Where there’s smoke

Is Barack Obama a Muslim?

Does it matter?

This registration document, made available on Jan. 24, 2007, by the Fransiskus Assisi school in Jakarta, Indonesia, shows the registration of Barack Obama under the name Barry Soetoro into the Catholic school made by his step-father, Lolo Soetoro. The document lists Barry Soetoro as a Indonesian citizen, born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, and shows his Muslim step-father listed the boy’s religion as Islam.(AP Photo/ Tatan Syuflana)


So, what do you think? Is he a Muslim? His step-father certainly thought so.

Does it matter? I would find it difficult to believe that anyone who has been even half-awake for the last seven years wouldn’t agree that it matters. It matters a lot.

h/t Free Republic

Russia’s Dirty Game!

As more information comes available, it has become painfully clear what Russia is doing and has done.
Now information is available, that weeks ago was puzzling, that Russia was conducting cyber attacks on Georgia, as a dress rehearsal for the day they could attack.

As it turns out, the July attack may have been a dress rehearsal for an all-out cyberwar once the shooting started between Georgia and Russia. According to Internet technical experts, it was the first time a known cyberattack had coincided with a shooting war.


This info is critical, and shows the Russians were being provocative, as usual, and were moving their pieces on the board weeks ago.
This also raises the question, how could Russia plan for a war with Georgia, when they were only defending their interests in Ossetia, after Georgia attacked? How could they know that Georgia would attack? If they knew, why not take intense diplomatic action, to prevent this war, save human life, and spare the destruction? But then, why conduct cyber attacks weeks before, and then initiate a full scale cyber attack when they invaded?
The answer or answers are not difficult to understand, now.

Observers believe Mr Saakashvili’s decision to move into South Ossetia last week followed about two weeks of provocation by Russian forces and their client militias. “Russia wanted to manoeuvre Saakashvili into a situation where he would be seen to be making the first move and then provide a pretext for Russian action,” said an observer.

UK Telegraph.

While these “observers” aren’t identified, it is known that there are U.S. military trainers in that region, as well as other international connections. We could argue over the validity of any “observers” comments in this conflict, including the “observers” who claim that Georgia was committing atrocities against the citizens of Ossetia.
I think we are getting a clearer picture of Russia’s shame game, that they had been provoking Georgia in Ossetia, knowing that they would eventually take action, and when they did, Russia would attack, all the while claiming they were the defenders in the hostile actions of Georgia. Winning a propaganda war in the initial phases, bought Russia a little time so they could cause as much damage as possible, without serious opposition from the international community.
As to what the rest of the board looks like, in Russia’s dirty little game, it is a desire of Russia to either reacquire territory that was once under the former Soviet Empire’s tyrannical grip, or to control the resources from that region, particularly the oil pipelines that run through Georgia, from the Caspian.

Between Russia and Iran, in the lower Caucasus, sits a small wedge of independent soil — namely, the soil of Azerbaijan and Georgia combined. Through those two countries runs the immensely important Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which delivers precious oil circuitously from Azerbaijan to Turkey and out to the world. This is important not just because of the actual oil being delivered free of interference from Russia and Iran and the Middle East, but also for symbolic reasons. It says to the world that if any former Moscow colonies wish to sell their wares to the West directly, they have a right to do so, and the West will support that right. According to Georgian authorities, Russian warplanes have tried to demolish the Georgian leg of that pipeline several times in the last days. Their message cannot be clearer.

Besides their own pipeline, Georgia and Azerbaijan offer a fragile strategic conduit between the West and the “stans” of Central Asia — including Afghanistan — an area that the Soviets once controlled in toto. We should remember that an isolated Central Asia means an isolated Afghanistan. Look at the countries surrounding Afghanistan — all former Soviet colonies, then Iran, then Pakistan.


The game is under way, and Russia has made some bold moves, which have yet to be countered, but countered they will be. How remains to be seen.
Will Russia be countered militarily? I don’t know, but I don’t think Russia could afford heavy military losses, or would be willing to risk it, not at this stage.
Will Russia be evicted from the G8? That proposal is already being discussed, and may be the single biggest threat to deter Russia’s ambitions of conquest.
For my part, Russia needs to be spanked hard for provoking this conflict. I believe Russia is exhibiting behavior consistent with a lashing out, the death throws of, what Mark Steyn has described as, a dying nation.

Russia is literally dying. From a population peak in 1992 of 148 million, it will be down to below 130 million by 2015 and thereafter dropping to perhaps 50 or 60 million by the end of the century, a third of what it was at the fall of the Soviet Union. It needn’t decline at a consistent rate, of course. But I’d say it’s more likely to be even lower than 50 million than it is to be over 100 million. The longer Russia goes without arresting the death spiral, the harder it is to pull out of it, and when it comes to the future most Russian women are voting with their foetus: 70 per cent of pregnancies are aborted.
Add to that the unprecedented strains on a ramshackle public health system. Russia is the sick man of Europe, and would still look pretty sick if you moved him to Africa. It has the fastest-growing rate of HIV infection in the world. From virtually no official Aids cases at the time Putin took office, in the last five years more Russians have tested positive than in the previous 20 for America. The virus is said to have infected at least 1 per cent of the population, the figure the World Health Organisation considers the tipping point for a sub-Saharan-sized epidemic. So at a time when Russian men already have a life expectancy in the mid-50s — lower than in Bangladesh — they’re about to see Aids cut them down from the other end, killing young men and women of childbearing age, and with them any hope of societal regeneration. By 2010, Aids will be killing between a quarter and three-quarters of a million Russians every year. It will become a nation of babushkas, unable to muster enough young soldiers to secure its borders, enough young businessmen to secure its economy or enough young families to secure its future. True, there are regions that are exceptions to these malign trends, parts of Russia that have healthy fertility rates and low HIV infection. Can you guess which regions they are? They start with a ‘Mu-’ and end with a ‘-slim’.
We are witnessing a remarkable event: the death of a great nation not through war or devastation but through its inability to rouse itself from its own suicidal tendencies. The ‘ideological vacuum’ was mostly filled with a nihilist fatalism. Churchill got it wrong: Russia is a vacuum wrapped in a nullity inside an abyss.

Russia is dangerous, and made even more so without direct and decisive action, to contain their lashing out. The attack on Georgia is an early indicator of just how dysfunctional, and threatening Russia is, and can be.


Sercan Ondem

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