“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Mind of Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has taken to the airwaves to assuage his people's fears over the country's rapidly accelerating financial crisis, acknowledging that tough times lay ahead but that Russia would survive with "minimal losses".

In a marathon session that lasted more than three hours, broadcast live on radio and television, Mr Putin took dozens of questions from around the country, in a tradition he started eight years ago as president. Only once did he mention the name of the current President, Dmitry Medvedev, fuelling the view that Mr Putin remains the country's most powerful leader.

Panel: questions put to Putin by Russians

Q: I have two questions. As New Year approaches, we need to know where to buy a tree. Second, will Ukraine pay for its gas?

Putin: "Every family who wants to have a tree, can have it, a natural or a fake one. More and more people are using fake trees. It's an individual choice. And our Ukrainian partners haven't settled their debt yet, $2.5bn, this isn't small money, for Gazprom or the country. We know Ukraine is having bigger problems than Russia, for example, as a result of the financial crisis. What to do? Trade doesn't happen for free, you have to pay ? If you go to Germany and say, ‘I want a Mercedes for free'. Who will give it to you?"

Q: Vladimir Vladimirovich, I would _really like a new dress for New Year. Please fulfill our wishes, thank you.

Putin: Little Dasha, I think that you and other children, not only in Yakutia but in the whole country, should see in the New Year well and adults should do everything to see these wishes are fulfilled. Regarding your dress and other presents on New Year's, I think it would only be right if you thought not only about what you needed for New Year, but what Grandma needs. I invite you and your sisters and Grandma all together to come to Moscow, to one of the New Year's trees, and we'll deal with presents here."

Q: Would you like to see Saakashvili hung by one of his body parts? [Mr Putin was reported to have told President Sarkozy of France that the Georgian leader should be "hung by the balls".]

Putin: "Why just one part? But seriously, we all know the tragic news in other parts of the world, in Iraq for example, where American troops went under the false pretence of weapons of mass destruction. They didn't find the weapons, but they hanged the leader. I believe it is up to Georgia's people to decide what kind of responsibility must be borne by those politicians who led to these harshest and tragic consequences."
- The Independent


  1. Putin:

    "...we all know the tragic news in other parts of the world, in Iraq for example, where American troops went under the false pretence of weapons of mass destruction. They didn't find the weapons, but they hanged the leader."


  2. Ash, did you notice the quote I put up from Gandhi, saying the worst of the crimes committed by the British in India was the disarming of the population?

  3. The KGB had a neat trick where they tied your left wrist to your right ankle with just enough rope (through a pulley in the ceiling) to make it maximally suck, especially after a day or two like that. Maybe that's what Putin meant by hanging that dude by more than one body part.

  4. I do remember your writing that bobal but it certainly seems counter-intuitive to the accepted image of Ghandi. If I remember correctly you didn't offer up any links supporting the veracity of that claim. Did he really say that?

  5. Russian policy should be that Ukraine buy its gas from Germany.

  6. Ash, all I can say is that's what the article said. I'll check Am. Thinker, it might have been there. I didn't personally hear him say it.

  7. Gandhi actully made some crackpot remarks. He thought the Jews should just go willingly to the sacrifice, for instance, and that it would all work out karmacally. He was right though that Hitler would over reach and come to a bad end.

  8. Gandhi was an idiot. Idiot worship is for idiots.

  9. This is close, here, Ash--

    I came reluctantly to the conclusion that the British connection had made India more helpless than she ever was before, politically and economically. A disarmed India has no power of resistance against any aggressor if she wanted to engage in an armed conflict with him. So much is this the case that some of our best men consider that India must take generations before she can achieve the Dominion status. She has become so poor that she has little power of resisting famines. Before the British advent, India spun and wove in her millions of cottages just the supplement she needed for adding to her meager agricultural resources. This cottage industry, so vital for India’s existence, has been ruined by incredibly heartless and inhuman processes as described by English witnesses. Little do town-dwellers know how the semi-starved masses of India are slowly sinking to lifelessness. Little do they know that their miserable comfort represents the brokerage they get for the work they do for the foreign exploiter, that the profits and the brokerage are sucked from the masses. Little do they realize that the Government established by law in British India is carried on for this exploitation of the masses. No sophistry, no jugglery in figures can explain away the evidence that the skeletons in many villages present to the naked eye. I have no doubt whatsoever that both England and the town-dwellers of India will have to answer, if there is a God above, for this crime against humanity which is perhaps unequalled in history. The law itself in this country has been used to serve the foreign exploiter. My unbiased examination of the Punjab Martial Law cases has led me to believe that at least ninety-five per cent of convictions were wholly bad1. My experience of political cases in India leads one to the conclusion that in nine out of every ten cases the condemned men were totally innocent. Their crime consisted in the love of their country. In ninetynine cases out of hundred, justice has been denied to Indians as against Europeans in the Courts of India. This is not an exaggerated picture. It is the experience of almost every Indian who has had anything to do with such cases. In my opinion, the administration of the law is thus prostituted consciously or unconsciously for the benefit of the exploiter.

    The greatest misfortune is that Englishmen and their Indian associates in the administration of the country do not know that theyare engaged in the crime I have attempted to describe. I am satisfied that many English and Indian officials honestly believe that they are administering one of the best systems devised in the world and that India is making steady though slow progress. They do not know that a subtle but effective system of terrorism and an organized display of force on the one hand, and the deprivation of all powers of retaliation or self-defence on the other, have emasculated the people and induced in them the habit of simulation. This awful habit has added to the ignorance and the self-deception of the administrators. Section 124 A under which I am happily charged is perhaps the prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen. Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by law. If one has no affection for a person or system1, one should be free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection, so long as he does not contemplate, promote or incite to violence. But the section under which Mr. Banker and I are charged is one under which mere promotion of disaffection is a crime. I have studied some of the cases tried under it, and I know that some of the most loved of India’s patriots have been convicted under it. I consider it a privilege, therefore, to be charged under it. I have endeavoured to give in their briefest outline the reasons for my disaffection. I have no personal ill will against any single administrator, much less can I have any disaffection towards the King’s person. But I hold it to be a virtue to be disaffected towards a government which in its totality has done more harm to India than any previous system. India is less manly under the British rule than she ever was before. Holding such a belief, I consider it to be a sin to have affection for the system. And it has been a precious privilege for me to be able to write what I have in the various articles tendered in evidence against me.

    Gandhi, at one of his trials.

    So, yes, I think that was his feelings about being disarmed.

  10. LONDON (AP) - The British Broadcasting Corp. is reporting that six gunmen have been shot and killed by Indian security forces at New Delhi's main international airport. The report on the BBC Web site Thursday was attributed to airport officials.
    Airports in India went on high alert Thursday following fresh warnings of attacks as officials said India suspects two senior leaders of a banned Pakistani militant group orchestrated last week's deadly siege in Mumbai.

  11. One wonders if Gandhi would have been such a 'pacifist' if he'd had other options. Anyway, due to the changing times, they got out from under, one way or other.

  12. Gandhi gave away Indian territories to Jihadis. Anyone engaged in such folly does not deserve an ounce of respect.

  13. i'm thinkin' putey is so full of himself, his head is about to pop.

  14. I agree with Bob. Very moving testimony. Thanks, Sam.

  15. Gasoline futures fell below a dollar a gallon.

    Oil Below $44/barrel

    Man, I tell you, you'd have to be a dexterious, nimble trader to make your way around these stock markets and commodity markets these days. Not for the average Joe like me to get involved in. Have to be able to dance lightly from buy to sell, sell to buy, and, be lucky too.

  16. The Crack Spread

    The Crack Spread has been negative for almost two months, reducing the incentive to process fuels.

  17. The 'mind' of Vladimir "The Poisoner" Putin is literally poisonous, murderous, calculating, self aggrandizing and crude. Nuff said.

  18. Private property, a comparison between US and Europe:

  19. Hunting District 703, which extends east from Terry to Sidney and south to Baker and includes a portion of the Yellowstone River, will be open through Jan. 4 for the hunt. Resident and nonresident hunters can use any unfilled 2008 deer tag or purchase up to three whitetail doe tags for the hunt.

    Only 500 of the special tags will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

    The hunt is confined to private property and state and federal lands controlled by landowners who are participating in the damage hunt. So far, 14 landowners have signed on.

    Easter Montana Whitetails

  20. So after suffering through Mr Kunstler's rhetoric, he finally mentions something of substance, which is exemplified by what is happening in Miami, according to the AP

    Foreclosed homes give shelter to homeless
    by Tamara Lush - Dec. 3, 2008 12:00 AM
    Associated Press

    MIAMI - Max Rameau delivers his sales pitch like a pro. "All tile floor!" he says during a recent showing. "And the living room, wow! It has great blinds."

    But in nearly every other respect, he is unlike any real-estate agent you've ever met. He is unshaven, drives a beat-up car and wears grungy cut-off sweat pants. He also breaks into the homes he shows. And his clients don't have a dime for a down payment.

    Rameau is an activist who has been executing a bailout plan of his own around Miami's empty streets: He is helping homeless people illegally move into foreclosed homes. "We're matching homeless people with people-less homes," he said with a grin.

    Rameau and a group of like-minded advocates formed Take Back the Land, which also helps the new "tenants" with secondhand furniture, cleaning supplies and yard upkeep. So far, he has moved six families into foreclosed homes and has nine on a waiting list.

    "I think everyone deserves a home," said Rameau, who said he takes no money from his work with the homeless. "Homeless people across the country are squatting in empty homes. The question is: Is this going to be done out of desperation or with direction?"

    With the housing market collapsing, squatting in foreclosed homes is believed to be on the rise around the country. But squatters usually move in on their own, at night, when no one is watching. Rarely is the phenomenon as organized as Rameau's effort to "liberate" foreclosed homes.

    Florida, especially the Miami area, with its once-booming condo market, is one of the hardest-hit states in the housing crisis, largely because of overbuilding and speculation. In September, Florida had the nation's second-highest foreclosure rate, with one out of every 178 homes in default, according to Realty Trac, an online marketer of foreclosed properties. Only Nevada's rate was higher.

    Like other cities, Miami is trying to ease the problem. Officials launched a foreclosure-prevention program to help homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage, with loans of up to $7,500 per household.

    The city also recently passed an ordinance requiring owners of abandoned homes - whether an individual or bank - to register those properties with the city so police can better monitor them.

    Miami spokeswoman Kelly Penton said city officials did not know Rameau was moving homeless into empty buildings, but they are not stopping him.

    "There are no actions on the city's part to stop this," she said in an e-mail. "It is important to note that if people trespass into private property, it is up to the property owner to take action to remove those individuals."

  21. Donofrio up on Plains Radio Network in 23 minutes.

  22. As to disparging Ms Napolitano, while it is true she has no family, the "Left Wing" newspaper, NEW Times and its' publisher has printed his piece, on why Ms Napolitano is not qualified to run Homeland Security.

    Now, it seems that what Lacey thinks disqualifies her, will make her potentially successful at the job. Especially if Sheriff Joe does go back, with her. Lacey does mention their relationship, Arpaio and Napolitano, as further disqualification. Lacey really dislikes Arpaio, truely and deeply.

    Janet Napolitano’s Sorry Service in Arizona Makes Her a Terrible Choice for Homeland Security Secretary
    By Michael Lacey
    Published on November 24, 2008

    "We are the only state in the union where coming across the border is a felony," said Gutierrez.

    Napolitano also signed the nation's toughest employer-sanctions legislation.

    The heads of the cartels and the crop-pickers, the bossed and the boss — everyone is equally guilty.

    In the same year that she signed the smuggling bill, Governor Napolitano declared a state of emergency using the fallout from unauthorized immigrants to garner seven-figure disaster relief from the federal government.

    Responding to Napolitano's 2005 state of emergency declaration, Congressman J.D. Hayworth attacked Napolitano for leeching off the federal teat and suggested that what the governor ought to do is call out the National Guard instead.

    An anti-immigration barnburner, Representative Hayworth's crack-skull theatrics made him notorious. Washingtonian magazine identified Hayworth in 1998 as the second-biggest "windbag" on the Hill after surveying 1,200 congressional staffers. He once suggested that Arizona ranchers had discovered the hastily abandoned prayer rugs and Korans of Muslims sneaking across the Mexican border into the United States. Hayworth's dissemination of this sort of Internet gossip — mixed with his propensity for using disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who provided the Arizona congressman with sports-arena skyboxes for fund-raising — eventually led to his ouster by voters.

    And yet Napolitano took to heart Hayworth's idea of the militarization of the border.

    Aware that the congressman was considering a run against her, Napolitano deployed the Guard to Arizona's border with Mexico.

    "She won accolades from every anti-immigrant group in the country," said Alfredo Gutierrez. "Using troops was stunning, shocking."

    Gutierrez drew a distinction between her deployment of soldiers and the patrols of citizen militias who were also active on the border. The Guard was not used to hunt down Mexicans.

    "She read the political tea leaves, so she deployed troops, but she also limited the troops to a supporting role digging ditches," said Gutierrez.

  23. As of Wednesday night, when about 98 percent of ballots were counted, Coleman led Franken by 316 votes

    Frankenstein Still Slightly Behind

  24. The Church I was born and baptized and confirmed and first eucharisted into is fighting efforts in the Eurozone to decriminalize homosexual acts. The resolution, Archbishop Celestino Migliore said, would "add new categories of those protected from discrimination"...

    The horror!

  25. Donofrio doesn't seem to be on, maybe it's next hour.

  26. “When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.

    Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.”

    From Obama's FightTheSmears Blog Site

    Doesn't matter that his Kenyan citizenship 'expired'. Matters what he was when he was born.

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