Tags: Abby Phillip, Amber Phillips, Democratic National Committee, DNC, Hillary Clinton, Putin, Putinia, Russia, Trump, Washington Post, Wikileaks
(After writing this posting, I searched for URLs to cite as evidence for what is asserted in it. It immediately became evident that others had come to the same realizations: see the articles by Abby Phillip and by Amber Phillips in the Washington Post. But since different aspects are emphasized in what follows, it seemed non-redundant to go ahead and post it.)
Putin is the Tyrant of Putinia (which has replaced Russia).
Putin ordered his minions to hack into the computer files of the Democratic National Committee to steal the emails and plans of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Putin wanted to use that information to boost Trump’s chances in the US Presidential election in November.
Putin wants Trump to win.
Trump and Putin like each other’s philosophy and style. Both are authoritorian and greedy. Each hides his insecurity by projecting brazen self-confidence. Neither of them gives a hoot about the constraints imposed by laws, or even Constitutions.
Trump also drools over the potential for business opportunities in Putinia. So he is careful to always ‘make nice’ to Putin, and never challenges what Putin does.
Some leader of the free world Trump would be! He has a built-in conflict of interest.
Putin cannot legally afford to admit that he is responsible for the hacking.
Also, if it were known that the release of the information was intended to aid Trump, then the impact of the released information would be diminished.
So Putin had the stolen information forwarded to Wikileaks. Having Wikileaks release the information gave Putin deniability.
Wikileaks – having no sense of privacy and decency, and deserving none – eagerly made the stolen information public.
Releasing the stolen information can have had only one possible purpose: to embarrass and hamper Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Trump is guilty of many things, but he had no knowledge of this.
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Tags: fair and open competition, gay bashing, gay rights, homophobia, Kathy Lally, Olympics, Philip Kennicott, Russia, Sochi, sports, Washington Post, Will Englund, Winter Olympics
There is a justified uproar about the choice of Sochi as the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sochi is under Russian law, which is hysterically fearful of homosexuality, as if it were contagious. Homosexuals are widely persecuted in Russia, and of course the police do not protect them. See here, here, and here.
It is unlikely that any athlete who is known to be gay or lesbian will be allowed to compete, so the competition will not be free and open. The winners will not necessarily be the best athletes. They will merely be the best among those who were allowed to compete.
Even if an athlete’s homosexuality were not publicaly known, if they went to Sochi they would be vulnerable to being ejected if their mental configuration were discovered while they were there, and would be likely to suffer physical abuse as well as mistreatment by any officials they encountered, for example, in the airport.
The same applies to spectators, and to the judges at the events.
Since the Sochi Olympics cannot be fair to the pool of athletes, nor to the pool of potential spectators, many urge a boycott.
Any boycotting should include the advertisers, who pay enormous sums to advertise during broadcasts of the Games, and should also include the broadcasters themselves. Hence the following pledge:
– to not go to Sochi to watch the Winter Olympics of 2014;
– to not watch any part of the Winter Olympics of 2014 on television or on the internet, nor to acquire videos of it;
– to avoid the products and services of any entity that advertises at the 2014 Winter Olympics, or that broadcasts the contests there. To do so, I will consult a list of the advertisers and broadcasters that will have been compiled by human rights organizations.
If you wish to make this pledge, please leave a comment to that effect.
Since comments to this blog can be submitted only by Word Press bloggers, please encourage human rights organizations world wide to co-sponsor this pledge, and to host it on their own web sites.
If you wish to comment on this post but do not see a box where you can submit a comment, that is because WordPress includes the mechanism for commenting only on the page for the individual posting, never on the page that shows all of the recent postings. So click here, scroll to the bottom of the post, and submit your comment.
Tags: Alex Navalny, Pussy Riot, Putin, Russia, Russia's enemy, Segei Magnitsky
For criticizing Putin, Alexei Navalny is being prosecuted on spurious charges of fraud and embezzlement.
This is a favorite tactic for Putin and his cronies. They use it against anyone who criticizes them, including those who expose theft by officials. It was previously used against Sergei Magnitsky (see below).
Navalny isn’t a perfect human being, but he is honest, and he is trying to benefit his country, not himself.
Not only is Putin and Co. Russia’s greatest enemy, it is very nearly Russia’s only enemy.
Recent actions by the Russian Parliament are evidence that responsibility for the imprisonment, judicial injustice, torture and death of Sergei Magnitsky, and for covering up those criminal acts, reaches much higher than was supposed before. By approving and protecting those responsible, Putin becomes a party to their crimes.
Putin and his cronies do not love the Russian people, they despise them. They regard the Russian people as unfit to identify abuses, or to propose solutions, or to govern themselves.
Putin is not the protector of Russia, he is the protector of those who pillage Russia
An example is Putin’s protection of those who persecuted Sergei Magnitsky, and then fostered Magnitsky’s death.
Magnitsky’s only ‘crime’ was to expose those who had pillaged Russia. But corrupt officials charged him with some crime he had never committed, and a corrupt judge convicted him of that imaginary crime. As noted above, that has become the standard trick in Russia for persecuting anyone who is inconvenient for those in power.
Putin never asked for an investigation. When a few of the criminals were chastized by the Sergei Magnitsky Act in the US, Putin was not pleased to see the the culpable being punished. Instead, he whined about the US legislation, and pushed a bill that ostensibly punished the US, but whose main effect was to hurt Russian orphans.
His response proved that Putin’s priority was to protect those who pillaged Russia, and that he cared nothing for the true patriots who exposed the pillaging.
That made Putin an accessory to the crime.
That erased all doubt. Russia is ruled by a criminal mafia, and Putin is a member of that mafia.
While Putin remains in power, Russia cannot breathe.
Russia does not need to be defended against a dragon. It needs to be defended against a pit of vipers.
De-fang Putin and his viper cronies, and Russia will unclench, stretch out, and breathe.
Tags: corrupt government, corrupt judges, corrupt officials, Magnitsky, Navalny, Pussy Riot, Putin, Russia
History will deem Putin to have sabotaged and delayed Russia’s development into an open, equitable society that can achieve its full potential.
Putin will be called
– Yeltsin’s biggest blunder
– Defender of Kleptocracy
– Defender of dictatorial regimes that oppress and stifle their own people
Let’s consider each of these, in turn.
– Yeltsin’s biggest blunder
A previous post noted that Russia is at present like a Centaur: human above the waist, all brute below. A deranged Centaur, whose brutal part fears and hates its human part, and strives to keep it on a tight leash.
Putin has delayed by more than a decade the Centaur’s transformation into something fully human.
Thin-skinned and scared inside, Putin stifles Russia’s best citizens, its most conscientous and brave citizens, its only true patriots, blocking them from contributing to its improvement.
Not long ago his boot came down on the rock group Pussy Riot.
Today, with puppy-like eagerness to please his master, a corrupt prosecutor now levels ludicrous charges against Alexei Navalny, a brave blogger.
The ludicrousness of the charges is deliberate. It is part of Putin’s intended message, as was noted by Fred Hiatt in the Washington Post.
– Defender of Kleptocracy
Instead of protecting Russia from the mafia, Putin protected the mafia from Russia.
Instead of protecting courageous Russian patriots, Putin looked away when they were persecuted and killed.
A recent example was Sergei Magnitsky.
Putin could have stopped the persecution of Magnitsky.
Putin could have ordered an investigation into stealing by government officials from the Russia nation, based on Magnitsky’s discoveries.
Instead he looked away while Magnitsky was falsely charged, arrested, tormented and killed by corrupt generals, judges, police, and doctors.
The names of the thieving generals are known.
The names of the corrupt judges are known.
The names of the police who ordered the beating and the names of the police who conducted the beating are known,
the names of the malpracticing doctors are known, at least to the ‘authorities’.
None of the culprits have been charged, nor punished, nor even admonished.
Russia Putinesca is not a tasty or nutritious dish for most Russians, only for the kleptocracy.
– Defender of al Assad’s murderous regime in Syria,and of Khamenei’s murderous regime in Iran
Quite apart from any questions of national interest, it is not in Putin’s interest to see autocrats be challenged and overthrown.
It is in his interest for the world to contain as few open societies as possible.
Putin will also be remembered as being opinionated, but uninterested in facts and in the world at large. He never grew intellectually, nor morally.
Putin will be remembered as an autocrat, and as a person whose foreign policy was driven by envy.
Tags: Allah, Bible, Blasphemy, China, Christianity, God, Islam, Jesus, Judaism, Koran, Mohammed, Religion, Russia, Torah, Turkey
If there are N different religions, at most one of them can be correct. Then the only way of expressing the truth is blasphemy against at least N – 1 of them.
Blasphemy is not always good. But laws against blasphemy are always bad.
Every law against blasphemy announces to the world that those who enacted that law do not believe that what they are shielding can withstand critical scrutiny. It is an admission of weakness. It announces a belief in the fragility of whatever is being shielded by that law. It says, “People’s belief in these claims is brittle. It anyone voices any doubt or question, the whole structure will collapse.”
In that way, every law against blasphemy, itself blasphemes against what it claims to shield.
A law against blaspheming the Koran, or Mohammed, or Allah, or Islam, itself blasphemes the Koran, or Mohammed, or Allah, or Islam.
A law against blaspheming the Bible, or Jesus, or Christianity, itself blasphemes the Bible, or Jesus, or Christianity.
A law against blaspheming the Torah, or the God of Abraham, or Judaism, itself blasphemes the Torah, or the God of Abraham, or Judaism.
So punish for blasphemy anyone who accuses someone else of violating a law against blasphemy, any judge who sentences the accused, and anyone who proposed or voted for or enforces a law against blasphemy.
Laws that prohibit criticism of a leader or a government, or a country’s policy, laws against political disrespect, are really laws against blasphemy: against political blasphemy instead of religious blasphemy.
Blasphemy and public criticism of governments and officials are good. They expose weaknesses, and the glare of publicity then motivates fixing the weaknesses. The result is a more coherent and intellectually defensible system of beliefs, or a stronger and better society.
The benefits from allowing public criticism are among the greatest strengths of an open society. If leaders learn about problems only via official channels, they learn only information that has been filtered by a long chain of sycophants. So the leaders don’t know what their major problems really are. They hear only what their echo chamber repeats back at them, plus at most a few muffled contrary voices.
Turkey, China, Russia – are you listening? (I included Turkey because it is so achingly close to being an open society, and its leaders are honorable patriots. The other two are less advanced.)
Crowd-sourcing is a remarkably effective and comprehensive way of obtaining information, and of generating ways of solving problems. One of the advantages of open societies is that they benefit from the crowd-sourcing of information and of ideas for solutions. But crowd-sourcing works only when everyone can speak freely.
I continue to subscribe to the Washington Post, despite its increasing scrawniness and its increasing number of pushy ads (oversized pages, offset pages, pages that are deliberately made unavoidable by wrapping them around other pages). I subscribe because the Washington Post so effectively uses exposés to force abuses to be fixed. Watergate is a historic example. The exposé on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is a more recent one. There have been many others.
Tags: freedom, Pussy Riot, Russia
The re-blog Pussy Riot rocks the world! (reblogged from the blog of internet brain child) provided links to three remarkable videos about the incredibly courageous “happening” that was staged by three female members of the Russian punk-rock band Pussy Riot in a Russian Orthodox Cathedral. They prayed for the Virgin Mary “to drive away Vladimir Putin”. Of course, now they are in jail, awaiting trial. You have probably noticed that the judicial system in Russia today is not noted for its impartiality, nor for its freedom from political influence.
Now there is a petition that you can sign to support the three courageous performers. The petition was created by Peaches, Simonne Jones, and John Renaud, who are artists and activists in Berlin, Germany, and it is hosted by Change.org. Please sign it.
Tags: Magnitsky, Putin, Russia
What would a country be like if it were run by a Mexican drug cartel – ruthless, lawless, dominated by insatiable greed and lust for power?
What if that country also contained outstanding scientists, mathematicians, engineers, writers, artists, musicians, dancers, athletes, and political philosophers?
You would have Russia, under Putin’s thumb.
You would have a centaur, but one in which the human half was not in control. Control would reside just beneath the tail of the horse half. The horse half would tolerate parts of the human half, but would feel threatened by the other parts of the human half. The horse half would hurl the disliked parts of the human half against tree trunks, rocks and brambles.
A stark example is what happened to Sergei Magnitsky, who was a towering example of insight, courage and principle. His torture and murder is recounted in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Magnitsky .
Another valuable site is http://russian-untouchables.com/eng/sergey-magnitsky/ .
A bill that is now before the Senate would impose sanctions on those known to have participated in this horrific crime. Passing the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2011 (S.1039) is a moral imperative.
Fortunately the bill has a long and bi-partisan list of sponsors. To see the bill and its list of sponsors, and to track its progress, see