Aleksander Lukashenko, the dictator president of Belarus was not merely content to yet again have himself reëlected in an election last month regarded by the Organization for Security and Coöperation in Europe (OSCE) as rife with flaws and lacking transparency, yet again, Lukashenko has had many opposition figures jailed.
Not content with merely having them jailed, including several who ran against him, his government was attempting to have the three-year-old son of Andrei Sannikov one of the opposition candidates, who has been under the care of his grandmother while his parents have both been jailed, taken from her. Apparently international pressure got to the Belarusans:
Authorities in Belarus have backed off a threat to seize custody of the 3-year-old son of an imprisoned opposition leader there, ruling that the boy’s grandmother was fit to take care of him.
The boy, Danil Sannikov, has been in the care of his grandmother since his parents were arrested along with more than 600 others for participating in a largely peaceful protest against the victory of President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko in apparently fraudulent elections last month. Mr. Lukashenko was inaugurated Friday.
Within days of the arrests, the security services — still called the K.G.B. in Belarus, a former Soviet republic — ordered child welfare services to open custody proceedings. The boy’s family said the move was an attempt to put pressure on his parents, Andrei Sannikov, a former presidential candidate, and his wife, Irina Khalip, a journalist.
After the family’s plight was described in an article in The New York Times recently, the authorities in Belarus came under heavy criticism from abroad.
What sort of leader uses children as pawns against his opposition. Vile ones, admired by the usual stooges, including the one in the comments section to the linked post.
Just say no to no child brides. The mind reels.
All week, I've been meaning to urge everyone to see this documentary on the financial meltdown - if only for the section where the academic economics profession gets raked over the coals for acting as flaks for corporate ideology. I'll stick to seconding this very good commentary by a blogger at Huffington Post, management consultant(!) Charles Green.
I don't know. There is a pretty "high" bar, but I'm submitting this as a likely candidate.
Can Obama harness the forces that might spur new growth? This is the key question for the next two years.
What are those forces? Essentially, there are two. One is the power of the business cycle, the tidal force that throughout history has dictated when the economy expands and when it contracts...
What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.
Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.
Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.
Via Washington Monthly's Steve Benen, whose comments on this are HERE.
PS: Atrios calls Broder a "sociopathic monster." "Shrill" but definitely arguable. This loonytoons suggestion that WWII-style spending - just so long as it's actually on a war - is just what the doctor ordered for a deeply depressed economy comes from the same Beltway Denizen who wrote last year that the big challenge to Congress and Obama is, quote, "don't pass along unfunded programs to our children and grandchildren." I'm not sure I'd go as far as "sociopathic monster", but "incoherent, irresponsible, blathering idiot" seems about right.
For those who have been astounded by the escalating foreclosure documentation scandals as emblematic of the insane bundling of crap mortgages into "securities" - or some such - Felix Salmon has the best explanation I've seen to date of just how deep and how rotten this crisis actually is - HERE. Very much worth wading through to understand just how corrupt the "financial services" sector has become.
Former British PM and "W" enabler, Tony Blair, in his newly minted memoir:
“I still keep in my desk a letter from an Iraqi woman who came to see me before the war began. She told me of the appalling torture and death her family had experienced having fallen foul of Saddam’s son. She begged me to act. After the fall of Saddam she returned to Iraq. She was murdered by sectarians a few months later. What would she say to me now?”
We've seen in recent days some public shaming and exposure of the overt racism that undergirds and infects factions of the Tea Party movement. Sarah Palin's role in this, of course, was to attack the NAACP for calling attention to what proved to be a very real problem. Then Palin "tweeted" against the building of a Muslim community center near the 9/11 site as some sort of affront to "heartland" Americans - asking Muslims to "refudiate" their "stab in our hearts", i.e. building a meeting place for the mainstream Muslim community of New York City. Aside from the flagrant bigotry, it strikes me that the construction of a center for Muslim Americans in the "Ground Zero" neighborhood would be a statement of precisely what it is that set us apart - at our best - from our enemies. Instead, the right-wing wants to invoke the same fundamentalist fear-mongering that drives the Islamist extremists who attack us in the name of their religion.
Now, with the obvious backing of high-profile "conservatives" like Palin, this bigotry and petty pandering to prejudice is spreading:
In big cities and small rural communities, from New York to Tennessee to California, the right-wing fear machine is spinning up to take on the construction of mosques and Muslim community centers. In each case, the argument is essentially the same, when the hedging is peeled away: you don't necessarily have to exercise your freedom of religion in the privacy of your own home, but hey, you can't do it in public here either.
July is proving to be the month where the tea party movement is finally coming to grips with -- and rebuking -- some of its more racist elements, a move that many observers would say is a long time coming. But at the same time, plans to build an Islamic community center near the Ground Zero site in New York City has brought to the surface a different kind of bigotry among some conservatives -- namely, the idea that if Muslims are allowed to worship where they want, terrorist violence will spread across the country. (More HERE at TPM.)