07/6/11

“Oh, White Girl Bleeds a Lot” …Black Youth Mob Attacks & Stomps On Group of Whites in Milwaukee

 

Read more at Gateway Pundit…

JS Online reported:

Shaina Perry remembers the punch to her face, blood streaming from a cut over her eye, her backpack with her asthma inhaler, debit card and cellphone stolen, and then the laughter.

“They just said ‘Oh, white girl bleeds a lot,’ ” said Perry, 22, who was attacked at Kilbourn Reservoir Park over the Fourth of July weekend.

Though Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn noted Tuesday that crime is colorblind, he called the Sunday night looting of a convenience store near the park and beatings of a group of people who had gone to the park disturbing, outrageous and barbaric.

Police would not go quite as far as others in connecting the events; Flynn said several youths “might” be involved in both.

“We’re not going to let any group of individuals terrorize or bully any of our neighborhoods,” Flynn said.

Perry was among several who were injured by a mob they said beat and robbed them and threw full beer bottles while making racial taunts. The injured people were white; the attackers were African-American, witnesses said.

Store video of the BP station at E. North Ave. and N. Humboldt Blvd. shows the business being ransacked. A clerk at BP confirmed to the Journal Sentinel that he was busy waiting on customers when one or two people held the door open to let others rush in and steal snacks and candy.

Not far away, 20 to 25 friends from Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood had gathered at the park shortly before midnight to watch some fireworks set off by a neighbor. In interviews with 11 people who said they were attacked or witnessed the attack, a larger group of youths appeared in another section of the park around midnight and were joined by more young people running up the park’s stairs.

At some point the group of friends and the group of youths intersected; those interviewed said the attack appeared to be unprovoked.

“I saw people dancing and I figured they were just having a good time,” said Riverwest resident Jessica Bublitz, 28.

Minutes later Bublitz saw a male friend hit in the temple and fall down. Her fiancé told her to run to safety. James Zajackowski, 28, said things suddenly turned chaotic.

“Within 30 seconds to a minute, bottles were flying and people started getting punched. I was in shock. I thought, ‘Really? Is this really happening?’ I was on the ground, people were trying to get into my pockets, I could feel their hands but I held on to my cellphone and my wallet,” said Zajackowski, a census worker.

Emily Mowrer, 27, was not hurt but saw her friends beaten and punched and full beer bottles thrown at them. Her boyfriend was punched. She saw Perry lying with blood on her face, not moving. She called 911 on her cellphone.

“I saw some of my friends on the ground getting beat pretty severely. They got away with one of my friends’ bikes. Some people had their wallets stolen,” said Mowrer, who owns a house with her boyfriend in Riverwest. “It didn’t seem like it was a mugging – it seemed like an attack. Like they weren’t after anything – just violence.”

07/6/11

Turkmen Gas Finally Gets Washington’s Attention – A Little too Late

By: Dr. John C.K. Daly for OilPrice.com. For more information on oil prices and other commodity related topics please visit www.oilprice.com.

One of Washington’s key policy tenets since the 1991 collapse of Communism has been to pry out from under Moscow’s control as much of the energy assets of the post-Soviet space as possible.

Nowhere has this policy been more evident than in the Caspian basin and the energy riches of the new post-Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. To the north lies Russia, with whom Washington jostles for these assets while Iran rings the Caspian’s southern shore, a rogue “axis of evil” member state that Washington has been punishing with sanctions on its energy sector since well before the Evil Empire collapsed.

Now, in a stunning example of naïve hope over geopolitical and economic reality Washington is wooing Turkmenistan, hoping to get a slice of the pie of the world’s fourth or fifth-largest natural gas deposits.

What caused the drooling in Beltwayistan was the release in May of a report by the respected British audit firm Gaffney, Cline and Associates on Turkmenistan’s gas reserves. The report concluded that the South Yolotan natural gas superfield, discovered in 2006, contains reserves of more than 20 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, enough to satisfy European demand for more than 50 years and making it the second largest gas field ever found. It should be noted here that when in 2006, following the field’s discovery, Turkmenistan’s megalomania cal ruler, Saparmurat “Turkmenbashi” Niyazov claimed that the discovery boosted the country’s reserves up to 24 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, his claims were taken as mere braggadocio, with BP calculating them at slightly more than 1/10th that amount. A similar thing happened two years later, when Gaffney, Cline and Associates first audited South Yolotan, and their findings were initially ridiculed as overstated.

Who’s laughing now?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s special envoy on Eurasian Energy, Ambassador Richard L. Morningstar was hurriedly dispatched to Ashgabat, where on 14 June he met with Turkmen President Gurbangeldy Berdymukhammedov after which he gurgled, “The U.S. praises the energy policy of Turkmenistan and its positive initiatives relating to global energy security and the development of broad international cooperation.”

Perhaps Morningstar’s staffers forgot to remind him that early last year Turkmenistan inaugurated two new pipelines to China and Iran that have given Turkmenistan additional export routes for its gas. If the special envoy felt that he had maneuvering room with Berdymukhammedov, it was because the Turkmen ruler is reportedly still annoyed with Gazprom, which unilaterally drastically cut its imports of Turkmen gas on 9 April 2009, causing an explosion at the 302nd-mile segment of the Soviet-era Truboprovodnaiia sistema Sredniaia Aziia-Tsentr (the Central Asia-Center, or SATS, pipeline system) SATS-4 Davletbat-Daryalik pipeline between the Ilyaly and Deryalyk compressor stations near the Turkmen-Uzbek border, halting Turkmen natural gas exports to Russia, which had been running at 42-45 billion cubic meters (bcm) per annum. Gazprom only resumed imports in January 2010, but at a much reduced level. While the new Chinese and Iranian lines have picked up some slack, the Turkmen government still remains angry with Gazprom for the reduced revenue stream.

Even assuming that Morningstar’s diplomatic charms are sufficient to woo Berdymukhammedov to consider gas exports westwards, there remains the small issue of dividing the Caspian’s offshore wasters and seabed, a niggling legacy of the collapse of the USSR two decades ago. Briefly put, Russia favors a solution whereby the five Caspian states receive allotments proportional to their coastline, while Iran is holding out for an equitable 20 percent division for all.

Despite their diplomatic distance however, there is little doubt that both Russia and Iran would oppose the construction of any such undersea Caspian pipeline linking Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and the military and diplomatic pressure they could bring on their neighbors would and could be formidable.

Oh, and did I mention that on 30 June that China announced its second pipeline with Turkmenistan, a $22 billion, 5,370 mile pipeline with an annual capacity of 30 bcm had begun operations and that Beijing is on target to replace Russia as Turkmenistan’s leading export market within a few years?

It would seem that Morningstar landed in Ashgabat more than a few days late and a few rubles – err, yuan, short.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Turkmen-Gas-Finally-Gets-Washington-s-Attention-A-Little-too-Late.html

By: Dr. John C.K. Daly for OilPrice.com. For more information on oil prices and other commodity related topics please visit www.oilprice.com.

07/6/11

Media Already Marginalizing Ron Paul Presidential Campaign

Hat Tip: Brian B.
National Inflation Association

We are at the very beginning of our nation’s most important Presidential election season in history. Historically in all Presidential elections, taxation has always been one of the top issues. The Republicans always call for lower taxes, while the Democrats say we should tax the rich more and cut taxes on the poor and middle class. The truth is, taxation today means nothing when the real U.S. budget deficit is now more than twice the government’s total tax receipts. Taxation is used to distract U.S. citizens as the Federal Reserve prints trillions of dollars out of thin air, stealing from the incomes and savings of all Americans.

NIA’s number one goal during the next year is to educate as many Americans as possible to the truth about the U.S. economy so that come the 2012 Republican primaries and general Presidential election, inflation is the number one issue on everybody’s minds. During the 2008 Presidential debates between President Obama and John McCain, Obama did not use the word inflation once. McCain used the word inflation only a handful of times, but spoke about taxation nearly one hundred times. When McCain mentioned inflation, he said that we need to make it easier for students to borrow larger amounts of money to attend college due to inflation, when it is actually the government’s willingness to provide easy access to student loans that is causing tuition inflation.

In the 2008 Presidential election, Americans did not have a choice to vote for an anti-inflation candidate. Although polls in late-2008 indicated that the majority of U.S. citizens were against the government’s bailouts of Wall Street and artificial stimulus bills, both Obama and McCain were in support of them. Despite Ron Paul doubling McCain’s fundraising in the 4Q of 2007 and raising $20 million, ending the year with $7.8 million in cash on hand while McCain’s campaign was broke and in debt, the mainstream media manipulated the minds of Americans into voting for McCain as the Republican nominee, when it is Ron Paul who would have put a stop to Congress’ reckless, dangerous, and destructive spending that can only be paid for by borrowing and printing money.

Since Obama was elected President on November 4th, 2008, the U.S. dollar has lost 48% of its purchasing power. Americans today spend 48% more for gasoline than they did the day of the last election. Americans today also spend 105% more for sugar, 78% more for coffee, 58% more for corn, with similar gains for many other agricultural commodities. The U.S. government and Federal Reserve created all of this inflation in an attempt to reinflate the Real Estate bubble, yet the median U.S. home price declined by 2.4% during this time period. Meanwhile, the real unemployment rate has increased from 16.8% to 22.3%.

The media worked tirelessly in 2008 to marginalize Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign. After every Republican candidate debate, FOX News would have a text message and online voting poll on who won the debate. Ron Paul would overwhelmingly win most of the polls, with hundreds of thousands of people voting, yet the FOX News hosts wouldn’t give credit to Ron Paul for winning the debate. They instead would claim that their own poll was somehow compromised and manipulated by tech savvy Ron Paul supporters. Ron Paul supporters did not manipulate FOX News’ polls, FOX News and the rest of the mainstream media manipulated the minds of their viewers into nominating John McCain who had the exact same viewpoints as Obama on every economic issue, except that Obama said he would tax the rich slightly more than McCain (big deal!).

The media is already beginning their massive campaign to marginalize Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign for the Republican nomination in the 2012 election. After the first Republican debate on June 13th, Bill O’Reilly referred to a snap poll that declared Mitt Romney the winner with 51% of the vote and Ron Paul the loser with 0%. The very fine print on the screen said that 54 people voted in the poll that Bill O’Reilly was using to declare Romney the winner of the debate. So when hundreds of thousands of real voters support Ron Paul in a FOX News poll, the network’s hosts downplay it and claim that their own poll was rigged; but when 54 Washington insiders vote for Romney and 0 vote for Ron Paul, Bill O’Reilly gives credibility to that poll in an attempt to influence his viewers into believing Ron Paul has no chance of being elected!

The mainstream media has already hand selected Romney to be their nominee in the 2012 election. No matter where you look this week, the headlines read that Romney raised $15 to $20 million in the second quarter, most of it coming from bankers on Wall Street. Meanwhile, Ron Paul has raised $4.5 million from grassroots supporters, more than Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, or anybody else that has reported so far, but nobody gives Ron Paul any credit. All of the articles written about Ron Paul call him a “long-shot”, solely in an attempt to manipulate the minds of voters.

Romney’s millions of dollars in donations are coming from those who benefited from the Federal Reserve’s unconstitutional and criminal acts of stealing the wealth of hardworking middle-class Americans through inflation. Romney has made it very clear that he won’t discuss the Federal Reserve and that he believes Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is doing a good job. The fact is, unless we address the Federal Reserve and the endless monetary inflation they are creating, no other issues matter at all.

Some of the people who benefited from the Federal Reserve’s bailouts are hedging their bets and not just supporting Romney, but are supporting all of the Republican candidates other than Ron Paul. Jack Welch, former Chairman of General Electric (GE), yesterday declared Romney, Pawlenty, and Huntsman the three “real contenders” in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, saying that, “each of them has their pluses and minuses”. Welch gave no mention of Ron Paul, despite the fact that he raised more money than Pawlenty and Huntsman last quarter. Welch in the same interview called Bernanke a “hero during the crisis”. After all, GE would have gone bankrupt due to Welch’s reckless management of the company if it wasn’t for the U.S. government backing $139 billion of GE’s debt during the financial crisis.

Bill O’Reilly has been trying to portray Ron Paul as some kind of a lunatic, when O’Reilly is clearly uneducated about the economic issues that matter today. In a shocking display of just how incompetent O’Reilly is, he recently played a clip of Ron Paul speaking at the June 13th debate about how the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency has become our main export in return for all of the real products we import from countries like China and Japan. O’Reilly said he was “very confused” by what Ron Paul was saying. O’Reilly apparently thinks this is normal and will be sustainable continuously forever. To see this shocking video of O’Reilly’s incompetence, simply go to our recent blog posting at: http://inflation.us/blog/2011/06/bill-oreilly-clueless-about-economics-and-inflation/

Glenn Beck, the only person in the mainstream media who has called NIA a credible organization and has referenced our food inflation report on the air on many occasions, recently left FOX News to start his own Internet television network. With Glenn Beck leaving FOX News, the balance of power has now shifted. If you combine all of the major alternative media organizations on the Internet, they now have larger reach than the mainstream media news organizations on television. Due to this shift in power, NIA now truly believes that a candidate like Ron Paul has a chance of actually winning the 2012 Presidential election.

In order for our movement to succeed in electing a real President like Ron Paul in 2012, we must all work together. Americans need to realize that the real war isn’t CNN, MSNBC, and the Democrats vs. FOX News and the Republicans. The real information war is alternative news organizations on the Internet that speak the truth along with politicians who believe in Austrian economics and protecting the U.S. Constitution vs. CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, the New York Times, Time Magazine, and the rest of the mainstream media, which spread false propaganda in order to support the Democrats and Republicans that have been brainwashed by our nation’s colleges with Keynesian economic principles, and have put our nation on the brink of hyperinflation.

It is important to spread the word about NIA to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, if you want America to survive hyperinflation. Please tell everybody you know to become members of NIA for free immediately at: http://inflation.us

07/6/11

US Communists Back Greek Comrades

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

With Greece edging closer daily to communist led revolution, the Communist Party USA has issued a statement in support of their Greek comrades.

The Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) sends our warmest solidarity greetings to the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and to the Greek workers and people.

We, like many around the world, have been inspired by the magnificent struggle the Communist Party of Greece and its affiliated PAME union, the rest of Greek labor and the Greek working class and people have mounted against the aggressive, vicious offensive of monopoly capital and its political tools in Greece, Europe and beyond.

The austerity program just passed in the Greek parliament is a reactionary measure designed to shift the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of workers, farmers and the poor, while protecting the super rich from suffering the consequences of their criminal greed.

That your Party, and Greek workers, have been willing to take to the streets in such numbers and with such tenacity and courage, in opposition to this austerity program, is to your credit and that of the whole working class of your country.

In the United States, we are heavily engaged in the same struggle. Here, monopoly capital is on the offensive in an effort to roll back all gains by the working class since the 1930s. While state governors (mostly, but not all, from the Republican Party) have launched a determined campaign to strip workers, especially those employed by public entities, of their most elemental labor rights, monopoly capital is trying, via its political enablers, to use the financial crisis to attack Social Security (the government pension program), public health and other essential programs the people have fought to attain. And we are happy to report that American workers, also, are taking to the streets in numbers unprecedented in recent history to resist this offensive by monopoly capital.

This is a worldwide fight, as we note from events in Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and many other countries. The enemy is the same, and the fight is the same. Victory can be won by building greater and greater working class unity in struggle, all over the world. Your fight in Greece is an inspiration for all.

Clearly the Communist Party USA and Glenn Beck agree on one point.

The revolutions that began in Egypt are spreading to Europe and to the United States as well.

07/6/11

Appearance of Democracy: Cover for a More Aggressive Russia

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

This excellent piece is written by Lauren Goodrich of Stratfor. Very few have such a good grasp on the way the Kremlin thinks and operates, and the growing threat it represents. This is one of those articles that you read and then email on to friends.

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.

Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia

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 composed 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.

Dmitry Medvedev, President of Russia

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.

Click here to read more articles from Stratfor.

07/6/11

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Summertime Blues Edition

From: The Watcher’s Council

You just never know when a Great White will pop up out of nowhere to spoil your whole day…

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday.

This week’s contest is dedicated to a great man honored in far away places.

Council News:

This week, Maggie’s Notebook, Sentry Journal and Capitalist Preservation took advantage of my generous offer of link whorage and earned honorable mention status.

You can too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

Simply head over to the ‘Contact Me’ page at Joshuapundit and post a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (which won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST to be considered for our honorable mention category and return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week.

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members, while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook…’cause we’re cool like that!