Wednesday, October 31, 2007


« Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez signed a deal to buy five diesel-fueled submarines from Russia.

(Abraxas Iribarren/AFP/Getty Images)

Venezuela Stocks Up on Russian Arms

October 31, 2007 | From

Hugo Chavez plans to double or triple purchases of Russian military equipment.

Russian weapons sales to Venezuela are set to leap, and Venezuela, despite concern from Washington, is on course to become a leading military power in Latin America.

“We have initialed agreements [with Venezuela] for us$4 billion,” reported an official with Russian state arms-exporting agency Rosoboronexport on Monday, “and we can say that at least we are to double or treble this sum” over the next few years.

Serguei Ladiguin said that the two nations are now drafting weapons supply deals for naval warships, fighter planes and helicopter gunships, as well as for a wide range of military hardware for Venezuela’s army.

This follows on the heels of previous major weapons supply deals between Russia and Venezuela. In June, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez inked a deal with Moscow to buy five diesel-fueled submarines for an estimated $3 billion during a trip to Russia. The subs are described by Russian media as “silent killers” because they are among the quietest available in the world, and are armed with missiles that have a range of 7,500 miles. With the subs also comes a submarine maintenance base and training for crews.

Russia also plans to build Chavez two factories to manufacture ak-103 rifles and ammunition by 2010, giving Venezuela’s army a domestic source of weapons, munitions and the technology to manufacture them as well.

Last year, Chavez raised eyebrows after purchasing 24 fighter planes, 100,000 ak-103 rifles and more than 50 helicopters from Russia. Chavez said he made the purchases to beef up his country’s military in anticipation of a potential U.S. invasion.

While such arms deals may not directly constitute a threat to the United States militarily, it is a threat to U.S. influence and allies in the region.

Chavez’s policies obviously do not align with U.S. interests in the area. He has repeatedly labeled the U.S. an enemy and called for Latin America to break economic and political ties with its northern neighbor. A stronger military for Venezuela will mean a louder and more forceful Chavez, who has already stirred up much anti-American sentiment in the region.

Venezuela’s arms buildup could also lead to an arms race in Latin America, which would further limit U.S. influence in the region.

For some time now, Venezuela has been effectively building opposition to the U.S. in Latin America. If the U.S. is rapidly losing influence in its own backyard, what does that say about America’s ability to project power and influence around the world?

For more information on the direction Latin America is headed with leaders such as Hugo Chavez, read “Latin America Swings Left.”

Monday, October 29, 2007


The Really Truly Hillary Gallery

The Ultimate Online Archive of Unflattering Hillary Clinton Photos

The election season is upon us. And that means only one thing: Hillary Clinton will be topic #1 across the nation for at least the next year. We will be saturated by Hillary news.

Bloggers, pundits, journalists, satirists and Photoshoppers are going to need a steady stream of Hillary images to illustrate their postings and stories over the upcoming campaign season. And if you're not exactly a Hillary fan, you're going to want unflattering pictures of her.

But where to find them? The mainstream media, for the most part, tends to only publish their "best" photos of her -- pictures that make her look good. As a result, awkward, funny, strange, and patently ridiculous candid photos of Hillary can be a little hard to come across.

Until now.

As a public service, zombietime has compiled this gallery of unflattering Hillary photos. And I will maintain it and continue to expand it at least until the 2008 presidential election. The photos on this page come from a wide variety of sources -- from personal snapshots, to historical archives, to standard mainstream news photos.

The purpose of this gallery is not as entertainment itself, but rather to serve as a resource for bloggers, journalists, Photoshoppers and so on to find and re-use the Hillary photos of their choice. So feel free to download any of the pictures you see here to your own hard drive, and re-use them however you see fit. Come back again and again whenever you need a new unsightly photo of Hillary! (As for how to download a picture from a Web page to your computer: there are a variety of simple techniques, depending on your browser and operating system. In many cases you can simply drag the image to your computer desktop or hard drive icon; or you can alt-click or control-click the image and select "Save image to..." or "Download image.")

Is this "fair"? Is it mature, impartial and reasoned? Of course not. But this is politics, after all. My goal is to puncture the perfectly-honed public image of Hillary maintained by her campaign staff, and undermine any attempts to control the public perception of her.

If you know of any additional unflattering images of Hillary Clinton not visible on this page, I encourage you to email me either a link to the image online, or the actual image file itself. MAKE SURE YOU VIEW THIS ENTIRE PAGE BEFORE SUBMITTING NEW IMAGES. I do not want to keep getting repeat submissions of the same picture. And also, keep in mind that this gallery is only for authentic, unaltered, real photos of Hillary Clinton. Do NOT submit Photoshops, drawings, satires, montages, or any image that is not an actual, natural photo of Hillary. Any such submissions will not be posted here.

So -- start downloading! Any questions or suggestions can be sent to the email address above.

(Thanks to the following people for submitting photos used on this page: insanity police, Jammie Wearing Fool, Ringo the Gringo, jcm, Killgore Trout, Thanos, lawhawk, uncle_monkey, Stuck-in-CA, Ed M., NYNana, Carl in Jerusalem, Val C. mama winger, Perry M., Jonathan C., David S., SeafoodGumbo, JK, gene, Chanoc.)

After extensive research, I determined that the above photo, which I originally thought might have been "too good to be true" and perhaps digitally altered in some way, is actually an authentic photo of Hillary Clinton, released by the Associated Press on March 30, 2007. The original can be found on an official Associated Press web page here, bearing this caption: "Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York reacts to seeing and [sic] old friend during a campaign stop at the National Education Association New Hampshire, in Concord, N.H., Friday, March 30, 2007. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)." The same photo with an Associated Press watermark can be found here. It was also reproduced untampered-with on various blogs -- even pro-Hillary blogs, such as this one -- in the following days. I also have found no evidence that it has been Photoshopped in any way, which can only lead me to conclude that the photo is authentic.

This photo is authentic, although there are various other versions of it in which the contrast and saturation have been altered to further distort her face.

The above photo is unaltered, but beware that there is a subtly Photoshopped version it floating around the web in which her teeth have been slightly enlarged.

These two pictures (which were the original inspiration for this page) are both low-resolution outtakes of photos I took of Hillary at a campaign appearance in Oakland on September 30, 2007. Have you ever taken similar snapshots of Hillary but never used them because they just didn't "look right"? If so, dig them out and send them to me here.

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