Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lucia Merry Christmas

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone, and remember why we celebrate this great Christian feast - it's because God came to earth, really and truly.

I haven't been posting much for a while, but I have been Tweeting. I've added my Twitter feed to the top right of this blog, so you can keep track of me from here, or just by following me on Twitter itself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fletch Spiked Author: Yes Abortion Kills A Baby But Is Trumped By A Woman's Choice

I am more-often-than-not in agreement with what SP!KED author Brendan O'Neill writes, especially in regard to free speech and gay marriage. I am afraid I have to disagree with his column this week (based on a debate that eventually never happened), in which he says he agrees with the fact that abortion destroys an unborn life, or potential life, but that a woman's freedom of choice trumps that. He writes -

Some pro-life campaigners say, `Ah, but this "act of autonomy" is different to all others because it harms and ultimately destroys another human life - that of the fetus'. I don't deny this. I do think there are massive questions to be asked regarding when a fetus becomes fully human, but I don't deny that a fetus is at least a potential human life and that abortion ends that potential human life. But I have made a moral judgement, and I've decided that it is worse - infinitely worse - to force a living, breathing, autonomous individual to do something against her will than it is to terminate an as-yet unformed, potential human life. That is the bottom line for me: the freedom and autonomy of a woman are more important than the continued existence of a fetus.

I am comfortable with making this judgement call. Now, are you comfortable with the moral judgement you have made? Which is that it is acceptable in certain circumstances to deprive individuals of the right to act in accordance with their consciences. That it is okay to hamper to the point of destroying a woman's moral autonomy during the nine months that she is pregnant. That a woman loses many of her fundamental freedoms when she becomes pregnant. That it is acceptable for society to force women to do something against their will, with all the terrifying illiberal and anti-social consequences such a tyrannical course of action is likely to have. That women should become, in essence, slaves to circumstance rather than shapers of their circumstances. I'm happy with my moral judgement that it is acceptable to terminate a potential human life in the name of preserving the moral autonomy of an already existing human life [...]
My response in a comment -

I have to say, we all know where babies come from, so a woman having sex - performing the action that creates a baby - and then complaining because she has lost her autonomy seems a specious argument, like jumping in the water and complaining about getting wet. Getting pregnant is what a woman's body is supposed to do and is a result of having sex (of course, not all of the time). It is not something that is involuntarily forced on a woman (discounting rape) but something she chooses to do. This is where the woman makes her choice. It is entirely her decision: she has the choice to say yes or no to having sex. Ultimately the baby is a direct result of that choice, even though she may not want a baby. She can refrain from the actions that naturally lead to it. After that, it is too late. You make it sound like it isn't fair to her that she got pregnant, and is something other than the direct result of her actions.

I have the choice to drive very fast in my car or not. I may find the speed pleasurable, and getting a ticket is obviously not the outcome I want. If I speed (my own choice) and then get a speeding ticket (something that may not happen every time I speed, but depends on the chance of a police officer spotting me) do I then have a right to complain and to ask the officer to tear up the ticket because it isn't the outcome I wanted? I exercised my choice, took all the precautions I could in order not to get caught, decided to drive at the speed I wanted, and must live with the consequences of the result that naturally flowed from that.

You may contend that having sex is not the same as breaking the law, but (if you're a Christian) you believe that sex out of wedlock is against the moral law. It used to be called 'fornication'.

This is why, historically, sex had been confined to marriage. It is the safest place to have sex: in a committed relationship where the woman has the definite support of her partner. Getting pregnant actually used to be something wanted. It was often seen as a curse if a woman could not conceive.

Abortion these days is used as a contraceptive and is largely the fault of a liberal society. The pleasure of having sex has been separated from one of the main reasons for it: procreation. Having sex is now one of those Friday night pleasures, like having a beer, or a smoke, and it doesn't seem to matter with whom you do it, as long as both parties are agreeable.

I actually see the term 'abortion' as a bit of a misnomer. A rocket launch can be aborted during the countdown, but once there is ignition and the engines have fired, the rocket has been launched and the only way to now stop it is to hit the self-destruct button or to shoot it down. So it is with sex. It is a woman's choice to abort (not to have sex at all), but once the egg and sperm join, procreation is under way, and the only way to stop it is to destroy the baby.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fletch The 'Female Priest' Who Isn't

I've just been reading an article on the website of The Guardian about an ex-nun, who says she is both a female Catholic priest and a Bishop and wears a Bishop's ring. She was 'ordained' by a renegade Catholic Bishop and, along with six other women, has been excommunicated by Rome. She hasn't let that stop her, however, from performing baptisms, funerals, and marriages. The article also mentions her doing a funeral Mass.

Ms Mayr-Lumetzberger, it seems, chooses to ignore her excommunication because she doesn't agree with it.
Excommunication, though, is surely a heavy price to pay. “It doesn’t touch me,” she says serenely. “The canon [church] law used against me was an unjust law made by celibate men who rule over people whose lives they do not really know, and who give no explanation as to why these negative laws should be followed. Except fear.”
With all due respect, you can't be something if you do not have the authority from the governing body of the organisation you claim to represent. I could claim to be a police officer, or maybe a judge, but without recognition from the relevant authorities, that does not make it so, even if I put on a police uniform and drive a police car. All the wishing and goodwill in the world does not make it so. If I were to arrest someone, or perform any other type of law enforcement - even if i stopped a crime - those actions of mine would have no authority behind them and would not stand up in a court of law.

So it is with Ms Mayr-Lumetzberger and others like her, who carry out the work of a priest without the authority of the Church. Particularly worrying is her saying of a Mass when she has not been given the authority of the Church to do so; or to marry a couple. These actions, I fear, are lacking in the blessing of God and cannot be seen as Sacramental.

One wonders why she chooses to stay in the Catholic Church. It seems she hopes to change it by just going ahead and pretending she is something that she is not.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lucia Putin wanted Poland to help him dismember Ukraine in 2008 [UPDATE!]

Back as far as 2008, Putin suggested to Poland’s prime minister on his first visit to Moscow that Russia and Poland divide Ukraine between them: Putin offered to divide Ukraine with Poland: Polish ex-minister
He wanted us to become participants in this partition of Ukraine … This was one of the first things that Putin said to my prime minister, Donald Tusk, when he visited Moscow.”

“He (Putin) went on to say Ukraine is an artificial country and that Lwow is a Polish city and why don’t we just sort it out together,” Sikorski was quoted as saying in the interview dated Oct. 19.

Before World War Two, Poland’s territory included parts of today’s western Ukraine, including some major cities such as Lwow, known as Lviv in Ukraine.
According to Sikorski, who accompanied Tusk on his trip to Moscow, Tusk did not reply to Putin’s suggestion, because he knew he was being recorded, but Poland never expressed any interest in joining the Russian operation.

“We made it very, very clear to them – we wanted nothing to do with this,” Sikorski said.

This is important, as it shows that the justification that Russia has used to first annex Crimea, and then invade the east of Ukraine in order to set up Novorossiya was something that Putin has been planning for a long time rather than just a response to the Euro-Maidan protests.

It would have been incredibly dangerous for Poland to show the slightest bit of interest in this plan back in 2008, their words would have been used against them in justification for what Russia is doing now.

I think Poland is very happy with the current borders, no matter what the historical legitimacy to the lands to the east are, as those borders guarantee stability. Once Europe starts changing borders for whatever reason, the floodgates of war could be released. As a country that has experienced war on a devastating scale, there is no way Poland would want that.

As an aside, this weekend there is a Polish festival on Queens Wharf in Wellington, run by the Polish Association that was originally set up by NZ's first refugees, the Polish children that were granted temporary and then a permanent home here. Those children were most likely from the areas of Ukraine that Putin was suggesting that Poland take back1.

UPDATE 22 October:

From Polish Radio:

“My memory failed me. After checking, there was no bi-lateral meeting between Prime Minister Tusk and President Putin,” Radoslaw Sikorski said, Tuesday evening, adding that he was actually referring to comments Putin made at a NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, and not in Moscow in February of that year, as he had originally told the American magazine.

Sikorski also appeared to back away from the claim that Putin offered parts of Ukraine to Poland on a plate, saying it could have been a sick joke but one that became more sinister as events have unfolded.

Sikorski has come under fire for not releasing such explosive information before and Poland's largest opposition party has called for his resignation as speaker of parliament.

The interview with Politico will probably be raised at a meeting of Poland's National Security Council on Wednesday, presidential spokeswoman Joanna Trzaska-Wieczorek has said.

Asked why he and PM Tusk had not made public Putin's imperial ambitions before, Sikorski said that the "surreal" remarks “appeared significant only later, after the NATO summit, after the war in Georgia and the annexation of Crimea".

He added that the detail of the conversation was “open to interpretation”, which takes on meaning “in the light of recent events,” referring to the current crisis in Ukraine.

In the morning, Radoslaw Sikorski tweeted that Politico “over-interpreted” some of his comments, detailing a conversation between Donald Tusk and Vladimir Putin, when the current president of Russia had allegedly offered to carve up Ukraine with Poland's help.

Sikorski - who was moved as head of the foreign ministry after seven years in office in September to take up the role of speaker of parliament – maintains a conversation still took place, though he “was not a witness to it” but declined to say who told him about it.

“Putin told all western leaders in Bucharest in 2008 that Ukraine was a conglomerate of several different nations, including Poland, and threatened its statehood,” Sikorski told journalists, Tuesday evening during his second press conference of the day.

1. Just to explain my connection, my aunt was one of these Polish children. My dad, her brother, was not a refugee child, he came to NZ as an immigrant in 1950 from Britain, to be reunited with his surviving family here. For more of his story, read Experiences of Motherhood and Conservatism.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Lucia German Intelligence find that MH17 downing possibly a war crime

From De Spiegel (German Intelligence Claims Pro-Russian Separatists Downed MH17 ):

After completing a detailed analysis, Germany's foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has concluded that pro-Russian rebels were responsible for the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 on July 19 in eastern Ukraine while on route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

In an Oct. 8 presentation given to members of the parliamentary control committee, the Bundestag body responsible for monitoring the work of German intelligence, BND President Gerhard Schindler provided ample evidence to back up his case, including satellite images and diverse photo evidence. The BND has intelligence indicating that pro-Russian separatists captured a BUK air defense missile system at a Ukrainian military base and fired a missile on July 17 that exploded in direct proximity to the Malaysian aircraft, which had been carrying 298 people.

BND's Schindler says his agency has come up with unambiguous findings. One is that Ukrainian photos have been manipulated and that there are details indicating this. He also told the panel that Russian claims the missile had been fired by Ukrainian soldiers and that a Ukrainian fighter jet had been flying close to the passenger jet were false.

"It was pro-Russian separatists," Schindler said of the crash, which involved the deaths of four German citizens. A spokesman for the German Federal Prosecutor's Office told SPIEGEL that an investigation has been opened into unknown perpetrators because of the possibility that the crash had been a war crime.

However, The Interpreter believes that it couldn't have been a stolen Ukrainian BUK that was involved in the shooting down of MH17, for no Ukrainian BUKs are actually operational. In order to get them operational, it would have required highly specialised people to fix them so that they could be fired. The Interpreter thinks that instead it was a Russian BUK that was delivered to the separatists that was involved, with a false story planted by Russia of a stolen Ukranian BUK, so that the culpability could be directed at the Ukranians if necessary. (See German Intelligence Blames Russian-Backed Militants for Downing of MH17 at 13:58 (GMT) in the list of reports on the linked page)

So, if it was a Russian BUK and Russia supplied it to the rebels and if the shooting down is found to be a war crime, then my bet is that despite looking guilty as sin, the Russians will just continue to deny any involvement. You have to be pretty shameless to pull that off.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lucia Russian spies arrested in Poland

From the BBC:

The authorities in Poland have arrested a Polish army officer and a lawyer for espionage, amid reports that they allegedly spied for Russia.

Prosecutor General Andrzej Seremet said they had been detained after months of investigation and were suspected of "hurting Poland's interests".

He did not say which foreign state was involved, but a Polish MP and Polish media said it was Russia.

Marek Biernacki, a member of the Polish parliament's intelligence committee, told reporters: "Actions are being taken in respect of two agents of the Russian state."

The two unnamed detainees, he said, had worked for the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency.

The lawyer, who reportedly has joint Polish-Russian citizenship, is understood to have worked in Warsaw, specialising in economic matters, Polish radio said.

This makes me wonder if it is at all connected to the taping of Radosław Sikorski, who used to be Poland's Foreign Minister (and a very active and effective one at that), until the public disclosure of his lack of faith in the alliance with the United States.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

ZenTiger Think of the Walruses. Especially the child Walruses.

The headline blared:

"If These 35,000 Walruses Can't Convince You Climate Change Is Real, I Don't Know What to Tell You" [Photographic Proof]

Sounded like a double dog dare, too good to resist. About 3 minutes later, I was done. A blogsite called "Polar Bear Science" produced documented evidence that such events as described in the above scare mongering have been common for hundreds of years. [Not a new thing]

Either way, so what do these people think the appropriate response to reverse the change of climate? The common responses so far are a very small tax applied to New Zealanders (Green Party) to population reduction on a global scale (Green Party) to banning the use of coal (Green Party) to banning the use of coal, gas, oil and nuclear power (Green Party), to car-less days (Green Party) to calling National and Labour evil (Green Party) to paying a lot more tax to a UN funded body that would ensure World Wide Regulations preventing the rich countries from polluting and the poorer countries from improving their standard of living, sometimes called "industrialization and modernization" (Green Party)

Green Party: New campaign slogan "I am the walrus, Goo goo g' joob".

Hattip: Whoar

My apologies for being lazy - I'm not going to bother linking the Green Party policies to my statements. Refute them if you can (or care). However, the bigger question is do you think climate can be controlled by mankind? If so, are the solutions required to be so radical they would knock us back to the stone age, and kill millions? If you think it through, it might be better to plan to adapt to whatever happens.

ZenTiger Age of majority over

With the special votes counted, National are one seat short of a majority in the House. They now rely on the support of ACT, United Future or the Maori Party. They all become relevant again for 3 years.

Meanwhile, it was the Greens that gained an extra seat. They are the new Labour.
National has lost its outright majority in Parliament after the counting of special votes and the declaration of the final count.

Compared to election night National Party lost one list seat and now has 60 seats in total in a 121 seat Parliament.

The Green Party gained one list seat compared to election night, and now has 14 seats in total.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Lucia What a ceasefire looks like during a Russian invasion

From The Interpreter (Ukraine Liveblog Day 227: Fighting Rages Around Donetsk Airport:
We geolocated the scene on Google Street View which is near the Sarepta Pharmacy and also showed the separatists' positions in the southwest. If OSCE is saying that the shelling is coming from the south, it is even less likely that the rockets were fired by the Ukrainian army at the airport.

The airport is where Ukrainian forces are. The way the shell landed shows that it could not have been fired from the airport, instead it was most likely fired AT the airport, but fell short, killing civilians instead.

There is supposed to be a ceasefire, yet the rebels/Russian army have not let up on trying to drive the Ukrainian army out of the airport at Donetsk. From the Interpreter's website, there are reports of the rebels firing at the airport from various domestic buildings and then moving on to other buildings, in effect putting civilians in harm's way. When civilians are hurt, the Russian Federation media blames the Ukrainian army for the deaths.

Though, specifically speaking, the ceasefire agreement is only between the Ukrainian army and the rebels, with the Russian Federation not included, because Russia's not invading - not officially anyway.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Lucia More on Soviet Era Statues being pulled down and what they mean to people

From The Guardian: Why Soviet monuments should be protected

Red Army monuments are a reminder of the astounding Soviet sacrifice during the war. You find them not only in the ex-communist bloc but in western Europe too – Berlin and Vienna being most prominent. Those two cities even feature quotations from Stalin, which remain in place without harassment. The degree of the Soviet sacrifice seems to be appreciated there.

The Soviet army played a major role in saving this part of Europe from the realisation of Hitler’s master plan in the east, which proposed the colonisation, enslavement and eventual extermination of the Slavic population.


In some areas of the former USSR that are keen to shrug off Moscow’s influence, Russia’s role in the second world war is seen largely through the initial collaboration with Hitler. But it is the Soviet Union’s later actions and subsequent role in the defeat of the Nazis in Europe that should be dominant.

Well, there you have it. Soviet monuments should be kept in formerly occupied Soviet countries because Russia saved the world from Nazism! We should ignore Soviet collaboration that allowed the war to ignite. We should ignore all Soviet actions except the defeat of the Nazis.  In other words, we should ignore all the evils the Soviet Union unleashed upon everyone, because the other major evil in WWII was eventually defeated by their sacrifice.  If you were to apply that line of thinking to any other situation, say a mass murderer who in the process of mass murdering manages to help do one good thing, and then just continues along with his mass murdering - no one would be able to look past the murdering.  It just defies belief that Russian apologists keep spinning the line that all Soviet evil should be overlooked because of the defeat of the Nazis.  I just cannot get my head around the type of mentality that justifies evil in this way.

With the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the Russian government made the preservation of Red Army monuments one of the conditions of the troops’ withdrawal from the newly independent countries.

Just astounding, the requirement to keep Soviet monuments as a condition of withdrawal!  I'd never heard of this until I read the linked article. That certainly puts the dissolution of the Soviet Union into perspective in 1991 - looks like the Russian Government may have been expecting the breakdown of their empire to be temporary.  With what is happening in Ukraine right now, the empire is seeking to reassemble itself, with or without the assent of the former Soviet Republics!

Meanwhile, The Washington Post has an interesting article on What toppled Lenin statues tell us about Ukraine’s crisis:

"To many Ukrainians, Lenin represents not only the communist regime, but also radical separation from Europe and Western civilization more broadly, Steven Fish, a Russian studies professor at University of California Berkeley, told the Los Angeles Times last December after a statue had been toppled in [Kyiv].

Other scholars view the toppling in a more modern light. Sasha Senderovich, assistant professor of Russian Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder who wrote a New York Times op-ed on this issue last December, considers Sunday's event not to be connected to Lenin specifically. "At this point, after Putin's assault on Ukraine's territorial integrity, the statue has become more symbolic of Russia's continued attempt to exercise imperial dominance over Ukraine rather than solely the historical legacy of the Soviet Union," he told The Post on Monday.

Here's some more pictures of Lenin coming down in Kharkiv a couple of days ago.

First, Lenin's legs were cut

With his legs cut, he was able to be pulled down
And down he goes
For more on the statue war in Ukraine, including the sheer number of statues pulled down this year, read the article: What toppled Lenin statues tell us about Ukraine’s crisis.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lucia Lenin Statue knocked over in Kharkiv

Sunday, September 28, 2014

ZenTiger Left versus Right

Here is an image of a left hand.

Each finger represents a political party.

The thumb is Mana, the index finger Greens, then Labour, Maori Party and National.

National can now be painted as a party of the extreme right.

Whilst still being found on the left hand.

Sure, the analogy can be debated. My point though is that sometimes the frame has already narrowed the perspective. In NZ, sometimes the phrases "far right" and "extreme right", in NZ politics, still apply to the left hand.

Perhaps that makes sense. The right hand has sometimes been described, in economic terms, the invisible hand. Certainly, it's something invisible to the left.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

ZenTiger 101 uses for euthanasia

Next man makes a move, the nigger gets it!
A rapist and murder sentenced to jail time has decided euthanasia is a better way to pass the time:

Finally Van Den Bleeken had enough of the red tape and three years ago he applied for euthanasia. "If people commit a sexual crime, help them to deal with it," he said. "Just locking them up helps no one: not the person, not society and not the victims. I am a human being, and regardless of what I’ve done, I remain a human being. So, yes, give me euthanasia."
His request has been accepted, so his mortal coil will be shuffled off.

Ironically, capital punishment was abolished in Belgium in 1966. Nevertheless, the criminal can insist on the State carrying out Capital Punishment in spite of it being against the law.  Yes, I can see the difference.  It's still ironic.

His crimes cannot be wiped, and even being held accountable and responsible for his crimes is something the criminal can decline.

Come see the subtle shift in societal values.Come see the slippery slope.

Mecatornet: Imprisonment until death do us part

Sunday, September 21, 2014

ZenTiger Elections and the Media

In the inevitable post election analysis, seems to me the mainly left leaning media are the ones most shocked at the result.

For some strange reason, the hundreds of hours spent on Hager's Dirty Politics and Kim Dot Com's spying revelations and various other side issues, National still came in on top.

The question the media could consider in their election analysis was did National win in spite of the media frenzy, or because of the media frenzy?

If the latter, then they need to consider how to become something more than print bloggers.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ZenTiger How I voted

I went to the polling booth, stated my name and showed my easy vote card, then ticked the ballot paper.

Lucia Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania Form Joint Military 'LITPOLUKRBRIG' Brigade

This of course, has everything to do with increased Russian aggression against Ukraine. 

Related links: Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania Form Joint Military 'LITPOLUKRBRIG' Brigade
Polscy żołnierze w jednym szeregu z Litwinami i Ukraińcami. Powstaje LITPOLUKRBRIG

Friday, September 19, 2014

Lucia Putin has threatened to invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic States

A private threat, but a threat none the less.

From The Telegraph:

President Vladimir Putin privately threatened to invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic states, according to a record of a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart.

"If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest," Mr Putin allegedly told President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, reported Süddeustche Zeitung, a German newspaper.

If true, this would be the first time that Mr Putin has threatened to invade Nato or EU members. Any threat to send Russian troops into the capitals of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Romania would cause grave alarm among Western leaders.

If Mr Putin were to act on this, Britain could find itself at war with Russia. All five countries mentioned in this alleged conversation are members of both the EU and Nato. They are covered by the security guarantee in Article V of Nato's founding treaty, which states that "an attack on one is an attack on all". In a speech in Tallinn earlier this month, President Barack Obama confirmed Nato's commitment to this doctrine.

Mr Putin's alleged threat bears similarities to remarks he made to Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, in which he warned: "If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks".

Meanwhile, in Poland there is a general feeling that war might be coming:

It was an unexpected question from a woman hoping to sell me her Warsaw apartment: "Are you sure you want to buy now, when war could be coming?"

Though she was half joking, her comment revealed an anxiety Poles express frequently these days — that Russian aggression in Ukraine could spread, upending this NATO and European Union member's most peaceful and prosperous era in centuries.

The woman was the third Pole in the past couple weeks to advise me to think twice about investing in Polish real estate, forcing me to start wondering if it really is wise for me, an American, to risk my savings here.

Anxieties hang in the air as Poland marks the 75th anniversary Wednesday of the Soviet invasion of Poland at the start of World War II, one of several Russian attacks on its neighbor over the past centuries. With President Vladimir Putin showing renewed imperial inclinations, some Poles can't help but wonder if the 1939 invasion by the Red Army really was the last time Russia will make an unwanted foray here.

As well, Russia was threatening the United States with nuclear war when NATO was meeting to decide what to do about Russia's invasion of Ukraine:

Last week, two aircraft took off from an air base in western Russia, just east of the Russian city of Saratov. The aircraft, Tu-95 strategic bombers code-named Bear by NATO, flew northwest, skirting Iceland, Greenland, and Canada.

Once beyond Canada, the two lumbering, propeller-driven bombers settled on a heading straight toward the United States. Their goal was a "launch box" off the coast of the U.S. from which, during wartime, they would fire nuclear-tipped cruise missiles towards American cities and military bases.

The provocative flights were timed to a NATO summit, attended by President Obama, then taking place in Wales. On the agenda in Wales: what to do about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Welcome to diplomacy, Putin-style, in the 21st century.

Now that Ukraine's President is in Washington asking for military help from the West, I wonder what Putin is going to do next. If he were a school yard bully, the only way to effectively deal with him would be to punch him in the nose. I'm not sure the US is really up for doing any punching at this point, thus ensuring that the bully will continue until he does something completely unacceptable, beyond kidnapping an intelligence officer of a neighbouring NATO member.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lucia Poland marks 75th anniversary of Soviet Invasion in 1939

President Komorowski unveils huge epitaph to over 20,000 Polish officers murdered by the Stalinist secret service, known as the Katyn Massacre': photo - PAP/Jacek Turczy

At 3.30 am on 17 September 1939, the Polish ambassador in Moscow was handed a note, in which Moscow announced that the Polish state had ceased to exist.

In the wake of the Soviet invasion, mass arrests and deportations were carried out. By June 1941 over one a half million Poles were herded into trains, to work as slaves and forced labourers near the Arctic Circle and in the steppes of Kazakhstan.
My Dad's family was swept up in the deportations.  They were sent to Siberia in trains normally used to transport cattle, in the middle of winter.  Many died on that journey.

In Poland, the invasion has often been described as a ‘stab in the back’, which Poland received from the Soviet Union seventeen days after the Nazi attack and less than a month after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.
A few years ago, Russia seeking to make it illegal for anyone to say that the Soviet Union occupied Poland or the Baltics during WWII (See Russia accuses Poland of starting WWII)).  I'm not sure what came of that, but the fact that it's even suggested shows how contentious the 1939 Soviet invasion still is in Russia, and how they are unable to come to terms with the part they played in WWII as the aggressors before becoming "the victims of the Nazis".

In Warsaw on Wednesday, President Bronislaw Komorowski unveiled the Katyn Epitaph – the first batch of plaques with the names of over 20,000 Polish officers murdered by the Soviet NKVD police in 1940.

The epitaph is located in the Warsaw Citadel, the site of a future Katyn Museum, now under construction.

President Komorowski described the search for the truth about Katyń and the memory of that tragedy as one of the most important foundations of a free Poland.

Komorowski admitted that the efforts to gain access to all documents relating to the Katyn massacre possessed by Moscow have failed.
How Russia continues to deal with the Katyn Massacre is to me, the deciding factor as to whether or not the past has been fully recognised.  That Russia continues to stonewall Poland with regards to the evidence as to what exactly happened, shows that the Russians have not dealt with their Soviet past in any meaningful way.

President of the Institute of National Remembrance Łukasz Kamiński has told Polish Radio that the Polish nation has to preserve the memory of its plight under the Soviet occupation.

“World War Two and the Katyń massacre of 1940 are the cornerstones of the nation’s collective memory,” he said, adding that Poland needs a museum dedicated to the Katyń crime.
That will annoy Russia.  Maybe Poland will be cast as fascists and Nazis to the world in the next year or so, as a pretext to another invasion.
Lukasz Kaminski also stressed that for the past few years Moscow has been pursuing an aggressive propaganda in regards to Soviet policy during WWII, resorting to Stalinist lies including claims that the Soviet invasion of 75 years ago was undertaken to protect the Ukrainian and Byelorussian minorities in Poland’s eastern territories.
It always amazes me that people in the West actually believe the propaganda that is coming out of Russia.  If only they knew the history of how the Soviets have been acting over the last century - then they would be immune to any attempts to rewrite history.

Related link: Poland Marks 1939 Red Army Invasion

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lucia Colin Craig is a disappointment

At a time when our democracy is under attack by foreign criminals (DotCom/Greenwald/Snowden/Assange), Colin Craig is disappointing, to say the least, in his response:

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig told RNZ the core issue was whether Mr Key could be trusted.

"I have to say, I have doubts."

Mr Craig believed on balance there was mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

"I think John Key's been, shall we say, vague at best around the truth.

"And I think that matters, because we want to know that we can trust our leaders, trust our politicians and most importantly that our prime minister is at least either going to tell us the truth, or if he can't tell it because it's far too secure, maybe he can say, 'Guys, I can't tell you the answer to that'."

Colin Craig is either showing he cannot be trusted or is totally oblivious to the danger DotCom has exposed NZ to.

Related link: Answers needed on mass surveillance - minor parties ~ Otago Daily Times

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lucia Single Issue Voting - The Abortion Issue

Right Reason has highly amusing post about single issue voting in NZ: Single Issue Voting and Killing Poor Coloured People. Though, "poor coloured people" is not a normal phrase commonly used in NZ, but then maybe that was the point.

A highlight:

As we travel further towards the right, we reach the heavily populated centre zone. Before reaching the middle, we encounter the Naybour Party, arrayed in red. The Naybours’ focus on good old-fashioned social democratic values: Good social services and strong welfare, giving everybody a fair go no matter where you come from. Social engineering (i.e. progress) towards the Naybours’ vision of utopia is what this party is about.

I think Glenn is missing his calling as a satirist. He really ought to do more of this stuff and give The Civilian a serious run for his money.

In all seriousness, though, Glenn's post is about the validity of single issue voting, whereby "poor coloured people" are presumably substituted for babies killed through abortion in NZ. The "poor coloured people" are popped in there to gain attention.

I personally don't think that laws around abortion will change in NZ until enough people are clamouring for a law change.  Also, in general I believe that change should not occur from the top down, but from bottom up. Society needs to change before the laws do, because that's how it should work in democracies - laws reflect the will of the people. Anything else could be considered totalitarianism, or faux morality (thinking gay marriage for the last example).  Except, if I were hypothetically in a position of power, able to tighten up the abortion laws in NZ, I would do so, because when it comes down to it, you do the right thing, no matter what.

Also, just to be clear, the abortion laws in NZ are very conservative.  Abortion is only legal if there is a threat to the mental or physical health of the mother.  This threat has to be verified by TWO certifying consultants.  When this law was passed, it was considered a safeguard against abortion on demand.  The only reason we in effect have abortion on demand is because the two consultants do not consider each case seriously enough and just sign off on each abortion as if it meets the very stringent criteria as demanded by Parliament.  As far as I know, no abortion request has been denied in NZ, which is contrary to the original intent.  Which goes to my original point - if there is no widespread support for a particular position, then it's almost useless (though, not completely) legislating for it, because people can be oh so inventive in finding ways around it.

On single issue voting, consider the following position (source: Are you impressed with Internet-Mana? ~ The Herald:

I am of the "student loan" generation and the announcement around wiping student loan debt has seen my entire circle of Uni' friends and those still studying switch their party vote to Internet Mana."

This is naked self-interest at work, wider issues be damned. The same people have presumably ignored Minto's desire for 100% tax above $250K, an income rate that many educated people might otherwise be eligible for. For starters.

Should I feel contempt for these people? What if a party were promising to wipe out my mortgage - completely? Would I be tempted to be a single issue voter? I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be because my mortgage is scary and any political party promising to stick it to those bankers would warrant serious consideration. Except, I would have to think - what else to they want to do? Is my issue worth it? What about everyone else in the country? I could vote for my single issue and thereby condemn everyone in NZ to a worse fate because I don't care about anything else than my single issue and everyone else be damned. Whether for naked self interest or holier than thou issues.

Ultimately, I think, we put too much emphasis political solutions and not enough on societal change. The focus on politics means that too much power is given to the lawmakers, hence NZ's obsession with rules and laws. We should instead make sure the political sphere is assigned it's proper place and vote according to the lesser of all the evils rather than expecting it to be all there is, when it is not, and just vote strategically rather than puritanically.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ZenTiger Minto Madness

Total madness. Or do some people think it's just the amount we need to debate? For one thing, Lotto sales would fall off.
So where should the appropriate maximum income be set? Paul Reynolds's obscene $5 million income is close to 200 times the minimum wage. My pick would be to set the maximum income at 10 times the minimum wage. This would mean a maximum income of $250,000. The easiest way to enforce this would be setting a 100 per cent income tax rate for the combined income from all sources (including share allocations, allowances etc) above this level.

Linking the maximum salary to the minimum wage would have the added advantage of providing an incentive for the highest paid to lobby for increases in the minimum wage, unlike the present situation where the corporate sector argue for the lowest minimum wage possible.

Minto Madness

You can vote for the Mana Party next week, and John Minto is ranked number 4 on the list.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lucia Should John Key make it easier for the Conservatives to get into Parliament

John Armstrong seems to think they should in Key needs to offer hand up to Conservatives:

If John Key wants to avoid having to govern with Winston Peters perched constantly and awkwardly on his shoulder, he is going to have to help Colin Craig get his Conservative Party across the 5 per cent threshold.

That is the unambiguous message to National's leader from today's Herald-DigiPoll survey.

National's support is starting to slowly slide below the 50 per cent mark. Key would still be able to govern with Act's and United Future's two MPs - plus any Maori Party MPs who survive the election. Key would still want some insurance, however, should his party slip further during the eight days left until election day.

Well, given that NZ First in Parliament this time around has been all but completely useless (I voted for them last election because I thought they'd add a counterbalance to the mix), it looks like the fear of the gold card voters is starting to set in.

It's a difficult one for John Key. Personally, if I were him, I'd see if they can get in by themselves. They'll have a stronger position in Parliament if they do it alone.

Meanwhile, as I explained to my 17 year old son, the conservative position will be to vote for National, and not a new, untested party. If the Conservatives do get in, it will show that NZ is becoming more radical (oh, the irony, I know!)

Related link: Key needs to offer hand up to Conservatives ~ NZ Herald

Lucia Is Russia Cold War Communist or Imperialist Tsarist? Part II

Continuing what I started with answering the question whether or not Russia is Cold War Communist or Imperialist Tsarist earlier this week, I've found an article on the Moscow Times titled Russia Is Scared of the 21st Century — For Now, which I discuss:

As the dust settles over eastern Ukraine, the consensus is solidifying that the conflict there was the first battle of an attempted Cold War revival. A Cold War requires a Soviet Union, and the government of President Vladimir Putin has finally embraced it as a role model, more than a decade into his reign.

It is a strange Soviet Union: sans communism, but with religion thrown into the mix. It owes as much of its official ideology to the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire, with its state-dependent capitalism and traditionalism. Added to bans on political freedoms and grassroots activity, Internet censorship spreading like cancer and a crackdown on LGBT rights (admittedly mild, compared to Soviet times), this is, in essence, a nanny state with an anti-West complex and an instinctive penchant for militant — if not caveman — conservatism.

The religious part disturbs me as it seems staged. What I'm seeing is many religious people in the West supporting Russia because of this apparent faith revival. Yet, I have been always skeptical as to how deep this revival has gone, because I've not really seen any sign of the type of change of heart that comes with growing faith. Putin has been widely touted as a religious man, yet he recently divorced his wife and used the most incredible subterfuge to invade a neighbouring country. His actions belie the image he has been trying to portray. His Russia has also not repented in any way for the sins of her past. That more than seeming to come down hard on gay rights, and saying all the right things about family values (while failing to live them) would indicate a true change, and that true change is pretty much thin on the ground, it it exists at all.

As for the "Caveman conservatism", that is just as disturbing, because it seems it's providing a propoganda bonanza to the West, one that is all talk and some laws passed, yet very little lifestyle change to back it up  (See Russia's Conservative Family Values are a Sham).

The political scientist Samuel Huntington would argue that this is a clash of civilizations spilling out into the open after Russia's failed attempt to integrate with the West, and so it undoubtedly is, to some extent. But there is also a generational aspect to the story, which is that Russia, in a nutshell, is struggling to handle the modern world.

The modern world has been defined by the West, so struggling to handle it is a part of the clash of civilisations, in my opinion.

The 21st century is a complex time in which to live. Old economic templates have been rendered null and void by the post-industrial economy, based on factors like social mobility and innovation, and championed by unruly nerds promoting crypto-currencies and using blimps to spread Internet access. State governance means sharing power, cooperating with grassroots activists and upholding the rights of minorities and majorities in a balancing act worthy of Cirque du Soleil. And that's before even getting to soft power: elusive but arguably more powerful than tanks and Buk missile systems.

Meanwhile, Putin does not use the Internet.

Probably would have caused cognitive dissidence if he did use the Internet.

He was recently reported to be slowly overcoming his disdain for the world wide web, much flaunted through the 2000s. But no one would call Putin, 61, a man of the Internet age: He is a child of a time when information was disseminated by state-controlled print and television media, power meant factories and tanks (and Buks), and dissent was outlawed, not tolerated. And much of Russia's elite and general public shares this worldview because they also grew up with it.

It's important to note here, that the Internet is considered to be a threat to the Government in Russia. Putin called it a "CIA Project" and has clamped down severely on internet users in Russia. Hence, there are not that many who use it, not like countries in the West where a great deal of news is spread very quickly online. (See Russia Tightens Grip on the Internet)

For too many Russians, the 21st century has proved hard to handle, which is understandable, given the economic shock of trying to adjust to it. The GDP slump in Russia during the 1990s was worse than during World War II, according to leading Russian economist Konstantin Sonin. Little wonder that the nation hungered for stability, certainty, familiarity — for historical safety.

Given Russia's history of the past 100 years of Soviet Communism, mass death and imprisonment that is hardly acknowledged - it's not just the shock of the 90's - it's the entire background!

This is why Russia has fallen back on the dream of a past Golden Age. It is easier to censor or ban the Internet than to cope with independent news websites and opposition bloggers. It is easier to throw trillions at the military-industrial complex — just as the Soviets did for decades — than to foster innovation. It is easier to boost national self-esteem by piggybacking on old Soviet achievements than to painstakingly attain new feats worthy of global respect.

The Soviet revival was made easier by the fact that Russia never really got the Soviet Union out of its system, at least not nearly as thoroughly as its former Warsaw Pact satellites or even ex-Soviet republics did. Soviet bureaucrats remained the backbone of the ruling establishment — case in point: Putin — and imperial ideology was never replaced by nationalism as elsewhere, including Ukraine.

How can Russia get the Soviet Union out her system?  It was imposed from within, not by invasion, and then exported!  It's been part of her national identity for nearly a century now, and in order to purge it, it needs to be objectively scrutinised by shining light into all the dark places, yet the Russians have not be able to do anything the sort on a large scale. The people who live in Russia now are the benefactors of the Soviet system that they survived, when so many did not. People like that need serious help, yet the avenues of help are being shut down through clamp downs on independent media and social media, and the classifying of those who don't tow the line as agents of foreign powers.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lucia Australian PM Tony Abbott to visit Ukraine

It's heartening to see a real connection being made between Australia and Ukraine, after the horrific shooting down of passenger jet MH17 by Russian backed rebels a couple of months ago.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Prime Minister Tony Abbot is planning to visit Ukraine, according to the country's president.

Mr Abbott phoned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday, the president's press service reported.

During the phone call Mr Abbott promised to send military equipment to Ukraine's army, the president said.

A week ago Mr Abbott told parliament that Australia would send "non-lethal military assistance" to Ukraine such as military winter clothing, blankets and first-aid kits.

According to the president's press office, Mr Abbott told Mr Poroshenko "Australia will consider the opportunity of enhancing military-technical cooperation and, as the first stage, will send the lot of military equipment and means of warming.

"Also, Australia is ready to begin programs of training and equipment of Ukrainian servicemen."

Australia will also allocate $1 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine via the Red Cross.

Mr Abbott praised Ukraine's implementation of the new ceasefire and peace plan, and thanked Ukraine for its help in the aftermath of the crash of flight MH17, in which 27 Australian citizens died.

Mr Poroshenko thanked Mr Abbott for Australia's "timely assistance and support".

Mr Abbott "expressed intention to make an official visit to Ukraine," the statement said.

Australia will soon open an embassy in Kiev, which will make it easier for Ukrainians to travel to Australia.

I'm very impressed with Australia's vocal stance over the MH17 tragedy and their support for Ukraine.  Some countries might be cowed by Russia, but not Australia.  I wonder, though, how much this support for Ukraine has influenced China in declaring Australia a military threat.

Read more: Tony Abbott plans visit to Ukraine and promises to send military equipment: Petro Poroshenko (link contains a video that autoplays that can be turned off)

Evidence Review: Who Shot Down MH17?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lucia NZ Russian man wounded in Ukraine - who is he?

Is New Zealand embarrassed that one of our own country men was off in Ukraine, fighting with the pro-Russian separatists, and is now back being treated for a gunshot wound and concussion? What if he had come back from Iraq after being wounded by fighting for ISIS? Maybe that wouldn't be a big deal either.

From Stuff:

A New Zealand Russian has been wounded fighting in Ukraine, community sources say.

The man, who has flown from the conflict wounded is being treated by the New Zealand health services.

Sources say he suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and concussion after a firefight in eastern Ukraine.

He had left New Zealand several months ago to fight with the Russian-backed separatists, which are trying to break away from the Kiev government to create separate states, or to join Russia.

"His wounds are not difficult, he was hurt by gunfire in Ukraine," a source said.

Leading members of the Russian community in Auckland were angry at attempts to contact the wounded man.

Let them be angry. Anyone who goes overseas to fight in other countries outside of the normal NZ military should answer as to their actions.  Was he trained in Russia before being sent to Ukraine, as Anton Shekhovtsov alleges French extremists who headed off to fight for the Russians were?  I suppose his answers would make it difficult to deny that this is a Russian invasion, maybe that's why the "leading members" were angry.  And how many others are over there from this country?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lucia Is Russia Cold War Communist or Imperialist Tsarist

Last week it was asked on this blog whether or not Russia is Cold War Communist or Imperalist Tsarist.  It wasn't really something that could be answered without a bit of research, hence the delay. In summary, I now think the Putin and the elites of Russia are trying to be both Soviet and Tsarist to a certain extent, yet are also neither.  I've linked to articles exploring this and related ideas, with the more relevant and interesting parts quoted below:

Putin Accepts Only ‘Imperial-Militarist’ Component of Soviet Inheritance

Vladimir Putin is often accused of wanting to restore the Soviet system or at least its core values, but in fact, the Kremlin leader is interested in promoting the its “imperial-militarist” element and not its “revolutionary” component, a pattern that has the effect of limiting Russia’s ability to deal with the rest of the world, according to Vadim Shtepa.

In a new commentary, the Petrozavodsk-based federalist thinker notes that as a result of this, Putin is even more interested in promoting “the cult of ‘the Great Victory’” in World War II than Brezhnev, even though “it would seem” that that event is “ever further receding into history.”

Putin’s use of this “cult,” the commentator says, reflects the Kremlin’s understanding that it is “an extraordinarily useful technology for political repressions and territorial expansions” because “any opponent can with ease be designated ‘a fascist’” and thus deserving of destruction.

“And so,” he continues, “the post-Soviet evolution [of Russia] has led to a strange ideological remake from the Soviet inheritance and the pre-Soviet imperial tradition,” a combination that despite its obvious logical problems as “a post-modern mix” has nonetheless “proven quite popular.”

This next section talks about no real break from the Communist past of the USSR and today:

Because “no historical border between the USSR and the Russian Federation” was drawn, the two “began to be considered one and the same country,” even though it was Russia’s Boris Yeltsin who precipitated the demise of the Soviet Union by his actions at Beloveshchaya rather than any actions by non-Russian leaders or nations.

Many Russians today believe just the reverse and that shift in understanding “has led to a situation in which ‘the near abroad’ in contemporary Russia is conceived not as consisting of independent states but ever more as some kind of ‘separatist provinces.’” And that has been particularly true with regard to Ukraine.

According to Shtepa, ”the worldview sources of this conflict are rooted in the reborth imperial myth of ‘a triune people’ (the Great Russians, the Little Russians, and the Belorussians),” a myth that Shtepa argues is “incompatible with contemporary state-legal principles.”

On Putin's tsar-like power in Russia:

In Shtepa’s telling, “the first major political event of independent Russia was the signing in March 1992 of the Federal Treaty.” But even this document contained within itself “fatal imperial aspects:” It was not concluded by equal subjects but between “’the center’ and ‘the provinces.’”

And 18 months later, this document was superceded by a new Constitution which “gave the president almost tsar-like authority and significantly reduced the importance of the parliament.” And that bow to the past in turn in “a logical way” restarted “the endless Caucasian colonial wars.”

From Putin is ‘Last Soldier’ of a Dying Empire
... Like many in the Moscow elite, [Putin] has a dual national identity: he feels himself at one and the same time Imperial and Soviet, “not noting the anti-natural nature and even historical absurdity of this combination.”

As the Kremlin leader appears to have forgotten or not understood, “Soviet civilization destroyed Imperial Russia and was by definition deeply hostile to it.” At the same time, “Soviet identity was built on the denial of Russian identity and its suppression.” But what is most curious is something else, Pastukhov says.

Imperial values were “directed toward a real Russian past, which it canonized,” and Soviet ones were directed toward “a Russian future which had never existed but which it idealized.” Putin in contrast seeks to restore a Russia which never existed and which no one lost.”

“Such a philosophy of Russia, while deeply Russophobic toward existing any existing Russian, raises to the heavens a mythical Russian in the name of which power is realized.” This approach is in fact a form of bolshevism but one “directed not toward the future but toward the past.”

Putin has thus “transformed himself into yet another Russian utopian, who lives by a mythological consciousness within his own person oikumen which is separated as if by a Chinese wall from the external and real world.” All Russian leaders, of course, have been guided by myths, but they have been constructive because they were directed toward the future.

“The Putin myth,” in contrast, Pastukhov argues, “is destructive because it is redirected toward the past and brought down to earth.” It doesn’t inspire anything creative “except bureaucratic” things. It is, in short, “an unconstructive myth of an era of collapse.”
Interesting.  It's always difficult to really understand a society that works off myths to such an extent.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lucia Russia has threatened Ukraine with nukes if they continue to resist

I am so disgusted and outraged and horrified by the sneaky invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and now what is escalating into a full scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia, complete with threats of nuclear weapon use, that I will now be deleting any trolling comments to do with this subject. Any comments on the rightness or justness of the invasion by Russia will also be deleted. As will any comments on how the "evil fascists" of Ukraine had it coming, because those especially, just feed into the Russian propaganda machine.

Anyway, now Russia is threatening Ukraine with nuclear strikes if Ukraine continues to resist the Russian invasion that can no longer be hidden.

From The Interpreter:

Ukrainian Defence Minister Says Russia Has Lost Hybrid War, Begun Invasion, And Threatened Nuclear Strikes
Interfax-Ukraine reports that Valeriy Heletey, the Ukrainian defence minister, has written on his Facebook page that Russia has lost its "hybrid war" against Ukraine. Instead a conventional war has now begun.

Heletey also said that Russia had, off record, threatened Ukraine with the use of tactical nuclear weapons. 

Interfax-Ukraine reports (translated by The Interpreter):

"Russia has lost its hybrid war in Ukraine. Our armed forces have confidently pushed back the gangs of Russian mercenaries and killed the saboteurs and special forces operatives. That is why the Kremlin has been forced to jump to a full-scale invasion of the Donbass with regular troops. Today we already dealing with divisions and regiments. Tomorrow it might be the corps itself," wrote the head of the Ministry of Defence on his Facebook page on Monday.

According to him, the operation to liberate eastern Ukraine "from the terrorists" is over. "We urgently need to build up our defence against Russia, which is attempting to not only gain a foothold in areas previously occupied by the terrorists, but also to advance into other areas of Ukraine," affirms V. Heletey.

He stressed that "a great war has come to Ukraine, the likes of which Europe has not seen since the time of the Second World War," and also expressed an opinion that the losses "will run not into the hundreds, but the thousands, even tens of thousands." In addition, the minister said that, according to unofficial channels, the Russian side has threatened several times that "in the event of continued resistance, they are prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons against us."

V. Heletey also said that, in order to survive, Ukraine needs the "full consolidation of all available forces." He also described calls for the dismissal of the chief of the General Staff, Viktor Muzhenko, "a Russian provocation," noting that this head of the Ukrainian General Staff has been "the architect of Ukrainian victories in the east."

"Were it not for the Russian invasion, we would have completed the active phase of the ATO by early October, liberating the entire area," said the minister.

This "hybrid war" that Russia has lost is mentioned here: Russia's Slow Motion Invasion Of Ukraine. The writer believes that rather than a new form of warfare, Russia has merged new tactics with the old Soviet strategy of Maskirovka:

...Putin's particular style of deception recalls the Soviet strategy of Maskirovka (masking), which was developed in the 1920s and defined by the Soviet Military Encyclopedia as "complex measures to mislead the enemy regarding the presence and disposition of forces, military objectives, combat readiness and plans."

"[T]he idea is to create political uncertainty and ambiguity in order to make it hard for an enemy to know how to respond militarily," Stephen Badsey, a professor of conflict studies at the University of Wolverhampton in the U.K., told me by email.

During the Cold War, the Soviets hatched scenarios for making incursions into Western Europe that in many ways resemble Russia's behavior in Ukraine—"for example, a fire-engine crew crossing into West Berlin to help with a fire, followed by police, followed by soldiers, who then refuse to go," Badsey said. "Putin learned all this as basic early in his career, as did all his generals."

In drawing on these decades-old techniques, he added, Russia has now pulled off the "first ever opposed but successful seizure of territory of one UN member by another since the UN's foundation in 1945," leaving the U.S. and its Western allies "confused and uncertain as to how to respond."

Ultimately, Russia's invasion/incursion/aggression/staycation in Ukraine isn't quite Maskirovka, and it's not an entirely new breed of warfare. It is, perhaps, new tactics in the service of an old strategy. It's a "total system of measures designed to deceive and confuse the enemy," as one U.S. military study described Maskirovka in 1981. But it's also the sleek, social media-savvy propaganda campaigns of Russian news outlets like RT.

With that last point, on the "sleek, social media-savvy propaganda campaigns of Russian news outlets like RT", note that the Russian media is also expanding in Europe (Russia Ramps Up Information War in Europe).

Meanwhile, protesting against the war against the Ukranians will get you arrested in Russia.

The video above shows a whole lot of young Russian men being interviewed about the war. At the end, several women holding up signs against the war were taken away.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lucia Is James Foley a Martyr?

Pia de Solenni has written a post on whether or not James Foley is a martyr. I tend to think he is, as I doubt he would have been murdered had he converted to Islam. Anyway, here is some of her reasoning, and her blog post has more:

So, is James Foley a martyr?

According to his siblings, Katie and Michael, who were interviewed on the Today Show, when Pope Francis spoke with the family by telephone, he said that their brother James is a martyr:
The brother and sister also spoke in slight detail about what the Pope said to the family when he called on Thursday afternoon. Michael said that the pontiff labeled James an martyr, who sacrifice would not be forgotten.
  • Has the Pope canonized James Foley? No.
  • Do we know that he officially said this? Nope.
  • Did he say this in a formal pronouncement? Negative.
Do I think the Pope could’ve said it? Yep. Absolutely.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
Here’s why:
  1. We know that IS/ISIS/ISIL generally offers its captives a choice: convert to their brand of Islam or die, as witnessed by the thousands of people fleeing Iraq these past few weeks. It could be that they only wanted Foley because he was a US citizen and that they would have killed him regardless, but I doubt it. I think they would have celebrated if he’d become one of them. Heck, they’ve got plenty of Westerners joining them. The man who beheaded him is possibly a UK citizen.
  2. More and more is coming out about his faith , his prayer, and the way he lived his life, particularly while in captivity. All of it suggests that he lived his faith well.
  3. I don’t think it’s insignificant that they “made him stand against a wall and pose as if he had been crucified.” (h/t Deacon’s Bench)
  4. If the terrorists had his family’s email addresses, then they probably knew of his faith experience while captive in Syria. They certainly would’ve done their research and there was a clear trail on the internet.
  5. Martyrdom is not something that happened a long time ago in ancient Rome, or more recently in the founding of the Americas a few hundred years ago. It’s something that’s happening a lot, most – if not all – of the time. Pope Francis is well aware of this, more so than most of us. If it takes the death of James Foley for us to realize that people are dying because of their faith every day, then that makes him even more of a witness to the truth.
Read more : Is James Foley A Martyr? 16 Points To Consider. ~ Pia de Solenni

Other stories on James Foley today, showing the world wide impact of his death:
James Foley beheading video ‘was like watching the murder of Lee all over again’ says mother of Drummer Rigby

Chinese People are also Horrified by the James Foley Video ~ Foreign Policy
This story reports on the interesting angle that some Chinese media tried to use James Foley's murder as a means to attack the US, "only to be clobbered by Chinese netizens" who were outraged over this attempt use his death in this way.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lucia More evidence of Russian troops active in Ukraine

Troops of the Pskov Air Assault Division outside Belbek air field in Crimea
Evidence of Russia's 76th Guards Air Assault Division in Southeast Ukraine

A number of recent stories indicate that the 76th Guards Air Assault Division of Russian Airborne Troops from Pskov has been continuing to fight in Ukraine. A decree published on the Kremlin's website, a report of documents seized in battle by Ukrainian forces, and a report of a Pskov soldier's death have come together to help validate recurring reports of Russian military presence in southeastern Ukraine.

The 76th Guards were first sighted in Crimea in March. As we reported at the time, they were first noticed missing from their barracks by Lev Shlosberg, a deputy from from the Yabloko party in the regional legislature, who protested against their deployment abroad to forcibly annex the Crimea and was denounced by the Pskov Region governor.

Now the official Kremlin web site has published a notice dated August 18 of a decree by President Vladimir Putin that "the 76th Guards Air Assault Chernigov Red Banner Division of Russian Airborne Troops have been awarded the Suvorov Award for successful fulfillment of combat assignments of the command and display of the personal staff of courage and heroism."

Read more: Ukraine Liveblog Day 185: Russian Airborne Forces Reportedly Captured In Ukraine ~ The Interpreter

Lucia Britain Exporting Jihad

The growing problem of British Jihadists:

It is the now familiar nightmare image. A kneeling prisoner, and behind him a black-hooded man speaking to camera. The standing man denounces the West and claims that his form of Islam is under attack. He then saws off the head of the hostage. Why did Wednesday morning’s video stand out? Because this time the captive was an American journalist —James Foley— and his murderer is speaking in an unmistakable London accent.

The revulsion with which this latest Islamist atrocity has been greeted is of course understandable. But it is also surprising. This is no one-off, certainly no anomaly. Rather it is the continuation of an entirely foreseeable trend. Britain has long been a global hub of terror export, so much so that senior US government officials have suggested the next attack on US soil is likely to come from UK citizens. All countries — from Australia to Scandinavia — now have a problem with Islamic extremists. But the world could be forgiven for suspecting that Britain has become the weak link in the international fight against jihadism. And they would be right. This is not even the first beheading of an American journalist to have been arranged by a British man from London.

Fantastic (said with irony, for those that aren't familiar with this blog). If Britain doesn't deal with these monsters, then the world may act to clamp down on Brits traveling abroad.

Related link: Britain’s beheaders – how we came to export jihad ~ The Specatator

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lucia Ukraine - More heavy weaponry being sent over the border from Russia

A 2S19 Msta, a 152mm howitzer with a maximum firing range of 29-36 kilometers

From The Interpreter (Day 183 LiveBlog):
This weapon was reportedly photographed near Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, headed toward Russian Donetsk (map), the location of the Izvarino border crossing. The separatists have never acquired this weapon, to our knowledge, so if this shows up in Ukraine it will be a clear indication that Russia sent it there. It will also be a significantly dangerous addition to the separatist arsenal.

Also, something else of note that has been noticed with regards to how Russia operates:

The pattern has always been that Russia escalates its interference in Ukraine at the same time that it elevates its diplomatic overtures. If the leaders of Russia and Ukraine are scheduled to meet on August 26th, it is likely going to be a very dangerous 7 days.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lucia Dirty Politics has helped me decide to vote National

Nicky Hager's book, Dirty Politics and the fallout from it has helped me decide to vote National in this election. It looks like I'm not the only one if the latest Roy Morgan poll is anything to go by.

National's picked up two percentage points to give it a rating of 48, while Labour's down two to put it on a rating of 27.5 percent.

The Greens have also dipped slightly on 11.5 percent and coupled with Labour they're still nine percent shy of National.

With any luck, anything else Kim DotCom might have planned may turn into an own goal.

If a petition were circulated for his extradition, I wonder how many would sign it?

Related link: 'Dirty Politics' fallout only increases National's standing - poll ~ NewsTalkZB

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lucia Managed to fill in Vote Compass this time

Despite giving up on Vote Compass the first time around, I was inspired (by Terry) to just fill the damn thing in and not worry about it being not specific enough. Even though some of the questions just didn't make sense to me, such as whether or not I thought Maori should be in charge of their own affairs. Such a bizarre question.

It does show the inadequacy of the questions asked given it places me pretty close to National in the social conservative right quadrant, especially when National annoys me in not being socially conservative enough.

Oh well, I've given them my twitter handle and they can study my small impact in twitter, which I don't really use, except for automatic notification of my blog posts.

Lucia Vote Compass - couldn't do it

David Farrar has recommended some sort of questionnaire that determines who you should vote for based on your answers to some questions. So I thought I'd give the New Zealand Vote Compass a try.

A snapshot of the Vote Compass website and some of my open tabs

I ran into problems with Question 2.

"Up to what age should the government fund GP visits for children?"

They don't give the current age of funding, yet they ask if it should stay the same or be younger or older.  There is no option for no funding of GP visits for children.  In order to answer the question and move to the next, I had to choose "same as now" or "I don't know", which were the closest to my opinion. "I don't know" implied cluelessness or lack of opinion on my behalf, so I couldn't choose that. "Same as now", implied I was happy with the status quo - which is what I chose, yet I don't know what the status quo is. It was annoying to be asked a question about something, yet not given enough information to be able to answer more accurately as to what I thought, given that it's supposedly a political compass test.

At this point I decided I would write this post. I opened up a new tab, created the post, started typing and then tried to get back to the test and then I ran into another problem - I couldn't find the tab!  I normally have a lot of tabs open at once, and when I started this post, I had more than 14 on my screen.  So a descriptive tab title and icon is very important to me, that way I can quickly move to the tabs I need to.  The Vote Compass website though, has no icon and the tab title starts off with "New Zealand, which makes it very difficult to identify amongst many tabs.

I suggest that they change their tab title to be Vote Compass, and use that colourful graffic in some way as their website icon. 

Onto Question 3 which asks, "How much funding should the Department of Conservation receive?"

Again, how much do they receive now? It doesn't tell me, yet I am supposed to answer whether or not they should receive the same, or less or more. Probably less, given some of their people think they can tell adventurous types that they have offended a mountain by eating food up there, but I'd still like to know how much that funding is before I proffer an opinion on their funding.

I gave up, as it was too annoying.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lucia Russia set to invade Ukraine under pretext of sending aid

Source: Ukraine Liveblog Day 175: An Aid Mission For Eastern Ukraine

Here we go. Ukraine is in the final stages of wiping out the pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, and Russia wants to send in aid against the wishes of the Ukrainian Government and without the international community involved:

(Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia is sending an aid convoy to eastern Ukraine despite urgent Western warnings against using humanitarian help as a pretext for an invasion.


Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko came out in support of an aid mission but made clear it had to be an international effort under the aegis of the ICRC, involving the European Union as well as Russia.

He won Obama's backing when they spoke by phone on Monday.

The White House quoted Obama as saying that any Russian intervention without the Ukrainian government's agreement would be "unacceptable" and a violation of international law.

Earlier, Kiev said it was in the "final stages" of recapturing the eastern city of Donetsk - the main base of the separatist rebels - in a battle that could mark a turning point in a conflict that has caused the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.


NATO fears Moscow would use any aid mission as a cover to save the rebels, who are fighting for control of two provinces under the banner of "New Russia", a term Putin has used for southern and eastern Ukraine, where mostly Russian is spoken.

Ukraine appears to be pressing ahead with its offensive, undeterred by the presence of what NATO says are about 20,000 Russian troops massed on the nearby border for a potential ground invasion.

Kiev put the size of the Russian forces much higher. "As of 11 o'clock today, about 45,000 troops of the armed forces and internal forces of the Russian Federation are concentrated in border areas," Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a briefing.

He said they were supported by 160 tanks, 1,360 armoured vehicles, 390 artillery systems, up to 150 Grad missile launchers, 192 fighter aircraft and 137 attack helicopters.

Yeah, it looks like the Russians are going to bring aid - aid to the pro-Russian rebels that is.

Russia sending aid convoy to Ukraine despite Western warnings of 'invasion pretext'