Thursday, July 26, 2007

Putin's Self-Esteem Needs a Tune-Up

Putin has a real self-esteem problem (that I believe extends to Russia as a nation). In this story, he says about Stalin's butchering millions of people:

President Vladimir Putin said last month that although the 1937 purge was one of the most notorious episodes of the Stalin era, no one should try to make Russia feel guilty about it because "in other countries even worse things happened."

I'm not that familiar with anyone trying to make Russia "feel guilty" about the purges, because Russia isn't supposed to be synonymous any longer with the Soviet Union and Communism. Of course, Putin is doing everything to make them synonymous again, but that's fodder for a longer discussion.

And, one would have to delve deeply into his psychology to explain the notion that guilt shouldn't be felt because "in other countries even worse things happened."

Putin's Delusions of Grandeur

It's ironic that Putin--who is doing everything he can to suppress information, in particular by stifling anti-Putin sentiment in the press and via association--should tout Russia's intentions to become an information technology leader.

The money quote:

“Free exchange of technologies and information is an important factor to strengthen democratic institutions and democracy as a whole,” (Putin) said.

Chavez and Ahmadinejad: Bound by Collectivism

It would take an Objectivist, probably, to recognize that what unites Venezuela's Chavez and Iran's Imajihadi (or whatever his name is) is collectivism. For Iran, the collectivism is Islamic totalitarianism. For Venezuela, it's secular socialism. But fundamentally, they're essentially the same ideologies: the subservience of the individual to the group.

They just happen to worship different gods, Allah and "society." Otherwise, there's absolutely nothing surprising or odd about their alliance. Oh, and as this story suggests, anti-Americanism might also play a small part.

Digg Report

Digg Report: Today's #1 Digg, at 4095 Diggs, is a link to a graph that completely distorts the fundamental difference between accidental death and death by natural causes, and death by terrorism. Or, rather, it creates a false equivalence between them, and then makes the 3,000 people killed on 9/11 merely a drop in the bucket of people who've died since then.

In other words, why do we care that a terrorist group purposefully killed 3,000 Americans in a heinous act, when so many more Americans have died from other causes?

Daily Kos Says Democrats Should Tank the Stock Market

Here's my second post on the Daily Kos, but again, it's worth it. It's a Forbes story about a Daily Kos poster suggestion that Democrats should do everything they can to cause the market to drop before the elections, so that the tax increases that the Democrats plan to enact won't be blamed for the subsequent drop (which, of course, they would cause).

Truly bizarre. But worth a read.

Russia Building Military to Counter US "Threat"

Russia's building up its military in part because it sees the US as a threat. Now, in my book, when someone sees you as a threat, there's a real possibility that they're merely projecting their own hostilities. Russia is making power plays in so many areas it's impossible to presume any longer that they're just trying to restore some "strategic balance of power."