Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


The inclination to say that the release of Wikileaks cables was 100% bad is misguided. Case in point is what has been revealed about Russia. Again, much of it is not surprising but it does prove what most of us suspected. An example might be the plane crash in Smolensk that killed the Polish president. Many, myself included, are suspicious of foul play but it's not proven.

In any event, the cables verify what many of us knew about Putin's Russia. Via The Guardian:
Russia is a corrupt, autocratic kleptocracy centred on the leadership of Vladimir Putin, in which officials, oligarchs and organised crime are bound together to create a "virtual mafia state", according to leaked secret diplomatic cables that provide a damning American assessment of its erstwhile rival superpower.

Arms trafficking, money laundering, personal enrichment, protection for gangsters, extortion and kickbacks, suitcases full of money and secret offshore bank accounts in Cyprus: the cables paint a bleak picture of a political system in which bribery alone totals an estimated $300bn a year, and in which it is often hard to distinguish between the activities of the government and organised crime.
Putin also didn't like him and his right-hand man Dimitri Medvedev being likened to the fictional superhero tandem of Batman and Robin:
He made clear he was not amused by a US diplomat's description of him as "Batman" and President Dmitry Medvedev as "Robin". "To be honest with you, we did not suspect that this [criticism] could be made with such arrogance, with such rudeness, and you know, so unethically," Putin remarked.
One of the cables also seemed to confirm that U.S. diplomats believed the death of Alexander Litvinenko, caused by a small dose of Polonium-210, may have been ordered by Putin.
Litvinenko Case
6. (S) Fried commented that the short-term trend inside Russia was negative, noting increasing indications that the UK investigation into the murder of Litvinenko could well point to some sort of Russian involvement. MGM called attention to Chirac's statement encouraging the Russians to cooperate in the investigation. He wondered aloud who might have given the order, but speculated the murder probably involved a settling of accounts between services rather than occurring under direct order from the Kremlin. Fried, noting Putin's attention to detail, questioned whether rogue security elements could operate, in the UK no less, without Putin's knowledge. Describing the current atmosphere as strange, he described the Russians as increasingly self-confident, to the point of arrogance.
After the plane crash in Smolensk last April, I wrote about why Russia should have faced scrutiny.

h/t to Verum Serum


It has long been shown that when the race card is played, it means the argument is lost and a racism charge is the last arrow in the proverbial quiver. However, while Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was on Anderson Cooper, he was accused by a black farmer of being racist for using the word 'urban' to describe Barack Obama. Yes, if you call someone 'urban' - meaning that said individual comes from an urban area - you are apparently a racist. Pretty soon, the 'U' word will be taboo too, unless you ARE one, of course.

One more thing. The exchange here between King and a black farmer named John Boyd is about the recent decision to award more monetary awards for black farmers via the 'Pigford' case. King is by far and away on the right side of this issue, which was brought to light several months ago during the Shirley Sherrod episode.

First the exchange via MediaIte:

As for the merits of the Pigford case - there really aren't any left at this point. Pigford was about monetary awards to black farmers that were discriminated against. Zombie perfectly illustrated how Pigford has been overplayed back in July. Specifically, there are more claims than there are black farmers.


And that was BEFORE Pigford II was passed this week.

h/t to Weasel Zippers
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