half his battalion, originally 900 men, had died in battle. But nothing they had endured had prepared them for what they found inside Auschwitz.

His men pleaded with him to let them leave.

“The general told me, ‘Have the soldiers go from barrack to barrack. Let them see what happened to the people,'” he says.

Although this is not how he tells the story, I would expect him to have said “the Soviet Army liberates you”. Anyhow, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatsenyuk out-clowned himself proclaiming that Ukrainian soldiers from western cities of Lvov and Zhitomir liberated Auschwitz.  Looking on the positive side, Russians and Ukrainians actually talk about the Holocaust in the post-Soviet days.

Everyone is wrong about everything.  The monument on the grave of Anatoliy Shapiro's lists his multiple honors, including the title of Hero of Ukraine.  On top is the title of his book, Sinister marathon, written in Russian

Everyone is wrong about everything. The monument on the grave of Anatoliy Shapiro’s lists his multiple honors, including Hero of Ukraine. On top is the Russian title of his book, Sinister marathon

The kind of gal I am, I’d rather have the West remember the Holocaust as the ultimate evil and stand strong against Islamic expansion.  Russia is an autocracy, no question about it, and yet it’s also our natural ally against Islamism.  Unified pro-Western democratic Ukraine is a pipe dream, but if Russia crumbles, which appears to be our goal as far as I can decipher, Islamists are certain to make gains in Central Asia, the Caucuses and arguably Crimea.

Incidentally, the First Ukrainian Front, composed primarily of ethnic Russians, was marched to Prague after the fall of Berlin.  My high school math teacher, a Jew, was a part of that operation, but that’s a whole other story.

Update: many thanks to Mad Jewess for linking.  Read her timely update on escalation of the conflict between NATO and Russia.

June 20, 2013

Gossip

Filed under: fashion, politics, Russia — Tags: , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:44 am

I know progress when I see it.  With our Progressive President appointing a hard core anti-Semite to UN ambassadorship, the US has caught up with the rest of the world.  Meanwhile, I’m getting referrals for “Samantha Power negligee“.

Prospective US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power photographed in negligee (nighty, nightgown, lingerie, undergarment, unmentionables — but not without a bra).  This woman has more class than Madonna.  A far more attractive face of American anti-Semitism than, say, Alice Walker

I hear that the young lady described in media reports as Michael Jackson’s “daughter” attempted suicide a few weeks ago.  At some point the unfortunate minor lived in the sprawling mansion of the late pop sensation; she bears his surname and she has some sort of claim to his wealth.  But we all know that she is not nor has ever been Michael Jackson’s daughter.  The drug-addled celebrity arranged some sort of guardianship of several children, but merely because certain individuals have custody of minors doesn’t make them a mommy or a daddy (or even parent 1 and parent 2).

The most exiting current gossip item is Mooochelle feeling upstaged by the Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan.  The Western media has been fawning over the “glamorous”, “elegant” and “dazzling” Chinese entry on the First Lady circuit to such an extent that Michelle refused to attend the recent two-day Chinese American summit in California.  The better half of the international has-been claimed that she needs to be with her daughters at the end of academic year, and the Chicoms did not buy the excuse.

How bad could that little summit be?  Mobama already paraded her get ups alongside the Spanish and British royalty and Carla Bruni in the latter’s fresh-faced days.  Speaking of fresh-faced, unlike Bruni, Michelle grows cheeks with uncharacteristic caution.  In fashion, she’s all about excess, but her plastic surgery options are pretty restrained.  And speaking of cheeks, there is Putin.

This particular Russian strongman is going the way of Gaddafi — at least as far as the facial features are concerned.  Do all men with the penchant for being photographed bare-chested on a horse fill their mugs with celluloid in anticipation of a “civilized” divorce?  Or just the ones who out “armies” of shirt-ripping models on their payroll?

What must be really intimidating about Ms. Peng is not that she is easy on the eyes or dresses smartly, but that, being a soprano, she has a real skill.  How would you feel about an obviously talented counterpart if you were an affirmative action baby?

Some in the West are trying to make sense out of Ms. Peng’s talents.  NY Mag, for instance, deemed her “campy” and “opera-singing”, which is a bit of wishful thinking.  No doubt Peng is perfectly capable of executing an aria, but she isn’t known for performing Puccini; her domain is state-sponsored cheesiness.  I bet my pinkie the commie diva will get a homage from many faithful impersonators in the upcoming Pride parades, but no, she herself is not camp, camp being an ironic and gay Western aesthetic.  The patriotic songs she hums mandate sincerity, and I don’t sens an iota of ironic detachment in any of her acts.  Peng Liyuan was deemed earnest enough to be trusted to perform for the troops in the aftermath of the Tiananmen massacre.  Does the Chinese public find any irony in the First Lady’s musical numbers?  Consider the following reaction of a [presumably] Chinese American listener:

I asked the Cut’s resident Chinese speaker Diana Tsui to translate. “It’s just about how great China is,” she said after listening to the first one. “I’m in your heart, you’re in my heart. Sons and daughters of China.” I could watch this stuff all day long.

Curious reaction.  Six minutes of this video nearly triggered gag reflex in this blogger:

In New York the boa trimming Peng’s dress would be camp.  Scary thing is, Peng is absolutely sincere about that feather boa.  And the boa is not the scariest thing about the lady.

Everything about this video is dehumanizing.  There are the dancers whose faces never merit a close up and who move in near-perfect synchronicity, but without any passion (Soviet ballerinas, trained in Romantic tradition, combined technical excellence with passion, and the ones I know scorn Chinese ballet. It’s mere acrobatics, they say.)  I particularly deplore the sight of the audiences that rises on Peng’s cue and sings along.  (And to think that such obedience can be mastered without sophisticated surveillance technology — no wonder Ms. O is jealous!)  Camp is not my cup of tea, and I’m a bit tired of irony in general, but I’ll take camp over Tiananmen pop any time.

As far as offstage fashion is concerned, Peng didn’t seem to do any horrible errors, which is really all we ask from political women.  No lingerie, please, and for God’s sake, no dadaism.  Yeah, she wore a Pierrot a few times, but her outbreaks of poor taste are confined to stage.

I’d feel better about this get-up if it actually was camp

Compare it to Moochelle in her pre-celluloid days.  Yep, this is our down-to-Earth First Lady prior to the face jobs:

Michelle circa 2008 piles on fashion faux pas — or whatever those adorments around her neck are called. Also the boob belt

The wife of the Leader of the Free World should feel intimidated by a Chicom propaganda tool, no matter how pretty or polished.  Not if she, FLOTUS, is proud of what her country stands — or once stood — for.  If anything she should feel sorry for somebody like Peng, a woman gifted with a great singing voice who wastes her talents.  An individual brought up in the free world has to convince himself that Peng’s art is some sort of elaborate parody in order to even begin to enjoy it.

October 29, 2012

Desperate College Girls

Filed under: politics, Russia — Tags: , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:28 pm

A few days ago I noted the eery resemblance between Putin’s party “Lets Do It Together” ad and Obama for America girls’ “do it in the voting booth” tees.  And now, in a desperate attempt to court them ladyparts, O released an ad starring somebody by the name of Lena Dunham comparing voting for a 50-year-old man with big ears to losing your virginity, which by some strange coincidence happened to be a remake of another Putin ad.  Behold:

The 26-year-old Lena had a chance to pull the lever for O[h-oh-oh] in 08, during his virgin Presidential election because raving about the 2012 early voting is like bragging about attending a Woodstock anniversary concert.  However, 08 shouldn’t be her “first time” either unless she missed the chance to vote for the guy who wed a ketchup heiress, which is hard to imagine considering her hard left tendencies.  Lying about her “first time”… tisk-tisk-tisk.

On Legal Insurrection we find an Aussie “first time” commercial, and learned that Ronald Reagan once joked about voting Republican for the first time.  I’m sure we can find more obscure instances if we dig deep enough, but how many of them obsess about virgin voting for a specific man?  It was Putin’s campaign that got a good deal of attention in the English-speaking world just a few months ago, not some obscure Australian politician recording that looks like a public service announcement. Plus, Dunham chirps about the voting booth curtains, which sounds like something from “Lets Do It Together” electoral orgasm.

Putin voting booth girl

She’ll probably be more flexible after the election

Towards the end of his vacuous 2012 campaign jump-started by “Putin’s Army” of shirt-ripping alleged co-eds, the Russian strongman issued at least three virgin ads.  The most famous one had a virgin discuss her “first time” with a psychic before heading to the polling place.  In the other two we watch virgins consult a doctor and a shrink.

I couldn’t find the ad with psychoanalyst, but the reference to it is here.  And speaking of psychoanalysis, wasn’t O[h-oh-oh]’s mom’s maiden name Dunham?  Then we learn that whereas Obama virgin ad are cool and all, and, according to The Atlantic at least, only “old white men” can find a fault with it, Putin virgin ads were “creepy”.  Go figure.

Putin’s virgins were looking for a man who’d make them feel safe “like behind the brick wall”, but O[h-oh-oh]’s virgin is looking for a man who’d make her safe with regulations like The Lilly Ledbetter Act.  (Lilly Ledbetter, is that her real name?)  Also, Putin ‘s quaint virgin was convinced that the first time has to be “for love”, after which anything goes, presumably.  O[h-oh-oh]’s virgin wants “a great guy… who cares”.  She must be looking for an Earth-shattering experience… or not.

From Mitt Romney's high school yearbook

Etch-a-Sketch forever: Mitt Romney met his future wife in high school.  Don’t give up on love!

Even though Russian women outnumber their male compatriots by a greater percentage than anywhere else on Earth, Putin’s commercials are not geared towards women.  His ads were designed to project the image of masculine vigor and give Russian men something to identify with.  The Dwarf’s obsession with masculinity is a topic for a whole different story. The point I’m making here is that the women in his commercials are hot.

Obama, on the other hand, is targeting the single white female vote.  Dunham’s ad is described “sexy”, but it’s not sexy at all.  It is safe.  It stars a gal whose heterosexuality is not immediately obvious making innuendos about a non-threatening man twice her age.  She’s supposed to be the cool big sis — if parroting Putin is cool.  It might help the President to get out the desperate college girl vote, maybe, but he should have had this demographic bagged by now.

At this point I wouldn’t be surprised if O[h-oh-oh] would produce a Slutwalk Army, sort of like Putin’s Army, but Putin rented his girls from a modeling agency.  OFA will turn out moderately overweight chicks who spend their spare time filling out applications to grad schools.  And in grad schools they will, once again, find themselves outnumbering the men.

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