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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Monday, September 26, 2011

This impending switch in roles between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladmir Putin has some senior Russians a tad wary..
Former leader Mikhail Gorbachev says this could set Putin up for another..possibly..12 years in the drivers seat..
Saturday was the day Putin announced his plans to run for the Presidency again, and barring some kind of revolution, this amounts to the prospect of another Kremlin leader for life.. a tradition that stretches back 450 years to the reign of Ivan the Terrible, Russia's first Czar..
No matter how popular or effective a leader may be, that seems like a long commitment, and Putin's ruling party, United Russia, made every effort over the weekend to cast it as the shining path to the glory of the nation. "The return of Vladimir Putin to the post of President is totally logical, because he remains our national leader,".. said Andrei Isaev, a senior Party boss..
The concern is.. that this could lead to another 12 years of the status quo, of political stagnation. Alexei Kudrin, one of Putin's most trusted advisers, who has served as Russia's Finance Minister for 12 years, said on Sunday that he wanted no part of it. "I see no role for myself in the new government," Kudrin told reporters during a trip to Washington..
Now there is a small cadre within the Kremlin.. a small faction of Kremlin liberals who have lobbied for President Dmitri Medvedev.. a self-styled Westernizer and reformer, to stay on for six more years. But his re-election would have required a reversal of Putin's grand political strategy.. In 2008, when the constitution barred Putin from taking a third consecutive term as President, he chose a successor from among his most loyal lieutenants.. the weakest and least independent among them was Medvedev, and when he was chosen, it seemed clear that he would be little more than a placeholder President, warming Putin's seat until he could legally return in 2012.
This is a situation that should be closely watched, for if Putin returns, it could well mean a reversal of the relaxation of Russian relations with the West.. and a reversal of the new freedoms the Russian peoples now enjoy due to Medvedev's more liberal moves.. greater freedom of the press, fewer restrictions on the political opposition and the easing of state control of the economy..
Given the unstable position Europe is presently in, a more restrictive Russia would only deepen the depression generally felt throughout the Eurozone..
As said, this bears our attention..

Another situation which will bear our scrutiny..
China's top security official visited Pakistan today in an effort to strengthen ties with a country whose relationship with the United States is growing more tenuous by the day..
Pakistani officials and commentators have been talking up their country's relationship with Beijing, with some suggesting it could one day replace the United States as Islamabad's main foreign benefactor..
China's Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu was met by his Pakistani counterpart, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who brushed aside questions on the timing of the visit..
"Lets not talk USA here. I am here with my friend China," he told reporters. "China is always there for us in the most difficult moments."..
You bet they are.. now..
There was a time not so long ago, that the only country which supported Pakistan was the US.. pumping money directly into their economy, and maintaining strong diplomatic ties..
But, it seems the US support has had too many price-tags.. the likes of the killing of Osama..
The last thing we need, is to lose the status we now have with Pakistan, relinquishing it to China.. who's ultimate goals are as shrouded as that country is large..

And with the United States..
It appears to be a case of 'here we go again'..
Congress is once again allowing shutdown politics to bring the federal government to the brink of closing..
For the second time in nine months, lawmakers are bickering and posturing over spending plans.. The difference this time is that everyone agrees on the massive barrel of money to keep the government running for another seven weeks..
"It is embarrassing," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., admitted Sunday.. Warner asked: "Can we, once again, inflict on the country and the American people the spectacle of a near government shutdown?"..
At issue is a small part of the almost $4 trillion budget intended for an infrequent purpose, that being federal dollars to help victims of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters and whether some of the expense should be offset by cuts in other government spending..
This sort of crisis management has cost Congress credibility in the eyes of the electorate, with about eight in 10 Americans disapproving of the institution's performance after this summer's debt crisis.. this is the reason Moodys downgraded the nation's ratings as a result, unnerving the world's financial markets..
And here we go again..
And there is yet another pressing problem on Barack's plate.. Unemployment in the South is losing him votes by the hundreds of thousands.. The South has gone from having the lowest unemployment rate, to the highest..
Several Southern states.. including South Carolina, whose 11.1 percent unemployment rate is the fourth highest in the nation.. have higher unemployment rates than they did a year ago.. Unemployment in the South is now higher than it is in the Northeast and the Midwest.. which include Rust Belt states that were struggling even before the recession..
And with Congress playing it's self-serving game.. the White House needs what can be done to be done now..
But again, what good does it do the GOP to get them to play ball.. what concessions before the end of this term..
At what cost, Barack..?

That financial 'black hole' we've spoken of for years is becoming a reality..
Meetings of the IMF in the US are suggesting discounting.. forgiving.. forgetting completely.. Greece's overall debt by 50%.. The plan also envisages an increase in the size of the Eurozone bailout fund to 2 trillion Euros..
When will we learn that tossing our cash into a futile attempt to prop up any economy that cannot support itself, is as much as flushing it down the loo..
Should this keep up, we will soon find us all in a never ending circle of 'quantitative easing'.. profligate printing of specie by our own Treasury.. leading to massive inflation.. growing unemployment.. and what will amount to a global depression..
Now, 'global' might not quite be accurate.. Russia and China have the internal resources to lose international markets.. their populations alone could keep them afloat, and while even with those two countries the water may lap at the gunnel's, they will not suffer to the depth the West will..
Their populations are already inured to what we would consider 'intolerable' living conditions, and restrictions through State regulation..
But, as we said, the 'black hole' solution appears to be in motion..
Over the weekend, the G20 reasserted its commitment to "a strong and co-ordinated international response" to the crisis, but analysts warned this would not be enough to satisfy investors..
And that's a harbinger of things to come..

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