Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I turned 39 (2014)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

DICTATORS & OR Corporate Fascism

-----

A Boston GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Putin's purge in Parliament"
December 6, 2007

BECAUSE RUSSIA is becoming a key player once again in global geopolitics, the United States and its European allies need to develop a clear-eyed vision of the new system Russian President Vladimir Putin is constructing. The conduct of Sunday's parliamentary elections offer a clear - and unpleasant -indication of where Putin's "sovereign democracy" is headed.

The destination is not a revived version of Stalinist despotism. But neither is it a system that bears any resemblance to the liberal democracies of Europe and North America.

The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Council of Europe only grazed the target when they lamented Monday that the balloting for the Russian Duma failed to meet their "standards for democratic elections." Their joint statement criticized the use of administrative resources for Putin's party, government-controlled media coverage that strongly favored his party, and electoral rules that had the "cumulative effect of thwarting political pluralism."

The crucial result is that all the parties opposed to Putin's power system have been eliminated from Parliament. Putin's United Russia party will have 315 of 450 seats in the new Duma, and the other three parties that qualified all play ball with the Kremlin.

Putin portrayed opposition parties as tools of Western secret services. He likened them to the democratic movements that won recent elections in Ukraine, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan - former Soviet Republics that became independent after the Soviet Union's demise in 1991. This was more than the sort of appeal to patriotism that conservative politicians commonly use in the West. Putin turned the parliamentary election into a vehicle for completely expelling his liberal opposition from participation in governing Russia.

There is no gulag in today's Russia, no daily executions of class enemies in the cellar of the Lubyanka, the old KGB headquarters. But with the opposition removed from the Duma, Russian democrats wishing to work for pluralism and the rule of law must operate outside the power system, as dissidents.

Then there is the question of Putin's hold on power after he cedes the presidency next March to a successor, as he is constitutionally required to do. He has publicly defined the victory of United Russia as a vote of confidence in himself. He has hinted that he will lead the party after March, and that his party will supervise the government - even if, as expected, Putin anoints his own successor.

The picture that emerges is of a party-state in the political mold of the old communist system. A crucial difference is that Putin's role will be to keep peace between the Kremlin factions who control not only the government but also Russia's fabulously lucrative oil and natural-gas conglomerates. Putin is shaping a Godfather-state in Russia.

-----

Bush can answer his own question
The Berkshire Eagle - Letters
Monday, December 10, 2007

The Bush administration wants Russia to investigate how Vladimir Putin manipulated the vote in Russia's parliamentary elections. Bush should know all about vote manipulation from the U.S. election in 2000.

OSCAR M. OLSON
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

-----

THE BOSTON GLOBE - Op-Ed
In Russia, a democratic message blurred
By Nicolai Petro | December 10, 2007

SEVERAL ATTEMPTS by the alliance known as Another Russia to organize protest rallies in Russia's most populous cities, including the recent fiascoes in Moscow and St. Petersburg, have revealed an indisputable truth - those who call themselves the liberal opposition in Russia are neither competent nor popular.

Their most respectable showing last summer garnered at most 5,000 participants. Since then, these numbers have dwindled into the hundreds, with local police officers and foreign journalists usually far outnumbering the actual demonstrators.

Why have Russia's self-proclaimed liberals done so badly at attracting popular support? Granted, the country's booming economy hasn't made their arguments for removing Vladimir Putin an easy one. Still, with potential support of up to 40 percent, well-known cultural and political figures in their corner, and plenty of money from business elites, it is astonishing how badly the liberals have performed.

Part of the reason goes back to an early decision to enter into alliances that severely tarnished the reputation of many of Russia's leading liberal politicians. In a misguided effort to gain more visibility, several moderate politicians - including Vladimir Ryzhkov, Irina Khakamada, Grigory Yavlinsky, Mikhail Kasyanov, and Boris Nemtsov - embraced two highly questionable figures: the entrepreneur/chess champion Garry Kasparov, who, as a former member of the advisory council of the US-based Center for Security Policy, has longstanding ties to a number of vociferously anti-Russian American neo-conservatives, and Eduard Limonov, the leader of the ethno-nationalist National Bolshevik Party.

Limonov, who has called for the use of "Serbian tactics" to regain regions of the former Soviet Union with large Russian populations, is much more than an "accidental ally" of the liberals, as The Washington Post has reported. He approached the group that spawned Another Russia soon after it was established in March 2004 and suggested that the committee might be able to put the expertise of his "fighters" to good use. That expertise includes brandishing a fake grenade to occupy St. Peter's Church in Riga, Latvia, for which several NBP members served prison time. Limonov himself was convicted of illegal arms purchases in April 2001 and served two years in prison.

While some former allies, including Yavlinksy and Kasyanov, have since parted company with Another Russia, others - like Kasparov, Ryzhkov, and Nemtsov - continue to justify the alliance, with its prominence in the West, as necessary to circumvent the Kremlin's control of the media. But it is hard to believe that there are many people in Russia who have no inkling of what this opposition stands for. More than a quarter of the population has regular access to the Internet, which remains totally unfiltered in Russia, and 13 percent deem it their main source of information - double that in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The problem, it seems, is not that the opposition cannot get its message to the Russian public - nor even the message itself. The problem is with the messengers, who have managed to alienate their natural constituency - Russia's growing middle class.

What you would do if faced with the following choice: a political movement that unites a former chess champion whose family resides overseas, a former prime minister popularly nicknamed "Misha 2 percent" because of alleged kickbacks for authorizing government-backed loans to private firms, and an ex-punk rocker released from prison a few years ago who vows to restore the Russian empire by any means necessary; or the party of Vladimir Putin, which has pledged to continue the policies that have increased average salaries from $81 a month to $550 a month, and which has dramatically increased social spending and reduced the poverty level from 27 percent to 15 percent.

Then there's the damage done by the opposition's apparent contempt for the very people whose support it seeks. Boris Berezovsky, who claims to be financing the opposition from his exile in London, has said: "The problem is that, for centuries, the Russian authorities have been violating the Russian people, turning them into cattle." This bovine image of the Russian electorate is a favorite of the country's liberal elite. Their cynical assumption seems to be that politics doesn't need to appeal to the people at all, that it is really about replacing bad people-herders with good people-herders.

What does it matter how people vote, or even if they vote at all, as Limonov vowed at the last Moscow rally before the elections, if Another Russia does not intend to accept any results as legitimate? Is it any wonder that most Russians view the opposition as simply wanting to take away the prosperity they have worked so hard to obtain? Is it any wonder that the Western media's uncritical adulation of this opposition, and of Another Russia in particular, is regarded by many Russians with deep suspicion?

Far from indicating a retreat from democracy, the Russian electorate's rejection of the current opposition may be a sign of the country's progress toward a mature democracy.

-

Nicolai Petro teaches international politics at the University of Rhode Island. He served as the US State Department's special assistant for policy on the Soviet Union under President George H. W. Bush. This article first appeared in the International Herald Tribune.

----------

Medvedev, 42, is considered relative liberal


"Putin pledges to support protégé as successor: Medvedev, 42, is considered relative liberal"
By Peter Finn, Washington Post | December 11, 2007

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that he will support first deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev as president, ending years of speculation about his choice and all but ensuring that his longtime associate and young protégé will succeed him in the Kremlin next year.

"I have known him very closely for more than 17 years and I completely and fully support this proposal," said Putin, speaking to the leaders of four political parties, including the ruling United Russia party, who said they would nominate Medvedev as their candidate.

Medvedev, 42, a lawyer by training who is also chairman of the energy giant Gazprom, is regarded as a relative liberal among the constellation of political factions in the Kremlin. Unlike many in Putin's immediate circle, he has no background in the KGB or the security services. He is believed to be open to constructive relations with the West and greater political pluralism at home.

"It's a signal to the West that we want to continue communication and cooperation," said Igor Bunin, head of the Center for Political Technologies in Moscow, in an interview. "There won't be any radical changes in his presidency, but I believe Medvedev will be milder than Putin. He will largely follow the course set by Putin, but he is more oriented towards the Western model, building a democratic tradition."

Medvedev owes his political life to Putin, and the two are said to have a father-son relationship, according to Olga Kryshtanovskaya, director of the Moscow-based Center for the Study of Elites.

"It's almost a monarchial succession," she said in an interview. "He nominated his 'adopted' son."

Formally, Medvedev was nominated by United Russia and three other parties that informed Putin of their decision yesterday.

"The next four years should pass under the slogan of improving living standards," said Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the lower house of parliament and head of the United Russia party. "Medvedev is the most socially oriented of all possible candidates."

But, despite the political theater of the parties presenting their choice to the president, the decision was always Putin's alone.

With the backing of his longtime sponsor, Medvedev, who has never been elected to any political office, will almost certainly coast to victory in the March 2 elections. Most Russians have told pollsters that they will back the president's choice. And the full retinue of state power, including control of broadcast media, will be deployed to ensure victory for Medvedev against a likely fragmented field of weak candidates.

Kryshtanovskaya said Medvedev's dependence on Putin also means that he will enter the presidency a weak figure. Putin will play a major role as adviser and protector while the elite reconcile themselves to a candidate who was not their first choice, she said.

The choice of Medvedev, however, is unlikely to end speculation that Putin will ultimately return to the presidency.

"If Putin wants to return in two, three years . . . Medvedev will be the person who will without a doubt give up the path for him," opposition politician Vladimir Ryzhkov said on Ekho Moskvy radio yesterday.

But Bunin argued that "he will be a real president. He is not a keeper of Putin's seat. Of course, he will not be as powerful as Putin, at least not in his first term."

Medvedev's star, which was considered high earlier in the year, appeared to have faded in recent weeks.

Speculation about Putin's successor had focused on two perceived hard-liners - the newly appointed prime minister, Viktor Zubkov, and another first deputy prime minister and former KGB agent, Sergey Ivanov.

But Putin, in the end, turned not only to a trusted adviser but the one with whom he has the closest personal bond, a man he addresses with the diminutive, Dima.

"Let's agree that there is such a thing as comradeship," said Putin in a book-length interview called "First Person," published at the start of his first term. "I get that feeling with Dima Medvedev."

Both of them hail from St. Petersburg, and they first worked together in the city administration there in the early 1990s. Putin headed the city's committee on external relations, where Medvedev was a legal consultant.

"President Putin trusts him entirely," said Valery Musin, one of Medvedev's former law professors who also served with him as one of Putin's legal advisers in St. Petersburg. "They are very close."

Musin, in an interview yesterday, described Medvedev as "very communicative with a very good sense of humor. He is flexible but firm enough to persuade you of this line. He is young, but very capable and, most important, has gained enough experience to serve in this position."

The only child of university professors, Medvedev entered Leningrad State University, also Putin's alma mater, in 1982. He eventually earned a doctorate in law.

Medvedev, who is married with an 11-year-old son, taught law at the university until 1999, when Putin, then prime minister, brought him to Moscow as deputy head of the government administration.

Within a month, President Boris Yeltsin resigned and Putin was propelled into the Kremlin. Medvedev went with him as deputy head of the administration, and he also headed Putin's first election campaign in 2000.

Three years later, Medvedev became head of the presidential administration.

In November 2005, Medvedev left the presidential administration to become first deputy prime minister.

----------

A Boston GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Anointed by the Kremlin boss"
December 11, 2007

FEW COMPONENTS of liberal democracy are more indispensable than the right of the citizens to choose new leaders. Something very different was on view yesterday in a televised charade staged by Vladimir Putin. The Russian president made a show of accepting a recommendation by four compliant political parties to back his protege, Dmitri Medvedev, in presidential elections next March. The Kremlin boss was demonstrating that the highly centralized power system he has built lacks the marrow of a genuine democracy.

Among Putin's likely successors, Medvedev may be the most pragmatic. He is also the only one unaffiliated with an old-boy network of KGB veterans atop government agencies and government-owned energy conglomerates. His public statements and past deeds point toward a belief in free markets, a desire to tackle the corruption that infects Russian officialdom at nearly all levels, and an interest in improving the living conditions of Russians at the bottom of the economic ladder.

But even if Medvedev is the best choice among Putin's possible successors, there is nothing to celebrate in the way he was chosen or in the apparent reasons for that choice.

Medvedev has been Putin's companion and collaborator since their days together in the St. Petersburg mayor's office circa 1990. Putin is anointing Medvedev as his dauphin not just because he trusts him, but also because this faithful protege gives Putin his best chance of preserving his own influence and maintaining the power balance among different Kremlin factions.

Kremlin-controlled TV has created a czar-like aura around Putin, burnishing Medvedev's reputation as dispenser to the common people of Russia's energy windfall. So there is little doubt that Russian voters will dutifully do Putin's will next March and confirm his choice of a successor.

As chairman of the energy giant Gazprom as well as first deputy prime minister, Medvedev incarnates one of the worst aspects of the corporatist state Putin has built. Yet this will hardly stand in the way of his ascension to Putin's perch.

On the contrary, Medvedev will benefit from the Kremlin's deft cultivation of public assent to Putin's conception of what Russia most needs: a strong state. The image Putin has molded of a leader who concentrates all power in his own hands, purging disloyal media moguls and energy barons while standing up to meddlesome Western countries, has fostered an idolatry of the state and its master. In this political climate, a vote against the master's chosen successor becomes an act of disloyalty to the state that has made Russia rich and powerful.

If Putin has anything to worry about, it is that Medvedev will now have all the power accrued to the boss of Kremlin bosses. Czars and godfathers don't share power willingly.

----------

THE BOSTON GLOBE - OP-ED: BY CATHY YOUNG
"Putin's hold on Russia"
By Cathy Young | December 13, 2007

FOR AMERICAN liberals who like to compare the rise of authoritarianism in Vladimir Putin's Russia to the "imperial presidency" of George W. Bush, this month's political events in Russia - the rigged "elections" in a de facto one-party system, and the emergence of Putin's handpicked heir, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as the next president with Putin himself the likely prime minister - should serve as a reality check. And yet Russia remains a land of paradox; amidst bleak news of democracy's last rites, one sees small signs of hope.

Even the ruling party's landslide victory with 64 percent of the vote seems less than overwhelming, considering how unequal the contest was. United Russia hogged close to 100 percent of the media coverage and the campaign publicity. Most of the opposition parties were kept off the ballot through the manipulation of election laws; the ones permitted to run were barely allowed to campaign.

Imagine a professional basketball team playing against an amateur club and not only bribing the refs but denying its opponents access to training facilities and using trickery to disqualify the rival team's best players,

A vote for United Russia was widely touted as a mandate for Putin to remain a "national leader" after his second term as president expires in 2008 and he is required to leave office under the Russian constitution. Yet, with a 64 percent turnout, this endorsement comes from an unimpressive 44 percent of eligible voters. Andrei Piontkovsky, a columnist for a liberal website, Grani.ru, suggests that it is the weakness of this "mandate" that prompted Putin to make the final decision to step down rather than seek an overhaul of the constitution and a third term.

The Putin cult rampant in today's Russia does not suggest a leader on his way out. The United Russia election campaign was a gigantic Putin public-relations campaign, with ubiquitous posters, billboards, and booklets promoting the mysterious "Putin Plan": "The Putin Plan Is Russia's Victory!," "The Putin Plan Is Working!," and "You Are Part of the Putin Plan." This cult has sinister overtones reminiscent both of Stalin worship in Soviet Russia and of 1930s Germany, with Hitler as the strongman who raised a humiliated country from its knees. In latest news, the Putin-loving youth movement, Nashi ("Our Guys"), now has an auxiliary for the 8-to-15 set, Mishki, "The Little Bears," that designates Putin as its Chief Bear. At a recent rally, the Mishki sported jackets with the slogan, "Chief Bear, please take care of the kids!" and carried signs that said, "We thank Putin for our stable future." For many, this evoked memories of an infamous Stalin-era poster, "Thank you, Comrade Stalin, for our happy childhood."

And yet Putin is not Stalin, and not everything is harmonious in Putinland. For instance, the Mishki movement has been widely ridiculed, and even a member of the Moscow City Council, Evgeny Bunimovich, has denounced it as a "horrifying" attempt to drag children into politics. Some independent media outlets remain, and it's likely that the state cannot shut them down without destroying at least the veneer of a civilized society. Thanks to them, solitary protests and brutally dispersed unsanctioned rallies do not happen in a void - and people fed up with the Putin cult can not only speak their minds but, sometimes, make themselves heard by vast numbers of their fellow citizens.

Thus, last September, the pro-government daily Izvestia killed an article by its television columnist scathingly critical of a sycophantic Putin birthday special (directed by renowned Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov). This would have been unremarkable - except that the incident received enough coverage on the Web and the radio to shame the editors into reversing themselves and running the column.

In October, a leading newspaper, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, published a letter from Mikhalkov and the heads of three major cultural organizations begging Putin, in the name of Russia's art community, to stay (not run, but stay) for a third term. The public reaction was not an outpouring of support but a vocal backlash. Prominent artists, actors, authors, and entertainers publicly lashed out at the letter-writers, castigating them for presuming to speak in the name of others, for addressing Putin in a slavishly fawning tone, and for encouraging the president to flout the constitution. When Mikhalkov faced writer Viktor Yerofeyev on a popular television debate program, three of the four in-studio judges declared Mikhalkov the winner, but the call-in vote went for Yerofeyev, 90,000 to 52,000.

All things considered, the Putin regime's increasingly brutal pre-election tactics toward the opposition - the intimidation, the arrests, the hysterical rhetoric about foreign-paid "jackals" - may have been a sign of fear more than arrogance.

As Russia heads into 2008, its future remains murky. Will Medvedev prove to be a more liberal president, or a front for the "Chief Bear"? Will Putin remain in power - or fall from grace and become a scapegoat, like some other dear leaders in Russian history? No one knows. Most likely, not even Putin.

Cathy Young is a contributing editor at Reason magazine.

----------

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Op-Ed

"US, Russia as partners"
By Melanie Getreuer and Susan Sypko | December 15, 2007

AMERICANS and Russians have grown accustomed to hearing two distinct narratives about the post-Cold War world. As the sole superpower, the United States is the "indispensable nation." Little can be accomplished without our input. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia is the indispensable nation, too. Indeed, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev recently said that ridding the world of nuclear weapons could be accomplished only through US-Russian partnership.

US-Russian efforts vis-a-vis Iran suggest otherwise. Iran may have halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, but its enrichment activities continue. If the world community is serious about preventing Iran from acquiring a breakout nuclear weapons capability, it will have to seek other states' sustained involvement, starting with China and Saudi Arabia.

Iran's refusal to suspend its enrichment may stem from factors beyond the stated goal of building a civilian nuclear energy program. Iran needs not only to avoid losing face at home, but may also wish to signal a change in the world order - one in which former imperial powers cannot dictate its terms and multistate engagement is key. Getting Iran to stop enrichment will require a partner who would allow Tehran to address these concerns.

Initially, the United States thought ignoring Iran could convince it to stop enriching uranium. Stubbornly defiant, Tehran demonstrated that the former superpower's cold-shoulder punishment would not turn a naughty child into an obedient one. Notwithstanding the NIE's revelations, it does not look like the Bush administration will change this strategy.

Russia, in turn, hasn't fared any better. Despite Putin's landmark visit to Tehran in October 2007, it is not yet clear that he actually accomplished anything. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad immediately denied that a "secret proposal" had been offered to Supreme Leader Khamenei, and the Iranians have refused to accept a Russian proposal to enrich uranium on Russian soil since December 2005.

Iran could also be suspicious of Russia's proposals. For one, old habits die hard: Russia's support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war is a potent memory that plays to Iranian fears of imperial domination. Both countries are frustrated by the delayed construction of the Bushehr reactor (ostensibly due to late payments on Iran's part) and disputes over Caspian Sea rights. Iran also distrusts Russia's intentions in the broader Middle East. Those who have argued that Russia will successfully negotiate with Iran on our behalf might well be thinking wishfully.

Enter China, which clearly represents a challenge to US supremacy and has continuously showed support for Iran's right to enrich uranium. China's trade with Iran has grown and is likely to reach $20 billion this year. China's dependence on Iran's energy resources ensures that China and Iran will remain partners for some time to come. If China were to help defuse the crisis by actively using its permanent seat on the UN Security Council, Iran's leaders would be satisfied that they were negotiating with a partner, rather than with "imperial" powers.

China has been reluctant to join the sanctions bandwagon on Iran, but it proved to be an essential player in resolving the nuclear showdown in North Korea. If the United States and Russia were to flatter China's sense of its role in the world, Beijing could once again be just as effective.

Saudi Arabia also provides Iran with another out. Although the Saudis have a history of enmity with their Shiite neighbor, in recent years relations between Riyadh and Tehran have warmed. For example, Ahmadinejad became the first Iranian president to attend a Gulf Cooperation Council summit. This good will could be used to Saudi Arabia's benefit by preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

The Saudi foreign minister outlined a recent council offer that was not much different from Russia's. Iran's acceptance would imply that the Middle East no longer needs its former colonial masters to come to the rescue.

In the end, the post-Cold War world isn't about an indispensable nation or two, no matter what leaders in Washington and Moscow think. While the promise of a security guarantee to Iran gives the US a card that only it can play, the influence of nontraditional powers should not be automatically discounted. To prevent an Iranian bomb, the US and Russia need to be more imaginative and less self-centered. Encouraging China and Saudi Arabia to take the initiative and offer their own solutions could hold some promise.

-
MELANIE GETREUER AND SUSAN SYPKO:
Melanie Getreuer and Susan Sypko are researchers at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard.
-
----------

A Boston GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Russia beyond the pale"
January 19, 2008

COMMUNISTS LOST power in Russia a long time ago, but some things haven't changed. The halls of the Kremlin are still haunted by the thuggish mentality of the KGB.

Those old reflexes were on display this week when the Kremlin bullied the cultural organization known as the British Council into closing its offices in Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg. This was the latest episode in a confrontation between Russia and Britain that began in 2006, when former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin who had been living in London, died grotesquely from poisoning.

After Russia denied a British request to extradite murder suspect Andre Lugovoi, another former KGB agent, Britain expelled four Russian diplomats. The forced closing of the British Council offices is retaliation for the expulsion of the diplomats and for Britain's refusal to stop asking for the extradition of Lugovoi, who acquired immunity from prosecution by winning a seat last month in the lower house of Russia's Parliament.

The tactics the Kremlin used to intimidate the British Council offices were rightly denounced as "reprehensible" by Britain's foreign secretary, David Miliband. This unusually undiplomatic language from the foreign office was provoked by the Kremlin's harassment of the council's Russian employees. Some received late-night visits from the tax police. All the staffers in St. Petersburg were interviewed by agents of the FSB, successor to the KGB.

"We saw similar actions during the Cold War but frankly thought they had been put behind us," Miliband said. "Russia's actions therefore raise serious questions about her observance of international law, as well as about the standards of behavior she is prepared to adopt towards her own citizens." There was nothing exaggerated in this condemnation of the Kremlin's conduct.

The indictment of Lugovoi after an intensive investigation by Scotland Yard suggests British authorities have solid evidence implicating him, and may also have intelligence tracing the crime to higher-ups in the Kremlin. The Russian refusal to extradite Lugovoi and the Kremlin's blatant attempts to make the British drop their extradition request paint a nasty portrait of Russia under Putin.

The murder of Litvinenko echoes the 1976 assassination in Washington of former Chilean ambassador Orlando Letelier by agents loyal to Chile's then-strongman, Augusto Pinochet. In both cases, an authoritarian regime was accused of killing an inconvenient critic in the capital of a foreign country. This is what happens when the rule of law is supplanted by the ruler's laws.

In its confrontation with the autocrat Russian liberals call Putinochet, Britain deserves the solidarity of all democratic societies.

----------

"Putin: New arms race is unfolding in world: Major speech cites US missile system"
By Peter Finn, Washington Post, February 9, 2008

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that "a new arms race has been unleashed in the world" as the United States moves forward with a missile defense system in Central Europe. And he dismissed American assurances that the system was not directed against Russia as nothing more than "diplomatic cover."

"It's not our fault. We didn't start it, . . . funneling multibillions of dollars into developing weapons systems," Putin said in what might be his final major address before he leaves the Kremlin after presidential elections March 2.

"Russia has and always will have a response to these new challenges," he said. "Over the next few years, Russia will start production of new types of arms, with the same or even superior specifications compared to those available to other nations."

He said, however, that Russian military spending should not come at the cost of economic and social development.

Putin noted that Russia has joined "the ranks of the seven biggest economies in the world." But he said the country should diversify and wean itself from dependence on the sale of oil and other natural resources to fuel growth.

Putin spoke yesterday to Russia's State Council, a gathering of ministers, regional governors, and members of parliament. Among those watching was Dmitry Medvedev, Putin's chosen successor as president, who faces little opposition in next month's vote.

Putin struck the now familiar theme that the West, resentful of Russia's resurgence under his stewardship, is encircling Russia through NATO expansion and attempting to subvert it internally by funding opponents of the Kremlin. Although the West speaks of freedom and democracy, Putin said its real agenda is access to natural resources.

Putin said Russia had received no response to its concerns about US plans to deploy missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic and new military bases in Romania and Bulgaria.

"We are categorically being told these actions aren't directed at Russia, and therefore our concerns are completely unfounded," he continued. "That's not a constructive response."

The speech, which drew frequent applause, also enumerated what Putin saw as his achievements. "We have returned to the world arena as a state that is taken account of, and that can stand up for itself," he said.

----------

A Boston GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Russia's make-believe election"
March 4, 2008

IT WAS always a sure thing that Dmitry Medvedev, President Vladimir Putin's protégé and designated successor, would win Sunday's election for president. The new ruling class that has congealed around Putin took no chances. They disqualified Medvedev's most formidable challenger on the pretext that too many of his nominating signatures were forgeries. They used state-run television to wrap Medvedev in a cocoon of fawning coverage. They observed democratic formalities but drained them of any genuine popular sovereignty.

President Bush and his successor must have no illusions about the authoritarian state Putin and his entourage have created. It braids together political, corporate, and secret-police powers. The public has accepted this new order as a corrective to the chaos of the 1990s, when pensions and salaries went unpaid, the ruble collapsed, and well-connected insiders bought up Russia's most valuable energy assets at rigged auctions.

Medvedev's low-key manner may differ from Putin's swagger, but his stake in the Kremlin power system is just as great. He has served not only as Putin's first deputy prime minister but also as chairman of the board of the mammoth energy conglomerate, Gazprom. With Putin moving to the office of prime minister, there is even a chance he will remain the Kremlin's ultimate decider while Medvedev, his new title notwithstanding, continues to carry out his mentor's orders.

Whoever calls the shots will have to cope with serious challenges. To his credit, Medvedev has shown an awareness of the need to reverse Russia's demographic decline. Like a candidate in a real democracy, he has pledged to devote resources to prenatal care, create incentives for families with children, and improve Russia's woeful provision of medical care for children. Despite its windfall from high energy prices, Russia has a great need for foreign investment and, as an erstwhile law professor, Medvedev has to understand that without legal protections, foreign investors will not risk their money in Russia.

American policy makers need to find ways to cooperate with the Putin-Medvedev team without abandoning support for Russian democrats and human rights activists. This is doable; Russia and the United States share an interest in countering jihadist networks, preventing nuclear proliferation, and fostering global economic stability.

The Bush administration has too often alienated the Kremlin needlessly, as with its extension of a faulty missile defense system to Central Europe and its backing for Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. The next US president would be wise to avoid unnecessary provocations of this sort and draw Russia into a true strategic partnership, even while recognizing that Russia's new rulers represent only themselves.

----------

(A Boston) GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Bush makes trouble in Kiev"
April 2, 2008

AS PRESIDENT BUSH'S second term winds down, this is no time for him to be making trouble for his successor. Yet that is exactly what he was doing yesterday in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. In an appearance alongside that country's pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, Bush declared that NATO should begin the process of admitting Ukraine and Georgia as members.

It is understandable that anti-Russian leaders in both of these former Soviet republics want to join NATO. They have bitter memories of past domination by Moscow and suffer today from Russian bullying and blackmailing. In Ukraine, however, the government's pursuit of NATO membership is starkly at odds with popular opinion. Opposition runs especially high among Ukraine's huge Russian minority. But the main reason not to grant NATO membership action plans to Ukraine and Georgia is to avoid new conflict with Russia. This is why Germany and France oppose the idea.

Bush is planning to sign a so-called strategic framework with Russia's outgoing President Vladimir Putin when the two hold their final summit Sunday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Codifying areas of agreement while both presidents are still in office makes sense. But when Bush said in Kiev that he wants the NATO accession process to start immediately for Ukraine and Georgia - "no trade-offs, period," he said - he contradicted the basic premise of a strategic partnership.

Such partnerships can only be based on trade-offs and consideration for each other's interests. A crucial Russian natural gas pipeline crosses Ukraine; components of Russian nuclear missiles are produced in Ukrainian plants; and Russia's Black Sea Fleet is based in Ukraine. So Russia won't accept a move by Ukraine into US-led NATO without getting any concessions in return. After seven years in power, Bush ought to have learned that there is no such thing as diplomacy without quid pro quos.

----------

The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN
"Ukrainian famine not a genocide"
By Alexander Solzhenitsyn, April 5, 2008

FROM AS far back as 1917, we Soviet citizens had to hear and obediently swallow all sorts of shameless, not to say meaningless, lies. That the All-Russian Constituent Assembly was not an attempt at democracy but a counterrevolutionary scheme (and was therefore disbanded). Or that the October coup (this was Trotsky's brilliant maneuver) was not even an uprising, but self-defense from the aggressive Provisional Government (composed of the most intelligent Cadets).

But people in Western countries never became aware of these monstrous distortions of historical events - neither at the time nor later. So they had no chance to immunize themselves to the sheer impudence and scale of these lies.

The Great Famine of 1921 shook our country, from the Urals, across the Volga, and deep into European Russia. It cut down millions of our people. But the word "Holodomor" (death by hunger) was not used at that time. The Communist leadership deemed it sufficient to blame the famine on a natural drought, while failing to mention at all the grain requisitioning that cruelly robbed the peasantry.

In 1932 and 1933, when a similar Great Famine hit Ukraine and the Kuban region, the Communist Party bosses (including quite a few Ukrainians) treated it with the same silence and concealment. And it did not occur to anyone to suggest to the zealous activists of the Communist Party and Young Communist League that what was happening was the planned annihilation of the Ukrainians. The provocative outcry about "genocide" only began to be take shape decades later - at first quietly, inside spiteful, anti-Russian, chauvinistic minds - and now it has spun off into the government circles of modern-day Ukraine. Russia's parliament was correct this week to vote that the famine should not be considered genocide.

Still, defamation is easy to insinuate into Westerners' minds. They have never understood our history: You can sell them any old fairy tale, even one as mindless as this.

Soviet-era dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn is a novelist and historian

----------

"Few signs Putin relinquishing power as term comes to close"
By Clifford J. Levy, New York Times News Service, April 17, 2008

MOSCOW - Will Dmitri A. Medvedev ever be his own man?

That question, which arose soon after President Vladimir V. Putin named Medvedev as his successor, has yet to be settled. If anything, the notion has only deepened in recent weeks that while Medvedev will occupy the Kremlin after May 7, Putin will continue to control it from his new post as prime minister.

Still, whether or not this will be a proper or effective arrangement, it seems to be one that many Russians want.

In December, Putin, who is limited to two terms under the Russian Constitution, endorsed Medvedev, a first deputy prime minister and longtime aide. With the Kremlin championing his candidacy and using its authority to squeeze the opposition, Medvedev coasted to victory on March 2. Since then, he has unveiled no major staff appointments, changes in the structure of government or strikingly new proposals.

While heir to czars and general secretaries, Medvedev comes across as the dutiful senior bureaucrat he once was, a former law professor who seems more interested in doing a line-by-line budget analysis for fiscal 2010 than in rousing this nation forward.

He gives speeches calling for more housing and less corruption, faster Internet connections, and an assortment of other unobjectionable measures. He reviews legislation with aides and greets an occasional head of state. Sometimes, he is shown on television mustering up a public scolding of a ham-handed government agency, as if he were trying out a few tough-guy mannerisms picked up from his mentor, Putin.

It is an oddly low-key performance, yet one that seems to be in tune with Russians' preferences.

Medvedev is taking office against the backdrop of a Russian resurgence that contrasts with the financial tumult in much of the world.

Spurred by revenue from high oil prices, the economy grew by 8 percent last year, and foreign investment in Russia has soared. Once a pauper, Russia has squirreled away hundreds of billions of dollars in hard currency reserves.

Consumer confidence in Russia has reached its highest level since before the financial collapse of 1998, according to new government data.

In light of all this, the public's most pressing demand, it seems, is that the government not disrupt the relative stability. If that means that Putin dominates a puppet presidency, then so be it.

And there are signs that things are headed that way. Consider this week's events, when it was hard to tell which leader was the president-elect and which was the lame duck.

At a convention of the ruling party on Tuesday, Putin announced that he would become its chairman, giving him another power base. Medvedev was on the sidelines, delivering one more testimonial to Putin.

Putin's leadership of the party, Medvedev declared, will "serve to strengthen and develop the main democratic institutions of our society."

Putin did not exactly return the favor. He mentioned Medvedev in his speech, but lingered mostly on his own accomplishments and the successes of the party, United Russia, which he created. He vowed to bolster the party, which already dominates nearly every lawmaking body in the land.

----------

(A Boston) GLOBE EDITORIAL
"New title, same old Putin"
April 25, 2008

IF POLITICAL leaders were ranked for originality in their pursuit of power, President Vladimir Putin of Russia would be world champion. First he designated his loyal sidekick, Dmitry Medvedev, to be his successor. Then he had Medvedev announce that - surprise! - Putin would become prime minister after May 7, when the new president takes the oath of office.

Finally, last week Putin had himself unanimously acclaimed chairman of the dominant United Russia Party - but without soiling his immaculate czar-like authority by allowing himself to be made a party member.

Putin is playing his own riff on an old conservative dictum that says: In order for things to remain the same, they have to change a little. While taking new titles, Putin has been able to keep himself the unchanging repository of all the power that counts in Russia.

The trick is to have accomplished this feat while respecting the constitutional rule that prohibits a president from serving for three successive terms. His predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, created a constitution that endowed the Russian presidency with enormous powers. During Putin's two terms as president, he expanded those powers by doing away with the election of regional governors and appointing them instead; having the state take charge of national TV networks; placing his Kremlin cronies in control of state-run energy conglomerates; clamping down on nongovernmental organizations; and molding a pliant United Russia Party that now controls 315 of 450 seats in the Duma, or Parliament.

Today, Putin's transparent aim is to retain real power over the affairs of Russia until the day when, under the Russian constitution, he can legally return to the Kremlin as president. Medvedev is to keep the throne warm for his master. Addicts of power in other political systems can only envy Putin his ingeniousness.

----------

(A Boston) GLOBE EDITORIAL
"A red light for Putin"
September 16, 2008

RUSSIA'S MILITARY success against tiny Georgia is having repercussions that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his stand-in president, Dmitry Medvedev, probably did not anticipate and surely do not welcome. Simply put, Putin has alienated China and other countries that share his interest in countering American power.

On Friday, the Asian Development Bank, in which China plays a leading role, extended a $40 million loan at the lowest possible rate to Georgia, weighing in against Russia's attempt to alter borders by force.

Earlier, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization - which includes China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan as well as Russia - refused to countenance Russia's recognition of the independence of two breakaway regions of Georgia that Russian troops now occupy. The rebuff of Putin is all the more striking because - at least from Putin's perspective - the central purpose of this group was to form an eastern counterweight to NATO.

China and the Central Asian states may share the Kremlin's resentment of American dominance in the world, but they are not so eager to construct a multipolar world that they will act against their national interests.

Beijing has marshaled enormous resources to keep other countries from recognizing Taiwan as an independent country. China's entire propaganda campaign against the Dalai Lama is based on the false claim that he wants to split Tibet off from China. The Chinese leadership has also fiercely repressed any sign of separatism among the Muslim population in the north-western region of Xinjiang. China, in short, opposes all outside interference within its borders and extends the same privilege to other governments, however odious.

Putin upheld the same principle when he objected to President Bush's recognition of Kosovo's independence from Serbia. But in declaring that South Ossetia and Abkhazia were no longer under the sovereignty of Georgia, Putin forced China to choose between its alliance with Russia and the principle of noninterference and fixed borders. China chose the principle.

The other Shanghai group members have their own reasons for refusing to support Russia's redrawing of the map. As former republics of the vanished Soviet Union, they all have ethnic Russians living within their borders. The last thing they want is to encourage the Kremlin to go about "liberating" these communities.

Putin may want to avoid a unipolar world order centered in Washington. But like Bush, Putin is discovering there is a price for resorting to unilateral force to remake a region of the world.

----------

"Putin: Ukraine aided Georgia during war: Moscow is seen to seek leverage over neighbor"
By Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press, October 3, 2008

NOVO-OGARYOVO, Russia - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of sending weapons and military personnel to help Georgia during its war with Russia.

The accusation came as Russia announced a memorandum of understanding for handling natural gas sales to Ukraine after Putin met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is locked in a political fight with her nation's pro-Western president, Viktor Yushchenko.

The timing of Russia's statements underlined Moscow's drive to increase its leverage in the neighboring former Soviet republic of Ukraine.

Without referring to Ukraine's president by name, Putin suggested Yushchenko authorized weapons supplies to Georgia before and during Russia's war there in August. He also alleged that Ukrainian military personnel fought on Georgia's side during the conflict.

"When people and military systems are used to kill Russian soldiers, it's a crime," Putin told reporters after meeting with Tymoshenko at his residence outside Moscow. "Only a few years ago, it could not even come to mind, even in a nightmare, that Russians and Ukrainians would be fighting each other. But that happened, and it is a crime."

Russian officials and some Ukrainian lawmakers have said Ukraine helped arm pro-Western Georgia before the war. The Russian military has said anti-aircraft missiles supplied by Ukraine shot down four Russian warplanes during the conflict.

Putin said arms sales may have continued after the war began, and he charged that some of the weapons were operated by Ukrainians during the fighting.

"The weapons could have been supplied during the military action, and it was operated by Ukrainian specialists," Putin said. "That is a crime. That's an attempt to set Russian and Ukrainian people against each other."

Tymoshenko, who is vying for power with Yushchenko, said a parliamentary panel in Ukraine would investigate allegations of arms sales. She said that under Ukrainian law, the president and his Security Council are in charge of arms sales abroad and her Cabinet has no say.

Russia's use of force in Georgia has deepened nervousness among many Ukrainians about their larger neighbor, whose leaders are vehemently opposing Yushchenko's efforts to bring Ukraine into NATO. The Kremlin has warned NATO against admitting Ukraine or Georgia.

Moscow could use the price for its natural gas as a bargaining chip in its effort to stem Ukraine's strengthening of ties with the West.

The gas cooperation memorandum signed yesterday leaves ample room for wrangling over prices in actual contracts. But Tymoshenko said she won a Russian commitment that prices would rise only gradually.

"The parties confirmed their desire to gradually move to free-market prices over the next three years," Tymoshenko said. "We have reached an agreement that our countries don't need shock therapy."

The dealings with Putin are something of a turnaround for Tymoshenko, who has strongly criticized Russia in the past.

She allied with Yushchenko during the Orange Revolution that propelled him to the presidency in 2004 over a pro-Russia candidate, and she said last year the West should thwart Moscow's ambition to regain influence over countries that were once part of its empire.

But Yushchenko and Tymoshenko have been feuding and she has increasingly talked about the need to improve ties with Russia.

----------

"Putin's Intentions Debated After Shift on 4-Year Term"
By Philip P. Pan, Washington Post Foreign Service, Friday, November 28, 2008; A12

MOSCOW -- Not so long ago, a relatively young, newly elected president of Russia was presented with a proposal to amend the nation's constitution and extend the four-year term of the presidency.

His response was unequivocal. "The terms of presidential authority will not be changed under the current president," Vladimir Putin said in 2001, his second year in office, arguing that amendments to the constitution "dictated by political considerations" were dangerous. "Even in the most difficult times and times of crisis," he said, "those in power did not succumb to the temptation to correct the constitution for themselves. In the end, this was for the good." Putin repeated the pledge on the eve of his second term, saying the constitution should be left "untouched."

Now, months after leaving office and becoming prime minister, Putin is helping another relatively young, newly elected Russian president do exactly what he promised never to do himself -- rewrite the constitution to extend the presidential term. The abrupt reversal has sparked speculation in Moscow about whether Putin is preparing to take back his old job as president, and why.

Three weeks after President Dmitry Medvedev raised the issue in his first state of the nation address, lawmakers are rushing to approve the first substantive amendments to Russia's post-Soviet constitution since its adoption in 1993. The proposal would extend the presidential term to six years and that of members of the Duma, the lower house of parliament, from four years to five. A separate measure would give the Duma greater oversight over the prime minister.

Given Russia's increasingly autocratic political system, there is little doubt the amendments will pass. There is also little doubt that Putin, who picked Medvedev to succeed him and remains the dominant figure in the Kremlin, is behind the plan.

In making the proposal, Medvedev said longer terms are needed to ensure that the president and members of the Duma "have enough time to put their promises into practice" between elections. Putin also endorsed the change, saying it was part of "a package to improve the structure of government."

But because the six-year term would go into effect after the next presidential vote, scheduled for 2012, many analysts contend that Putin is laying the groundwork for an early election and a return to the presidency, as soon as next year. They speculate that Medvedev could use the constitutional change as a reason to resign, triggering a special election that Putin would easily win.

Putin stepped down as president in May because the constitution barred him from seeking a third consecutive term. But nothing in the constitution prohibits a return to the presidency after an interregnum.

Appointed prime minister by Medvedev, he is still seen at home and abroad as Russia's top leader. But analysts say that there are advantages to holding the presidency and that Putin may be engineering an early return as a way to remain in power during difficult times ahead.

After presiding over nearly a decade of rapid growth, Putin now confronts the prospect of a severe economic slowdown. The stock markets are down 70 percent from their May highs, oil has fallen to $50 a barrel, and the government is struggling to defend the ruble and is spending its huge foreign-currency reserves faster than expected. As the crisis spreads to the rest of the economy, many expect public discontent to climb with unemployment and inflation.

"He knows how serious it is, and he's not sure that he will survive three more years without damaging . . . his chances of being elected again," said Nikolai Petrov, a scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center. "From that perspective, it makes sense to have the election sooner, and it's more attractive to have a guarantee of six years."

He added that Putin would be better positioned to ride out the crisis as president because management of the economy has traditionally been seen as the responsibility of the prime minister. Putin could take credit for the government's successes while blaming problems on his prime minister, as he has done in the past, Petrov said.

Putin has not ruled out another term as president. Asked at a Nov. 12 news conference with the visiting Finnish president whether he planned to return to the presidency, he said the constitutional amendment had "no personal dimension."

"As far as I know, the president of Finland is elected for six years. From this point of view, there is nothing unusual in what Mr. Medvedev has proposed," Putin said. "As for who could run for the next term, and when, it is too early to speak of this," he added, leading pundits to wonder whether he had inadvertently confirmed that the 2012 election could be moved up.

Medvedev, too, has avoided a categorical denial. Asked in an interview with the French newspaper Figaro whether he might leave office early, he replied: "I am in the process of working right now. Why are you pushing me into certain decisions?"

Both the Russian Communist Party and the fractured democratic opposition have been vocal in condemning the proposed changes to the constitution. If Putin serves two additional six-year terms, on top of the eight years he just finished, he would become the longest-serving leader of Russia since Joseph Stalin.

The Kremlin has moved unusually quickly on the amendments. The measures sailed through three votes in the Duma less than two weeks after Medvedev proposed them, and the parliament's upper house, the Federation Council, passed them Wednesday. The required approval of two-thirds of Russia's regional legislatures could be completed by year's end.

"It's a disgrace to pass a constitutional amendment at such a pace," said Kiril Rogov, a political analyst at the Institute for the Economy in Transition who wrote a column in July 2007 predicting Putin would return as president after a brief stint as prime minister. "The urgency means Putin is nervous. He's unsure how the economic situation will develop."

In addition, he noted, the global financial crisis has shifted international attention away from Russia's war with Georgia, making it easier for Medvedev to develop relationships with other world leaders. As the new president gains international respect, his clout at home will grow as well, Rogov said, adding, "It's another reason Putin wants to hurry."

There has been little hint of friction between Putin and Medvedev, a former aide. But analysts say the presence of two senior leaders at the top of Russia's centralized political system can be destabilizing, no matter how well they work together.

Vladimir Milov, a former deputy energy minister now in the opposition, said the political landscape has already begun to shift. Putin remains on top, but Medvedev has amassed more influence than all other second-tier figures in the Kremlin, he said.

In a sign of political uncertainty, two powerful regional leaders recently made statements unusually critical of Kremlin policy. One of them, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, called for reviving the system of direct elections of local governors that Putin abolished. Medvedev abruptly rejected the idea the next day.

Nikolai Svanidze, a journalist who was given special access to Medvedev and recently published a collection of his interviews with him, said he was doubtful the new president was planning to step down and make way for a Putin comeback. "Medvedev may have a low profile, but he's not a little boy," Svanidze said. "He doesn't leave the impression of a man who just follows orders."

Analysts say Putin often prepares several options and makes a decision at the last minute, a management style that keeps people guessing. He may be considering a return to the presidency, but the amendment strengthening the powers of the Duma suggests he could also be thinking about becoming chairman of the parliament, a position that would also allow him to exercise power while avoiding blame for the economic crisis.

Svanidze said even top government officials are uncertain of Putin's plans. "People are very nervous," he said. "They're nervous because they don't know what to do about the economic crisis and because they don't know who's going to be sitting in the Kremlin."

----------

"Mr. Putin's Cold War: The Russian leader orders the suspension of gas deliveries to Europe. Is Ukraine really to blame?"
Thursday, January 8, 2009; A14, Washington Post, Editorial

RUSSIA HAS been piously insisting that its latest midwinter cutoff of gas deliveries to Ukraine -- and now the rest of Europe -- is the result of a commercial dispute and not a part of Moscow's long-standing campaign to undermine Ukraine's pro-Western government. So why, then, would Russian state television have devoted prime time on both Monday and Tuesday to broadcasting staged meetings at which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ostentatiously vilified Ukraine's president and ordered the state gas company to cut off deliveries?

Mr. Putin's televised "working sessions" with Alexei Miller, the chairman of the state gas monopoly Gazprom, were scripted with ludicrous heavy-handedness. In each, Mr. Putin disingenuously inquired about details of Russia's dispute with Ukraine, and Mr. Miller replied by portraying the Ukrainian government as thieving, deceptive and unreliable. On Monday, Mr. Putin cynically sympathized with the consumers of Ukraine, then ordered a reduction in the gas that transits Ukraine to other European countries. On Tuesday, he decreed that the pipeline be shut down altogether -- a measure that left not just Ukraine but a dozen other countries without energy deliveries.

Is this really the way to resolve what has been a byzantine bilateral argument over prices and transit fees? Of course not -- but that's not Mr. Putin's objective. The real aim is to advance Russia's aggressive strategy of using its energy exports to divide Europe and undermine those states it still considers its rightful subjects, beginning with Ukraine. Listen to Mr. Putin's ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin: "It's clear that if Europe wants to have guaranteed natural gas supplies, as well as oil in its pipelines, then it cannot fully rely on its wonderful ally, Mr. Yushchenko." Viktor Yushchenko was democratically elected Ukraine's president in 2004 after a Moscow-backed vote-rigging operation backfired. Like Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, the Ukrainian leader strongly favors the entry of his country into NATO. Mr. Putin responded to Mr. Saakashvili with an invasion last August; now he has launched an offensive against Mr. Yushchenko.

Some in Europe will no doubt buy Mr. Rogozin's argument, just as they blame Mr. Saakashvili for the Russian troops still entrenched on Georgian territory. Like its Georgian counterpart, Ukraine's government has many weaknesses, which Mr. Putin has ruthlessly exploited. But the real message of this cold week is the same that European governments have repeatedly received -- and largely ignored -- in recent years. Mr. Putin's regime plainly intends to use Europe's dependence on Russian energy to advance an imperialist and anti-Western geopolitical agenda. The only rational response is a dramatic acceleration of the European Union's search for alternative sources of energy -- and greater support for those countries that Russia seeks to subjugate.

----------
-

-
AP Photo/Anonymous
-

"Report: Cuba, Venezuela could host Russian bombers"
By DAVID NOWAK, Asssociated Press Writer, March 14, 2009

MOSCOW (AP) -- A Russian Air Force chief said Saturday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has offered an island as a temporary base for strategic Russian bombers, the Interfax news agency reported.

The chief of staff of Russia's long range aviation, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, also said Cuba could be used to base the aircraft, Interfax reported.

The Kremlin, however, said the situation was hypothetical.

"The military is speaking about technical possibilities, that's all," Alexei Pavlov, a Kremlin official, told The Associated Press. "If there will be a development of the situation, then we can comment," he said.

Zhikharev said Chavez had offered "a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers," the agency reported. "If there is a corresponding political decision, then the use of the island ... by the Russian Air Force is possible."

Interfax reported he said earlier that Cuba has air bases with four or five runways long enough for the huge bombers and could be used to host the long-range planes.

Two Russian bombers landed in Venezuela last year in what experts said was the first Western Hemisphere touchdown of Russian military craft since the end of the Cold War.

Cuba has never permanently hosted Russian or Soviet strategic aircraft. But Soviet short-range bombers often made stopovers there during the Cold War.

Russia resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus.

Independent military analyst Alexander Golts said from a strategic point of view there was nothing for Russia to gain from basing long-range craft within relatively short range of U.S. shores.

"It has no military sense. The bombers don't need any base. This is just a retaliatory gesture," Golts said, saying Russia wanted to hit back after U.S. ships patrolled Black Sea waters.

Moscow and the new U.S. administration of President Barack Obama have appeared to want to mend their relations, which reached a post-Cold War low last year when Russia's invasion of U.S. ally Georgia compounded disputes on security and democracy.

U.S. plans initiated under former President George W. Bush to position defense missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic had particularly irked Russia, which has welcomed his successor's apparently more cautious approach to the divisive issue.

Venezuela and Cuba, traditionally fierce U.S. foes, have close political and energy relations with Russia.

----------

"Mr. Medvedev's Test: Will the Russian president who swore to defend the rule of law allow another Moscow show trial?"
The Washington Post (Online), Editorial, A12, Saturday, April 11, 2009

IT'S BEEN nearly a year since Dmitry Medvedev took office as Russia's president following a much-publicized vow to attack what he called the "legal nihilism" of his country. His record so far is not looking good: Murders of Kremlin opponents have continued, both at home and abroad, without any action against the perpetrators -- even though two of the suspects named by foreign police agencies sit in the Russian parliament. Mr. Medvedev raised some eyebrows when he met privately this year with the editors of the newspaper Novaya Gazeta following the broad-daylight murder of a reporter just blocks from the Kremlin. He told President Obama that he was concerned about the beating of human rights activist Lev Ponomarev on the night before last week's summit meeting. But Mr. Medvedev's words have yet to be followed by any tangible actions.

Now the former law professor faces a test that should settle whether he is capable of altering the authoritarian regime established by Vladimir Putin. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former oil magnate whose 2003 arrest and subsequent trial marked Mr. Putin's pivot away from Russia's experiment with liberalism, is on trial again. As in the Soviet era, the case is both a blatant setup and a grand piece of political theater intended to demonstrate the regime's ability to crush its opposition. If Mr. Medvedev allows it to go forward to its scripted conclusion -- a lengthy extension of Mr. Khodorkovsky's sentence to a Siberian prison camp -- the point will be proved that Russia still has no rule of law but only a ruler.

The charges against Mr. Khodorkovsky are so convoluted, the defendant said in his opening statement this week, that "I was completely deprived of the right . . . to know what I have been charged with." In his previous trial, Mr. Khodorkovsky and co-defendant Platon Lebedev were accused of directing tax evasion by their Yukos oil company, which was eventually confiscated and sold off to state companies. Now they are charged with "embezzling" the same oil that they supposedly failed to pay taxes on. If they are convicted, they could be sentenced to another two decades in prison.

Mr. Khodorkovsky's first trial did much to damage Mr. Putin's image in the West and to poison his relations with Western governments. So why another show trial? One reason is that Mr. Khodorkovsky's current sentence is due to expire in 2011, just before Russia's next presidential election -- in which Mr. Putin, now prime minister, may reclaim the nominal top post. Another is that the European Court of Human Rights, which Russia belongs to through the Council of Europe, has agreed to hear an appeal of Mr. Khodorkovsky's earlier case and could conceivably rule in his favor.

But it may also be that Mr. Khodorkovsky's trial is a means of crushing any reformist impulses Mr. Medvedev might have. If so, the president has the means to fight back: He could call for the charges against the defendants to be dropped or issue pardons to Mr. Khodorkovsky or some of his associates. If he does nothing, those in Russia and the West who have looked to this president as a liberal alternative will know that such thinking was wishful.

----------

"Medvedev slams US plans for missile defense shield"
By Associated Press, Monday, April 20, 2009 - www.bostonherald.com - Europe

HELSINKI — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said today that U.S. plans for a missile shield in Europe threaten to disrupt the weapons balance between the two countries.

During a visit to Finland, Medvedev noted that Moscow "could not reach agreement with the previous U.S. administration" on missile defense, but said he expected to begin talks on the issue soon with President Barack Obama.

When they met in London earlier this month, the two presidents did not address American preparations to deploy parts of a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, but in their joint statement the United States acknowledged Russian concerns.

"Russia is very concerned about unilateral efforts to develop missile shields that decidedly pose complications in the mutual balance of weapons," Medvedev said at the University of Helsinki.

He said that "a truly global missile shield" should not serve the interests of only one country or alliance.

"One party should not decide the properties of such a shield but unfortunately that is happening now when decisions are being made in Europe," Medvedev said, in a speech translated to Finnish.

Medvedev repeated plans, agreed with Obama in London, to begin talks soon to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expires at year’s end.

"We believe that this treaty should also limit nuclear warhead delivery systems, meaning intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-based ballistic missiles and heavy bombers," the Russian president said. "We believe it necessary to rule out the very possibility of deploying strategic offensive weapons outside national territory."

Earlier, after talks with Finnish President Tarja Halonen, Medvedev said he would present new proposals for energy cooperation with Russia’s partners, insisting Russia was not bound by previous agreements, including the European energy charter.

Russia has refused to sign the 1991 agreement, designed to give foreign investors a fair shot at its sizable energy sector and to respect market rules in gas and oil pricing and distribution.

Medvedev gave no details about the new proposals but said he would send them to the G-8 and 20 leading economic countries.

"Russia has often raised problems concerning the transport of energy. Unfortunately, many international documents, including the European energy charter, have not brought solutions to these problems," he told reporters. "We have not ratified those documents, and we don’t believe we are bound by them."

Most Russian gas supplies to Europe were cut off for weeks in January because of a price dispute between Moscow and Ukraine. The stoppage left millions of Europeans without heat during a cold spell and angered the European Union, which accused Russia and Ukraine of holding its citizens hostage to their standoff.

Medvedev and Halonen also discussed security, Finnish-Russian border trade and a proposed gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea.

On Tuesday, Medvedev was scheduled to visit the town of Porvoo near Helsinki, where Czar Alexander I declared Finland an autonomous Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire in 1809.

----------

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that enables authorities to ban "undesirable" foreign NGOs (AFP Photo/Alexander Nemenov)

"Putin enacts law banning 'undesirable' NGOs"
AFP, May 23, 2015

Moscow (AFP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning "undesirable" non-governmental organisations, the Kremlin said Saturday, in a move condemned by human rights groups across the board.

The law allows authorities to bar foreign civil society groups seen as threatening Russia's "defence capabilities" or "constitutional foundations" and go after local activists working with them, the Kremlin statement said.

Supporters presented the law as a "preventative measure", necessary after the wave of Western sanctions put in place over the Ukraine conflict.

Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country.

It also allows them to block the bank accounts of the organisations until the NGOs "account for their actions" to the Russian authorities.

Lawmakers cited the need to stop "destructive organisations" working in Russia, which could threaten the "value of the Russian state" and stir up "colour revolutions", the name given to pro-Western movements seen in some former Soviet republics over the last several years.

Critics have said that the vague wording of the law -- which gives Russia's general prosecutor the right to impose the "undesirable" tag without going to court -- could allow officials to target foreign businesses working in Russia.

Amnesty International called it "the last chapter in the unprecedented repression against non-governmental organisations."

The measure complements legislation already passed in 2012, which forces NGOs that receive foreign funds to register as a "foreign agent."

----------

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Amherst, NH, United States
I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at jonathan_a_melle@yahoo.com

50th Anniversary - 2009

50th Anniversary - 2009
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Columbus Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety

Pittsfield Politics: Capitanio, Mazzeo agree on budget cuts, public safety
Paul Capitanio, left, speaks during Monday night's Ward 3 City Council debate with fellow candidate Melissa Mazzeo at Pittsfield Community Television's studio. The special election (3/31/2009) will be held a week from today (3/24/2009). The local issues ranged from economic development and cleaning up blighted areas in Ward 3 to public education and the continued remediation of PCB's.

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

Outrage swells in Congress!

Outrage swells in Congress!
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., left, and the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., listen during a hearing on modernizing insurance regulations, Tuesday, March 17, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). - http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090318/pl_politico/30833

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!

Beacon Hill's $pecial Interest Tax Raisers & $PENDERS!
Photo Gallery: www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/15/St_Patricks_Day_Boston/

The path away from Wall Street ...

The path away from Wall Street ...
...Employers in the finance sector - traditionally a prime landing spot for college seniors, particularly in the Northeast - expect to have 71 percent fewer jobs to offer this year's (2009) graduates.

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...

Economic collapse puts graduates on unforeseen paths: Enrollment in public service jobs rising...
www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/14/economic_collapse_puts_graduates_on_unforeseen_paths/

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis

Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
Should he be fired? As Bank of America's Stock Plummets, CEO Resists Some Calls That He Step Down.

Hookers for Jesus

Hookers for Jesus
Annie Lobert is the founder of "Hookers for Jesus" - www.hookersforjesus.net/home.cfm - Saving Sin City: Las Vegas, Nevada?

Forever personalized stamped envelope

Forever personalized stamped envelope
The Forever stamp will continue to cover the price of a first-class letter. The USPS will also introduce Forever personalized, stamped envelopes. The envelopes will be preprinted with a Forever stamp, the sender's name and return address, and an optional personal message.

Purple Heart

Purple Heart
First issued in 2003, the Purple heart stamp will continue to honor the men and women wounded while serving in the US military. The Purple Heart stamp covers the cost of 44 cents for first-class, one-ounce mail.

Dolphin

Dolphin
The bottlenose is just one of the new animals set to appear on the price-change stamps. It will serve as a 64-cent stamp for odd shaped envelopes.

2009 price-change stamps

2009 price-change stamps
www.boston.com/business/gallery/2009pircechangestamps/ -&- www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2009/02/27/new_stamps_set_for_rate_increase_in_may/

Red Sox v Yankees

Red Sox v Yankees
Go Red Sox!

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
AP photo v Shepard Fairey

Rush Limbaugh lackeys

Rush Limbaugh lackeys
Posted by Dan Wasserman of the Boston Globe on March 3, 2009.

Honest Abe

Honest Abe
A 2007 US Penny

Dog race

Dog race
Sledding for dogs

The Capital of the Constitution State

The Capital of the Constitution State
Hartford, once the wealthiest city in the United States but now the poorest in Connecticut, is facing an uphill battle.

Brady, Bundchen married

Brady, Bundchen married
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and model Gisele Bundchen wed Feb. 26, 2009 in a Catholic ceremony in Los Angeles. www.boston.com/ae/celebrity/gallery/tom_gisele/

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto

Mayor Jimmy Ruberto
Tanked Pittsfield's local economy while helping his fellow insider political hacks and business campaign contributors!

Journalist Andrew Manuse

Journalist Andrew Manuse
www.manuse.com

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building

New Hampshire Supreme Court Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Hampshire_Supreme_Court

Economic State of the Union

Economic State of the Union
A look at some of the economic conditions the Obama administration faces and what resources have already been pledged to help. 2/24/2009

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama
The president addresses the nation's governors during a dinner in the State Dinning Room, Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari).

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.

The Oscars - 2/22/2009.
Hugh Jackman and Beyoncé Knowles teamed up for a musical medley during the show.

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009

The 81st Academy Awards - Oscars - 2009
Hugh Jackman pulled actress Anne Hathaway on stage to accompany him during his opening musical number.

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow
A Progressive News Commentator

$500,000 per year

$500,000 per year
That is chump change for the corporate elite!

THE CORPORATE ELITE...

THE CORPORATE ELITE...
Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric

The Presidents' Club

The Presidents' Club
Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton & Carter.

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!

5 Presidents: Bush, Obama, Bush Jr, Clinton, & Carter!
White House Event: January 7, 2009.

Bank Bailout!

Bank Bailout!
v taxpayer

Actress Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks
She will present an award to her hometown (Pittsfield) at the Massachusetts State House next month (1/2009). She recently starred in "W" and "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and just signed a $1 million annual contract to be a spokesmodel for Paris.

Joanna Lipper

Joanna Lipper
Her award-winning 1999 documentary, "Growing Up Fast," about teenaged mothers in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Happy Holidays...

Happy Holidays...
...from "Star Wars"

Massachusetts "poor" economy

Massachusetts "poor" economy
Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states, but it is also very inequitable. For example, it boasts the nation's most lucrative lottery, which is just a system of regressive taxation so that the corporate elite get to pay less in taxes!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon
Hollywood Actress

Peter G. Arlos.

Peter G. Arlos.
Arlos is shown in his Pittsfield office in early 2000.

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes

Turnpike OK's hefty toll hikes
Big Dig - East-west commuters take hit; Fees at tunnels would double. 11/15/2008.

The Pink Panther 2

The Pink Panther 2
Starring Steve Martin

Police ABUSE

Police ABUSE
I was a victim of Manchester Police Officer John Cunningham's ILLEGAL USES of FORCE! John Cunningham was reprimanded by the Chief of Police for disrespecting me. John Cunningham yelled at a witness: "I don't care if he (Jonathan Melle) is disabled!"

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
The 44th US President!

Vote

Vote
Elections

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check

The Bailout & the economic stimulus check
A political cartoon by Dan Wasserman

A rainbow over Boston

A rainbow over Boston
"Rainbows galore" 10/2/2008

Our nation's leaders!

Our nation's leaders!
President Bush with both John McCain & Barack Obama - 9/25/2008.

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).

Massachusetts & Big Dig: Big hike in tolls for Pike looming (9/26/2008).
$5 rise at tunnels is one possibility $1 jump posed for elsewhere.

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My FAVORITE Journalist EVER!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!

9/11/2008 - A Show of Unity!
John McCain and Barack Obama appeared together at ground zero in New York City - September 11, 2008.

John McCain...

John McCain...
...has all but abandoned the positions on taxes, torture and immigration. (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman. September 2008).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
The deregulated chickens come home to roost... in all our pocketbooks. September 2008.

Sarah Palin's phobia

Sarah Palin's phobia
A scripted candidate! (A cartoon by Dan Wasserman).

Dan Wasserman

Dan Wasserman
Family FInances - September, 2008.

Mark E. Roy

Mark E. Roy
Ward 1 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas

Theodore “Ted” L. Gatsas
Ward 2 Alderman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Peter M. Sullivan

Peter M. Sullivan
Ward 3 (downtown) Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Jim Roy

Jim Roy
Ward 4 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Ed Osborne

Ed Osborne
Ward 5 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Real R. Pinard

Real R. Pinard
Ward 6 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

William P. Shea

William P. Shea
Ward 7 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Betsi DeVries

Betsi DeVries
Ward 8 Alder-woman (& NH State Senator) for Manchester, NH (2008).

Michael Garrity

Michael Garrity
Ward 9 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

George Smith

George Smith
Ward 10 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Russ Ouellette

Russ Ouellette
Ward 11 Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy

Kelleigh (Domaingue) Murphy
Ward 12 Alder-woman for Manchester, NH (2008).

“Mike” Lopez

“Mike” Lopez
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH. (2008).

Daniel P. O’Neil

Daniel P. O’Neil
At-Large Alderman for Manchester, NH (2008).

Sarah Palin for Vice President.

Sarah Palin for Vice President.
Republican John McCain made the surprise pick of Alaska's governor Sarah Palin as his running mate today, August 29, 2008.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.

U.S. Representative John Olver, D-Amherst, Massachusetts.
Congressman Olver said the country has spent well over a half-trillion dollars on the war in Iraq while the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. 8/25/08.

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!

Ed O'Reilly for US Senate in Massachusetts!
John Kerry's 9/2008 challenger in the Democratic Primary.

Shays' Rebellion

Shays' Rebellion
In a tax revolt, Massachusetts farmers fought back during Shays' Rebellion in the mid-1780s after The American Revolutionary War.

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore
Actress. "The Big Lebowski" is one of my favorite movies. I also like "The Fugitive", too.

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"

Rinaldo Del Gallo III & "Superman"
Go to: http://www.berkshirefatherhood.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=699&cntnt01returnid=69

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"

"Income chasm widening in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts"
The gap between rich and poor has widened substantially in Massachusetts over the past two decades. (8/15/2008).

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley

Dan "Bureaucrat" Bosley
"The Bosley Amendment": To create tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporate interests in Massachusetts!

John Edwards and...

John Edwards and...
...Rielle Hunter. WHO CARES?!

Rep. Edward J. Markey

Rep. Edward J. Markey
He wants online-privacy legislation. Some Web Firms Say They Track Behavior Without Explicit Consent.

Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan
She gained fame with her antiwar vigil outside the Bush ranch.

Olympics kick off in Beijing

Olympics kick off in Beijing
Go USA!

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit sets US record, shares fall
In this May 1, 2008, file photo, a customer pumps gas at an Exxon station in Middleton, Mass. Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, July 31, the biggest quarterly profit ever by any U.S. corporation, but the results were well short of Wall Street expectations and its shares fell as markets opened. (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, File) 7/31/2008.

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'

Onota Lake 'Sea Serpent'
Some kind of monster on Onota Lake. Five-year-old Tyler Smith rides a 'sea serpent' on Onota Lake in Pittsfield, Mass. The 'monster,' fashioned by Smith's grandfather, first appeared over July 4 weekend. (Photo courtesy of Ron Smith). 7/30/2008.

Al Gore, Jr.

Al Gore, Jr.
Al Gore issues challenge on energy

The Norman Rockwell Museum

The Norman Rockwell Museum
Stockbridge, Massachusetts

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's financially wasteful pork barrel project!

"Big Dig"

"Big Dig"
Boston's pork barrel public works project cost 50 times more than the original price!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer

U.S. Rep. John Olver, state Sen. Stan Rosenberg and Selectwomen Stephanie O'Keeffe and Alisa Brewer
Note: Photo from Mary E Carey's Blog.

Tanglewood

Tanglewood
Boston Symphony Orchestra music director James Levine.

Google

Google
Chagall

Jimmy Ruberto

Jimmy Ruberto
Faces multiple persecutions under the Massachusetts "Ethics" conflict of interest laws.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Obama vows $500m in faith-based aid.

John McCain

John McCain
He is with his wife, Cindy, who were both met by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (right) upon arriving in Cartagena.

Daniel Duquette

Daniel Duquette
Sold Mayor James M. Ruberto of Pittsfield two tickets to the 2004 World Series at face value.

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008

Hillary & Barack in Unity, NH - 6/27/2008
Clinton tells Obama, crowd in Unity, N.H.: 'We are one party'

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Wanna-be Prez?

WALL-E

WALL-E
"out of this World"

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck

Crisis in the Congo - Ben Affleck
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/popup?id=5057139&contentIndex=1&page=1&start=false - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=5234555&page=1

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
NH's Democratic returning candidate for U.S. Senate

"Wall-E"

"Wall-E"
a cool robot

Ed O'Reilly

Ed O'Reilly
www.edoreilly.com

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
World Champions - 2008

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
J.D. Drew gets the same welcome whenever he visits the City of Brotherly Love: "Booooooo!"; Drew has been vilified in Philadelphia since refusing to sign with the Phillies after they drafted him in 1997...

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs

Joe Kelly Levasseur & Joe Briggs
www.2joes.org

NH Union Leader

NH Union Leader
Editorial Cartoon

Celtics - World Champions!

Celtics - World Champions!
www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_18_08_front_pages/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_finals_game_6/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_17_08_celebration/ - www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/gallery/06_15_08_celtics_championships/

"The Nation"

"The Nation"
A "Liberal" weekly political news magazine. Katrina vanden Heuvel.

TV - PBS: NOW

TV - PBS: NOW
http://www.pbs.org/now

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone
List of Twilight Zone episodes - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Twilight_Zone_episodes

Equality for ALL Marriages

Equality for ALL Marriages
I, Jonathan Melle, am a supporter of same sex marriages.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.

Kobe Bryant leads his time to a Game 5 victory.
L.A. Lakers holds on for the win to force Game 6 at Boston

Mohawk Trail

Mohawk Trail
The 'Hail to the Sunrise' statue in Charlemont is a well-known and easily recognized landmark on the Mohawk Trail. The trail once boasted several souvenir shops, some with motels and restaurants. Now only four remain. (Caroline Bonnivier / Berkshire Eagle Staff).

NASA - June 14, 2008

NASA - June 14, 2008
Space Shuttle Discovery returns to Earth.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Go Celtics! Game # 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Boston took a 20-second timeout, and the Celtics ran off four more points (including this incredible Erving-esque layup from Ray Allen) to build the lead to five points with just 2:10 remaining. Reeling, the Lakers took a full timeout to try to regain their momentum.

Sal DiMasi

Sal DiMasi
Speaker of the Massachusetts State House of Representatives

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte - Attorney General of New Hampshire
http://doj.nh.gov/

John Kerry

John Kerry
He does not like grassroots democracy & being challenged in the 2008 Massachusetts Democratic Party Primary for re-election.

Tim Murray

Tim Murray
Corrupt Lt. Gov. of Massachusetts, 2007 - 2013.

North Adams, Massachusetts

North Adams, Massachusetts
downtown

Howie Carr

Howie Carr
Political Satirist on Massachusetts Corruption/Politics

Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Global Warming

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links

Elizabeth Warren - Web-Site Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren & http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/WarrenAuthor.html

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
Consumer Crusader

Leon Powe

Leon Powe
Celtics forward Leon Powe finished a fast break with a dunk.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett reacted during the game.

Rajon Rondo

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo finished a first half fast break with a dunk.

Teamwork

Teamwork
Los Angeles Lakers teammates help Pau Gasol (16) from the floor in the second quarter.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant took a shot in the first half of Game 2.

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins (right) backed down Lamar Odom (left) during first half action.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
The Boston Symphony Orchestra performed the national anthem prior to Game 2.

K.G.!

K.G.!
Garnett reacted to a hard dunk in the first quarter.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce reacted after hitting a three upon his return to the game since leaving with an injury.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Kobe Bryant (left) and Paul Pierce (right) squared off in the second half of the game.

James Taylor

James Taylor
Sings National Anthem at Celtics Game.

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick

John Forbes Kerry & Deval Patrick
Attended Celtics Game.

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!

Greats of the NBA: Dr. J, Bill Russell, & Kareem!
Attend Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis
The actor (left) and his date were in the crowd before the Celtics game.

John Kerry

John Kerry
Golddigger attends Celtics game

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Ends her 2008 bid for Democratic Party nomination

Nonnie Burnes

Nonnie Burnes
Massachusetts Insurance Commish & former Judge

Jones Library

Jones Library
Amherst, Massachusetts

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton

Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton
2008 Democratic Primary

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"

"US vs Exxon and Halliburton"
U.S. Senator John Sununu took more than $220,000 from big oil.

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
4- U.S. Senate - 2008

William Pignatelli

William Pignatelli
Hack Rep. "Smitty" with Lynne Blake

Ben Bernanke

Ben Bernanke
Federal Reserve Chairman

Gazettenet.com

Gazettenet.com
www.gazettenet.com/beta/

Boys' & Girls' Club

Boys' & Girls' Club
Melville Street, Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

The Berkshire Eagle

The Berkshire Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
Williams College - May 2008

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson

Larry Bird & Magic Johnson
www.boston.com/lifestyle/gallery/when_the_celtics_were_cool/

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries

Regressive Taxation! via State Lotteries
New Massachusetts state lottery game hits $600 million in sales!

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

John Barrett III

John Barrett III
Long-time Mayor of North Adams Massachusetts

Shine On

Shine On

Elmo

Elmo
cool!

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce kissed the Eastern Conference trophy. 5/30/2008. AP Photo.

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton

Kevin Garnett & Richard Hamilton
Kevin Garnett (left) talked to Pistons guard Richard Hamilton (right) after the Celtics' victory in Game 6. 5/30/2008. Reuters Photo.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce showed his team colors as the Celtics closed out the Pistons in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. 5/30/2008. Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis.

Joseph Kelly Levasseur

Joseph Kelly Levasseur
One of my favorite politicians!

Mary E Carey

Mary E Carey
In the Big Apple: NYC! She is the coolest!

Guyer & Kerry

Guyer & Kerry
My 2nd least favorite picture EVER!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
My favorite journalist EVER!

Nuciforo & Ruberto

Nuciforo & Ruberto
My least favorite picture EVER!

Jeanne Shaheen

Jeanne Shaheen
U.S. Senate - 2008

NH Fisher Cats

NH Fisher Cats
AA Baseball - Toronto Blue Jays affiliate

Manchester, NH

Manchester, NH
Police Patch

Michael Briggs

Michael Briggs
#83 - We will never forget

Michael "Stix" Addison

Michael "Stix" Addison
http://unionleader.com/channel.aspx/News?channel=2af17ff4-f73b-4c44-9f51-092e828e1131

Charlie Gibson

Charlie Gibson
ABC News anchor

Scott McClellan

Scott McClellan
http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/scott_mcclellan/index.html?inline=nyt-per

Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho
Downtown Boise Idaho

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Legislative Hearing in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, BCC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
My favorite classical U.S. President!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Higher Taxes, Higher Tolls

Paul Hodes

Paul Hodes
My favorite Congressman!

Portland Sea Dogs

Portland Sea Dogs
AA Red Sox

New York

New York
Magnet

Massachusetts

Massachusetts
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Magnet

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
Button

Carmen Massimiano

Carmen Massimiano
"Luciforo" tried to send me to Carmen's Jail during the Spring & Summer of 1998.

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative

Kay Khan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/174

Luciforo

Luciforo
Andrea F Nuciforo II

B-Eagle

B-Eagle
Pittsfield's monopoly/only daily newspaper

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!

Jon Lester - Go Red Sox!
A Red Sox No Hitter on 5/19/2008!

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Dustin Pedroia & Manny Ramirez

U.S. Flag

U.S. Flag
God Bless America!

Jonathan Melle's Blog

Jonathan Melle's Blog
Hello, Everyone!

Molly Bish

Molly Bish
We will never forget!

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo listens to some advice from Celtics head coach Doc Rivers in the first half.

Go Celtics!

Go Celtics!
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett and Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace embrace at the end of the game.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon calls for the ball as he charges toward first base. Papelbon made the out en route to picking up his 14th save of the season.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka throws to Royals David DeJesus during the first inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka delivers a pitch to Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek during the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew is welcomed to home plate by teammates Mike Lowell (left), Kevin Youkilis (2nd left) and Manny Ramirez after he hit a grand slam in the second inning.

Go Red Sox!

Go Red Sox!
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell crosses the plate after hitting a grand slam during the sixth inning. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Jacoby Ellsbury scored on the play. The Red Sox went on to win 11-8 to complete a four-game sweep and perfect homestand.

JD Drew - Go Red Sox

JD Drew - Go Red Sox
www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/gallery/05_22_08_sox_royals/

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!

Thank you for serving; God Bless America!
Master Sgt. Kara B. Stackpole, of Westfield, holds her daughter, Samantha, upon her return today to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee. She is one of the 38 members of the 439th Aeromedical Staging Squadron who returned after a 4-month deployment in Iraq. Photo by Dave Roback / The Republican.

Kathi-Anne Reinstein

Kathi-Anne Reinstein
www.openmass.org/members/show/175

Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy
Tragic diagnosis: Get well Senator!

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search

Google doodle - Jonathan Melle Internet search
http://blogsearch.google.com/blogsearch?hl=en&q=jonathan+melle+blogurl:http://jonathanmelleonpolitics.blogspot.com/&ie=UTF-8

John Forbes Kerry

John Forbes Kerry
Billionaire U.S. Senator gives address to MCLA graduates in North Adams, Massachusetts in mid-May 2008

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
"Luciforo"

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France

A Red Sox Fan in Paris, France
Go Red Sox!

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Interviewed on local TV

Andrea Nuciforo

Andrea Nuciforo
Luciforo!

John Adams

John Adams
#2 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood under a tree on the afternoon of May 9, 2008, on the foregrounds of the NH State House - www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/post/nhinsider/vpost?id=2967773

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Inside the front lobby of the NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Bill Clinton campaign memorabilia

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Liberty Bell & NH State House

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jon Keller

Jon Keller
Boston based political analyst

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Franklin Pierce Statue #14 U.S. President

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
NH State House

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Stop the War NOW!

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
"Mr. Melle, tear down this Blog!"

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I stood next to a JFK photo

Jonathan Levine, Publisher

Jonathan Levine, Publisher
The Pittsfield Gazette Online

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made rabbit ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I made antenna ears with John & George

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
I impersonated Howard Dean

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
mock-voting

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
pretty ladies -/- Go to: http://www.wgir.com/cc-common/cc_photopop20.html?eventID=28541&pagecontent=&pagenum=4 - Go to: http://current.com/items/88807921_veterans_should_come_first_not_last# - http://www.mcam23.com/cgi-bin/cutter.cgi?c_function=STREAM?c_feature=EDIT?dir_catagory=10MorningRadio?dir_folder=2JoesClips?dir_file=JonathanMelle-090308? -

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Go Red Sox! Me at Fenway Park

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
My favorite journalist! Her voice sings for the Voiceless. -/- Go to: http://aboutamherst.blogspot.com/search?q=melle -/- Go to: http://ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com/search?q=melle

Velvet Jesus

Velvet Jesus
Mary Carey blogs about my political writings. This is a picture of Jesus from her childhood home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. -//- "How Can I Keep From Singing" : My life goes on in endless song / Above Earth's lamentations, / I hear the real, though far-off hymn / That hails a new creation. / / Through all the tumult and the strife / I hear its music ringing, / It sounds an echo in my soul. / How can I keep from singing? / / Whey tyrants tremble in their fear / And hear their death knell ringing, / When friends rejoice both far and near / How can I keep from singing? / / In prison cell and dungeon vile / Our thoughts to them are winging / When friends by shame are undefiled / How can I keep from singing?

www.truthdig.com

www.truthdig.com
www.truthdig.com

Jonathan Melle

Jonathan Melle
Concord NH

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=loc&newest=1&addr=&zip=01201&search=Search

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
smiles & beer

Jonathan Lothrop

Jonathan Lothrop
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Michael L. Ward

Michael L. Ward
A Pittsfield City Councilor

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large

Peter Marchetti - Pittsfield's City Councilor at Large
Pete always sides with the wealthy's political interests.

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez

Gerald Lee - Pittsfield's City Council Prez
Gerald Lee told me that I am a Social Problem; Lee executes a top-down system of governance.

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large

Matt Kerwood - Pittsfield's Councilor at Large
Kerwood poured coffee drinks for Jane Swift

Louis Costi

Louis Costi
Pittsfield City Councilor

Lewis Markham

Lewis Markham
Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor

Kevin Sherman - Pittsfield City Councilor
Sherman ran for Southern Berkshire State Rep against Smitty Pignatelli; Sherman is a good guy.

Anthony Maffuccio

Anthony Maffuccio
Pittsfield City Councilor

Linda Tyer

Linda Tyer
Pittsfield City Councilor

Daniel Bianchi

Daniel Bianchi
A Pittsfield City Councilor

The Democratic Donkey

The Democratic Donkey
Democratic Party Symbol

Paramount

Paramount
What is Paramount to you?

NH's Congresswoman

NH's Congresswoman
Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat

Sam Adams Beer

Sam Adams Beer
Boston Lager

Ratatouille

Ratatouille
Disney Animation

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008

Ruberto Details Plans for Success - January 07, 2008
"Luciforo" swears in Mayor Ruberto. Pittsfield Politics at its very worst: 2 INSIDER POWERBROKERS! Where is Carmen Massimiano? He must be off to the side.

Abe

Abe
Lincoln

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
Leader of the Autobots

Optimus Prime

Optimus Prime
1984 Autobot Transformer Leader

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

Cleanup Agreements - GE & Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/cleanupagreement.html

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction

GE/Housatonic River Site: Introduction
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports

GE/Housatonic River Site - Reports
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/thesite/opca-reports.html

US EPA - Contact - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

US EPA - Contact -  Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/contactinfo.html

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites

GE Corporate Logo - Pittsfield's PCBs toxic waste sites
www.epa.gov/region1/ge/index.html

Commonwealth Connector

Commonwealth Connector
Commonwealth Care

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Healthcare Reform

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan

Network Health Forward - A Commonwealth Care Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care

Network Health Together: A MassHealth Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

www.network-health.org

www.network-health.org
Massachusetts Health Reform

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Neighborhood Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care

Fallon Community Health Plan - Commonwealth Care
Massachusetts Health Reform

BMC HealthNet Plan

BMC HealthNet Plan
Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform

Massachusetts Health Reform
Eligibility Chart: 2007

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Massachusetts Health Reform

Business Peaks

Business Peaks
Voodoo Economics

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite

Laffer Curve - Corporate Elite
Reagonomics: Supply Side

Corporate Elite Propaganda

Corporate Elite Propaganda
Mock Liberal Democratic Socialism Thinking

Real Estate Blues

Real Estate Blues
www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/2008/0316/

PEACE

PEACE
End ALL Wars!

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech
Norman Rockwell's World War II artwork depicting America's values

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
A young Abe Lincoln

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN

RACHEL KAPRIELIAN
www.openmass.org/members/show/218 - www.rachelkaprielian.com

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative

Jennifer M. Callahan - Massachusetts State Representative
www.openmass.org/members/show/164 - www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/05/04/legislator_describes_threat_as_unnerving/

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!

Human Rights for ALL Peoples!
My #1 Political Belief!

Anne Frank

Anne Frank
Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe

A young woman Hillary supporter

A young woman Hillary supporter
This excellent picture captures a youth's excitement

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman

Hillary Clinton with Natalie Portman
My favorite Actress!

Alan Chartock

Alan Chartock
WAMC public radio in Albany, NY; Political columnist who writes about Berkshire County area politics; Strong supporter for Human Rights for ALL Peoples

OpenCongress.Org

OpenCongress.Org
This web-site uses some of my Blog postings

OpenMass.org

OpenMass.org
This web-site uses some of my blog postings!

Shannon O'Brien

Shannon O'Brien
One of my favorite politicians! She stands for the People first!

The Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House
"The Almighty Golden Dome" - www.masslegislature.tv -

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Former Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
A corrupt Pol who tried to put me in Jail

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.

Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr.
Another view of Pittsfield's inbred, multigenerational political prince. Luciforo!

Luciforo

Luciforo
Nuciforo's nickname

"Andy" Nuciforo

"Andy" Nuciforo
Luciforo!

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)

Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr., Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer)
Nuciforo's henchman! Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail

Andrea Nuciforo Jr

Andrea Nuciforo Jr
Shhh! Luciforo's other job is working as a private attorney defending wealthy Boston-area corporate insurance companies

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.

Berkshire County Sheriff (Jailer) Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr.
Nuciforo tried to send me to Carmen's Jail! Carmen sits with the Congressman, John Olver

Congressman John Olver

Congressman John Olver
Nuciforo's envy

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol

The Dome of the U.S. Capitol
Our Beacon of American Democracy

Nuciforo's architect

Nuciforo's architect
Mary O'Brien in red with scarf

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)

Sara Hathaway (www.brynmawr.edu)
Former-Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts; Nuciforo intimidated her, along with another woman, from running in a democratic state election in the Spring of 2006!

Andrea F. Nuciforo II

Andrea F. Nuciforo II
Pittsfield Politics

Berkshire County Republican Association

Berkshire County Republican Association
Go to: www.fcgop.blogspot.com

Denis Guyer

Denis Guyer
Dalton State Representative

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer

John Forbes Kerry & Denis Guyer
U.S. Senator & State Representative

John Kerry

John Kerry
Endorses Barack Obama for Prez then visits Berkshire County

Dan Bosley

Dan Bosley
A Bureaucrat impostering as a Legislator!

Ben Downing

Ben Downing
Berkshire State Senator

Christopher N Speranzo

Christopher N Speranzo
Pittsfield's ANOINTED State Representative

Peter J. Larkin

Peter J. Larkin
Corrupt Lobbyist

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!

GE - Peter Larkin's best friend!
GE's FRAUDULENT Consent Decree with Pittsfield, Massachusetts, will end up KILLING many innocent school children & other local residents!

GE's CEO Jack Welch

GE's CEO Jack Welch
The Corporate System's Corporate Elite's King

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand

Economics: Where Supply meets Demand
Equilibrium

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts

GE & Pittsfield, Massachusetts
In 2007, GE sold its Plastics Division to a Saudi company. Now all that is left over by GE are its toxic PCB pollutants that cause cancer in many Pittsfield residents.

Mayor James M Ruberto

Mayor James M Ruberto
A small-time pol chooses to serve the corporate elite & other elites over the people.

Governor Deval Patrick

Governor Deval Patrick
Deval shakes hands with Mayors in Berkshire County

Deval Patrick

Deval Patrick
Governor of Massachusetts

Pittsfield High School

Pittsfield High School
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Sara Hathaway

Sara Hathaway
Pittsfield's former Mayor

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Pittsfield Attorney focusing on Father's Rights Probate Court Legal Issues, & Local Politician and Political Observer

Rinaldo Del Gallo III

Rinaldo Del Gallo III
Very Intelligent Political Activists in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Rinaldo Del Gallo, III, Esq. is the spokesperson of the Berkshire Fatherhood Coalition. He has been practicing family law and has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1996.

Mayor Ed Reilly

Mayor Ed Reilly
He supports Mayor Ruberto & works as a municipal Attorney. As Mayor, he backed Bill Weld for Governor in 1994, despite being a Democrat. He was joined by Carmen Massimiano & John Barrett III, the long-standing Mayor of North Adams.

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta

Manchester, NH Mayor Frank Guinta
Cuts Dental Care for Public School Children-in-Need

Manchester, NH City Hall

Manchester, NH City Hall
My new hometown - view from Hanover St. intersection with Elm St.

Manchester NH City Democrats

Manchester NH City Democrats
Go Dems!

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez

2008 Democratic Candidates for U.S. Prez
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards

NH State House Dome

NH State House Dome
Concord, NH

Donna Walto

Donna Walto
Pittsfield Politician -- She strongly opposes Mayor Jim Ruberto's elitist tenure.

Elmo

Elmo
Who doesn't LOVE Elmo?

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!

Hillary Clinton for U.S. President!
Hillary is for Children. She is my choice in 2008.

The White House in 1800

The White House in 1800
Home of our Presidents of the United States

John Adams

John Adams
2nd President of the USA

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden

Hillary Clinton stands with John Edwards and Joe Biden
Hillary is my choice for U.S. President!

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Radisson in Manchester NH 11/16/2007

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
U.S. Senator & Candidate for President

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004

Pittsfield's 3 Women City Councillors - 2004
Linda Tyer, Pam Malumphy, Tricia Farley-Bouvier

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My friend Brian Merzbach reviews baseball parks around the nation.

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy

The Corporate Elite: Rational Incentives for only the wealthy
The Elites double their $ every 6 to 8 years, while the "have-nots" double their $ every generation (or 24 years). Good bye Middle Class!

George Will

George Will
The human satellite voice for the Corporate Elite

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren
The Anti-George Will; Harvard Law School Professor; The Corporate Elite's Worst Nightmare

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Flag of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

State Senator Stan Rosenberg

State Senator Stan Rosenberg
Democratic State Senator from Amherst, Massachusetts -/- Anti-Stan Rosenberg Blog: rosenbergwatch.blogspot.com

Ellen Story

Ellen Story
Amherst Massachusetts' State Representative

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.

Teen Pregnancy in Pittsfield, Mass.
Books are being written on Pittsfield's high teen pregancy rates! What some intellectuals do NOT understand about the issue is that TEEN PREGNANCIES in Pittsfield double the statewide average by design - Perverse Incentives!

NH Governor John Lynch

NH Governor John Lynch
Supports $30 Scratch Tickets and other forms of regressive taxation. Another Pol that only serves his Corporate Elite Masters instead of the People!

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter

U.S. Congresswoman Carol Shea Porter
The first woman whom the People of New Hampshire have voted in to serve in U.S. Congress

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes

U.S. Congressman Paul Hodes
A good man who wants to bring progressive changes to Capitol Hill!

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress

Paul Hodes for U.S. Congress
New Hampshire's finest!

Darth Vader

Darth Vader
Star Wars

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush

Dick Cheney & George W. Bush
The Gruesome Two-some! Stop the Neo-Cons' fascism! End the Iraq War NOW!

WAROPOLY

WAROPOLY
The Inequity of Globalism

Bushopoly!

Bushopoly!
The Corporate Elite have redesigned "The System" to enrich themselves at the expense of the people, masses, have-nots, poor & middle-class families

George W. Bush with Karl Rove

George W. Bush with Karl Rove
Rove was a political strategist with extraordinary influence within the Bush II White House

2008's Republican Prez-field

2008's Republican Prez-field
John McCain, Alan Keyes, Rudy Guiliani, Duncan Hunter, Mike Huckabee, WILLARD Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul

Fall in New England

Fall in New England
Autumn is my favorite season

Picturing America

Picturing America
picturingamerica.neh.gov

Winter Weather Map

Winter Weather Map
3:45PM EST 3-Dec-07

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Painting

Norman Rockwell Painting
Depiction of American Values in mid-20th Century America

Larry Bird #33

Larry Bird #33
My favorite basketball player of my childhood

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008

Boston Celtics Basketball - 2007-2008
Kevin Garnett hugs James Posey

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce
All heart! Awesome basketball star for The Boston Celtics.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Go Patriots!

Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Owner of Fox News - CORPORATE ELITE!

George Stephanopolous

George Stephanopolous
A Corporate Elite Political News Analyst

Robert Redford

Robert Redford
Starred in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
Plays a jaded journalist with integrity in the movie "Lions for Lambs"

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise plays the Neo-Con D.C. Pol purely indoctrinated by the Corporate Elite's political agenda in the Middle East

CHARLIZE THERON

CHARLIZE THERON
"I want to say I've never been surrounded by so many fake breasts, but I went to the Academy Awards."

Amherst Town Library

Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH - www.amherstlibrary.org

Manchester NH Library

Manchester NH Library
I use the library's automated timed 1-hour-per-day Internet computers to post on my Blog - www.manchester.lib.nh.us

Manchester NH's Palace Theater

Manchester NH's Palace Theater
Manchester NH decided to restore its Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater

Pittsfield's Palace Theater
Pittsfield tore down this landmark on North Street in favor of a parking lot

Pleasant Street Theater

Pleasant Street Theater
Amherst, Massachusetts

William "Shitty" Pignatelli

William "Shitty" Pignatelli
A top down & banal State House Pol from Lenox Massachusetts -- A GOOD MAN!

The CIA & Mind Control

The CIA & Mind Control
Did the CIA murder people by proxy assassins?

Skull & Bones

Skull & Bones
Yale's Elite

ImpeachBush.org

ImpeachBush.org
I believe President Bush should be IMPEACHED because he is waging an illegal and immoral war against Iraq!

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008

Bob Feuer drumming for U.S. Congress v John Olver in 2008
www.blog.bobfeuer.us

Abe Lincoln

Abe Lincoln
The 16th President of the USA

Power

Power
Peace

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer

Global Warming Mock Giant Thermometer
A member of Green Peace activist sets up a giant thermometer as a symbol of global warming during their campaign in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007. World leaders launch marathon negotiations Monday on how to fight global warming, which left unchecked could cause devastating sea level rises, send millions further into poverty and lead to the mass extinction of plants and animals.

combat global warming...

combat global warming...
...or risk economic and environmental disaster caused by rising temperatures

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org

www.climatecrisiscoalition.org
P.O. Box 125, South Lee, MA 01260, (413) 243-5665, tstokes@kyotoandbeyond.org, www.kyotoandbeyond.org

3 Democratic presidentional candidates

3 Democratic presidentional candidates
Democratic presidential candidates former senator John Edwards (from right) and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd before the National Public Radio debate yesterday (12/4/2007).

The UN Seal

The UN Seal
An archaic & bureaucratic post WW2 top-down, non-democratic institution that also stands for some good governance values

Superman

Superman
One of my favorite childhood heroes and movies

Web-Site on toxic toys

Web-Site on toxic toys
www.healthytoys.org

Batman

Batman
One of my favorite super-heroes

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer

Deval Patrick & Denis Guyer
Massachusetts' Governor stands with Dalton's State Rep. Denis E. Guyer.

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer

Bill Cosby & Denis Guyer
TV Star Bill Cosby stands with Denis E. Guyer

Denis Guyer with his supporters

Denis Guyer with his supporters
Dalton State Representative

Denis Guyer goes to college

Denis Guyer goes to college
Dalton State Representative

Peter Marchetti

Peter Marchetti
He is my second cousin. Pete Marchetti favors MONEY, not fairness!

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple

Matt Barron & Denis Guyer with couple
Matt Barron plays DIRTY politics against his opponents!

Nat Karns

Nat Karns
Top-Down Executive Director of the ELITIST Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Human Rights for All Peoples & people

Human Rights for All Peoples & people
Stop Anti-Semitism

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill

Massachusetts State Treasurer Tim Cahill
State House, Room 227, Boston, MA 02133, 617-367-6900, www.mass.gov/treasury/

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley

Massachusetts State Attorney General Martha Coakley
1350 Main Street, Springfield, MA 01103, 413-784-1240 / McCormick Building, One Asburton Place, Boston, MA 02108, 617-727-4765 / marthacoakley.com / www.ago.state.ma.us

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...

Bush v. Gore: December 12, 2007, was the seventh anniversary, the 5-4 Supreme Court decision...
www.takebackthecourt.org - A political billboard near my downtown apartment in Manchester, NH

Marc Murgo

Marc Murgo
An old friend of mine from Pittsfield

Downtown Manchester, NH

Downtown Manchester, NH
www.newhampshire.com/nh-towns/manchester.aspx

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei
Movie Actress

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)

Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC)
www.masschc.org/issue.php

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler

Mike Firestone & Anna Weisfeiler
Mike Firestone works in Manchester NH for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign

James Pindell

James Pindell
Covers NH Primary Politcs for The Boston Globe

U.S. History - Declaration

U.S. History - Declaration
A 19th century engraving shows Benjamin Franklin, left, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman at work on the Declaration of Independence.

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/

Boston Globe Photos of the Week - www.boston.com/bostonglobe/gallery/
Sybregje Palenstijn (left), who plays Sarah Godbertson at Plimouth Plantation, taught visitors how to roast a turkey on a spit. The plantation often sees a large influx of visitors during the holiday season.

Chris Hodgkins

Chris Hodgkins
Another special interest Berkshire Pol who could not hold his "WATER" on Beacon Hill's State House!

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.

The Big Dig - 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto Milena Del Valle's car.
Most of Boston's Big Dig highway remains closed, after a woman was crushed when 15 tons of concrete fell from a tunnel ceiling onto her car. (ABC News)

Jane Swift

Jane Swift
Former Acting Governor of Massachusetts & Berkshire State Senator

Paul Cellucci

Paul Cellucci
Former Massachusetts Governor

William Floyd Weld

William Floyd Weld
$80 Million Trust Fund Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mike Dukakis

Mike Dukakis
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mary E. Carey

Mary E. Carey
Amherst, Massachusetts, Journalist and Blogger

Caveman

Caveman
www.ongeicocaveman.blogspot.com

Peter G. Arlos

Peter G. Arlos
"The biggest challenge Pittsfield faces is putting its fiscal house in order. The problem is that doing so requires structural changes in local government, many of which I have advocated for years, but which officials do not have the will to implement. Fiscal responsibility requires more than shifting funds from one department to another. Raising taxes and fees and cutting services are not the answer. Structural changes in the way services are delivered and greater productivity are the answer, and without these changes the city's fiscal crisis will not be solved."

James M. Ruberto

James M. Ruberto
"Pittsfield's biggest challenge is to find common ground for a better future. The city is at a crossroads. On one hand, our quality of life is challenged. On the other hand, some important building blocks are in place that could be a strong foundation for our community. Pittsfield needs to unite for the good of its future. The city needs an experienced businessman and a consensus builder who will invite the people to hold him accountable."

Matt Kerwood

Matt Kerwood
Pittsfield's Councilor-At-Large. Go to: extras.berkshireeagle.com/NeBe/profiles/12.htm

Gerald M. Lee

Gerald M. Lee
Pittsfield's City Council Prez. Top-down governance of the first order!

Mary Carey

Mary Carey
Mary with student

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox
Jonathan Papelbon celebrates with Jason Varitek

Free Bernard Baran!

Free Bernard Baran!
www.freebaran.org

Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence
Capitol Hill

Sherwood Guernsey II

Sherwood Guernsey II
Wealthy Williamstown Political Activist & Pittsfield Attorney

Mary Carey 2

Mary Carey 2
California Pol & porn star

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!

Pittsfield's Good Old Boy Network - Political Machine!
Andy "Luciforo" swears in Jimmy Ruberto for the returning Mayor's 3rd term

Berkshire Grown

Berkshire Grown
www.berkshiregrown.org

Rambo

Rambo

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.

The Mount was built in 1902 & was home to Edith Wharton (1862-1937) from 1903 to 1908.
The Mount, the historic home in Lenox of famed American novelist Edith Wharton, is facing foreclosure.