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Forum Post: stepehn cohen says shame on Obama

Posted 1 month ago on Feb. 23, 2014, 8:28 a.m. EST by flip (4970)
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AMY GOODMAN:

To talk more about the latest in Ukraine, we’re joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. His most recent book, Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, is now out in paperback. His latest piece in The Nation is called "Distorting Russia: How the American Media Misrepresent Putin, Sochi and Ukraine."

So, talk about the latest, Professor Cohen.

STEPHEN COHEN: Where do you want me to begin? I mean, we are watching history being made, but history of the worst kind. That’s what I’m telling my grandchildren: Watch this. What’s happening there, let’s take the big picture, then we can go to the small picture. The big picture is, people are dying in the streets every day. The number 50 is certainly too few. They’re still finding bodies. Ukraine is splitting apart down the middle, because Ukraine is not one country, contrary to what the American media, which speaks about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Historically, ethnically, religiously, culturally, politically, economically, it’s two countries. One half wants to stay close to Russia; the other wants to go West. We now have reliable reports that the anti-government forces in the streets—and there are some very nasty people among them—are seizing weapons in western Ukrainian military bases. So we have clearly the possibility of a civil war.

And the longer-term outcome may be—and I want to emphasize this, because nobody in the United States seems to want to pay attention to it—the outcome may be the construction, the emergence of a new Cold War divide between West and East, not this time, as it was for our generation, in faraway Berlin, but right on the borders of Russia, right through the heart of Slavic civilization. And if that happens, if that’s the new Cold War divide, it’s permanent instability and permanent potential for real war for decades to come. That’s what’s at stake.

One last point, also something that nobody in this country wants to talk about: The Western authorities, who bear some responsibility for what’s happened, and who therefore also have blood on their hands, are taking no responsibility. They’re uttering utterly banal statements, which, because of their vacuous nature, are encouraging and rationalizing the people in Ukraine who are throwing Molotov cocktails, now have weapons, are shooting at police. We wouldn’t permit that in any Western capital, no matter how righteous the cause, but it’s being condoned by the European Union and Washington as events unfold.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And when you say the Western countries who bear some responsibility, in what sense do they bear responsibility? I mean, clearly, there’s been an effort by the United States and Europe ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union to pull the former Soviet states into their economic sphere, but is that what you’re talking about?

STEPHEN COHEN: I mean that. I mean that Moscow—look at it through Moscow’s eyes. Since the Clinton administration in the 1990s, the U.S.-led West has been on a steady march toward post-Soviet Russia, began with the expansion of NATO in the 1990s under Clinton. Bush then further expanded NATO all the way to Russia’s borders. Then came the funding of what are euphemistically called NGOs, but they are political action groups, funded by the West, operating inside Russia. Then came the decision to build missile defense installations along Russia’s borders, allegedly against Iran, a country which has neither nuclear weapons nor any missiles to deliver them with. Then comes American military outpost in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, which led to the war of 2008, and now the West is at the gates of Ukraine. So, that’s the picture as Moscow sees it. And it’s rational. It’s reasonable. It’s hard to deny.

But as for the immediate crisis, let’s ask ourselves this: Who precipitated this crisis? The American media says it was Putin and the very bad, though democratically elected, president of Ukraine, Yanukovych. But it was the European Union, backed by Washington, that said in November to the democratically elected president of a profoundly divided country, Ukraine, "You must choose between Europe and Russia." That was an ultimatum to Yanukovych. Remember—wasn’t reported here—at that moment, what did the much-despised Putin say? He said, "Why? Why does Ukraine have to choose? We are prepared to help Ukraine avoid economic collapse, along with you, the West. Let’s make it a tripartite package to Ukraine." And it was rejected in Washington and in Brussels. That precipitated the protests in the streets.

And since then, the dynamic that any of us who have ever witnessed these kinds of struggles in the streets unfolded, as extremists have taken control of the movement from the so-called moderate Ukrainian leaders. I mean, the moderate Ukrainian leaders, with whom the Western foreign ministers are traveling to Kiev to talk, they’ve lost control of the situation. By the way, people ask—excuse me—is it a revolution? Is it a revolution? A much abused word, but one sign of a revolution is the first victims of revolution are the moderates. And then it becomes a struggle between the extreme forces on either side. And that’s what we’re witnessing. AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to President Obama. He’s in Mexico for the big Mexico-Canada-U.S. summit talking about Ukraine.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: With regard to Ukraine, along with our European partners, we will continue to engage all sides. And we continue to stress to President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian government that they have the primary responsibility to prevent the kind of terrible violence that we’ve seen, to withdraw riot police, to work with the opposition to restore security and human dignity, and move the country forward. And this includes progress towards a multi-party, technical government that can work with the international community on a support package and adopt reforms necessary for free and fair elections next year. Ukrainians are a proud and resilient people who have overcome extraordinary challenges in their history, and that’s a pride and strength that I hope they draw on now.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s President Obama in Mexico, Professor Cohen.

STEPHEN COHEN: What are you asking me to comment on?

AMY GOODMAN: Your response to his response.

STEPHEN COHEN: To what he just said? Shame. Shame. He is saying that the responsibility for restoring peace is on the Ukrainian government, and it should withdraw its security forces from the streets. But let me ask you, if in Washington people throwing Molotov cocktails are marching on Congress—and these people are headed for the Ukrainian Congress—if these people have barricaded entrance to the White House and are throwing rocks at the White House security guard, would President Obama withdraw his security forces? This is—this is—and do you know what this does? And let’s escape partisanship here. I mean, lives are at stake. This incites, these kinds of statement that Obama made. It rationalizes what the killers in the streets are doing. It gives them Western license, because he’s not saying to the people in the streets, "Stop this, stop shooting policemen, stop attacking government buildings, sit down and talk." And the guy you had on just before, a so-called moderate leader, what did he just tell you? "We have lost control of the situation." That’s what I just told you. He just confirmed that.

So what Obama needs to say is, "We deplore what the people in the streets are doing when they attack the police, the law enforcement official. And we also don’t like the people who are writing on buildings 'Jews live here,'" because these forces, these quasi-fascist forces—let’s address this issue, because the last time I was on your broadcast, you found some guy somewhere who said there was none of this there. All right. What percent are the quasi-fascists of the opposition? Let’s say they’re 5 percent. I think they’re more, but let’s give them the break, 5 percent. But we know from history that when the moderates lose control of the situation, they don’t know what to do. The country descends in chaos. Five percent of a population that’s tough, resolute, ruthless, armed, well funded, and knows what it wants, can make history. We’ve seen it through Europe. We’ve seen it through Asia. This is reality. And where Washington and Brussels are on this issue, they won’t step up and take the responsibility.

91 Comments

91 Comments


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[-] 3 points by nazihunter (650) 4 days ago

So, you want Obama to defend the people you call Nazis? You're a very confused person. I knew you were a damned Nazi. There's a coup d’état in your alleged mind. Hah!

[-] -3 points by flip (4970) 3 days ago

I knew it - you can't really read well - explains a lot. go back and read - then think. I know it will hurt but try. hey there are Nazis in the news - in this country - when is your flight

[-] 2 points by nazihunter (650) 3 days ago

I can be, but it has to be something worth reading, lol! I was just baiting you. You're not providing clarity to this issue, that I can tell. If the people in the street are the nazis, who are the russian separatists the government wants to crack down on? If they crack down on the nazis, aren't they making it easy for the russian separatists? I wouldn't say it was the us, the eu, or russia so much as their leader who lived more lavish than 10 billionaires put together.while people can't find a job worth shit. Because a guy thinks 5% are nazis, he wants the government to crack down? grapes can't figure you out either. lol! I'll give you the MBA answer: Do nothing. See? Why can't you do that?

[-] -2 points by flip (4970) 3 days ago

i am sure you are not well informed on Ukraine so i would like to help you here - you probably read too much mainstream elite media - you can get all of this easily since you have a good education - note that you seem to be defending those who say -"We, Ukraine, will not be governed by Negroes, Jews or Russians..............." STEPHEN COHEN: Who precipitated this crisis? It was the European Union, in this sense. It gave the Ukrainian government, which, by the way, is a democratically elected government—if you overthrow this government, just like they overthrew Morsi in Egypt, you’re dealing a serious blow to democracy. So if the crowd manages to essentially carry out a coup d’état from the streets, that’s what democracy is not about. But here’s what the European Union did back in November. It told the government of Ukraine, "If you want to sign an economic relationship with us, you cannot sign one with Russia." Why not? Putin has said, "Why don’t the three of us have an arrangement? We’ll help Ukraine. The West will help Ukraine." The chancellor of Germany, Merkel, at first thought that was a good idea, but she backed down for various political reasons. So, essentially, Ukraine was given an ultimatum: sign the EU economic agreement or else.

Now, what was that agreement? It would have been an economic catastrophe for Ukraine. I’m not talking about the intellectuals or the people who are well placed, about ordinary Ukrainians. The Ukrainian economy is on the brink of a meltdown. It needed billions of dollars. What did the European Union offer them? The same austerity policies that are ravaging Europe, and nothing more—$600 million. It needed billions and billions.

There’s one other thing. If you read the protocols of the European offer to Ukraine, which has been interpreted in the West as just about civilizational change, escaping Russia, economics, democracy, there is a big clause on military cooperation. In effect, by signing this, Ukraine would have had to abide by NATO’s military policies. What would that mean? That would mean drawing a new Cold War line, which used to be in Berlin, right through the heart of Slavic civilization, on Russia’s borders. So that’s where we’re at to now.

One other point: These right-wing people, whom Anton thinks are not significant, all reports—and I don’t know when he was in Ukraine, maybe it was long ago and things have gone—but the reports that are coming out of Ukraine are the following. One, the moderates—that’s the former heavyweight champion boxer, Vitali Klitschko, and others—have lost control of the street. They’ve asked the people who have been attacking the police with Molotov cocktails, and to vacate the buildings they’ve occupied, to stop. And the street will not stop, partly because—I’d say largely because—the street in Kiev is now controlled by these right-wing extremists. And that extremism has spread to western Ukraine, where these people are occupying government buildings. So, in fact, you have a political civil war underway.

What is the face of these people, this right wing? A, they hate Europe as much as they hate Russia. Their official statement is: Europe is homosexuals, Jews and the decay of the Ukrainian state. They want nothing to do with Europe. They want nothing to do with Russia. I’m talking about this—it’s not a fringe, but this very right-wing thing. What does their political activity include? It includes writing on buildings in western Ukraine, "Jews live here." That’s exactly what the Nazis wrote on the homes of Jews when they occupied Ukraine. A priest who represents part of the political movement in western Ukraine—Putin quoted this, but it doesn’t make it false. It doesn’t make it false; it’s been verified. A western Ukrainian priest said, "We, Ukraine, will not be governed by Negroes, Jews or Russians." So, these people have now come to the fore.

The first victims of any revolution—I don’t know if this is a revolution, but the first victims of any revolution are the moderates. And the moderates have lost control of what they created, helped by the European Union and the American government back in November. And so, now anything is possible, including two Ukraines........................ AMY GOODMAN: I want to go to the famous leaked tape right now. The top State Department official has apologized to her European counterparts after she was caught cursing the European Union, the EU, in a leaked audio recording that was posted to YouTube. The recording captured an intercepted phone conversation between the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, and Victoria Nuland, the top U.S. diplomat for Europe. Nuland expresses frustration over Europe’s response to the political crisis in Ukraine, using frank terms.

VICTORIA NULAND: So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the U.N. help glue it. And, you know, [bleep] the EU.

AMY GOODMAN: While Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s comment about the EU dominated the news headlines because she used a curse, there were several other very interesting parts of her conversation with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

GEOFFREY PYATT: Let me work on Klitschko, and if you can just keep—I think we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. Then the other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych, but we can probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

VICTORIA NULAND: So, on that piece, Geoff, when I wrote the note, Sullivan’s come back to me VFR saying, "You need Biden?" And I said, "Probably tomorrow for an attaboy and to get the deets to stick." So Biden’s willing.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Pyatt, speaking with Victoria Nuland. The significance of what she is saying? She also had gone to Ukraine and was feeding protesters on the front line.

STEPHEN COHEN: Cookies, cookies. Well, here again, the American political media establishment, including the right and the left and the center—because they’re all complicit in this nonsense—focused on the too sensational, they thought, aspect of that leaked conversation. She said, "F— the European Union," and everybody said, "Oh, my god! She said the word." The other thing was, who leaked it? "Oh, it was the Russians. Those dirty Russians leaked this conversation." But the significance is what you just played. What are they doing? The highest-ranking State Department official, who presumably represents the Obama administration, and the American ambassador in Kiev are, to put it in blunt terms, plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine.

Now, that said, Amy, Juan, you may say to me—neither of you would, but hypothetically—"That’s a good thing. We don’t like—we don’t care if he was elected democratically. He’s a rat. He’s corrupt." And he is all those things. He is. "Let’s depose him. That’s what the United States should do. Then the United States should stand up and say, ’That’s what we do: We get rid of bad guys. We assassinate them, and we overthrow them.’" But in Washington and in Brussels, they lie: They’re talking about democracy now. They’re not talking about democracy now; they’re talking about a coup now.

[-] 2 points by nazihunter (650) 3 days ago

Sure, I think I got what I heard on 60 minutes, or something. I wouldn't disagree that we are the great agitators. It's like both sides saying we won the Cold War. I agree with this Cohen guy to the extent it's all shenanigans.

[-] -1 points by flip (4970) 2 days ago

wow, thanks - we had a reasonable back and forth. thanks again - cohen is probably the most knowledgeable Russia/soviet commentator in mainstream media - he doesn't get much play but he is still in the elite circles. he is saying the wrong thing on Ukraine so we don't hear him much. very dangerous situation in Ukraine and the real Nazis are in power. I sent you some reports - this is very much in the news in germany and the eu. I hope we can agree on this - Nazis are not to be tolerated

[-] 2 points by nazihunter (650) 2 days ago

We agree on something? Who would'a thought! No way. I can't agree with you. It would give me a bad rap. If I'm wrong, you shouldn't agree with me. You should straighten me out so I learn something new. Like Chump, you tried, like the other players didn't exist. They did. They do. And they are MUCH WORSE in every area. How about that lovely conservative court that just decided by them little selves that a billionaire-purchased-puppet-government is just fine? Shit! They're not even trying to hide it! At this point, pal, I'd rather they did because it's like they're just saying right out, 'Hey American people, Fuck you!.' Tough to ignore that one, dontcha think? Yet, you consistently take issue with the liberals. That has right wing written all over it. It has 'just throw some mud in the water with long belabored diatribes that go all over the map. The lobbies that just multiplied by the thousands while Nixon was in office. But, I take him on and you move to Reagan. Belabor, mislead, throw mud. Right wing, right wing, right wing. You want to get rid of the duopoly. Vote one of them into extinction. Your choice is the left. I don't even have to wonder what would happen if that were the case. Reagan, Dick and Bush. That is the huge chasm that exists between us; I'm concerned with being right. Your concerned with winning your argument.

[-] -2 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

you are concerned with being right but you have no idea what I am concerned with since you haven't asked. you have assumed and you know what felix unger says about that. I do not like liberals - not much anyway. this is a radical website and I am a radical (anarchist also probably anarcho syndicalist but it really doesn't matter since we are so far from any of that now). do you know what the term radical means? Clinton and Obama are not liberals - not in the sense of the liberals of the 50's and 60's. the dnc strategy has been to move just to the left of the gop to win elections - that was after the Reagan and bush victories. so now you have the party of the center right business party and the far right business party. I do not like kennedy or his ruling elite government. I do not agree with oliver stones theory of kennedy the hero going to get us out of Vietnam and end the cold war. obvious nonsense. pretty clear from the documentary record that the kennedy admin wanted to crush the godless commies. poor khrushchev got run over in the process - tried to unilaterally disarm. he did not understand the true vicious nature of the u.s. government. also do not believe that Oswald killed him just so you don't assume the opposite.

[-] 2 points by nazihunter (650) 1 day ago

I assume? really? I can see what you are by your own writing. Oh, no, no, no! No assuming. Sometimes the geniuses like you need an outside assessment, you know, the narcissists who can never admit they are, uh, WRONG! You come full-circle often, and then try to rationalize, just like you're doing just above here. Whether you accept what I'm telling you is to your own undoing. You're a right-winger, a Nazi. Your winded tripe is littered with lying insults about the left, but they seem to be absent to the right. Why is that? Then you call me partisan. Really????. Yes, you are radical, and irrational, and light-minded. And the liberals scare you? Really?????? Let me tell you one thing of which I have no doubt whatsoever; If you were in charge of anything, good or bad, you'd be a complete failure. I don't mean to be insulting.. Just give school a try. Self-educated by Chumpsky is not working for you. A good therapist, and oh yes, lots of medication. Hell! What am I saying? Nobody would ever put you in charge of anything, Hah Hah Hah! Crazy right?

[-] 3 points by grapes (2629) 1 month ago

Ukrainians exercising their freedom of speech and assembly were brutally suppressed by Yanukovych's regime. Trying to hold the regime accountable makes sense.

Ukraine needs stabilization now. The U.S. should work with the EU and Russia to shore up Ukraine.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 month ago

to maintain freedom of speech

[-] -1 points by flip (4970) 1 month ago

free speech? the u.s. and the EU and Russia - I don't think you read the piece carefully. did you miss this part - "Who precipitated this crisis? It was the European Union, in this sense. It gave the Ukrainian government, which, by the way, is a democratically elected government—if you overthrow this government, just like they overthrew Morsi in Egypt, you’re dealing a serious blow to democracy. So if the crowd manages to essentially carry out a coup d’état from the streets, that’s what democracy is not about. But here’s what the European Union did back in November. It told the government of Ukraine, "If you want to sign an economic relationship with us, you cannot sign one with Russia." Why not? Putin has said, "Why don’t the three of us have an arrangement? We’ll help Ukraine. The West will help Ukraine." The chancellor of Germany, Merkel, at first thought that was a good idea, but she backed down for various political reasons. So, essentially, Ukraine was given an ultimatum: sign the EU economic agreement or else.......................................or this part - "There’s one other thing. If you read the protocols of the European offer to Ukraine, which has been interpreted in the West as just about civilizational change, escaping Russia, economics, democracy, there is a big clause on military cooperation. In effect, by signing this, Ukraine would have had to abide by NATO’s military policies. What would that mean? That would mean drawing a new Cold War line, which used to be in Berlin, right through the heart of Slavic civilization, on Russia’s borders. So that’s where we’re at to now.....................or this part - "the street in Kiev is now controlled by these right-wing extremists. And that extremism has spread to western Ukraine, where these people are occupying government buildings. So, in fact, you have a political civil war underway.

What is the face of these people, this right wing? A, they hate Europe as much as they hate Russia. Their official statement is: Europe is homosexuals, Jews and the decay of the Ukrainian state. They want nothing to do with Europe. They want nothing to do with Russia. I’m talking about this—it’s not a fringe, but this very right-wing thing. What does their political activity include? It includes writing on buildings in western Ukraine, "Jews live here." That’s exactly what the Nazis wrote on the homes of Jews when they occupied Ukraine. A priest who represents part of the political movement in western Ukraine—Putin quoted this, but it doesn’t make it false. It doesn’t make it false; it’s been verified. A western Ukrainian priest said, "We, Ukraine, will not be governed by Negroes, Jews or Russians." So, these people have now come to the fore.

[-] 4 points by grapes (2629) 1 month ago

Do you remember that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that money is free speech? The Supreme Court of the defunct Soviets would have certainly understood that Molotov cocktails promote free speech. It is Breakthrough Democracy for Breakthrough Rules. Both Yanukovych and Morsi were accused of acting as dictators.

In recent years, Germany has had many dithering episodes on international interventions so I am not surprised. Yanukovych had supposedly promised snap elections that would not be coming, breaking his promise. In any case, sniping the protestors violated human rights. I also vaguely remember Russia raising the price of natural gas supplied to Ukraine greatly.

Although the risk of Ukraine becoming anti-Jews exists, it is a bit premature. We have a similar problem here in the U.S. such as hanging the Confederacy flag prominently in public or corporate spaces. It intimidates certain type of people so the acts are repugnant but as long as our Star-Spangled Banner flies, it shall reign supreme over the Confederacy flag. Security is really a state of mind.

[-] -2 points by flip (4970) 1 month ago

all true but is that a response to what I wrote - don't think so. EU dithering - they created this crisis. and who was sniping - big question no? the fascists started it no? I am sure it is not a black and white situation but seems clear who bears most of the blame. no??

[-] 2 points by grapes (2629) 1 month ago

I do not have to regurgitate everything that you wrote as a response to you. I am aware that the EU got its finger in the pudding mix stirring up unnecessary troubles but the EU can produce any offer it likes whether reasonable or not - it is entirely up to Ukraine to decide whether it was acceptable or not.

There were photographs of police snipers on the roofs. The demonstrators were unlikely the first ones to open fire because the regime had the big guns. The police was overwhelmed by the sheer number of demonstrators and resorted to using lethal force. The police made a big mistake because the demonstrators were not toothless as this is UKRAINE, the great arms exporter, after all.

You probably heard of the wiretap that Putin had put out regarding the candid F-word moment uttered by a U.S. diplomat but you should know well that the U.S., in spite of what other countries may think, does not always control the strings of the EU, nor Ukraine, nor the alleged fascists, nor Ukraine's police snipers, nor Ukraine's demonstrators.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 month ago

USA offers to cover 35 billion Ukraine needs over the next few years to rebuild/structure.

Damn nice - wouldn't you say - as the USA is totally fucked economically at this point in time - HEY ?

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 month ago

There are some really rich people in the U.S. It is hoi polloi who are totally mashed at this point in time. Our near-money production capacity is still intact. Oh, why didn't anyone protest against Russia's spying on U.S. diplomatic communications?

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33128) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 month ago

U miss the point - again - and - consistently. If the USA has 35 billion to send out in aid to the Ukraine - where the HELL IS THE USA's AID FOR USA CITIZENS???

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 1 month ago

35*10^9/316,148,990 = $110 per US citizen

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 4 days ago

Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, Direct student loans, SNAP (Food Stamps), Social Security Old Age and Survivors benefits, Social Security Disability benefits, unemployment insurance, etc. Very few U.S. citizens are not either helped directly or have an immediate relative who has had these aids from the U.S. The U.S. spends far more at home than abroad although you may argue reasonably that our defense budget for overseas deployments can be interpreted as a form of foreign aid as well.

[-] 0 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

since social security is a self sustaining program - I don't think it should be included in your list. if you think the u.s. spends plenty on the general welfare of it's population you have not been paying attention. all of the countries of developed Europe spend much more to benefit their bottom 80% - I suggest you take a look at a real budget (like the war resistors league) then take a hard look at corporate welfare - let me know what you come up with.

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

I wish social security were self sustaining but it is actually nothing more than an accounting gimmick that it is self sustaining. Of course, the U.S. government printed out its fig leaf of so many U.S. Treasury Bonds held in the "Social Security Trust Fund." All who believe are "covered." If push comes to shove, our elderly, orphans, or disabled shall slather the T-bonds with American dressing and eat them up.

There are other countries with higher spendings as well as lower spendings on general welfare. We can certainly learn and change accordingly. We abide by the spending authorizations by various duly elected legislatures.

[-] -2 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

you are making me think you are a sound money, gold standard type person? do you know much about political economy? do you realize that a country (especially one with a huge military) that has it's own currency is not like a business or a household. you understand that right?

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

Absolutely, remember though that your description fitted Great Britain and her currency, too. When the trust collapses, it will not be so anymore. Are we going to stuff our T-bonds down the throats of nuclear-armed states by using our very capable military? It is simply the wrong tool.

[-] 0 points by flip (4970) 18 hours ago

if you are a gold standard guy then I have to wonder if you support the 99% - since the gold standard is the toll of the rich. that has been obvious since well before the populist movement of the 1880's. you have some reading to do - should I help you? look up Stephanie kelton in Italy and you will learn something - maybe. are you capable of learning or are you stuck in the "religious argument" phase of life. and I thought you said treasuries are safe or was that someone else? you seem confused

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 hour ago

I am not a gold bug. I am a responsible-standard person. I had experience in my life that told me that there were people whose words and deeds are worth more and more dependable than gold. That means printing money is fine as long as it is responsible because what is money anyway? A promise. It is as worthless or as valuable as its backing.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 1 day ago

I'm just waiting for the IGs report to find out if he is you . . .

[-] -3 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

don't know what the ig is or who you might think is me - but i can tell you so you don't have to wait. i have only one id - one that has been banned and then reinstated if that makes a difference

[-] 2 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 1 day ago
[-] -2 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

So am I to understand you think treasuries are an unsafe investment vehicle?? If so lots of rich people will be very pissed! Don't you think

[-] 2 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

Treasuries are as safe as the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, based on its power of taxation and its military force to extract valuables from U.S. citizens or stuff the Treasuries to the foreigners, with payback denominated in U.S. dollars.

Actually, your impression that rich people own much treasuries is incorrect. China and Japan own a lot and both countries combined their small savers' savings to fund the profligacy of the U.S. There is something morally repugnant to have the Chinese government coercing their coal miners for example to fund the shining armors of our military. Well, look the miners in their eyes and say thank you, okay?

[-] 1 points by flip (4970) 18 hours ago

my uncle would say "you don't know your ass from a hole in the ground" - you forgot to mention Germany. this comment seems to imply the opposite of safe - Of course, the U.S. government printed out its fig leaf of so many U.S. Treasury Bonds held in the "Social Security Trust Fund." All who believe are "covered." If push comes to shove, our elderly, orphans, or disabled shall slather the T-bonds with American dressing and eat them up. - be consistent now! here is a little info on treasuries - "The conventional view is that 10-year Treasury yields have been pushed down to 1.5 percent and 10-year (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities) yields to -0.5% by the actions of the Federal Reserve and the safe haven demand from foreign investors," Capital Economics said in a research note. "The reality, however, is slightly different."

The demand among average investors has swelled so much, in fact, that they bought more Treasurys in the first quarter than foreigners and the Fed combined.

Households picked up about $170 billion in the low-yielding government debt during the quarter, while foreigners increased their holdings by $110 billion.

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 hour ago

There is no problem until there is. Trust can be most volatile. I lived through a few financial crashes in my lifetime. Here are my words of wisdom from my experience: be generous, leave the last pennies on the gambling table for others to pick up.

[-] -3 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

can you name some of those countries - the ones that spend lower on general welfare than the u.s. - the countries that have national health care and mostly free university. we are talking about developed countries of europe right?

[-] -3 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

how good are you at math. do you know how long it is before there is a short fall in ss? do you know at what rate the payout will be at that point? do you know the predicted rate of growth in the gdp for these predictions? do you realize that if growth increases by more than predicted then ss will have more revenue?

[-] 2 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

Medicare will get the U.S. first but I make no distinction between Social Security or Medicare. They ultimately depend on the ability of the U.S. to borrow valuable currency or print its way out but that has never worked for anybody.

[-] 0 points by flip (4970) 18 hours ago

are you sure about your history - never worked for anybody - did you check out how hitler armed Germany during the depression. or you might check out how the u.s. funded the war - and don't give me some school boy history about war grandmothers buying war bonds. so now it is medicare - I guess we need single payer don't you think - and can you answer my questions about social security - no? don't want to? would you like me to answer them for you?

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 2 hours ago

I know the social security projections but to me it is simply irrelevant because it is just one component of the solvency of the U.S. It scared me when our (Non-)Federal (No-)Reserve engaged in so many "unprecedented" financial lap dances that made us feel like being in a stripclub. We have probably become numbed to what these numbers mean. That always preceded financial stupor, like a drunkard falling into the pond drowning.

As for printing our way out, it will end horribly. Go ask anyone who has lived through any hyperinflation: Zimbabwe, Argentina, China, Germany, etc. Zimbabwe got collapsed economy and refugee problem. Argentina was ostracized in the global financial community. China got Communist takeover. Germany got Nazism and the total devastation. I do not want to live in a country that resembles any one of these. Either I try to fix the U.S. or I move out. It is not hopeless yet so I try.

[-] -2 points by flip (4970) 1 month ago

no you don't need to regurgitate anything - I was writing a response to what you wrote and it did not seem that you were doing the same. as to your point about anti Semitism in Ukraine - do you know the history there? lots of video of the violence there - your opinion of who is in the wrong is just that - your opinion. here is cohen from jan 30 .....................-STEPHEN COHEN: One, the moderates—that’s the former heavyweight champion boxer, Vitali Klitschko, and others—have lost control of the street. They’ve asked the people who have been attacking the police with Molotov cocktails, and to vacate the buildings they’ve occupied, to stop. And the street will not stop, partly because—I’d say largely because—the street in Kiev is now controlled by these right-wing extremists....................Many young thugs in the street are trying to kill policemen. They’re throwing Molotov cocktails at them. They’re beating them up. Now, the police are brutal also. But name me one democratic country that would allow mobs to attack policemen in the street of a capital city and not crack down? And, in fact, the Ukrainian police haven’t cracked down..................................................................................your comment on putin and wiretapping makes the point all the more correct - "shame on Obama" - once again!

[-] 2 points by grapes (2629) 4 days ago

In any revolution, many people lose control, including many revolutionaries. The French Revolution has some examples. It was said that the first casualty of war is the Truth so we must have peace first before we are blinded by the fog of war. The really ironic tragedy is that to have peace we must establish justice first which is usually only available in many countries through war and war kills peace. The only way out of the vicious circle is to have limited lukewarm war within a powerful and fearless judicial system. Unfortunately, the judicial system can only be powerful and fearless only if it has control of the "sword of justice." Ukraine is too close to Russia for it to get that without struggles. Most sovereign countries have bloody histories of their founding so it is akin to childbirth.

[+] -4 points by flip (4970) 4 days ago

boy that was a lot of nothing. the truth is pretty obvious if you want to look. yes the hard core fascist took over the street and have led this protest to the point of destruction. real Nazis are in control of Ukraine and we have the eu and the west to blame. save the rest of your non answer for the campaign trail because that is all it is good for - lots of words without saying much.

[-] 2 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 1 day ago

real Nazis are in control of Ukraine

That's what you said. And you mean the people currently in Kiev - pro westerners. real Nazis are in control of Ukraine

and then comes that leaflet. It comes out in Eastern Ukraine, in an area more or less under the control of the Russian leaning faction. But for anyone not intimate with the players, anyone who heard your earlier charge and it's intended slant - ambiguous as it might be - some confusion sets in.

So . . . where'd you get the idea of nazis? Just some graphiti on the wall? Or was it in the laughter, from the boyz down the hall . . .

[-] 1 points by flip (4970) 18 hours ago

don't know what leaflet you are talking about - for the second time - enlighten me! you do know about bandera and Ukrainian Nazis don't you?

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 17 hours ago

and who keeps voting up your lies? We're the only two here, aren't we? so wtf? I mean, that can't be the only measure of . . . well . . . you know

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 18 hours ago

yes - I read Babi Yar.

so - you don't know . . . haven't heard of the leaflet. For such a bright boy you sure don't catch much news do ya. How on earth can anyone get to be so bright, so well informed when they are obviously too busy dithering with their navel to be bothered with current events . . .

I simply have no idea

.

admit it. Just tell the truth. you'll feel better.

[-] 0 points by flip (4970) 16 hours ago

once again - don't know what leaflet you are talking about - for the second time - enlighten me! - yes I hate to admit it but I do not pay much attention to the news - it is so much elite propaganda don't you think? anyway I would like to know what leaflet you are talking about - call me stupid but I do wonder about what you wrote. you would think I would know better by now!

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 16 hours ago

call me stupid but I do wonder about what you wrote.

well OKAY then . . . stupid

hahaa! that was so much fun!

did you get that? not only did I just call you stupid . . . stupid . . . I plainly suggested you are far, far less than honest.

Isn't there a word for that?

I'm pretty sure there is . . .

[-] 2 points by flip (4970) 13 hours ago

They are aware of my views. All of my comments have been included in my file. No interview yet but that should come soon

[-] 1 points by flip (4970) 15 hours ago

yes I admit all - it was horrible of me and I did it to shame those wonderful democrats - what was I thinking. the party of those great leaders - Wilson, jfk, lbj clinton and now the marvelous Obama - aren't his girls darling? and that wife of his - I skied in aspen at the same time she did - it was thrilling - she stayed with the crown family (owners of aspen and some other patriotic industries - not sure which) and I stayed at the mountain chalet - almost neighbors - what a family - what a country -we are the best - except those terrible republicans. the rapture is coming and jesus will be followed by all the great dems of the past - I am sure of it

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 15 hours ago

is the Secret Service aware that you've been stalking the President? Seriously - do they know? Have they interviewed you yet? I take it for granted that no sane member or supporter of the repelcan party would consider harming the President, but you . . .

You might be another story altogether. A died in the wool Glenn.Beckistan.iac

[-] -1 points by flip (4970) 15 hours ago

i now agree with all that you say. the great white hunter of Nazis has helped me to see the light. I have not decided yet whether I am going to Ukraine and fight the nazis there or going to my room to await the rapture. seems to me that if I go to Ukraine then I am fighting along side godless commies. that is always how it has been through out history no? if you want to fight Nazis you end up fighting with commies - wonder why that is. often when one is fighting fascists - one finds himself fighting against the forces of the west. weird no - notice what happens to George orwell in catalonia. that was really weird since he fought with anarchists and ended up being disarmed by commies - I guess everyone hates anarchists - right?

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 15 hours ago

so . . . what . . . you're an anarchist now? Is that what you are attempting to sell?

do please note the tone of complete incredulity . . .

didn't you just make a really lame attempt at rehabilitating Glenn Beck?

Yes you did. That is almost as lame as attempting to conflate me with some other poster in the minds of anyone who just happens by . . . I mean, common. Look around. There's no one else here.

you sure you wanna go there? fukwad? IT's a deep dark hole where few dare venture

[-] -1 points by JGriff99mph (473) 17 hours ago

We create disruption and then create the solution.

[-] 2 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 17 hours ago

We . . . you said we . . .

so I'll take that as a confession. You admit to being part of IRI or something similar. Thanks.

[-] 0 points by JGriff99mph (473) 16 hours ago

We- as in all of us because we openly endorse this system- create disruption and then the solutions.

Related that to something Republican....errrr.....Repelican (cute, just like those on the right that call Democrats DemoRats, how mature)?

Shocking...

Try growing up and actually DOING something for once.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 16 hours ago

Try growing up and actually DOING something for once.

I've heard words are fairly powerful. Using them - is that not a form of doing?

And I for one never said the United States should involve itself in the destabilization of foreign governments specifically for the purpose of new economic opportunities. In fact, I never would.

No more than I would endorse creating global hunger in the name of profit. That's absurd.

The solution, contrary to what so many of you right wing libertarian provocateurs insist is not turning away from the system. Rather it is taking control of the system, and once in control, vigorously symbolizing the consequences of such really bad behavior.

[-] 0 points by JGriff99mph (473) 15 hours ago

Well at least you're not debating against being part of this corrupted nonsense.

On MSNBC right now they are having a talk about whether having a grandkid will impact Hillary's run for the kingdom crown. Very intriguing stuff. (vomit)

[-] 0 points by JGriff99mph (473) 15 hours ago

"Using them - is that not a form of doing?"

To a certain extent, yes. I suppose its why I spend time on here, attempting to make sure that the message of Fuck the System keeps getting blasted as opposed to letting a select few- who post on here literally all fucking day long, every single fuckin day- turn it into a Democrat Party cheerleading session.

You can assume all you want, act like you're crazy, etc.

[-] 1 points by ZenDog (20604) from South Burlington, VT 15 hours ago

what did I say?

what

did

I

say

?

I said:

  • The solution, contrary to what so many of you right wing libertarian provocateurs insist is not turning away from the system. Rather it is taking control of the system, and once in control, vigorously symbolizing the consequences of such really bad behavior.
[-] 2 points by grapes (2629) 2 days ago

Who are the "real Nazis" in control of Ukraine? Ukraine suffers from the insufficient control of its restive East. Russia's threatening troop mobilization certainly contributed to the instability there. It may well blow up very badly for everybody in Russia's neighborhood. Russia is NOT living up to its own promise of preserving Ukraine's territorial integrity. Meddling with Ukraine's upcoming election and its political stability will likely blow back at Putin and probably Russia in the long run.

[-] 0 points by flip (4970) 2 days ago

haven't you read the news lately - oh, maybe elite media doesn't want to talk about Nazis in Ukraine - these are the Nazis I was talking about -"Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis. Stepan Bandera and the Legacy of World War II

By George Eliason

Global Research, March 17, 2014 EU politicians that supported the Maidan Revolution are voicing concerns bordering on fear about how much control Ultra Nationalists have over the government in Kiev. Chancellor Merkel’s government is telling her she can no longer afford to ignore the Ultra Nationalists in Ukraine. They are scared Germany will be responsible for setting up a new Reich. It’s time to strip away the rest of the veneer and take a look at what’s really there.

Forget about the Nazi symbolism, and ultra-nationalist exuberance. I will even grant supporters of the current government that much.

Every important ministry, from education and social policy to policing, prosecution and national defense, is headed by Ultra Nationalists. In every aspect of national life, Ultra Nationalists now determine what it means to be Ukrainian and all the policies needed to enforce it.

Even Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk falls among this moderate majority. For generations his own family has had a proud tradition of service to the Ultra- Nationalist cause and has won awards for their service. Before Maidan it hurt his chances for election. After Maidan he didn’t need to worry about election.

What is Scary

In an OpEd in the LA Times, entitled “Ukraine’s Threat from Within,” Director of the School of International Relations at USC Robert English very concisely warns that “the way Ukrainian Ultra Nationalists whitewash Bandera history, which is their past, makes the present and future all that much more scary.”

The Banderas, or Banderites, are activists in the Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist movement that is now in control of the government in Ukraine. Under the militant leadership of Stepan Bandera in World War II, the ultra-nationalists organized the Ukrainian Waffen SS Galician, Nichtengall, and Roland Divisions that collaborated with the Nazis and were responsible for the genocide of over 500,000 people. Following the war, however, Ukrainian Nazis were the only group to escape trial at Nuremburg for crimes against humanity. Moreover, neither the Banderas, the Ukrainian Waffen SS, nor any other Ukrainian collaborators have ever apologized for their participation in genocide.

In the landmark work on the subject , Genocide Committed by Ukrainian Nationalists on the Polish Population During World War II, Ryszard Szawlowski characterizes it this way:

“…the Germans have long admitted to their crimes, and have apologized for them publicly …. [The] president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Roman Herzog, [said] in his speech in Warsaw on August 1, 1994 … ‘I bow before the fighters of the Warsaw Uprising, and before all the Polish war victims. I beg forgiveness for what the Germans did.’ Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when he kissed monsignor Zdzislaw Peszkowski on the hand, whispered the words ‘I apologize’ ….

“Ukrainian genocide committed against the Poles during World War II surpassed German and Soviet genocide …. [It] was marked by the utmost ruthlessness and barbarity, and … up until the present day, it has been denied or, at best, presented with reminders that all is “relative’ or other such evasions.” ................................ STEPHEN COHEN:What is the face of these people, this right wing? A, they hate Europe as much as they hate Russia. Their official statement is: Europe is homosexuals, Jews and the decay of the Ukrainian state. They want nothing to do with Europe. They want nothing to do with Russia. I’m talking about this—it’s not a fringe, but this very right-wing thing. What does their political activity include? It includes writing on buildings in western Ukraine, "Jews live here." That’s exactly what the Nazis wrote on the homes of Jews when they occupied Ukraine. A priest who represents part of the political movement in western Ukraine—Putin quoted this, but it doesn’t make it false. It doesn’t make it false; it’s been verified. A western Ukrainian priest said, "We, Ukraine, will not be governed by Negroes, Jews or Russians." So, these people have now come to the fore.

[-] 2 points by grapes (2629) 2 days ago

Ukraine and its neighborhood have running through them many fault lines between past empires, ethnicities, resettlements, annexations, genocides, and reconstitutions. Shall we sum it up as "sordid history"? There is no denying that by any reasonable person.

We CANNOT really change historical facts (although there ARE countries and peoples actively rewriting histories) in the past but we can create a better future based partly on learning of our sordid histories. Ukraine was not tried at Nuremberg probably because of its being a part of the victorious Soviet Union. That set a bad example for posterity but Ukraine was not the only country that had escaped judgment.

Let us quote Rodney King, "Can't we all just get along?" without burning this joint to ashes.

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[-] 2 points by grapes (2629) 2 days ago

Are you including my country, the U.S., as a Britain's colony although we had fought to escape Britain's control?

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[-] -1 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

and how bloody was the American revolution and it's aftermath (because you are talking about the aftermath with napoleon). slaves and Indians count no? the French revolution overthrew the existing order and shook up the world (to quote ali). the American just put the wealthiest man in the country into power. seems you read too much elite history - check out howard zinn -"a peoples history of the u.s."

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

I am a fan of the French Revolution because it spawned a truly modern (in thoughts and social structures for learning) European state. However, the infighting and bloodiness during the revolution was a bit too nauseating for me. Worse still it caused tremendous sufferings and deaths in other countries.

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

Usually slaves and the original Americans are not counted as casualties of the American Revolution because they are counted elsewhere. Once a stable political system has been reestablised, we generally consider a revolution to be over. Otherwise, the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement would be considered as the continuation of the American Revolution.

Most large countries have a bloody history behind how they got large. One notable exception is Canada. The U.S. impeached Andrew Jackson and Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon resigned from office on the threat of being impeached. The U.S. is many and not all of us turned a blind eye towards the slaves and the original Americans. We discipline both judicially as well as extra-judicially.

The issue of torture is what we need to address currently. The Israelis found out long time ago that torture did not work and more recent experiments provided evidence that extremely unpleasant treatments sear the strong emotion of hatred or fear into memory. Torture is a most effective way to produce permanent enemies but getting intelligence meets a dead end.

[-] -2 points by cordoba (21) from West Point, NY 1 day ago

The conditions preceding the French Revolution are remarkably similar to what's happening today. With any kind of luck, maybe 'they' will raise the price of French bread and things will get started.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_French_Revolution

[-] -1 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

very true what you say about the mess of Ukraine. not sure if this question about Britain is for me but I would say the American "revolution" was more of a coup than a revolution. exchanging one wealthy ruling class for another. now the French revolution was a REVOLUTION!

[-] 2 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

The American Revolution was far more than a coup although it is undeniable that the wealthy elites led it against the British Empire. The U.S. subsequently fought the war of 1812 and the British burned our White House.

Our national anthem speaks of our "perilous fight" against the British Empire whenever and wherever a Michael Phelps or a Mark Spitz brings glory to our nation, born of the Old World's "forlorn and brokenhearted" seeking a better future.

Despite our sordid history with Britain, the United Kingdom/Britain became our MOST trusted international partner. Ultimately we share values against Nazism, Fascism, and Militarism when all of us were threatened by Nazi conquest. Ukraine may take some comfort that the U.S., British Empire, and the Soviet Union stormed Berlin, with the Red Army doing the heaviest fighting and bleeding. These countries' descendants promised to preserve Ukraine's territorial integrity in the Budapest memorandum.

I believe that these countries' stances against Nazism are intact and unchanged. We can even add Germany, the most powerful economy in the EU, to the list although some German youth might have forgotten what Nazism had brought to Germany, perhaps due to their elders' overzealous and anguished eager to erase the Nazi relics, or Germany's rapid rebuild under the Marshall Plan of the U.S. Both conquered and devastated countries of Japan and Germany rose to global economic prominence under U.S. dominance.

Ukraine is joined culturally to Russia as the U.S. is to Britain and its former dominions. As Canada relates to the U.S., Ukraine can relate to Russia because geographical proximity and cultural heritage matter. Canada can boast of the American soldiers killed and buried in Quebec but that does NOT detract from our longest undefended border in the world or intimate intelligence sharing.

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

The French Revolution was far too tumultuous and bloody for me. The rise of Napoleon to power was a miracle. It is praiseworthy that he started the modernization of France but his crowning himself emperor amounted to a betrayal of the Revolution's democratic impulse.

We in the U.S. were fortunate to have George Washington who could have crowned himself but did not. The American Revolution may not have had the class-churning effect as compared to the French Revolution but its having been led by men of enlightenment contributed to the lasting democracy and stability resulting from the Law, not Men. The aftermath of the French Revolution amounted to the defeat of the democratic impulses of many peoples by the aristocratic and imperial forces of Europe.

I believe that the U.S. had fared better than France in their respective revolutions. There was no "glorious" conquest of the continent or newly crowned emperor but there were also no bloody wars and deaths due to the power struggles.

In the parlance of control theory, the American Revolution was critically damped (by George Washington, I think) but the French Revolution was underdamped. It is not bad to let some wealthy elites be in return for earlier peace and fewer deaths and casualties. Maybe Ukraine can tolerate some of its elites if they serve the Revolution.

[-] -2 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

you need to read better history books

[-] 1 points by grapes (2629) 1 day ago

I have learnt to be somewhat leery of history books because of the "editing" that had gone into "new-and-improved" but actually sanitized and reinterpreted versions of histories. I will read on for corroborating evidence.

[-] -1 points by stevebol (1234) from Milwaukee, WI 12 hours ago

Have to disagree with Mr Cohen. Obama is handling this as well as can be expected.

[-] 0 points by flip (4970) 10 hours ago

and where exactly do you do disagree with his analysis. he lays his case out pretty well. he has been interviewed by amy a few times and written more on the subject. I imagine if you read it all you would have trouble disagreeing with him

[-] 1 points by flip (4970) 8 hours ago

that is your answer? and who could care what Israel wants or think on the subject?

[-] 1 points by stevebol (1234) from Milwaukee, WI 5 hours ago

They can go to Israel if things get crazy in Ukraine.

[-] -1 points by stevebol (1234) from Milwaukee, WI 2 days ago

Read a very interesting comment yesterday. Someone from Crimea said the real issue is retirement.Who offers the better deal for seniors in these places?

[-] -1 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

and I heard a report that the standard of living is higher in Russia and they want theirs higher also. not surprising that economic issues are high on the list. there is also this historical issue with Nazis and what they did to Russia - if you read about ww2 and the eastern front you will be horrified

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[-] -2 points by stevebol (1234) from Milwaukee, WI 14 hours ago

This could be resolved peacefully. Putin is a thug and a militarist but he may have some valid points right now. Naturally the US reduces everything to monetary issues. Ukrainians were at war with everyone during WWII including other Ukrainians. Now is the time for them to get a grip and move forward. The whole world is watching.

[-] -2 points by stevebol (1234) from Milwaukee, WI 1 day ago

Putin, Merkel, you two behave. Let's not do anything really stupid.

[-] -3 points by stevebol (1234) from Milwaukee, WI 1 day ago

It's really up to these two;

Ukraine Crisis Limits Merkel’s Rapport With Putin

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/13/world/europe/on-ukraine-merkel-finds-limits-of-her-rapport-with-putin.html?_r=0

[-] -3 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

I do not usually like the elite media- I think this is a much better analysis - from stehpan cohen -

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, Stephen Cohen, it was just a few weeks ago when we had you on, as the crisis was beginning to unfold in Ukraine, and a lot of what you said then turned out to be true, which was that you feared that there would be a split in Ukraine itself between the east and west. And obviously Crimea was just developing then. But it seems that all of the emphasis in the coverage here is as if the crisis started with Russian aggression, not with the earlier period of what was NATO and Europe’s involvement in Ukraine before the deposing of the elected president.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, I think you’ve emphasized the absolute flaw in at least the American—because I don’t follow the European press that closely—the American media and political narrative. As a historian, I would say that this conflict began 300 years ago, but we can’t do that. As a contemporary observer, it certainly began in November 2013 when the European Union issued an ultimatum, really, to the then-president, elected president, of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, that "Sign an agreement with us, but you can’t have one with Russia, too." In my mind, that precipitated this crisis, because why give a country that has been profoundly divided for centuries, and certainly in recent decades, an ultimatum—an elected president: "Choose, and divide your country further"? So when we say today Putin initiated this chaos, this danger of war, this confrontation, the answer is, no, that narrative is wrong from the beginning. It was triggered by the European Union’s unwise ultimatum.

Now flash forward to just one month ago, about the time I was with you before. Remember that the European foreign ministers—three of them, I think—went to Kiev and negotiated with Yanukovych, who was still the president, an agreement. Now, the Russians were present at the negotiation, but they didn’t sign it. But they signed off on it. They said, "OK." What did that agreement call for? Yanukovych would remain president until December—not May, when elections are now scheduled, but December of this year. Then there would be a presidential election. He could run in them, or not. Meanwhile, there would be a kind of government of national accord trying to pull the government together. And, importantly, Russia would chip in, in trying to save the Ukrainian economy. But there would also be parliamentary elections. That made a lot of sense. And it lasted six hours.

The next day, the street, which was now a mob—let’s—it was no longer peaceful protesters as it had been in November. It now becomes something else, controlled by very ultra-nationalist forces; overthrew Yanukovych, who fled to Russia; burned up the agreement. So who initiated the next stage of the crisis? It wasn’t Russia. They wanted that agreement of February, a month ago, to hold. And they’re still saying, "Why don’t we go back to it?" You can’t go back to it, though there is a report this morning that Yanukovych, who is in exile in Russia, may fly to eastern Ukraine today or tomorrow, which will be a whole new dimension.

But the point of it is, is that Putin didn’t want—and this is reality, this is not pro-Putin or pro-Washington, this is just a fact—Putin did not want this crisis. He didn’t initiate it. But with Putin, once you get something like that, you get Mr. Pushback. And that’s what you’re now seeing. And the reality is, as even the Americans admit, he holds all the good options. We have none. That’s not good policymaking, is it?

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to President Obama. Thursday, he was interviewed by CBS News by Major Garrett.

MAJOR GARRETT: Is Vladimir Putin provoking a civil war there? And will you and Western leaders let him to get away with that?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I think that what is absolutely clear is not only have Russians gone into Crimea and annexed it, in illegal fashion, violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, but what they’ve also done is supported, at minimum, nonstate militias in southern and eastern Ukraine. And we’ve seen some of the activity that’s been taking place there.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Cohen?

STEPHEN COHEN: You left out one thing that he said which I consider to be unwise and possibly reckless. He went on to say that Russia wouldn’t go to war with us because our conventional weapons are superior. That is an exceedingly provocative thing to say. And he seems to be unaware, President Obama, that Russian military doctrine says that when confronted by overwhelming conventional forces, we can use nuclear weapons. They mean tactical nuclear weapons. I don’t think any informed president, his handlers, would have permitted him to make such a statement. In fact, depending on how far you want to take this conversation about the Obama administration, I don’t recall in my lifetime, in confrontations with Russia, an administration—I speak now of the president and his secretary of state—who seem in their public statements to be so misinformed, even uninformed, both about Ukraine and Russia. For example, when Kerry testified last week to Congress that all the unrest in Ukraine was due to Putin’s meddling and his provocations, he denied the underlying problem which has divided Ukraine. I mean, everybody knows that history, God, whoever’s responsible for our destiny, created a Ukraine that may have had one state, but wasn’t one country. It may be two, it may be three countries. But for John Kerry to say that all this conflict in Ukraine is due to Putin simply makes a resolution of the problem by denying the problem. Or let me ask you a question: What in the world was the director of the American CIA doing last Sunday—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: I was going to ask you about that.

STEPHEN COHEN: —in Kiev? It is mind-boggling that it was called a secret mission, when my grandson knows that the Ukrainian intelligence services are full of pro-Russian officers. And yet they send the head of the CIA, at this crucial, inflamed moment, thereby—to Kiev, thereby reinforcing the Russian narrative that everything that’s happening in Ukraine is an American provocation. What are they thinking?

AMY GOODMAN: Well, aside from having a very educated grandson, I just want to turn to NATO for a moment.

STEPHEN COHEN: Well, I told him that [inaudible]. But he got it. He got it.

AMY GOODMAN: NATO announced a series of steps to reinforce its forces—this is NATO in eastern Europe—because of the Ukraine crisis. NATO’s top military commander, Philip Breedlove, described the moves as defensive measures.

GEN. PHILIP BREEDLOVE: All the actions that we have proposed and have been accepted today are clearly defensive in nature. And I think it’s going to be very straightforward to see them as defensive in nature. They are designed to assure our allies. And so, I think that, in any case, it’s always a chance that you run that something might be misinterpreted. But we specifically designed these measures to assure our allies only and to be clearly seen as defensive in nature.

AMY GOODMAN: Your response, Professor Cohen?

STEPHEN COHEN: I’ve never known what "purely defensive weapons" have meant—I mean, presuming they are guns that shoot in only one direction. I mean, it’s going to have no effect. I mean, they’re talking about giving the Ukrainians maybe some small arms, some night vision stuff, some superior intelligence. They can’t give them intelligence information, because the Ukrainian intelligence services, as we know from the tapes we’ve had, the leaked tapes, and from the CIA secret mission which was exposed to Ukraine, revealed.

The real debate going on in NATO—the real debate, because this is a distraction—is what Rasmussen said in your earlier clip—he’s the political head of NATO—that we’re building up, as we talk, our forces in eastern Europe. Now, understand what’s going on here. When we took in—"we" meaning the United States and NATO—all these countries in eastern Europe into NATO, we did not—we agreed with the Russians we would not put forward military installations there. We built some infrastructure—air strips, there’s some barracks, stuff like that. But we didn’t station troops that could march toward Russia there. Now what NATO is saying, it is time to do that. Now, Russia already felt encircled by NATO member states on its borders. The Baltics are on its borders. If we move the forces, NATO forces, including American troops, to—toward Russia’s borders, where will we be then? I mean, it’s obviously going to militarize the situation, and therefore raise the danger of war.

And I think it’s important to emphasize, though I regret saying this, Russia will not back off. This is existential. Too much has happened. Putin—and it’s not just Putin. We seem to think Putin runs the whole of the universe. He has a political class. That political class has opinions. Public support is running overwhelmingly in favor of Russian policy. Putin will compromise at these negotiations, but he will not back off if confronted militarily. He will not..............you can get the whole thing here - http://www.democracynow.org/2014/4/17/we_are_not_beginning_a_new

[-] -3 points by diodorus (14) from Bronx, NY 1 month ago

President Obama, like his predecessors is clearly pursuing a provocative foreign policy in Eastern Europe that will lead to "permanent instability and permanent potential for real war" which is exactly what neoliberalism benefit$ from. I do not believe that it was not a coincidence that the crisis in Ukraine coincided with the Sochi Olympics either

[-] 0 points by flip (4970) 1 month ago

these fools are still playing "the great game" and we are the pawns. I was skiing in aspen over last week and so was ms Obama - last year she was a guest of the owners of aspen ski company - the crown family here is a piece from an article entitled "The Crown family: investing in weapons, war ...and Obama

By NicolasDavies - Posted on 01 May 2012 General Dynamics, Henry and Lester Crown

One family stands out as playing exactly that role in the political career of Barack Obama: the Crown family of Chicago. The importance of this relationship in Obama’s career exposes some of the roots of his subservience to the government of Israel, his threats of aggression against Iran, his expansion of the JSOC/CIA targeted killing program, and his unswerving commitment to record military budgets in a time of economic and fiscal crisis.

The Crowns are the children and grandchildren of Henry Crown, who made a fortune in the building materials business, had reputed links to the Chicago Mafia, and discovered the armaments business as a military procurement officer during the Second World War. Henry Crown bought a controlling interest in General Dynamics in 1959 and developed it into the largest weapons maker in the world, building the Trident submarine, the Atlas rocket, the F-16 fighter, the Abrams tank and much of America’s Cold War arsenal. The General Dynamics board forced him out as CEO in 1966, but he bought back a 20 percent share in the company and regained effective control in 1970.

Henry’s son Lester succeeded him as chair of General Dynamics in 1986 and as president of Henry Crown & Co, the family’s private investment firm. Lester is 86 now, but still takes a keen interest in politics. He is chair of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and founded the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University, which also received a $2.5 million grant directly from General Dynamics. He supports the arts in the U.S. and Israel—the Jewish Symphony Orchestra plays in Henry Crown Hall in Jerusalem. The Crown family is worth at least $4 billion, making it one of the richest families in America.

Under Lester Crown’s watchful eye, his children now handle most of the family’s business and political interests. His son James became President of Henry Crown & Co. in 2003 and sits on the board of General Dynamics. Altogether the Crown family gave at least $128,000 to Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign, in which Henry Crown & Co. was also Obama’s third largest institutional donor. In 2008, James Crown and his wife Paula were Obama’s fundraising chairs in Illinois and his fourth largest “bundlers” nationwide, raising millions of dollars for his presidential campaign.

[-] -2 points by diodorus (14) from Bronx, NY 1 month ago

That was really interesting. President Obama's ties with the Crown family and the MIC are disgusting. If I were you though I would never go back to that ski slope. Welcome home.

[-] -1 points by flip (4970) 1 month ago

I hear you but I will continue to ski there - it is the best place to ski. it is a pretty interesting place - for a fun read check out hunter Thompson's "freak power in the rockies" - he ran fro sheriff of aspen in 76 and lost by 6 votes (if I remember correctly) - I still have the poster from his campaign. the platform was to change the name of aspen to "fat city" - rip up the streets and plant sod and punish only unscrupulous drug dealers using public stocks

[+] -5 points by stevebol (1234) from Milwaukee, WI 1 day ago

It's hard to explain the dynamic between Ukraine and Russia. You have to be one to understand.

[-] -3 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

not sure how hard it is to understand the history of the area. seems pretty straight forward to me - the west is messing with russia. they keep playing the "great game"

[+] -4 points by stevebol (1234) from Milwaukee, WI 1 day ago

A lot of people identify as both Ukrainian+Russian. If the EU say's - decide what you are, didn't they expect turmoil? Putin probably worked out the 'what ifs'. What if the oil stops flowing into Europe? Just when you start hoping something isn't about oil, it is.

[-] -3 points by flip (4970) 1 day ago

STEPHEN COHEN:......., media coverage of this story, particularly in the United States, has been exceedingly misleading, very close to what Anton just told you. I would characterize Anton’s characterization, to be as polite as I can, as half-true. But a half-truth is an untruth.

The realities are, there is no "the Ukraine." All this talk about Ukraine is on the front line of democracy—there are at least two Ukraines. One tilts toward Poland and Lithuania, the West, the European Union; the other toward Russia. This is not my notion. This is what every public opinion poll has told us since this crisis unfolded, that about 40 percent of Ukrainians want to go west, 40 percent want to stay with Russia, and, as usually true in these polls, 20 percent just don’t know or they’re not sure.

Who precipitated this crisis? It was the European Union, in this sense. It gave the Ukrainian government, which, by the way, is a democratically elected government—if you overthrow this government, just like they overthrew Morsi in Egypt, you’re dealing a serious blow to democracy. So if the crowd manages to essentially carry out a coup d’état from the streets, that’s what democracy is not about. But here’s what the European Union did back in November. It told the government of Ukraine, "If you want to sign an economic relationship with us, you cannot sign one with Russia." Why not? Putin has said, "Why don’t the three of us have an arrangement? We’ll help Ukraine. The West will help Ukraine." The chancellor of Germany, Merkel, at first thought that was a good idea, but she backed down for various political reasons. So, essentially, Ukraine was given an ultimatum: sign the EU economic agreement or else.

Now, what was that agreement? It would have been an economic catastrophe for Ukraine. I’m not talking about the intellectuals or the people who are well placed, about ordinary Ukrainians. The Ukrainian economy is on the brink of a meltdown. It needed billions of dollars. What did the European Union offer them? The same austerity policies that are ravaging Europe, and nothing more—$600 million. It needed billions and billions.

There’s one other thing. If you read the protocols of the European offer to Ukraine, which has been interpreted in the West as just about civilizational change, escaping Russia, economics, democracy, there is a big clause on military cooperation. In effect, by signing this, Ukraine would have had to abide by NATO’s military policies. What would that mean? That would mean drawing a new Cold War line, which used to be in Berlin, right through the heart of Slavic civilization, on Russia’s borders. So that’s where we’re at to now.