It's Vladimir Putin Not Lenin


With the increase in claims of "Socialism!" by the right-wing and tea-party nuts, the concept of Soviet Russia always comes in to play.  Most people I come in contact with, sadly enough, don't realize that Russia itself is not a socialist nation anymore.  No folks, this ended with the Soviet Union's collapse nearly 20 years ago.  The undeserved rage ensues from those uneducated enough to open a world-fact book and realize that Russia is a Semi-presidential Federal Republic (or some variation of those words).

With that all being said, a quick look at the Council on Foreign Relations site ( has brought about some unique viewpoints towards the United States relations with the Russians.

As many remember, Joe Biden claimed that the U.S. wanted to "push the reset button on US-Russian relations."  I personally liked this a lot.  Russia, although has had some trouble transitioning from a socialist state to a more democratic one, I believe is trying to distance itself from its totalitarian past.

Heres a blurb from an interview with consulting editor of Bernard Gwertzmann

More than a year ago, Vice President Joseph Biden made a speech saying the United States wanted to "reset" relations with the Russians. Has this worked?

The atmosphere of the relationship is certainly very different. If you remember the kind of nastiness of the late Bush administration and the end of Vladimir Putin's presidency, and the anger created by the Russian-Georgian War in August 2008, the starting point was very low. The administration thought that it could get results faster than has proved to be feasible, not just in the area of arms control. They worked hard on getting Russian cooperation as a transit country for getting supplies into Afghanistan, and that eventually started to work but has taken a long time.

President of Russia (albeit in name only) Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama have had several talks in the beginning parts of Obama's administration and things seem to be going somewhat more smoothly than the previous administration.  Talks have resumed for instituting a new version of the START initiative (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) due to Bush's need to put missile interceptors in the Czech Republic and elsewhere (this angered Russia quite a bit.)

Our Russian relations have come a long way from George W. Bush's method of bludgeoning other countries over the head with a hammer resembling the American flag.

The one road block, it seems, is Mr. Vladimir Putin himself.  Due to a pretty large loophole in the Russian Constitution, a president cannot serve more than 2 consecutive terms.  This means that a person elected president could theoretically take a break for a year, then run again for 2 more terms.  This is likely the route Putin will choose to take.  Putin himself is a very mysterious, authoritative man and only time will tell what he chooses to do.

For now, The United States and Russia could use each other to combat Iranian nuclear threats.  Lets distance ourselves from referring to Russians as socialists, because it is simply not true.

до свидания

for the full interview check this link



Citizens Only

It's very interesting whatching Lawrence Lessig develop a impetus for a constitutional amendment to deal with the obvious shortcomings of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. Here's his recent thinking:

Corporations aren't people" has become the rallying cry for many opponents of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

The problem is, the decision does not actually assert that corporations are persons. Instead, the Court notes that the First Amendment focuses on "'speech,' not speakers." That is, that the government is constrained in regulating any campaign speech, whether by a citizen, a corporation, or a foreign national.

One need not be xenophobic to be troubled by the idea of foreign influence in American elections. Selecting our leaders is a private decision to be made by us as citizens, and it is perfectly appropriate to limit the disproportionate influence of non-citizens in this process.

To remedy this problem, my proposed constitutional amendment is simple:

Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to restrict the power to limit, though not to ban, campaign expenditures of non-citizens of the United States during the last 60 days before an election.

Such an amendment would give Congress the power to limit campaign expenditures by non-citizens -- including both corporations and foreigners -- during a narrow window when Americans are focused on the question of whom to elect to represent and lead them.

Here's what Lessig is getting at:

One need not be xenophobic to be troubled by the idea of foreign influence in American elections. Certainly the Framers were. The point is not that foreigners are evil. It is rather that elections are private. It is we—citizens—who are to select who is to govern us. And it is completely appropriate for us to protect the debate we have about that selection by limiting disproportionate spending by non-citizens.

This insight gives a clue to perhaps the most sensible constitutional response to the Supreme Court’s decision. Not, as an angry gaggle of activists have proposed, through an amendment aimed at denying what Citizens United never asserted—that corporations are persons. But instead, through an amendment that recognizes what no one has ever asserted—that whether or not they are persons, corporations are not United States citizens. And if there is something appropriate to keeping the conversation about who is to govern us to us citizens, there may well be something appropriate in protecting elections against undue influence by non-citizens.

I can certainly get behind the gist of this amendment, and believe it has a really great chance of happening. But I don't agree with Lessig's argument of maintaining a "last 60 days before the election" clause.

First, the whole "last 60 days" framework is from a pre-internet mindset that believed only post Labor Day did campaigning happen (McCain-Feingold CFR was passed in 2002 just as the netroots was beginning to revolutionize politics). That world doesn't exist any longer. Second, there's really not any reason at all to allow for anyone besides a citizen to make political expenditures at any time.

WaPo Columnist Uses Republican Talking Points to Endorse Obama

Michael Gerson, fresh on the heels of the Republican debate, reasons in a new editorial that a race between Obama and McCain would be the best for America. Obama's message of change is better suited, he writes, because Hillary's positions on abortion are too radicial-- "safe, legal, and rare."

Gerson, a member of the much frothed-over CFR and author of Heroic Conservatism, regards Obama as more honorable despite what he sees as Clinton's strengths:

Her health-care plan, for example, could be the basis for serious discussions with Republican congressional leaders. Her national security team seems more skilled and experienced than Barack Obama's. And her various positions on Iraq have always been slippery enough to avoid specific, hand-tying commitments on troop withdrawals, leaving her the option of responsibility (though, like the other Democratic candidates, she seems incapable of using the word "victory" in a time of war).

Still, he goes on, her candidacy is an invitation for reminisces of:

"I didn't inhale." Kathleen Willey. Whitewater. "Two for the price of one." Polling to select vacation sites. Baking cookies. Joycelyn Elders. Hillarycare. "What the meaning of the word 'is' is." Blue dress. "That woman." Lewinsky, as noun and verb.

Nevermind that thoroughly disgraced Jeff Gerth published a book harping on just those details that failed to earn money even as NewsMax magazine's subscription free gift.  (Obama might have acceded to the offer as his campaign clearly owns a copy of the book. He has frequently repeated a discredited claim from it on campaign stops.)

The Clintons are unprincipled and untrustworthy, he proclaims, likening them to racist Alabama governor George Wallace and denouncing them for their criticism of Obama's choice to be, "God forbid, ... defending Ronald Reagan."

And so, Reagan-loving abortion-hating, Gerson reasons that Obama would be the best choice for the Democratic nomination. In light of these new facts, I must rethink whether or not I am supporting the right candidate. I hope everyone does the same.

There's more...

Renewing American Leadership BY BARACK OBAMA july / august 2007

""Summary: After Iraq, we may be tempted to turn inward. That would be a mistake. The American moment is not over, but it must be seized anew. We must bring the war to a responsible end and then renew our leadership -- military, diplomatic, moral -- to confront new threats and capitalize on new opportunities. America cannot meet this century's challenges alone; the world cannot meet them without America.

Barack Obama is a Democratic Senator from Illinois and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.""

There's more...

No need for progressives to war on the Democrats--a response to eugene - A RESPONSE

The below response of mine is a response which i have cross posted here in response to anothers blog yesterday at the dailykos

There's more...


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