Don't Duma Like That

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The Russian parliament has given preliminary approval to a law banning a wide range of protests, rallies, and other threats to National Security. (Hat tip: Amy Phillips)

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  1. It begins again.

  2. Can we just hand over Russia’s SC seat and veto power to India now or should we wait until Lenin rises from the grave and tanks roll out from under parade floats?

  3. Wait a minute – is it possible that George Bush isn’t a good judge of character?

    He looked in Putin’s eyes!

  4. Didn’t Bush look into Putin’s heart? Didn’t Berlusconi call Putin a “champion of freedom? 🙂

  5. Hey, our President is a fine, upstanding man. If he shakes somebody’s hand and looks him in the eye and says “Yep, he’s a good man!” then that’s good enough for me!

    Weed? What weed?

  6. The sky is falling.

  7. I like how the people in the picture all seem amused.

  8. “He looked in Putin’s eyes!”
    “Didn’t Bush look into Putin’s heart?”

    Well, everyone who’s ever seen Leave It To Beaver or Father Knows Best knows that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; so if Bush didn’t make Putin a nice home-cooked meal, he obviously doesn’t know shit about him.
    Of course, he may have decided Putin’s eyes were bigger than his stomach, so that would provide easier access to his heart.

    This post was certainly a worthwhile contribution to the thread….

  9. F U, chicken little!

    Public pressure is good for democracy, even in a republic.

  10. “I like how the people in the picture all seem amused.”

    Heehee…that’s true, especially the one on the left with the beard – he has a very conspiratorial smirk on his face. And who are he and fuzzy-hat looking at? I bet this was shot on the same soundstage where they faked the moon landing.

  11. No heads have been mounted on pikes yet, so the situation isn’t Stage 9 or 10.

    I don’t know about Communism returning, but the fact that Russia has only been a semi-democracy for a very short span of its history and has almost always been ruled by one or more strongmen should tell you something.

    We really should have pumped money into Russia way back when.

  12. I imagine Kerry’s “position” on everything related to this is the usual mixture of ellipses, wobbling, waffling and CYA– you can be sure that his twenty years of Senate “experience” will yield little of note.

    I am not a waffler, and I believe the current administration has been wrong all along in its assessment of Putin, and “new” Russia…wishful thinking, mostly. Neither Russia nor China will be among the world’s responsible nations in this generation.

    BTW, is Putin among the foreign leaders who want Kerry to be our next President?

  13. Thoreau, Jean Bart, et. al.

    What did you expect Bush to say about Putin? That he was an evil KGB thug? Then you would accuse him of being a non-nuanced Texas cowboy, wouldn’t you? Bush also called the Saudi ruler, Abdullah, ‘a good man’ helping us in our war against terrorism. I am sure he said good things about the Chinese dictator (whoever came here) when they met.

    Did you support Reagan when he called the USSR an evil empire? Most of the liberal media went ape-shit over that kind of language. Make up your minds if a leader should speak his mind or be diplomatic.

    If I could speak/read French, I would have quoted Chirac saying some nice things about Arafat:-)

  14. zorel,
    Maybe Bush was being diplomatic, but Bush has never called Schroeder or Chirac anything near as nice as he called Abdullah and Putin. First, he wasn’t nice to Abdullah because he was diplomatic. The Bush family and Saudi royal family are close friedns (Bar calling the ambassador “Bandar Bush”). Second, you can’t use France and Germany’s lack of support in Iraq as a reason why they’ve gotten a colder shoulder than Putin, since Russia was just as against the effort. France and Germany, despite all the “Old Europe” nonsense, are more older, more loyal (not to mention more democratic) allies than Russia. Maybe being the son of a CIA director have given old spies a special place in Bush’s heart, but Putin is not a “good man” and I seem to remember a big reason behind Bush’s comments were a shared faith.

    That’s fine and dandy, but let’s not alienate allies. Let’s also hear some denunciations from the White House for these anti-democratic moves. Killing a bunch of Muslims shouldn’t be the only way to join the club. The freakin Communists complained about the loss of freedoms from this move. That’s like a Klansman telling you to cut out the racial epithets. Let’s see if Putin lives up to they hype. If he vetos this bill, he’ll be a good man.

    P.S. He’s an evil ex-KGB thug.

  15. Mo,

    He is an “ex-KGB” only because there is no KGB anymore – if he had resigned from KGB before its elimination/transformation, then he would be ‘ex’

    I am not happy with Bush’s pally pally attitude with a lot of the dictators – by the way, you forgot to come up with a motive for why he was nice to the Chinese Commie:-)

    I do not think France and Germany are our allies – I don’t believe Chirac and Schroeder think of us as allies. Each country (certainly the leaders) looks after their own interests. At this time, France’s and America’s interests do not go together. May not be the case all the time (like in Haiti, they can still cooperate). But France wants to fill the void left by the USSR, which is probably the right thing to do from the French perspective. But the US doesn’t have to go along with the show.

    I can agree with your rationale for the Saudi-Bush relation (handed down from Papa Bush), but I belive Bush was trying to win over Putin (by praising him and inviting to his ranch …). Putin will do what is good for him (not necessarily for Russia).

    Now Bush is trying to warm up to Schroeder. If the chancellor thinks it will help him, he will try to mend fences. Allies? Not so sure!

    By the way, I also agree with you that we shouldn’t alienate anyone unnecessarily.

  16. “Critics called it a move to distance legislators from the people they represent and a giant setback to civil rights. Its pro-Kremlin sponsors called the legislation a logical step in the fight against terrorism and said it was meant to protect citizens’ safety.”

    What’s the problem? Replace “Kremlin” with “White House” and you’ve got our newly beloved “Free Speech Zones.” Same agrument. Same like-minded people making them. Same results.

  17. drakean,

    “Free speech zones” may or may not be beloved, but they are certainly NOT NEW. You act as if they sprang after Sept 11 (or Patriot Act), but they have been around in college campuses for quite a few years, have been around Abortion clinics to keep the maniacs away, and a security zone has been around the whitehouse when I went for a tour in 2000 (the road closed to traffic, etc.)

  18. Zorel:

    You are correct that it is not a new thing in good ole US ofA.

    However, I said “our newly beloved Free Speech Zones,” meaning Joe A. Flagwaiver has become recently and utterly enamoured with the idea (among others) regardless that it smacks of totalitarianism when practiced “over there” and yet, somehow, is different here because we’re the good guys.

  19. ZoreL,

    Sure free speech zones aren’t nothing new. But for a prez who wanted to be a uniter???

  20. Maybe Bush was being diplomatic, but Bush has never called Schroeder or Chirac anything near as nice as he called Abdullah and Putin.

    Just a thought, but could the fact that both Schroeder and Chriac ran for office on “Bush is evil and America sucks” platforms have something to do with that?

  21. Man, there’s gotta be some sort of Yakof Smirnoff (sp?) joke in that picture.

    It looks like a lot of fun to be arrested or arresting in Russia. Or better yet to be a bearded onlooker. Way more fun than I’ve been having (sigh).

    On the sidebar, “Killers target Georgian President,” could lead to a lot of confusion if Carter was still in office.

    (Man am I bored.)

  22. What’s the problem? Replace “Kremlin” with “White House” and you’ve got our newly beloved “Free Speech Zones.”

    … and if all the bill banned was protests outside the Kremlin, there wouldn’t be much cause for alarm.

    However, the bill bans protests outside “buildings occupied by federal, regional, or local authorities”, plus “foreign embassies and offices of international organizations”. Particularly in a nation as socialized as Russia, that covers a LOT of ground.

    So pretending that it’s equivalent to “Free Speech Zones” is simply stupid. It’s several orders of magnitude more restrictive than that.

    However, I said “our newly beloved Free Speech Zones,” meaning Joe A. Flagwaiver has become recently and utterly enamoured with the idea

    Is “Joe A. Flagwaiver” the name of your invisible friend? You’re not “recently and utterly enamoured” of the idea, and I seriously doubt you can cite a single real-world example of someone who is.

  23. Zorel-

    I wouldn’t ask Bush to lambast Putin right after shaking his hand, but something a little more measured than “I looked into his soul, and he’s a good man” might have been nice. Maybe something along the lines of “It was a pleasure to meet him and I look forward to working with him on matters of common interest.” Something more measured than gushing about his soul.

  24. You’re not “recently and utterly enamoured” of the idea, and I seriously doubt you can cite a single real-world example of someone who is.

    A former poster called “Ray” comes to mind. He openly and loudly defended the Secret Service’s decision to keep protestors far away from Bush on a regular basis while routinely letting people with pro-Bush signs and buttons attend his speeches.

    I don’t claim that Ray is necessarily the spearhead of a massive movement, but you asked for an example and there it is.

  25. zorel,

    “What did you expect Bush to say about Putin? That he was an evil KGB thug? Then you would accuse him of being a non-nuanced Texas cowboy, wouldn’t you?”

    No; Putin is an evil ex-KGB thug.

    “Did you support Reagan when he called the USSR an evil empire?”

    Yes. I generally admire Ronald Reagan; certainly more than George Will, who called him a “dupe” for engaging in talks with the Soviets.

    “Make up your minds if a leader should speak his mind or be diplomatic.”

    Stop accusing me of things I did not do.

  26. Well, Dan, you’ve got me pegged: I’m both friendless and stupid.

    But I must ask: when the Kremin (operating “in a nation as socialized as Russia”) is using the same playbook as Washington with regard to speech and security– the difference being one only of degree, not kind by “several orders of magnitude” –should we all just sit back and enjoy the parade? May Day is just around the corner, after all!

    Since you’re the wise one here, I’ll seek erudition (re-education?) and find “cause for alarm” in one and not the other, I promise.

  27. > when the Kremin …is using the same playbook as Washington with regard to speech and security– the difference being one only of degree, not kind by “several orders of magnitude”

  28. PARIS, April 2 (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend June 6 ceremonies to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the allied landing in Normandy in World War II, the French regional newspaper Ouest-France said Friday.

    “Putin will use French President Jacques Chirac’s visit to Moscow on Saturday to agree to participate in the June 6 ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary of the landing of allied troops in Normandy,” said the newspaper.

    The Russian president plans to arrive on June 5 and spend two or three days in the area, it said.

    A dozen heads of government and state, including US President George W. Bush, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II are due to attend the ceremonies.

    ___________________

    Bush and Chirac are to have a summit 5 June; I myself will be there for the Normandy ceremonies. This will be the last major such ceremony (largely because most or all of the veterans will be deceased by the 75th anniversary); so I would suggest if you want to see such that you book a flight in Air France today. 🙂

  29. Good, shut those hippies up, and then givem’ hair cuts!

  30. How low will conservatives go to defend George Bush?

    They’ll apologize for a KGB officer who forced the last president from power, and is working to reconstitute the Soviet media, military, and political machines. Just so they won’t have to admit that Shrub might have done something wrong.

    Pathetic.

  31. Joe-

    I know Putin is one bad mofo, but I wasn’t aware that he had forced Yeltsin from power. I thought vodka-induced liver damage and old age forced Yeltsin from power. Can you share some more details?

    But I do agree that Putin is one bad mofo. Then again, he seems to enjoy killing Muslims, so maybe some conservatives find him OK. Hey, there was even a time when Bin Laden was OK because he enjoyed killing Soviets, and Saddam was OK because he enjoyed killing Persians…

    Not that I’m suggesting externally-imposed regime change in Russia or anything of the sort, but a little less gushing about “I looked into his heart” might be in order…

  32. “How low will conservatives go to defend George Bush?”

    There you go, talking about Bush, making everything revolve around Bush, so that even the misteps of the former-USSR really has to do with the actions of Bush.

  33. joe,

    “Just so they won’t have to admit that Shrub might have done something wrong”

    I was not aware that Bush did anything wrong – other than being a little bit ‘gushing’ in his comments after they met (I looked into his soul … blah..). Are you telling us that Putin is also an American/Bush creation?

    To repeat myself, politicians/leaders often go overboard in praising their counterparts when they hope for good things to come from each other. It is not “wrong” – may be dumb, especially when things like this happen to disprove the praise.

    Was the issue Putin’s authoritative rule or Bush’s error of judgement? For Bush-haters, does everything in your lives (and the world) resolves around Bush?

    [Jean Bart]

    My apologies for implying you were a critic of Reagan. I do not know that for a fact and should not have stereotyped you. God knows there are many such among the lefties, without me having to wrongly accuse you (note: I am not insinuating above that you are a lefty 🙂 However, I gotta wonder how Bush’s comment took priority over the actual deeds of Putin!

  34. Ah, longing for the good ole days & the freedom of their chains

  35. zorel, Compton,

    I’m not blaming Bush for Putin’s actions. I’m blaming Bush for sucking up to such an evil bastard, and for turning a blind eye to Russia’s depredations since then. If Bush can’t rouse himself to stand up for Russian democracy, I can accept that – he’s a busy man, and to defend everything is to defend nothing. But it would be nice if he would stop snickering as the deed is being done, and maybe come up with a statement of regret once in while.

    thoreau, don’t you remember Yeltsin’s New Year’s Eve resignation statement? It was like a hostage tape – reading a statement he’d obviously never seen before, continually glancing at something (someone?) off camera, begging the country to forgive his “failures” (which he’d never previously admitted to) – he might as well have held up “USA Today” to show the date.

    That was freaking creepy.

  36. Don’t Duma Like That

    With this title Julian gives evidence that Tim Cavanaugh still might not have the 2004 award for Most Clever Thread Titles locked up! Tell the folks at the “Webies”; or is there a “Blogies” yet? I here that the contest for the award for Unintended Humor in Political Posturing is tight between Eschaton, a Left blog and The Weekly Standard, also “Left” but called by its founders, “Neo-conservatve”

    Sleepy, gotta crash. Besides that, it may be later then I think…DLST starts now; does it not?
    Yep, it does. More later.

  37. I wonder why Bush would have made that gushy comment about Putin. He had to figure there would be a good chance that it would backfire, if for no other reason than Russian history.

    He also made a similar fumble when he called Sharon “a man of peace”. Come on now, you might have a lot of nice things to say about the man, but that choice of words.

    Makes me wonder if he had to say those things because he lost a bet or something. I mean there are lots of diplomatic things he could have said about both men, without getting ridiculous.

    It has got to be a bet or something.

  38. I wonder why Bush would have made that gushy comment about Putin. He had to figure there would be a good chance that it would backfire, if for no other reason than Russian history.

    He also made a similar fumble when he called Sharon “a man of peace”. Come on now, you might have a lot of nice things to say about the man, but that choice of words.

    Makes me wonder if he had to say those things because he lost a bet or something. I mean there are lots of diplomatic things he could have said about both men, without getting ridiculous.

    It has got to be a bet or something.

  39. Reagan was right, and inspirational when he called the USSR an “evil empire”, helping bring to fruition his long held dream of its demise. See: Reagan’s War by Peter Schweitzer.

    George Lukas projected the story line of the heroic struggle against centralized power into the Sci-Fi film genre. His “Evil Empire” was reflected back from real politic when Reagan used the term as a moniker to tag the Soviet Union and then art bounced the theme back, yet again, when Lukas returned the favor with the scene of the Empire statue being pulled down at the end of, “Return of the Jedi”, in the manner of the famous toppling of Lenin’s statue.

    Bush sadly harbors no such idealism as Reagan’s. How hard may we really expect Bush to come down on Putin anyway? Bush limits protests at his own appearances and relegates them to “free speech zones”, as if the our whole country wasn’t a free speech zone:

    https://www.reason.com/links/links020504.shtml

    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/002957.shtml#002957

    One of the possible tragedies with this is that young people may come to accept this perversion of their rights as legitimate.

    Even this may be just a minor hypocrisy when compared to the government’s support of Uzbekistan’s brutal regime, which is now using the pretext of “fighting terror” to sanction its ongoing savagery :

    http://antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=2216

    http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=2212

    And, of course, there is our government’s financial support of the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land while it is supposedly trying to encourage liberalization in the Mid-east.

    All of these government hypocrisies add up to a multi pronged attack on liberty.

  40. “How low will conservatives go to defend George Bush?”

    Why would conservatives defend Bush?

    I’m going to tell my fiscally conservative Republican congressman that I enthusiastically support his reelection and I would never vote for Bush, and that many of my reasons for these two decisions are identical.

  41. It has got to be a bet or something.

    Well, you never know what goes on at those Skull and Bones initiation rituals. When you join a club that seeks to rule the world (just a joke, please don’t jump all over me), maybe it’s customary to make bets like “If I can’t drink more shots than you, I’ll praise some really thuggish world leaders on TV.”

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