Sunday, May 25, 2014

Lucia An assortment of articles on Russia and Ukraine, topped with the fears of Poland and the Baltic states

Poland stuck in the middle ~ The Global Think Tank

What worries the Poles is that if stability in Ukraine returns under terms suitable to the Kremlin, it may only be a matter of time before it is business as usual with Russia. That would give Russia the space to make another move.

A Collective Psychosis Is Taking Hold of Ukraine ~ The New Republic

A collective psychosis, born of machismo and paranoia and fuelled by rumour, is taking hold. The latest story gaining traction in the capital is that thousands of Russians—solitary males of military age—have begun to appear in Kyiv, renting rooms and just waiting. “Let them come,” says Maksym, my wiry and intense landlord. “I’ve got body armour and I’m cleaning all my guns.”

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Andrei Did you feel the earth move?

“Someone who tries to blow out another’s oil lamp will set his beard on fire,”

Kazak Proverb - related by Chinese Vice Premier, Zhang Gaoli, at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum

This has sure been an interesting week, a golden week for Mr Putin - its a crying shame that this is the sound bite and that it comes via translator. In Russian he was devastating, on fire with and with far much more than this.

His audience got it though and it is clear that the world has changed.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Andrei Sour Grapes

From the Los Angeles times
Russia and China signed a landmark $400-billion natural gas deal Wednesday, sealing their friendship at a time when both are unpopular in their neighborhoods and at odds with the United States.
In reality this is far bigger than an energy deal, it is a whole raft of projects and the settlements will be in Renminbi and Rubles, not dollars.

Cleverly New Zealand has already moved to settle our trade with China in Renminbi bypassing the almighty dollar.

This is the USA's bad dream, this is why Ukraine is in turmoil - an attempt to drag Russia into a war, portraying her leader as a re-incarnation of Hitler to head this off at the pass and to separate her from Europe. But Vladimir Putin has decided not to play along for now.

But the human catastrophe in Ukraine and Obama's "Pivot to Asia", talking up China as an enemy, may just have hastened this which of course has been in preparation for years.

We live in interesting times, dangerous, especially right now for Ukrainians, but interesting.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lucia Monte Cassino - 70th anniversary

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk (C) with his wife Malgorzata Tusk (2-R), Prince Harry (2-L), New Zealand Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae (R) and Polish General Wieslaw Grudzinski (L) arrive for the official ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino
Prince Harry stood shoulder to shoulder with Polish veterans as he commemorated their bravery and sacrifice capturing Monte Cassino in one of the Second World War's bloodiest battles.

From the (UK) Telegraph:

It was 70 years ago on today that troops from the Polish II Corps finally took the ruined Benedictine monastery near Rome - a symbol of Nazi resistance to the Allies' campaign to push Hitler's forces out of Italy.

The victory had followed months of hard fighting that left an estimated 250,000 dead.

The Prince joined more than 50 Polish veterans of the battle, their prime minister Donald Tusk and many dignitaries for an open-air mass at the Polish Military Ceremony where those who paid the ultimate sacrifice are buried.

He arrived wearing his white tropical no 1 dress of the Household Cavalry and walked with Mr Tusk and the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Jerry Mateparae, along a long avenue to the burial place.

Their route was lined by hundreds of scouts in their uniforms and each carried a single large poppy.

The Battle of Monte Cassino was one of the most important campaigns of the Second World War and saw Allied forces launch four major attacks in 1944 to remove Nazi forces from a strategically-important rocky outcrop, home to the 1,400 year-old Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino.

Controversially, the monastery was heavily bombed and destroyed in a bid to make a breakthrough but the move failed and the holy site was later rebuilt after the war.

Finally, on May 18 1944, the troops of the Polish II Corps commanded by General Władysław* Anders reached the monastery ruins.

The campaign had claimed the lives of 923 Poles, 2,931 were injured and 345 reported missing.

It's hard being in New Zealand, and reading about commemorations about important battles such as the ones for Monte Cassino and not having the entire story reported here. My grandfather and uncles that were just a bit older than my dad fought for Ander's Army, the Polish Corps that were able to finally make the final assaults on Monte Cassino and capture it for the allies. Yet, the NZ Herald article that does mention the Poles only says:
The honour of being the first troops to enter the shattered stone building was given to the Poles, whose country had suffered grievously under Nazi occupation.

That one line hides the contribution from the Polish soldiers who fought and died in order that such an honour could be given - why else were they there? As bystanders?  I don't expect the whole article to give the full Polish story, but it would be nice if the Poles weren't whitewashed in it, considering their most sizable contribution to the eventual victory.

Many Polish veterans of Monte Cassino settled here in New Zealand - three from my family alone. The story of how they got here is explained his this short NZ made documentary from the 60's : The story of 700 Polish children who came to NZ during the war.  Those surviving Polish soldiers who had children that were sent here, came to live in NZ as well.

I like the photo above in this post that shows the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk walking up to Monte Cassino with NZ's Sir Jerry Mateparae.  It shows a connection between the two countries on a common cause where Poland and NZ fought in a decisive important and costly battle.  If only there was more acknowledgement here in NZ of those men that fought on the Polish side in that battle and eventually became New Zealanders themselves, raising NZ families with NZ children who are really left out when it comes to commemorations of  NZ battles overseas.  Our choice is to associate with the Poles, not with the New Zealanders.

I don't quite know what the solution is.  Maybe there is no solution, maybe it just comes down to descendants of Ander's Army, like myself, putting up posts such as this to make the point that the NZ story needs to include us in some way.

Related link: Prince Harry commemorates sacrifice of Polish soldiers who captured Monte Cassino ~ Telegraph, UK

* Spelling corrected for Władysław. English speakers tend to turn the Polish ł into an l, but the sounds are completely different. The ł more accurately sounds like our w. The Polish w sounds like an English v. So the name Władysław (this was my dad's name as well) is sort of pronounced Vwa-DEES-wavf.

Fletch Catholics Tell Gays To Ditch Gay Sexual Conduct

The title of this post is based on the title of a story that appeared on the Stuff website over the weekend ('Catholics Tell Gays To Ditch Sex'), that I have changed to more accurately reflect the teaching of the Church.

The story is concerning the new video The Third Way that I posted about a few weeks ago, and reports how the Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Patrick Dunn, now wants to use the video in teaching the position of the Church on homosexuality.

The story begins -
Gay people should give up sex if they want to be Catholics, according to a documentary supported by the New Zealand Catholic church.

A video endorsed by Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn says homosexual sex is a sin and those who are experiencing same-sex attraction are encouraged to "love God" instead.

But the gay community says the doco is "horrifying" and an insidious attempt to make it seem the church is more tolerant towards homosexuals.

The Third Way, billed as the church's new approach to homosexuality, tells fellow Catholics not to hate those living with same-sex attraction, or SSA, but not to affirm their activities either.

If gay people choose to be Catholic, the documentary says, they need to stop leading a "gay lifestyle", and practise chastity.

Now just to recap, the Catholic Church does not consider being homosexual a sin, but it does condemn homosexual acts as being sinful, as the above reports. Later on in the article, they report on what gay Labour MP Louisa Wall has to say about the video -
Labour MP Louisa Wall, who introduced the same-sex marriage bill, said the movement away from complete condemnation of gay people within the church was positive.

But she said it was difficult to get past the fact that the film promoted acceptance of a gay or lesbian person as Catholic only if they didn't have sex.
Again, what struck me the most about some of the wording of the article is that critics of the Church's position do not think it is fair that the Church requires that homosexuals not have sex.

The teaching of the Church is that any sex out of marriage (what used to be called 'fornication') is sinful. To be fair, this is also mentioned in the Stuff article. The teaching in the video though, is not a "new approach". Just check the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

 This might seem obvious, or it might not, but the Church is not really telling homosexuals to "ditch sex" or "give up sex". Persons who are the same gender cannot engage in sex in the first place. It is simply not an option. By this of course I mean genital sexual intercourse, or coitus. You cannot be told to give up something that is not possible for you to do in the first place. Perhaps you might say it is just semantics, but I think it is important to get across exactly what the Church is saying.

So, being that sex (coitus) is not at all an option for a couple of the same gender, the teaching of the Church is that Catholic homosexuals not engage in 'gay sex' such as sodomy or other gay sexual conduct because these are perversions of the sex act, are harmful, and lesson the dignity of the human person.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Andrei Congratulations Hunter

Hunter Biden is a 44 year old corporate lawyer from Washington.

His father is Joe Biden the Vice President of the United States.

Hunter has just been appointed as legal director to Burisma Holdings, Ukraine's largest gas company with extensive holdings in the Donbass. Its major holdings are in the Dombass, in fact

The Dombass is 8500 Km from Washington DC following the great circle, in practical terms it is a lot further away.

This is Yulia Isotova, a 21 year old nurse from Kramatorsk, it isn't far from the Dombass, in fact is is a small village within the Dombass.

She was a nurse and because a nurse from Kramatorsk doesn't earn in a year what a corporate lawyer from Washington charges an hour she is disposable.

And disposed she has been, disposed as she set off for work last week

Who gets to control European energy supplies is important and 21 year old nurses from Kramatorsk are not.

Except to their families and God - in God we must place our hope

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lucia Awesome cat rescues boy from dog attack

From the Daily Mail, No scaredy cats here! Video shows dramatic moment Tara the fearless feline saves autistic boy, 4, from attack by neighbor’s dog:

An astonishing video has shown the moment that a family’s cat came to the rescue of their four-year-old son after he was viciously attacked by a neighbor’s dog.

Jeremy Triantafilo was sitting on his bicycle outside his family’s home in Bakersfield, California on Tuesday when the dog escaped its home through an open gate and crept up on him from behind.

Surveillance footage, which Jeremy’s father uploaded to YouTube, shows the dog grabbing the boy’s leg and pulling him to the ground before violently shaking him with his teeth clamped tight.

Then suddenly, an unlikely hero bounds towards him – the family’s cat, Tara.

The video shows the fearless feline jumping on the dog with enough force to push him away from the boy. Tara then chases the dog away from the driveway with its leg between its tail.

It’s quite spectacular, the way the cat comes flying out within seconds of the boy being attacked.

Here's the video:

Take that, Gareth Morgan!

Andrei Pay attention the adults are talking

The interviewer is a bit crass in places but he doesn't rattle Sergei Lavrov one of the greatest Statesmen of our age.

If you can move beyond soundbites this will be 45 minutes well spent

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lucia Harvard's Satanic black mass Cancelled

What a relief!

Cambridge, Mass., May 12, 2014 / 06:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A satanic black mass re-enactment being planned by a student group at Harvard University has been ‘postponed indefinitely’ and will not take place May 12.

The news was announced by the school’s newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, just over an hour before the event was scheduled to occur May 12.

Originally, the black mass re-enactment was to take place on campus, at a pub in the basement of Memorial Hall. The Harvard Crimson reported late on the afternoon of May 12 that the event had voluntarily been moved to The Middle East nightclub, a short distance from campus. However, shortly afterward, the general manager of the nightclub told the publication that negotiations had fallen through and the event would not be hosted there.

Subsequently, in a breaking news update at 7:45 p.m. Eastern time, the publication reported that the black mass “has been postponed indefinitely and will not take place tonight, according to (a) Satanic Temple spokesperson.”

Connected to witchcraft and demonic worship, a black mass is a sacrilegious ceremony structured as a parody of the Catholic Mass. Invoking Satan, the ritual is centered around the desecration of the Eucharist, which is generally done by stealing a consecrated host from a Catholic church and using it in a profane sexual ritual, or defecating and urinating on it.

A spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, which is staging the event, initially told media outlets that a consecrated host would be used, although the temple and the Cultural Studies Club both later denied this, insisting that only a plain piece of bread would be used.

If there was any chance that a real consecrated host were to be used, it would have to be rescued.

Related link: Satanic black mass 'postponed indefinitely' amid outcry

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lucia Interesting fact about where most of the weapons are in Ukraine

Soviet weapons stockpiles remain in Ukraine, where they are secured by Ukrainian armed forces. Slovyansk, where some of the deadliest clashes of the crisis have occurred, is also the location of a stockpile of some five million Soviet-era small arms, according to the British Royal United Services Institute. “The multiple seizures of government buildings in eastern Ukraine, not just in Slavyansk but also in Konstantinovka in Donetsk Oblast are aimed to make it impossible for Ukrainian forces to fully control the territory and, in effect, to cut it off from its strategic stockpile of light arms,” researchers at the institute found.

Related link: Why is Ukraine's Army So Appallingly Bad?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fletch 'The Third Way' - Homosexuality and the Catholic Church

The Third Way from Blackstone Films on Vimeo.

Blackstone films has just released their movie (that looks to be crowd funded) called The Third Way: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church, which tries to explain the Church's view of homosexuals and what the response of the Church is to homosexuality. Includes interviews with gays who have found acceptance in the Church (with some also saying that the Catholic Church is the one place they do feel that acceptance).

Obviously, the 'third way' itself is chastity, which I'm sure the secular world will not agree with.

Have a look (the film is around 38 minutes) and see what you think.
Film embedded above, but best to click on the first link to view it at a bigger size on Vimeo.

h/t Brendan Malone from The Leading Edge.

Lucia Russian Comedy - The Kermlins

The Kermlins, a Russian couple with a satirical Twitter feed

I posted the following on KiwiBlog and thought I better put it here, too.

... here’s some Russian comedy, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love What’s Happening in Russia, a translation from The New Republic:
I make bets. I look at all the possible ways a situation can unravel, pick the worst one, and make a bet on it. Last fall, I won the entire wardrobe—every single piece of clothing, down to the last T-shirt—of the well-known Russian journalist Oleg Kashin. He was sure, you see, that opposition leader Alexey Navalny had a chance of winning Moscow’s mayoral race. I, on the other hand, bet my collection of sandals that Navalny wouldn’t even be allowed into a run-off with the Kremlin candidate.

I was right.

Oleg acknowledged my victory, but refused to hand over the loot. Ever since, I’ve been stalking him on Instagram, commenting on every photograph he posts as follows: “What a nice shirt!”

It's not a bad strategy, really, to bet on the worst possible outcome. It's very similar to a strategy I once heard of in facing your fears: think of the worst possible thing that could happen and become ok with it. It does actually work, as I found. Normally the worst possible thing doesn't happen, but then I don't live in Russia.

Lucia Crimean Tartars protest

Russian security forces blocking the way for Crimean Tatars crossing a checkpoint between Crimea and Kherson.

Since the annexation by Russia recently, all is not rosy in Crimea:

Thousands of Crimean Tatars on Saturday responded to news that their spiritual leader had been banned from the peninsula by blocking several highways in a tense standoff with riot police — the first sign that the Muslim ethnic group's discontent with Russian authorities may lead to turmoil.

On Saturday, Crimean authorities promised to dish out criminal charges to the group, which numbered about five thousand, according to the BBC Russian service. The group broke through border posts near the city of Armyansk and crossed the border into the buffer zone between Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula to meet Mustafa Dzhemilev, former head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, the ethnic group's representative body.

The group blocked several highways near Simferopol, Bakhchysarai, Stary Krym, Yevpatoriya and Oktyabrskoye, Interfax-Ukraine reported.

The incident seems to vindicate analysts' earlier warnings that the Muslim ethnic group's disaffection with Russian authorities may lead to instability in the region. Many Crimean Tatars, who account for more than 10 percent of the Crimean peninsula's population, opposed the territory's annexation by Russia in March.

"Before the annexation many predicted that Crimean Tatars would become a headache for Russians, and now the head is already aching," said Alexei Malashenko, an Islamic studies expert at the Carnegie Moscow Center.

Malashenko warned that such protests could eventually destabilize Crimea, adding that some Crimean Tatars had already joined the Hizb-ut-Tahrir Islamist organization and even fought in Syria.
When the article says that Crimean Tartars opposed the annexation, they did so by refusing to participate in the voting that did not given them an option have Crimea remain as part of Ukraine.

Russia to Prosecute Crimean Tatar Protesters Over Unrest">Russia to Prosecute Crimean Tatar Protesters Over Unrest

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Andrei Victoria Nuland's poisoned cookies

In the United States where they are in "look no evil, hear, no evil" mode this will go right over everyone's heads - here to probably as well.

But the blood is flowing and simple everyday people are dying in their homes, their lives and livlihoods wrecked to advance the cause of global hegemony.

But history is not on the side of the technocrat's empire - every other empire builder that has tried to conquer Russia has ended up destroying itself in the process....