Putin the Terrible: The Cowardice of a Shunned Tyrant

by Mark Harvey

When I am dead, then bury me
In my beloved Ukraine,
My tomb upon a grave mound high
Amid the spreading plain
Taras Shevchenko

Vladimir Putin

If you didn’t know who Vladimir Putin was and you ran into him in, say, Dayton, Ohio, you might take him to be the owner of a small family-run mortuary. With his pallid complexion, dour bearing, and ordinary features, he has all the makings of a good mortician who could feign enough concern and show enough solemnity to upsell you on a walnut coffin for a distant aunt.

An impressive figure, the man does not cut. He is short, pale, balding, and lacking in a good Soviet chin. It’s been said that great leaders need to have enough charisma to rattle the furniture when they walk into a room. But Putin has a reptilian aura, only missing the scales and a tail that can grow back when the original is torn off while desperately escaping a raptor.

It makes you wonder what sort of knots Mother Russia has tied herself in to choose such a demonic milquetoast figure to rule such a glorious land. What we know about the Russian people is that they are gifted beyond measure in literature, music, poetry, drama, dance, sports, the hard sciences, and of course, chess. But with their otherworldly gifts they seem to have a self-destructive element manifested in a revolving door of imprisoning their heroes in their gulags, choosing despotic leaders, high rates of alcoholism, and a skepticism only immune to world class agitprop. Read more »

How Exceptional Is America? Let Me Count The Awful Ways

by Evert Cilliers aka Adam Ash

Ca[tainSo Vladimir Putin takes Obama to task for referring to America as the exceptional nation.

Well, he's wrong. We ARE exceptional. Here are the ways in which we are more exceptional than any other nation on earth:

1. We like to kill people. Especially helpless women and children. Since the end of WW2, we've slaughtered more folks in more wars than any other nation on earth. Not by the hundreds. Not by the thousands. But by the millions. No nation comes close to America when it comes to mass murder. No other nation is more evil than we are. And then we call our troops heroes, when they're nothing but hired killers.

2. Our former leaders — George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld et al — can't leave the country to travel overseas because they will get arrested as war criminals. How's that for exceptional?

3. We don't just specialize in killing foreigners. We like killing ourselves as well. Americans kill more Americans than any other nation on earth kill each other. It's like a continuation of the Civil War.

4. We are more cruel to animals than any other nation on earth. On our factory farms, we raise cattle and hogs and chickens so caged in, they can't move. Unlike an advanced country like Sweden, where they have laws protecting animal rights, we are the world's biggest sadists in our treatment of animals. (BTW, if you want to find some nations that are truly exceptional in a good sense, look no further than the Nordic nations of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland: they have the most generous and robust social welfare safety nets, with high taxes, yet they are the most economically competitive nations on earth, with successful world-wide brands like Ikea, Lego, Volvo, Nokia, Absolut Vodka, etc. The tiny nation of Denmark leads the world in wind power technology, generating 20% of its energy from wind. And these three countries spend proportionately more on foreign aid and helping other nations than any other. When it comes to exceptionalism, America is at least a century behind Scandinavia.)

5. With 5% of the world's population, we have 25% of the world's prisoners — more than Russia proportionately had under Communism, or South Africa under apartheid. We also spy on our citizens more than any other country. We're a complete police state. Witness our police suppression of the Black Panthers and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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The ghosts of Katyn

Kris Kotarski

I saw Andrzej Wajda's Katyń when visiting Warsaw a couple of months after the premiere on September 17, 2007. I went to the cinema with my 79-year-old grandparents, my 51-year-old aunt, and my younger cousins, aged 23 and 25 at the time. We left the cinema, and sat down at a nearby cafe. I broke the silence first.

“So, what do you think?”

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