Friday, July 08, 2011

Catholic League News Release


Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the July 7 blog post by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan:

Archbishop Dolan correctly notes that within days of the New York State legislature's decision to affirm homosexual marriage, some enthusiasts were already upping the ante, asking us to consider "nonmonogamy." Dolan's critics think he is falsely sounding the alarm. He isn't.

When the U.S. Supreme Court rejected precedent and decided to invent a right to sodomy (see Lawrence v. Texas, 2003), Justice Scalia wrote in dissent that everything from bigamy to bestiality could now be justified in light of this ruling. After all, if moral choice is the only operative principle, then on what basis can we tell Sam and Sally, brother and sister, that they cannot marry? This is not a matter of idle speculation: in the wake of Lawrence, attempts to legalize polygamy and incest were made, and it is just a matter of time before some enlightened judge decides it's necessary to break new ground.

If anything, Archbishop Dolan understates the problem. Five years ago, hundreds of prominent professors, lawyers, writers and activists signed a statement, "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision For All Our Families & Relationships," that was a veritable declaration of war on marriage. Every conceivable relationship was to merit state approval. For example, it said, "Queer couples and siblings who decide to jointly create and raise a child with another queer person or couple, in two households," should be afforded the same protections as marriage, traditionally understood. These zealots even went so far as to say that such arrangements should be given private [read: religious] recognition.

Archbishop Dolan did us a favor by issuing this wake-up call. Sadly, he does not exaggerate, not by one bit.

Contact our director of communications about Donohue’s remarks:

Jeff Field

Phone: 212-371-3191

Thursday, July 07, 2011

GOP Candidates Have The Fundraising Momentum

In the upcoming Wisconsin recall elections two GOP candidates have raised more than all the Democrat candidates combined.  That is great and all, but here is my thoughts; it means nothing if the GOP thinks they are going to ignore their constituents.  If they spew the conservative dribble they think voters want to hear with no intention of actually serving in a conservative capacity then they may as well throw in the towel now.  The voters are not letting politicians slide without any accountability anymore.  If our own leaders think they can turn on us without consequence, they are wrong.  Stay informed and keep your leaders on their toes. 

At the same time, when we do get those who are true to the freedom platform support them without fail.  Contact them and let them know they are doing a great job.  When they do something to further freedom and liberty for all give them that proverbial pat-on-the-back and congratulate them.  They need to hear when they are doing a good job as much as they need to know when they make a mess of things.  One of the most obvious ways to do that is to donate, and to do it as often as you can.

43 weapons in Phoenix traffic stop linked to ATF strategy

43 weapons in Phoenix traffic stop linked to ATF strategy

Way Up North: The Challenge

Way Up North: The Challenge: "“Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and..."

STRATFOR Dispatch: The CSTO and Russian Strategy


Paul: Senate Leadership Must Focus on Debt Ceiling : Roll Call Opinion

Paul: Senate Leadership Must Focus on Debt Ceiling : Roll Call Opinion

Wisdom From Ron Paul

"Prices are going up. Unemployment is continue to go up. And we have not had the necessary correction for the financial bubble created by our Federal Reserve system."

Ron Paul

In the Bag

Taliban Hotel Attack: Low Death Toll, High Psychological Value

Taliban Hotel Attack: Low Death Toll, High Psychological Value is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Scott Stewart

At about 10 p.m. on June 28, a group of heavily armed militants attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan. According to government and media reports, the attack team consisted of eight or nine militants who were reportedly wearing suicide vests in addition to carrying other weapons. At least three of the attackers detonated their vests during the drawn-out fight. Afghan security forces, assisted by International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), needed some eight hours to clear the hotel of attackers. One group of militants even worked their way up to the roof of the hotel, where they fired several rocket-propelled grenades.

The attack resulted in the deaths of 12 people, as well as all the militants. The Taliban had a different take on the attack, posting a series of statements on their website claiming responsibility and saying the assault was conducted by eight operatives who killed 90 people and that the real news of their success was being suppressed. (Initially, the Taliban claimed to have killed 200 in the attack but reduced the toll to 90 in later statements.)

NATO and ISAF spokesmen have noted their belief that, due to the location and use of suicide bombers in the attack, the Haqqani network was involved in the operation. On the evening of June 29, a NATO airstrike killed Ismail Jan, a senior Haqqani leader in Afghanistan who NATO claims was involved in planning the hotel attack.

When viewed in the context of other recent attacks in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan, the attack on the Intercontinental Hotel was not all that spectacular. It certainly did not kill the 90 people the Taliban claim, although it does have a number of interesting security implications.

Past Attacks

Militants in Afghanistan have conducted several armed-assault style attacks in Kabul in recent years. In April 2011, a group of militants dressed in Afghan army uniforms stormed the Ministry of Defense in Kabul and killed two people in what the Taliban later claimed was an assassination attempt aimed at the visiting French defense minister.

On Jan. 18, 2010, the day that the Afghan Cabinet was sworn in, 11 militants conducted a wave of armed assaults against a variety of high-profile targets in Kabul that included the presidential palace, the Central Bank and the Defense and Justice ministries. The most prolonged fighting occurred at the newly opened Grand Afghan Shopping Center. The shopping center was heavily damaged by a fire apparently initiated by the detonation of a suicide device. In spite of the large number of militants participating in this attack, it resulted only in seven deaths.

In February 2009, eight militants attacked the Justice Ministry, the Department of Prison Affairs and the Education Ministry. The attack killed 21 people and took place the day before former U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke was scheduled to arrive in Kabul.

The Taliban have also targeted hotels in Kabul. In January 2008, the Serena Hotel was attacked by four militants who used an explosive device to breach the front security perimeter and then stormed the hotel. One of the attackers detonated his suicide vest in the lobby and another roamed through the hotel shooting guests. The attack, which resulted in six deaths, occurred while the Norwegian foreign minister was staying there.

In October 2009, three militants attacked a guest house being used by U.N. personnel in Kabul. The attack resulted in the deaths of five U.N. staff members and three Afghans. The Taliban took credit for this attack, which targeted U.N. election workers in an attempt to disrupt the November 2009 Afghan election.

Sending a Message

When STRATFOR began looking at these Kabul attacks from a tactical viewpoint, we were initially surprised by the relatively low death toll considering the number of militant operatives employed. None of the Taliban’s armed assaults in Kabul have produced the high casualty count of the November 2009 Mumbai attacks. However, over time it became quite apparent that the objective of these armed assaults in Kabul was not only to cause carnage. If so, the Taliban would have discontinued conducting such attacks due to the relatively low return on investment they were providing. Instead, the Taliban have shown that they like to use such attacks at strategic times to make sure the threat they pose is not forgotten.

Consider the context of the attacks described above. They all happened in relation to other events that were occurring at the time over which the Taliban wished to voice their displeasure. The attack on the Intercontinental Hotel occurred during a conference to discuss the transfer of security authority from the ISAF to the Afghan government — an event the Taliban certainly wanted to comment on, and did.

These multi-man armed attacks in Kabul were true acts of terrorism — attacks conducted for their symbolic propaganda value — and not acts conducted to be tactically significant from a military standpoint. When taken together, these less than spectacular individual attacks were conducted with enough frequency to cultivate a perception of instability and lack of security in the Afghan capital — an important goal for the Taliban.

In their official statement claiming responsibility, the Taliban said the Intercontinental Hotel attack was intended to disrupt the handover conference. They also claimed their primary goal was to target U.S. and NATO spies and agents who would be staying at the hotel, but that was obviously a red herring since very few Western government employees stay at that hotel, though some do attend meetings there.

This attack also illustrated some other facts about the Taliban movement: First, the Taliban do not appear to have any shortage of men. Despite almost 10 year of war, they have the resources to burn through eight suicide operatives on a mission that did not appear to be strategically significant. Second, they do not appear to be suffering from morale problems. They are able to readily recruit militants willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause. And they are able to make outlandish propaganda claims — that they killed 90 people in the hotel attack, for example — to a target audience that will take their statements at face value.

This brings us to our final point, a discussion of the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel itself.

The ‘Intercontinental’

Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel, known widely as the “Intercon,” opened for business in 1969. At that time it was the Afghanistan’s first international luxury hotel and was a part of the international chain of hotels with the same name, now known as the InterContinental Hotels Group. Following the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the hotel ceased to be part of the InterContinental Hotels brand, but the hotel’s local ownership continued to use the Intercontinental name.

This is not an uncommon situation, particularly in countries like Afghanistan where it is hard for large corporate hotel groups to enforce their trademarks. One potential downside of this type of arrangement is that it can give an international traveler a false sense of security. Generally, the large hotel chains are very serious about security, and if a chain does not own a specific hotel property, the local owner of the property who wants to use the chain’s name will be forced to adhere to the chain’s stringent security standards. Therefore, anyone seeing the Intercontinental Hotel name would assume that the Intercon in Kabul would adhere to the global chain’s security standards. In this case, they would be wrong.

Most U.S. and Western visitors to Kabul stay at the Serena Hotel rather than the Intercon because the Serena has better security. The Intercon tends to get more local traffic, which belies the Taliban’s claim that the primary reason they attacked the Intercon was to kill U.S. and NATO spies. We have heard rumors that the operation may have been intended to target a specific VIP who was supposed to be visiting the property but have not been able to confirm this. If a VIP was indeed the target, the operation failed to kill him or her.

The false assumption that the Kabul Intercon would adhere to the stringent security standards of the InterContinental Hotels Group illustrates the importance of properly preparing for a trip by thoroughly researching your destination before traveling. This week, STRATFOR began publishing a series of reports on travel security that are designed to assist travelers during the busy summer travel season in the Northern Hemisphere. For a detailed examination of the terrorist threat to hotels and hotel security, please read our detailed special report on the topic, which can be found here.

As U.S. and other international forces begin withdrawing from Afghanistan, we can expect the Taliban and their allies to continue conducting high-profile attacks in the heart of Kabul that coincide with significant events. Such attacks will be a fact of life in the city for the foreseeable future, and people traveling to and from or living in Kabul should pay close attention to events that could trigger Taliban attacks and plan their activities and make personal security arrangements accordingly.

Even the Taliban cannot attack without conducting preoperational surveillance, which highlights the utility of surveillance detection and counterintelligence to uncover Taliban agents who have penetrated facilities in order to turn them into targets.

Read more: Taliban Hotel Attack: Low Death Toll, High Psychological Value | STRATFOR

Catholic League News Release


Responding to growing attacks on Catholic bishops over the issue of same-sex marriage is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:
The passage of a same-sex marriage bill in New York, over the objections of the Catholic hierarchy, has led to a storm of criticism of the state's bishops. The most extreme condemnation comes from a July 5 editorial in the National Catholic Reporter (NCR).
The Catholic hierarchy, says NCR, "has lost most of its credibility with the wider culture on matters of sexuality and personal morality, just as it has lost its authority within the Catholic community on the same issues." The bishops are guilty of engaging in everything from "wholesale excommunications" to "open warfare" with dissidents.
The popular "out-of-touch" criticism of the bishops on gay marriage rests on two faulty assumptions: (a) there is a divide between the bishops and the faithful on this issue, and (b) the bishops should take their cues from the laity.
To begin with, there is a profound difference between the views of practicing Catholics and nominal ones. There is also a divide between what the public tells a pollster and the results in a ballot box. In the 31 states where the voters were given the opportunity to decide on gay marriage, many of the polls going into the election showed that the supporters would carry the day. The final tally was 31-0 against gay marriage. New Yorkers were denied a ballot initiative. Moreover, a Siena College poll taken just before the vote in the legislature showed only a minority of Catholics in favor of this idea.
More important, the bishops have a different charge: they are obligated to do what is morally right. But if NCR wants the bishops to follow the laity, is it prepared to have the hierarchy junk its rejection of the death penalty? After all, two-thirds of Catholics want those guilty of a capital offense to be fried, so why not the bishops? Will NCR now campaign for the death penalty, lecturing the bishops to get in line with the rank-and-file? Its hypocrisy is stunning.
Contact our director of communications about Donohue’s remarks:

Jeff Field

Phone: 212-371-3191

Dick Morris TV; Lunch ALERT! Obama Loses Jewish Voters...At Last!!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Reading, Writing, And Arithmetic A Distraction?

The No Child Left Inside Act threatens to chose indoctrination over education

There is no limit to the low levels liberals will stoop to when it comes to dumbing down our society to create a controllable population.  This latest business is just another attempt by politicians to remove the control of parents and therefore place themselves in charge of every aspect of future generations' lives. 

This is why the power politicians have assumed in education should be taken away.  They should never be allowed to have any say or power over any decision made in the education of any child, but their own.  The decision of what is and is not taught is between the school and the parent and if they cannot agree then the parent must have the right to place their child in a school of their choice. 

Until this happens, and our children are educated in the basics and history in a true and unbiased manner again, we will never truly be free because inadequately educations generations are easily manipulated into giving up their freedoms and unrestrained governments know that.

Sen. Rand Paul on Senate Floor regarding Debt Ceiling Negotiations Gov. Walker: Signs bill allowing electric providers to use wider range of renewable resources Gov. Walker: Signs bill allowing electric providers to use wider range of renewable resources

Update from the House Republican Study Committee (RSC)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

RSC Update: No Debt-Ceiling Increase without Cut, Cap, and Balance

From the Chairman

After celebrating Independence Day, I am reminded once again what our Founding Fathers intended for America. In the Declaration of Independence they set the framework for the American Dream. And this dream did not include a government that unfairly taxes and regulates citizens and private enterprises because of its failure to live within its means.

After focusing for the last few months on a $2 trillion or more debt limit increase, some in Washington are now talking about a smaller increase to buy another seven months or so. I believe Washington must show some discipline for once. Cuts promised today could become spending increases tomorrow unless we pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. As a growing number of Americans have pledged, I will not consider any debt-ceiling increase – regardless of the size – without immediate cuts, enforceable caps on spending, and a Balanced Budget Amendment being sent to the states.

God Bless,

Congressman Jim Jordan

Chairman, Republican Study Committee

RSC Media Activity – RSC members work hard to ensure that the conservative viewpoint is well-represented in all corners of the media. Visit our Media Center for more.

· Rep. Tom Price (GA-06): Cutting What Washington Has Yet to Spend and Cannot Afford; Townhall, June 28.

· Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-05): The Last Debt-Ceiling Debate America Will Ever Have; Washington Times, July 1.

· Rep. John Kline (MN-02): Republican Plan Empowers the Job Creators; Rochester Post Bulletin, July 1.

· Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01): Getting the First District Back to Work; Paragould Daily Press, July 1.

· Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22): Debt Limit Talks a Chance to Make Meaningful Cuts; Sugar Land Sun, July 5.

· Rep. Bill Huizenga (MI-02): U.S. Has Modern Answer to Medicare Problem; Detroit Free Press, July 5.

House Floor Activity – The following key legislation came through the House of Representatives recently.

· The House was not in session last week.

Outlook – A quick look at what’s on the horizon.

· On Wednesday, the House is expected to continue consideration of H.R. 2219, the 2012 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, with a potential vote Thursday or Friday.

· On Wednesday, the House is also expected consider H.Res. 268, which reaffirms the United States’ commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli negotiations, and H.R. 515, the Belarus Democracy Reauthorization Act.

· On Thursday or Friday, the House is expected to begin consideration of H.R. 2354 the Energy and Water Appropriations Act, and H.R. 1309, the Flood Insurance Act.

RSC Reports

· Each week the House is in session, the RSC Budget and Spending Taskforce compiles a weekly report on the latest budget and spending news. Additionally, the RSC Money Monitor tracks how bills passed by the House affect authorizations, mandatory spending, and federal government revenue.

House Republican Study Committee
Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman

Paul Teller, Executive Director
Brad Watson, Policy Director
Bruce “Fez” Miller, Professional Policy Staff
Joe Murray, Professional Policy Staff
Curtis Rhyne, Professional Policy Staff
Ja’Ron Smith, Professional Policy Staff
Wesley Goodman, Director of Conservative Coalitions and State Outreach
Yong Choe, Director of Business Outreach and Member Services
Brian Straessle, Communications Director
Ben Miller, Deputy Communications Director
Cyrus Artz, Research Assistant
1524 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 226-9717

Russia to showcase new stealth corvette at IMDS-2011

RIA NovostiSteregushchy class corvette in Saint PetersburgRussia to showcase new stealth corvette at IMDS-2011
04:08 29/06/2011 Russia will exhibit for the first time its newest Steregushchy class (Project 20380) corvette, the Soobrazitelny, at a biennial naval show on June 29-July 3 in St. Petersburg.>>

Founding Fathers Quote

Nevertheless, to the persecution and tyranny of his cruel ministry we will not tamely submit — appealing to Heaven for the justice of our cause, we determine to die or be free....

Joseph Warren

Anyone’s Race in South Carolina : Roll Call Politics

Anyone’s Race in South Carolina : Roll Call Politics Walker touts debt reduction, property tax freeze as top budget benefits Walker touts debt reduction, property tax freeze as top budget benefits

Russia's Evolving Leadership

Russia's Evolving Leadership is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Lauren Goodrich
Russia has entered election season, with parliamentary elections in December and presidential elections in March 2012. Typically, this is not an issue of concern, as most Russian elections have been designed to usher a chosen candidate and political party into office since 2000. Interesting shifts are under way this election season, however. While on the surface they may resemble political squabbles and instability, they actually represent the next step in the Russian leadership’s consolidation of the state.

In the past decade, one person has consolidated and run Russia’s political system: former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Putin’s ascension to the leadership of the Kremlin marked the start of the reconsolidation of the Russian state after the decade of chaos that followed the fall of the Soviet Union. Under Putin’s presidential predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s strategic economic assets were pillaged, the core strength of the country — the KGB, now known as the Federal Security Service (FSB), and the military — fell into decay, and the political system was in disarray. Though Russia was considered a democracy and a new friend to the West, this was only because Russia had no other option — it was a broken country.

Perceptions of Putin

Putin’s goal was to fix the country, which meant restoring state control (politically, socially and economically), strengthening the FSB and military and re-establishing Russia’s influence and international reputation — especially in the former Soviet sphere of influence. To do so, Putin had to carry Russia through a complex evolution that involved shifting the country from accommodating to aggressive at specific moments. This led to a shift in global perceptions of Putin, with many beginning to see the former KGB agent as a hard-nosed autocrat set upon rekindling hostilities and renewing militarization.

This perception of Putin is not quite correct. While an autocrat and KGB agent (we use the present tense, as Putin has said that no one is a former KGB or FSB agent), he hails from St. Petersburg, Russia’s most pro-Western city, and during his Soviet-era KGB service he was tasked with stealing Western technology. Putin fully understands the strength of the West and what Western expertise is needed to keep Russia relatively modern and strong. At the same time, his time with the KGB convinced him that Russia can never truly be integrated into the West and that it can be strong only with a consolidated government, economy and security service and a single, autocratic leader.

Putin’s understanding of Russia’s two great weaknesses informs this worldview. The first weakness is that Russia was dealt a poor geographic hand. It is inherently vulnerable because it is surrounded by great powers from which it is not insulated by geographic barriers. The second is that its population is comprised of numerous ethnic groups, not all of which are happy with centralized Kremlin rule. A strong hand is the only means to consolidate the country internally while repelling outsiders.

Another major challenge is that Russia essentially lacks an economic base aside from energy. Its grossly underdeveloped transportation system hampers it from moving basic necessities between the country’s widely dispersed economic centers. This has led Moscow to rely on revenue from one source, energy, while the rest of the country’s economy has lagged decades behind in technology.

These geographic, demographic and economic challenges have led Russia to shift between being aggressive to keep the country secure and being accommodating toward foreign powers in a bid to modernize Russia.

Being from groups that understood these challenges, Putin knew a balance between these two strategies was necessary. However, Russia cannot go down the two paths of accommodating and connecting with the West and a consolidated authoritarian Russia at the same time unless Russia is first strong and secure as a country, something that has only happened recently. Until then, Russia must switch between each path to build the country up — which explains shifting public perceptions of Putin over the past decade from pro-Western president to an aggressive authoritarian. It also explains the recent view of Putin’s successor as president, Dmitri Medvedev, as democratic and agreeable when compared to Putin.

Neither leader is one or the other, however: Both have had their times of being aggressive and accommodating in their domestic and foreign policies. Which face they show does not depend upon personalities but rather upon the status of Russia’s strength.

Putin’s Shifts

Putin, who had no choice but to appeal to the West to help keep the country afloat when he took office in 2000, initially was hailed as a trusted partner by the West. But even while former U.S. President George W. Bush was praising Putin’s soul, behind the scenes, Putin already was reorganizing one of his greatest tools — the FSB — in order to start implementing a full state consolidation in the coming years.

After 9/11, Putin was the first foreign leader to phone Bush and offer any assistance from Russia. The date marked an opportunity for both Putin and Russia. The attacks on the United States shifted Washington’s focus, tying it down in the Islamic world for the next decade. This gave Russia a window of opportunity with which to accelerate its crackdown inside (and later outside) Russia without fear of a Western response. During this time, the Kremlin ejected foreign firms, nationalized strategic economic assets, shut down nongovernmental organizations, purged anti-Kremlin journalists, banned many anti-Kremlin political parties and launched a second intense war in Chechnya. Western perceptions of Putin’s friendship and standing as a democratic leader simultaneously evaporated.

Russia was already solidifying its strength by 2003, by which time the West had noticed its former enemy’s resurgence. The West subsequently initiated a series of moves not to weaken Russia internally (as this was too difficult by now) but to contain Russian power inside its own borders. This spawned a highly contentious period between both sides during which the West supported pro-Western color revolutions in several of the former Soviet states while Russia initiated social unrest and political chaos campaigns in, and energy cutoffs against, several of the same states. The two sides were once again seriously at odds, with the former Soviet sphere now the battlefield. As it is easier for Russia to maneuver within the former Soviet states and with the West pre-occupied in the Islamic world, Moscow began to gain the upper hand. By 2008, the Kremlin was ready to prove to these states that the West would not be able to counter Russian aggression.

By now, however, the Kremlin had a new president, Medvedev. Like Putin, Medvedev is also from the St. Petersburg clan. Unlike Putin, he was lawyer trained to Western standards, not member of the KGB. Medvedev’s entrance into the Kremlin seemed strange at the time, since Putin had groomed other potential successors who shared his KGB background. Putin, however, knew that in just a few years Russia would be shifting again from being solely aggressive to a new stance that would require a different sort of leader.

Medvedev’s New Pragmatism

When Medvedev entered office, his current reputation for compliance and pragmatism did not exist. Instead, he continued on Russia’s roll forward with one of the boldest moves to date — the Russia-Georgia war. Aside from the war, Medvedev also publicly ordered the deployment of short-range ballistic missiles to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, on the Polish border, and to Belarus to counter U.S. plans for ballistic missile defense. Medvedev also oversaw continued oil disputes with the Baltic states. Despite being starkly different in demeanor and temperament, Medvedev continued Putin’s policies. Much of this was because Putin is still very much in charge of the country, but it is also because Medvedev also understands the order in which Russia operates: security first, pragmatism to the West after.

By 2009, Russia had proven its power in its direct sphere and so began to ease into a new foreign and domestic policy of duality. Only when Russia is strong and consolidated can it drop being wholly aggressive and adopt such a stance of hostility and friendliness. To achieve this, the definition of a “tandem” between Putin and Medvedev became more defined, with Putin as the enforcer and strong hand and Medvedev as the pragmatic negotiator (by Western standards). On the surface, this led to what seemed like a bipolar foreign and domestic policy, with Russia still aggressively moving on countries like Kyrgyzstan while forming a mutually beneficial partnership with Germany .

With elections approaching, the ruling tandem seems even more at odds as Medvedev overturns many policies Putin put into place in the early 2000s, such as the ban on certain political parties, the ability of foreign firms to work in strategic sectors and the role of the FSB elite within the economy. Despite the apparent conflict, the changes are part of an overall strategy shared by Putin and Medvedev to finish consolidating Russian power.

These policy changes show that Putin and Medvedev feel confident enough that they have attained their first imperative that they can look to confront the second inherent problem for the country: Russia’s lack of modern technology and lack of an economic base. Even with Russian energy production at its height, its energy technologies need revamping, as do every other sector, especially transit and telecommunication. Such a massive modernization attempt cannot be made without foreign help. This was seen in past efforts throughout Russian history when other strong leaders from Peter the Great to Josef Stalin were forced to bring in foreign assistance, if not an outright presence, to modernize Russia.

Russia thus has launched a multiyear modernization and privatization plan to bring in tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars to leapfrog the country into current technology and diversify the economy. Moscow has also struck deals with select countries — Germany, France, Finland, Norway, South Korea and even the United States — for each sector to use the economic deals for political means.

However, this has created two large problems. First, foreign governments and firms are hesitant to do business in an authoritarian country with a record of kicking foreign firms out. At the same time, the Kremlin knows that it cannot lessen its hold inside of Russia without risking losing control over its first imperative of securing Russia. Therefore, the tandem is instead implementing a complex system to ensure it can keep control while looking as if it were becoming more democratic.

The Appearance of Democracy

The first move is to strengthen the ruling party — United Russia — while allowing more independent political parties. United Russia already has been shifted into having many sub-groups that represent the more conservative factions, liberal factions and youth organizations. Those youth organizations have also been working on training up the new pro-Kremlin generation to take over in the decades to come so that the goals of the current regime are not lost. In the past few months, new political parties have started to emerge in Russia — something rare in recent years. Previously, any political party other than United Russia not loyal to the Kremlin was silenced, for the most part. Beyond United Russia, only three other political parties in Russia have a presence in the government: the Communist Party, Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. All are considered either pro-Kremlin or sisters to United Russia.

While these new political parties appear to operate outside the Kremlin’s clutches, this is just for show. The most important new party is Russia’s Right Cause launched by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov. Right Cause is intended to support foreign business and the modernization efforts. The party at first was designed to be led by Medvedev’s economic aide, Arkadi Dvorkovich, or Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. However, the Kremlin thought that having a Kremlin member lead a new “independent” political party would defeat the purpose of showing a new democratic side to Russian’s political sphere. Prokhorov has rarely shown political aspirations, but he has a working relationship with the Kremlin. He clearly received orders to help the Kremlin in this new display of democracy, and any oligarch who survives in Russia knows to follow the Kremlin’s orders. The Kremlin now will lower the threshold to win representation in the government in an attempt to move these “independent” parties into the government.

The next part of the new system is an ambiguous organization Putin recently announced, the All Russia’s Popular Front, or “Popular Front” for short. The Popular Front is not exactly a political party but an umbrella organization meant to unite the country. Popular Front members include Russia’s labor unions, prominent social organizations, economic lobbying sectors, big business, individuals and political parties. In short, anything or anyone that wants to be seen as pro-Russian is a part of the Popular Front. On the surface, the Popular Front has attempted to remain vague to avoid revealing how such an organization supersedes political parties and factions. It creates a system in which power in the country does not lie in a political office — such as the presidency or premiership — but with the person overseeing the Popular Front: Putin.

So after a decade of aggression, authoritarianism and nationalism, Russia has become strong once again, both internally and regionally, such that it is confident enough to shift policies and plan for its future. The new system is designed to have a dual foreign policy, to attract non-Russian groups back into the country and to look more democratic overall while all the while being carefully managed behind the scenes. It is managed pluralism underneath not a president or premier, but under a person more like the leader of the nation, not just the leader of the state. In theory, the new system is meant to allow the Kremlin to maintain control of both its grand strategies of needing to reach out abroad to keep Russia modern and strong and trying to ensure that the country is also under firm control and secure for years to come. Whether the tandem or the leader of the nation can balance such a complex system and overcome the permanent struggle that rules Russia remains to be seen.

Read more: Russia's Evolving Leadership | STRATFOR

Wisdom From Ron Paul

"I am absolutely opposed to a national ID card. This is a total contradiction of what a free society is all about. The purpose of government is to protect the secrecy and the privacy of all individuals, not the secrecy of government. We don't need a national ID card."

 Ron Paul

Monday, July 04, 2011

Ron Paul's on Texas Straight Talk: Abolish the TSA, Privatize Airport Security!

Dick Morris TV; Lunch ALERT! Celebrating America's Freedom

We Hold These Truths

God Bless The U.S.A.

Happy Fourth of July!

I am reposting my 2009 post since I would just end up saying the same anyways. I do want to add an updated thank you to our armed forces and our veterans and their families.

A Tribute to our Founding Fathers

Absolutely powerful video. I have been in love with our Republic as long as I can remember. One of the greatest honors in my life was getting to serve her in uniform. One of the greatest sorrows of my life is that our Republic is just a shadow of its former self. It is incumbent upon all of us who love our republic to fight for a return to our founding father's vision.

Our rights come from God. No one can take them from us. It is only due to our population's own self ignorance that government has been allowed to expand and devour our precious freedoms. Education is the key remember what today is really about and use the opportunity to educate your family and friends.

To our armed forces who are currently serving to keep us free, God bless you and protect you.

Russia gains edge in space race as US shuttle bows out

Russia gains edge in space race as US shuttle bows out

Founding Fathers Quote

The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.

Thomas Paine

Stand Up *Official Video - Jeremy Dodge 2010


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Founding Fathers Quote

Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.

Joseph Story

I Am American

Wisdom From Ron Paul

"As recent as the year 2000 we won elections by saying we shouldn't be the policemen of the world, and that we should be nation building. And its time we got those values back into this country."

Ron Paul