Archive for the ‘Ossetia’ Category

Vladimir “By The Balls” Putin Runs Russia; Dmitry “Tinkerbell” Medvedev Follows the Big Dog

November 18, 2008

It is pretty clear to even outside observers not paying too much attention to the international scene that the man running Russia is one Vladimir Putin. 
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The “former” president and current Prime Minister hand picked his successer in the top post, Dmitry Medvedev, who is the former head of the biggest Russian state money maker, Gazprom, the oil giant.

Medvedev, thanks to Putin, went from Gazprom to Putin’s chief of staff and then to the presidency of Russia.  Medvedev has already said he will ask parliament to lengthen the term Russian president’s serve so that the next president, whom all analysts believe will be Putin (Part Deux), can have a longer Kremlin tour.

Putin, a former KGB intelligence operative, is the strong man of the Kremlin and all of Russia.  After he sparked the Russian invasion of South Ossietia and Georgia last summer, he was quoted by the Times in London as saying he wanted to “hang by the balls” Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Putin made the “by the balls” remark to a man he considers to be a lightweight: French President Sarkozy.  Peace and Freedom was told by a source inside the Moscow leadership that Putin refers to “lightweights” using derisive, feminine terms and names from fairy tales and stories. 

Sarkozy and Medvedev have been called “Tinkerbell” by Putin, we were told.

Walt Disney’s version of “Tinkerbell” 

Putin showed who had the balls in the Georgia invasion all right.  Kremilin insiders said the attack was Putin’s brainchild and not of Medvedev’s making.

“Tinkerbell” just followed orders.

Then we have Mr. Putin’s he-man media blitz.  Photographs of Putin hunting, fishing, swimming, lifting weights, skinning game and shooting have appeared routinely in the Russian media.

Putin’s “manliness” is rivaled on the world media stage only by Sarah Palin’s moose hunting….





Above: Putin the he-man hunter

Putin also engineered the intimidation of Barack Obama just hours after the American Presidential election, threatening Eastern Europe with Iskander ballistic missiles unless the U.S. backed off of its missile defense plan in Poland and the Czech Republic.

What does this all mean?  It isn’t entirely clear.

But one thing is certain: inside Russia Putin is “the man.”  The average Russian considers Putin a strong man who represents Russia very well.  “He is bringing back Soviet greatness” one veteran told us.

And if weak-sister Tinkerbells in the West don’t like it, Russia and Putin don’t much care.

Related:
“Technically” No Longer President, Russia’s Putin Continues Some Functions

Russia’s Putin and the Great Deception

In Russia’s Putin-Medvedev shuffle, Putin is the lead dancer
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Russia’s Putin threatened to hang Georgia’s leader ‘by the balls’

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President of the Russian ...
Putin’s favorite “Tinkerbells.”  French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev are seen during the EU-Russia summit, in Nice, southern France, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008.(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

NATO checks Ukraine progress amid Russia objections

November 13, 2008

NATO, meeting on Russia’s doorstep, held talks with Ukraine Friday to assess its progress toward membership of the alliance, but prospects for a promised entry action plan were dim.

Ukraine's Minister of Defence Yurii Yekhanurov speaks during ... 
Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Yurii Yekhanurov speaks during the informal high-level NATO-Ukraine consultations in Tallinn November 13, 2008.(Ints Kalnins/Reuters)

Russia deeply opposes Ukraine‘s efforts to join NATO, while opinion polls show only about a third of Ukrainians support it. Ukraine’s domestic political turmoil has made NATO hesitant, though the alliance has said Ukraine, and Georgia, will one day be members.

By Patrick Lannin and David Morgan, Reuters

“A country’s right to freely choose its security alignments is another important principle in this regard and a test for a Europe we all seek to build,” said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, referring to Russia’s objections.

The talks were being held in the capital of Estonia, another former Soviet state, which entered NATO in 2004, breaking away from its powerful neighbor to the east.

Speaking at the start of the talks in which NATO was to assess Ukraine’s security and defense reforms, the NATO chief also took a fresh swipe at Russia for recognizing breakaway Georgian regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081113
/wl_nm/us_nato_ukraine_1

Split Over Russia Grows in Europe

November 8, 2008

By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 8, 2008; Page A10 

BERLIN, Nov. 7 — Russia sent President-elect Barack Obama a message this week when it threatened to “neutralize” the proposed U.S. missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. But analysts said the tough talk from Moscow had another aim as well: to exploit a festering divide within Europe.

Many Eastern European countries have become increasingly alarmed over what they consider Russia’s aggressive attempts to re-create a sphere of influence over satellite states of the former Soviet Union. Such concerns soared after Russia sent troops into Georgia in August, sparking a brief war.

The worries worsened Wednesday when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the Kremlin would move short-range missiles into Kaliningrad, a sliver of Russian territory on the Baltic Sea bordering Poland and Lithuania, if the United States proceeds to base parts of a missile-defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus called the Russian threat “beyond comprehension.”

In contrast, Germany, France and other countries in Western Europe play down any security risks posed by Moscow and instead see Russia foremost as a lucrative — if unpredictable — trading partner. These countries, which former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once derided as “Old Europe,” generally consider the U.S. missile defense project to be an unnecessary irritant.

Peter Struck, a former German defense minister and now parliamentary leader of the Social Democrats, one of Germany’s two ruling political parties, called Medvedev’s speech “understandable” and blamed the Bush administration for provoking Moscow. In a radio interview, he said he hoped Washington would soften its “intransigent position” on the missile shield.

As a protest over the war in Georgia, the European Union withdrew in August from negotiations with Russia over a “strategic partnership” agreement. On Wednesday, just hours before Medvedev gave his speech in Moscow, E.U. officials reversed their position and indicated they would soon resume talks. The shift was led by French and German officials who argued that engagement with Russia was more likely to succeed than isolation.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/07/AR2008110703296.html

Lithuania, Poland Leaders Warn EU Against Russia Talks “Until Georgia Fully Protected”

November 3, 2008

The smaller countries with a history of bad experiences with Russia are telling the others to be more cautious….

Russian soldiers ride by an APC in the village of Nabakevi outside ... 
Russian soldiers ride by an APC in the village of Nabakevi outside the town of Gal. Russia Tuesday declared its opposition to deploying European Union monitors in Georgia’s rebel provinces, while Russian rights groups reported pillaging in Georgian border villages.(AFP/Ibragim Chkadua)

VILNIUS (AFP)–There should be no European Union talks with Russia until it fully respects the ceasefire with Georgia, the leaders of Lithuania and Poland insisted Monday.

In a joint statement, Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus and his Polish opposite number Lech Kaczynski, said they were “deeply concerned with the lack of will on the Russian side.”

Adamkus and Kaczynski highlighted a failure to respect ceasefire clauses covering the withdrawal of Russian troops to pre-conflict positions and on free access to humanitarian aid.

Both Lithuania and Poland are staunch allies of Georgia’s pro-Western leadership.

Adamkus and Kaczynski called for the ceasefire to be “internationally observed and verified” by both the E.U. and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Monitors should be given unfettered access to the Russian-backed breakaway Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Moscow has recognized as independent states. E.U. monitors have so far been unable to gain access to the territories.

And they also drew attention to what they said were the increasing numbers of Russian troops in the region.

Although the E.U. brokered the ceasefire that ended the brief conflict between Georgia and Russia in August, the diplomatic aftermath has divided E.U. member states.

Some western member states, anxious not to antagonize Russia with a tough stance, have suggested that the current Russian pull-back has been sufficient.

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Russia Unromanticized

October 20, 2008

By John R. Bolton
The Washington Post
Monday, October 20, 2008; Page A15

Former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz argued recently on this site that the United States should neither be “isolating” Russia nor drifting toward “confrontation.” The Post’s Masha Lipman urged us to avoid “Cold War preconceptions and illusions.” Unfortunately, these distinguished commentators are aiming at straw men: No serious observer thinks we face a new Cold War or that isolating Russia because of its increasing foreign adventurism is a real solution. U.S. opposition to Russia’s recent behavior should not rest on a desire to “punish” Russia but on the critical need to brace Moscow before its behavior becomes even more unacceptable.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with Germany's ARD television in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Friday, Aug. 29, 2008. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia will not be isolated over its conduct in Georgia. The Russian prime minister is also warning Europe not to the bidding of the United States. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with Germany’s ARD television in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Friday, Aug. 29, 2008. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia will not be isolated over its conduct in Georgia. The Russian prime minister is also warning Europe not to the bidding of the United States. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool) (Alexei Druzhinin – AP)

Russia has been growing increasingly belligerent for some time. Its invasion of Georgia is only the most recent and vicious indicator of its return not to the Cold War but to a thuggish, indeed czarist, approach to its neighbors. Vladimir Putin gave early warning in 2005, when he called the breakup of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.” In the same speech, Putin lamented that “tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.” He may now be acting to reverse that “catastrophe,” as further demonstrated by Moscow’s embrace of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other efforts to interfere in that country’s elections. Prudence based on history requires us to assess Russia’s invasion of Georgia as more than an aberration until proven otherwise.

Russia has repeatedly demonstrated its capacity to threaten American interests: providing cover to Iran’s nuclear weapons program by enthusiastically neutering sanctions resolutions at the U.N. Security Council and trying to market reactors to Tehran; selling high-end conventional weapons to Iran, Syria and other undesirables; using its oil and natural gas assets to intimidate Europe; making overtures to OPEC; and cozying up to Venezuela through joint Caribbean naval maneuvers, weapons sales and even agreeing to construct nuclear reactors.

Take the controversy over locating U.S. missile defense assets in Poland and the Czech Republic. We fully informed Russia before withdrawing from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that we would create a limited (but geographically national) missile defense system to protect against the handfuls of missiles that might be launched by states such as North Korea or Iran. As anyone can tell from looking at a globe, anti-missile sites in Europe wouldn’t defend against the missile trajectories of a Russian strike on America. (That’s why the Distant Early Warning Line was in Alaska and Canada, not Europe.) Russia’s threats against Poland are aimed at intimidating Western Europe, an all-too-easy objective these days. We have real interests at stake, such as a route to the Caspian Basin’s oil and gas assets that does not traverse Russia or Iran. If Moscow’s marching through Georgia goes unopposed, marching will look more attractive elsewhere, starting with Ukraine, which has a large ethnic Russian population “beyond the fringes” of Moscow’s control. “Legitimate security interests” do not justify invading and dismembering bordering countries.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/10/19
/AR2008101901332.html?hpid=
opinionsbox1?hpid=opinionsbox1

Why Obama Worries About Half the Electorate

October 18, 2008

Sadly, I find myself disappointed by both Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain and their presidential campaigns.  But I have a brother who says, “never watch football until the last two minutes.”

So now we are in the “two minute drill,” and today’s Zogby Poll says Obama leads McCain 48% to 44%.
Zogby October 18: Obama 48%; McCain 44%
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But many voters have expressed dismay, anger and even rage about this year’s election campaign.  “We are being taken for a ride my a pack of lies and a biased media,” one man wrote to us.  Others have complained about ACORN, Senator Obama’s friends and acquaintances including terrorist Bill Ayers and the Rev. Wright, McCain’s seemingly inept way of making his points, Sara Palin’s lack of “big city” experience and Joe Biden’s gaffes.  Here we will attempt to summarize many of these regrets and concerns and provoke additional thought and discussion….

Preadidential Election 2008: Obama and McCain
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The Media
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“Doesn’t the media have a responsibility to be unbiased and even handed about politics and politicians?” a voter asked us by email.

The answer is, journalism schools teach and preach honesty, integrity and the importance of unbiased and fair coverage.  But the teaching seems to be falling on deaf ears.

“Americans’ perception of the national media as too biased and too liberal have grown significantly over the past two decades. In less than twenty years, since the 1985 Times Mirror polls began routinely assessing the public’s perceptions of the national media, the percentage of Americans who perceive a liberal bias has doubled from 22 percent to 45 percent, nearly half the adult population. Even Democrats now generally regard the press as a liberal entity.”

The above is a news flash from 2008, right?  Hardly.  That paragraph came from a Media Research Center article entitled “The Liberal Media” written by Rich Noyes on June 30, 2004!

Noyes also wrote in 2004, “the gap between the media and the public has grown considerably. A dozen years later, the same research group — now the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press — found that ‘the American public is more critical of press practices, less enthusiastic about the news product and less appreciative of the watchdog role played by the news media than it was a dozen years ago when The People and The Press surveys were inaugurated.’”

So the so called “liberal media” is not new and is not a figment of your imagination: it is a reality.  What we at Peace and Freedom object to most is the seemingly total disregard for any attempt to be fair and unbiased as exemplified by MSNBC, NBC and The New York Times.  We noticed that as Senator McCain joked about Chris Matthews and the MSNBC and NBC bias at Thurday’s Alfred E. Smith dinner, NBC’s evening news host Brian Williams looked down into his lap — apparently in shame and avoiding the stares of McCain and the audience.  We also noted that when Senator Joe Biden decided to attack Joe the Plumber, the good Senator chose NBC as his medium, appearing to launch the attack on NBC’s “Today Show” and end ing the day on NBC with Jay Leno.

So the “biased and liberal media” is a fact of life and much of what they tell us needs to be taken with a grain of salt or thrown out all together.

Obama’s Acquaintances, Friends, and Race
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“Why is it that if anyone mentions Reverend Wright, Bill Ayers, ACORN, Louis Farrakhan and some of the other Obama friends and acquaintances he is attacked as a racist?”

This question came to us early in the campaign and continues to appear not daily but at least once or twice a week.

Remember when Sarah Palin made fun of Obama’s resume line trumpeting his experience as a “community organizer”?  Team Obama and their surrogates were all over her.  Mrs. Palin obviously didn’t understand the issues of the inner city, race and disenfranchised and under appreciated voters.

But recent revelations about ACORN (The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) seem to indicate that there is some segment of the “community organizer” community that shouldn’t be trusted or respected.  In fact, the FBI is investigating ACORN and there may be some significant lawbreaking, theft, fraud and scurrilous behavior among “community organizers.”

See:
ACORN Board of Directors Meet Amid Internal Lawsuit, $1M Embezzlement Caper, Leadership Struggle
and
ACORN Now Subject of Major FBI Probe

Questioning ACORN and other such organizations isn’t racism: it is something that makes sense and needs to be done, especially since the media has seemingly given ACORN and Mr. Obama a pass….

Senator Obama himself said a Special Prosecutor may be needed to look into ACORN’s activities.

How about Rev. Jeremiah Wright?  All we know is that his videotaped sermons looked anti-American, over the top, and inflammatory.  He even said “God damn America.”  And Senator Obama seemed to be oblivious to these comments, espoused weekly from the church pulpit where he went to “worship” for more than 20 years.

Supporters say that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is misunderstood.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Said “God damn America”
during church sermon. Obama was a member of
the church and contributed money for some 20 years….

On Bill Ayers, a former FBI agent told us (my Dad was in the FBI) that he “wouldn’t shake the hand of an anti-American domestic terrorist like Bill Ayers.”  Mr. Obama considers Bill Ayers as a friend.

So, without belaboring the facts of Barack Obama’s friends and acquaintenances, we find a very troubling pattern of people in Barack Obam’s life: and the lack of honest men of principles and integrity we see in Senator McCain’s life.  And we know this a matter of opinion so decide for yourself….

See:
 Obama & McCain: Who’s Playing the Race Card?
and
What Kind Of Men Were With John McCain In The Hanoi Hilton? Men of Character….
and
 Chicago, Academics Defend Bill Ayers; Former FBI Agents Outraged
and 
Obama and ACORN: Relationship May Be More Extensive Than Candidate Says

Are the Candidates and Their Surrogates Truthful?

“Strapped to a polygraph on national TV, I would assert quite confidently that I would strongly condemn thuggish and criminal tactics by a candidate I supported. The ends do not justify the means for me and most other conservatives I know. I wish I believed the same were true for liberals, far too many of whom are deliberately turning their backs on the corruption defining Barack Obama’s campaign.”

The above paragraph is from David Limbaugh writing in The Washington Times on October 16, 2008.
See: Voters Can Still Wake Up: Corruption Defining Barack Obama’s Campaign

Clearly, as my email proves, liberals think McCain is a filthy liar and conservatives think the same of Obama.  What I look for is a patter.  Decide for yourself.

Legislative Record 

We do believe that John McCain has an incredible, even a unique record of legislative accomplishment.  The McCain Feingold Bill was a partnership with a liberal Democrat aimed at reforming the election donation process.

The Kennedy-McCain Immigration Bill was also a partnership of the conservative McCain with a liberal Democrat, Senator Ted Kennedy.

McCain is a legislative maverick, teaming with Democrats on issues of importance

 Mr. Obama’s state legislature record includes many “present” votes, which we see as an indication of a lack of integrity.  And as for his U.S. Senate record, he has been running toward the White House most of the time and not doing any lammaking.   So please point out one piece of U.S. Senate legislation sponsored by Mr. Obama.  And then, please show us one piece of U.S. Senate legislation Senator Obama co-sponsored with a member of the Republican Party…..

Taxes
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John McCain is a rather typical Ronald Reagan Republican on taxes: he believes that lower taxes stimulate growth so much that the loss of tax revenue due to tax cuts is outweighed by new jobs, growth and prosperity.

Senator Obama said to Joe the Plumber that he believes in income redistribution.  This again came up in the final presidential debate which earned Joe the Plumber an attack from Team Obama, including Joe Biden’s Today Show and Jay Leno assaults on NBC.  So, Team Obama attacked the messenger (the plumber) but has not denied the fact that the Obama tax plan is a socialist class warfare plan….But you decide…..

Plus, given the recent Wall Street and home mortgage disaster, we find it impossible to see how Mr. Obama can come up with the money to do all the things he promises, including tax relief, more money for health care, and additional funding for schools and education.  With me, Mr. Obama seems to have missed the fact that the U.S. owes China over one trillion dollars, owes the American people almost as much now due to the Bush bailout, and that the economic crash has greatly reduced planned-for tax revenues.  My state and county are tightening their spending belt — but Mr. Obama continues to promise huge federal spending increases and tax breaks.  I just do not believe anything he is saying in the economic and financial universe any more.  The situation Obama lived in when he created his give-away plan has changed: and what Mister Obama once promised to a people living in a prosperous nation has changed…. Ask any small business owner like my wife or any unemployed workers starting with the American union workers of the automotive work-force.

Foreign Policy
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“On the campaign trail, foreign policy appears to have all but disappeared as an issue in this race,” wrote Jonathan Marcus of the BBC this week.

Did anyone hear any of these topics discussed in depth during the final presidential debate?  I refer to China, Russia, Georgia, Pakistan, Darfur, Afghanistan, Venezuela, India, Georgia, Ossetia and on and on. 

The economic meltdown has just about pushed foreign policy out of the presidential campaign discussion.  And this is a grave mistake we as a nation may pay for in the future.

The President of the United States does not have any control lever to the economy under his desk, as far as we know, but he does have great singular influence and say over foreign policy.

Mr. McCain’s support for the “surge” in Iraq turned into a major success.  But instead of claiming credit for this foreign policy and military success, Mr. McCain seems to have become a victim of his own success.  Mister Foreign Policy experience has fallen into an Obama trap: lets talk solely about our domestic economy. 

All I remember about Senator Obama’s foreign policy platform are some ill advised remarks like that he would meet with President Ahmadinejad of Iran without preconditions.  Mr. Ahmadinejad, last I checked, is making a nuclear bomb and is on the record for saying he wanted to “wipe Israel from the map.”

But, because the economic mess is on everyone’s mind and Mr. Obama is promising to make us all rich, I suppose we don’t need to care about such people as Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao, President Ahmadinejad and other interesting folks on the world stage….But you decide….

See:
Iran’s Ahmadinejad Continues to Gloat About End of Godless America, Capitalism
and
Pakistan’s Zardari Asks China for Aid
and
How Foreign Policy Fell Off The U.S. Election Radar

Campaign Financing
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Here again we think Mr. McCain fell victim to what Muhammad Ali called the “rope a dope” tactics of a thoughtful, though often underhanded, campaign team.

McCain loves campaign finance reform partly because he wrote the McCain Feingold Campaign Reform Bill with his liberal Democrat friend Senator Feingold.  Obama once said he’d stick with the restrictions of McCain-Feingold  since Mr. McCain promised to stand with the restrictions but then Mr. Obama, at the last minute,  changed his mind — at the deadline and after Mr. McCain vowed to stick by the restrictions.

Now, we as a nation, are witnessing an almost limitless pile of cash owned by Mr. Obama attacking a pauper in the advertising realm: Mr. McCain.  This is great if you love Obama but it is not good for truth, honesty and America in our view.  All this money pollutes the environment with a one-sided advertising campaign which was already jeapordized by a biased, liberal media…..

But …you decide.

Vice Presidential Nominees

Was Sarah Palin really the best choice for a John McCain running mate?  Probably not.  She is a woman with executive experience.  But she is no Mitt Romney, who also has a wealth of executive experience and as a business executive, understands how to “create” wealth.

And Joe Biden?  Apparently he was chosen by Mr. Obama for his foreign policy experience.  But in the Senate he is known as a gaffe prone, long-winded buffoon.

See:
Joe Biden, Because He Has No Integrity, Demeans Himself By Attacking Joe the Plumber

Energy
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What I recall most is this: Obama is for wind.  McCain is for nuclear.

It is more complex than that but not a lot.  McCain wants to drill more and his campaign events along with those of Governor palin frequently feature the chant, “Drill, Baby, Drill.”  Obama warmed up to the idea of additional drilling only late in the game.

Mr. McCain mentioned at the last presidential debate that we need more nuclear power plants in the United States.  He said the U.S. Navy has been the master of nuclear power for more than 50 years.

The United States is lagging far behind many nations, including Britain and France, in clean nuclear electricity generation.  Russia is assisting Iran with a nuclear plant.  Just today, China announced that it will assist Pakistan with the construction of two nuclear sites.  The U.S. even recently made an agreement to assist India with nuclear power.  Yet our own domestic nuclear industry is not building new nuclear plants with any regularity or verve.

I can’t recall Mr. Obama ever saying “nuclear.”

I think Mr. McCain is on the right track on energy — but I appreciate Mr. Obama’s commitment to clean power too.

TaskForce One.jpg
Above: This photo, taken 1964, shows three of the U.S. Navy’s early nuclear powered surface combatants.  Today, all U.S. Navy aircraft carriers and submarines are nuclear powered.

Character

I feel like I know John McCain’s character, but I live with an immigrant wife who suffered similar torture and hardship.  McCain survived a very difficult time of prison and torture with distinction.  He’s been tested.  I like people who have been tested.

I do not know that Barack Obama has been tested.  He is a great talker but not a great “doer.”  A man of spoken great convictions, to me Barack Obama’s life is a mixture of avoidance, association with the wrong people and the avoidance of taking stands.  Barack Obama reminds me of the “Artful Dodger” from the in the Charles Dickens novel Oliver Twist.

New York Times writer Jodi Kantor researched the Obama record at the University of Chicago Law School.  On July 30, 2008, Jodi’s story appeared with the following included:

“I don’t think anything that went on in these chambers affected him,” said Richard Epstein, a libertarian colleague who says he longed for Mr. Obama to venture beyond his ideological and topical comfort zones. “His entire life, as best I can tell, is one in which he’s always been a thoughtful listener and questioner, but he’s never stepped up to the plate and taken full swings.”

I prefer, especially in the White House, men that take full swings.

In short and in closing, we consider this a very troubling election campaign that Senator Obama, for good or bad, will likely win.  And it seems as if the Senate and the House of Representatives will see an increased number of Democratic legislators.  A predominantly Democratic House, Senate and a White House occupied by a Democrat at the same time is not good for Americans in our view, but we trust the American voter…..

EU Leaders Not Yet Ready to Forgive Russia Over Georgia

October 17, 2008

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Two months after the war in Georgia and a day after a false start to peace talks, EU leaders were not yet ready Thursday to negotiate upgrading ties to reflect Russia’s hydrocarbon superpower status.

Instead, after a two-day summit in Brussels, they put off making the decision in time for an EU-Russia summit on November 14 in France, allowing the bloc’s leaders to digest an exhaustive report currently being drawn up.

The 27-nation bloc had suspended talks in September on the so-called Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) after Russian troops and tanks rolled into Georgia on August 8 to push back a Georgian offensive to retake the breakaway republic South Ossetia.

Russian soldiers pull out of buffer zones around Georgia's ... 
Russian soldiers pull out of buffer zones around Georgia’s rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Georgian and Russian officials held their first talks since a five-day war in August, as tensions over the rebel regions at the heart of the conflict threatened to derail discussions.(AFP/File/Zviad Nikolaishvili)

Russia has since withdrawn from most of Georgia in line with an EU-brokered ceasefire but Tbilisi is furious at the continued presence of 7,600 Russian troops in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and Russia has sparked international condemnation for its recognition of the two pro-Moscow regions.

“The PCA will resume once the analysis, the evaluation that is being done by the Council (of EU ministers) and commission is finished,” EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters in Brussels. “I hope very much that will be before November 14.”

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Thursday she planned to present her report to a meeting of EU foreign ministers on November 10.

The partnership agreement, talks for which began in July, is aimed to update the framework for relations between the two sides to reflect Russia’s new-found economic clout. Current ties are governed by an agreement dating back to when Russia was reeling from the break-up of the Soviet Union….

Read the rest:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081016/wl_afp/eu
summitrussiadiplomacy_081016174821