Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

“Putin is right” –former US Ambassador under Reagan

Posted by Charles II on September 3, 2014

DemocracyNow:

AMY GOODMAN: Ukraine and NATO have accused Russia of sending armored columns of troops into Ukraine, but Russia has denied its troops are involved in fighting on the ground. Over the past week, the Russian-backed rebels have made a number of advances in eastern Ukraine. On Monday, rebels took control of the airport in the city of Luhansk. Now they’re storming the airport in Donetsk, the biggest city under their control. On Tuesday, an Italian newspaper reported Putin had told outgoing European Commission President José Manuel Barroso that he could take Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, within two weeks, if he wanted to. The Kremlin said the remark was taken out of context.

Joining us now is Jack Matlock, served as U.S. ambassador to the former Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, author of several books, including Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray—And How to Return to Reality, as well as Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended.

Ambassador Matlock, we welcome you to Democracy Now! What do you think is most important to understand what’s happening in Ukraine today?

JACK MATLOCK: Well, I think one of the most important things to understand is that, practically speaking, the Ukrainians and the Russians have to agree on what would be an acceptable way to proceed within Ukraine. That is the fact of the matter. And one can, you know, talk all one wishes about how impermissible it is for Russia to intervene, but the fact is they are going to intervene until they are certain that there is no prospect of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO. And all of the threats by NATO and so on to sort of increase defenses elsewhere is simply provocative to the Russians. Now, I’m not saying that’s right, but I am saying that’s the way Russia is going to react. And frankly, this is all predictable. And those of us who helped negotiate the end of the Cold War almost unanimously said in the 1990s, “Do not expand NATO eastward. Find a different way to protect eastern Europe, a way that includes Russia. Otherwise, eventually there’s going to be a confrontation, because there is a red line, as far as any Russian government is concerned, when it comes to Ukraine and Georgia and other former republics of the Soviet Union.”

AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday—

JACK MATLOCK: I would say, with the exception of the three Baltic states. They were a special case.

AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for immediate negotiations on the statehood of southern and eastern Ukraine. On Monday, Putin blamed Kiev’s leadership for declining to participate in direct political talks with the separatists. This is what he said.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: [translated] What is the essence of the tragedy that is happening in Ukraine right now? I think the main reason for that is that the current Kiev leadership does not want to carry out a substantive political dialogue with the east of its country. And so, right now, in my opinion, a very important process, a process of direct talks, starts. We have been working on it for a long time, and we agreed upon that with President Poroshenko in Minsk. We start to have—or renew, to be precise—this sort of contact.

AMY GOODMAN: Ambassador Matlock, the significance of what President Putin is saying?

JACK MATLOCK: Well, it does seem to me that, practically speaking, there needs to be an understanding between Russia and the Ukrainians as to how to solve this problem. It is not going to be solved militarily. So the idea that we should be giving more help to the Ukrainian government in a military sense simply exacerbates the problem. And the basic problem is Ukraine is a deeply divided country. And as long as one side tries to impose its will on the other—and that is what has happened since February, the Ukrainian nationalists in the west have been trying to impose their will on the east, and the Russians aren’t going to permit that. And that is the fact of the matter. So, yes, there simply needs to be an agreement.

And most of the—I would say, the influence of the West in trying to help the Ukrainians by, I would say, defending them against the Russians tends to be provocative, because—you know, Putin is right: If he decided, he could take Kiev. Russia is a nuclear power. And Russia feels that we have ignored that, that we have insulted them time and time again, and that we are out to turn Ukraine into an American puppet that surrounds them. And, you know, with that sort of psychology, by resisting that, in Russian eyes, he has gained unprecedented popularity. So, it seems to me that we have to understand that, like it or not, the Ukrainians are going to have to make an agreement that’s acceptable to them, if they keep their unity.

AMY GOODMAN: What about NATO officials saying they plan to approve a NATO rapid reaction force that would, what, be a 4,000-member force that could be rapidly deployed to eastern Europe in response to what they called Russia’s aggressive behavior?

JACK MATLOCK: Well, I’m not aware of what that aggressive behavior in regard to the Baltic states is. And again, I think that’s unnecessary, and it tends to make the Russians even more demanding when it comes to Ukraine.

When Reagan’s ambassador to the USSR is telling us that US policy is over-aggressive, unrealistic, and counterproductive, we should listen.

Posted in wrong way to go about it | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Israeli Policy Reaches New Heights of Incoherence/Updated

Posted by Charles II on September 1, 2014

Israeli policy has reached new heights of incogherence. Jeffrey Heller, Reuters:

JERUSALEM, Aug 31 (Reuters) – Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years, drawing Palestinian condemnation and a U.S. rebuke.

Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared “state land, on the instructions of the political echelon” by the military-run Civil Administration.

“We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” a State Department official said in Washington, calling the move “counterproductive” to efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June.

The military carefully named “the political echelon” as the source of this order. Kol Yisrael, Israel Radio, is the official government radio station.

Now, consider. There’s nothing in this report to indicate that the people from who this land was stolen were in any way responsible for a crime. Israel is punishing the innocent, which will of course provoke more anger. Therefore, we can either believe that Israeli wants more violence from Palestinians so that it can direct disproportionate force against them, or that they think that grabbing land will resurrect the dead. The former would imply that the Netanyahu government is terminally corrupt, so the only charitable interpretation is the latter.

But both alternatives represent equally incoherent policy on the part of the government.

A good day to remember Avi Schlaim‘s piece, excerpted here.

____
More explication of the motive for this land grab from Haaretz via Al Jazeera:

The intention of appropriating the land is to create territorial continuity between the Green Line and settlements of Beitar Illit, Kfar Etzion, and Gvaot,” Haaretz reported. “The announcement is the latest in a series of plans designed to attach the Etzion settlement bloc to Jerusalem and its environs.”

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East | 4 Comments »

Anglo-American policy in the Middle East explained

Posted by Charles II on August 31, 2014

I received this from a friend.

Just in case you are confused by what is going on in the Middle East, I have obtained this simple explanation of the UK Government’s apparent position:


We support the Iraqi government in the fight against ISIS. We don’t like ISIS, but ISIS is supported by Saudi Arabia whom we do like.

We don’t like Assad in Syria. We support the fight against him, but ISIS is also fighting against him.


We don’t like Iran, but Iran supports the Iraqi government in its fight against ISIS.

So some of our friends support our enemies, some enemies are now our friends, and some of our enemies are fighting against our other enemies, whom we want to lose, but we don’t want our enemies who are fighting our enemies to win.

If the people we want to defeat are defeated, they could be replaced by people we like even less.

And all this was started by Blair siding with Bush and invading a country to drive out terrorists who were not actually there until after we went in to drive them out.

Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, Iraq war, Just for fun | 4 Comments »

Good News You Likely Haven’t Heard From CNN Or The NYT

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 30, 2014

Here’s some good news you probably won’t hear from most nationally-focused US media:

– Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium (aka the guy who got all the 2012 Senate races right along with the Presidential race) has been saying that the Democrats have at least a 70% chance of keeping the Senate (today’s current snapshot gives them a 75% chance, with a longer-range Election Day forecast of 65%). How does he do it? By using poll data and not “secret sauce” (aka pulledoutmyass.com). (And the only reason I know about this is because of the cartoon in this Daily Kos post.)

– Mitch McConnell, who has been in a very tough race with Democratic candidate Alison Grimes, just took a big blow when his campaign manager, Jesse Benton, resigned today. Seems that back in 2012, when Benton worked for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign, he was involved in getting Kent Sorenson, then an Iowa state Senator, to switch his endorsement from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul, a move which Sorenson, on pleading guilty to Federal bribery charges Wednesday, says the Paul campaign paid him $73,000 to make. (Benton, by the way, is married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter, Valori Pyeatt.)

A town in West Virginia, where King Coal normally rules without question, has developed a useful funding model for converting to solar power.

So what’s the good word in your parts this week?

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Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on August 29, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 4 Comments »

Germany Ramps Up Solar And Wind Use, Its Power Grid Gets Stronger

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2014

Dirty-energy lobbyists claim that adding solar and wind power to a nation’s electrical grid will somehow make it less stable and reliable.

Germany has just proved them wrong:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/08/12/3470070/germany-reliable-grid-renewables/

Check out the whole story and pass it on.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on August 22, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 3 Comments »

DFL HQ Joins Aaron Rupar In Ripping Off Bluestem Prairie

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 21, 2014

This little thing from the DFL’s crack messaging staff appeared under my e-mail transom today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 21, 2014

 

Three strikes, their out: Out of state groups continue to mislead, distort Congressman Collin Peterson’s record

Last night in a TV interview, Sen Torrey Westrom refused to condemn websites that have been called misleading by Minnesota newspapers, the third time that out of state groups have used misleading tactics to target Collin Peterson. “Misleading attacks and distortions aren’t the Minnesota way but Sen. Westrom refuses to stand up to his own party,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “The contrast couldn’t be more clear between Collin Peterson, who puts Minnesota’s farmers first regardless of the politics, and Sen Westrom, who has refused to stand up to his own party and condemn these desperate and misleading attacks.”

-30-

Background:

NRCC Used Fake News Website Criticizing Congressman Peterson. In 2014 the Twin Cities reported: “The new websites, even though they’re designed to look like local news sources, are actually advertisements – two of at least 20 targeting Democratic candidates for the U.S. House, and paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee.” [Twin Cities, 8/14/14]

  • Headline: GOP Creates Look-Alike News Sites Targeting Minnesota Democrats [Twin Cities, 8/14/14]
  • Headline: NRCC Launches Fake News Sites to Attack Democratic Candidates [National Journal
    8/1/14]
  • NRCC Used Fake Peterson for Congress Website to Solicit Donations. In 2014 the Star Tribune reported: “A Republican campaign group that set up fake 2014 election websites for Democrats, including Minnesota’s Collin Peterson, has tweaked the sites to make clear that donations sent through them will benefit the GOP. The National Republican Congressional Committee recently made the changes after Washington, D.C.-based watchdog groups raised concerns about the sites possibly violating Federal Election Commission rules.” [Star Tribune, 2/17/14]
  • Headline: GOP group tweaks its ‘Collin Peterson for Congress’ website [Star Tribune, 2/17/14]
  • Headline: Ethics Complaint Filed Against Head of NRCC for Fake Campaign Websites; Congressman Peterson one of NRCC’s Targets [Politics.MN, 3/12/14]
  • NRCC Used Minnesota Twins to Attack Congressman Peterson. In 2013 the City Pages reported: “In a new radio spot, the National Republican Congressional Committee uses audio from the Twins’ dramatic
    1991 Game 7 World Series win against Collin Peterson, the Democrat who has represented southern Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District since that same year.” [City Pages, 12/13/13]
  • Headline: Republican attack ad uses Minnesota Twins against Collin Peterson [City Pages, 12/13/13]
  • Headline: DFL blasts Republicans for politicizing Minnesota Twins [City Pages, 12/16/13]

Ellen M. Perrault

Communication Director

Minnesota DFL

First off, somebody needs to read up on the difference between “their” and “they’re”.

Second off, the Torrey Westrom interview aired August 18, not “last night” (August 20).

Third off, the reason I know this is because Bluestem Prairie broke that particular wrinkle of the story (Westrom’s refusal to disavow the fake site) on August 18, right here:

http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2014/08/mn07-young-gun-torrey-westrom-wont-disavow-nrcc-fake-collin-peterson-website.html

Not only that, but Bluestem Prairie was the first media in Minnesota to post about the fake website back in February 2014, in NRCC creates fake Collin Peterson site “to lure” voters, CNN special investigations unit reports.

Last week, Bluestem posted about yet another fake site from Westrom’s Beltway Republican supporters in MN07: DC-based national Republicans launch fake news website against Collin Peterson.

C’mon, Ms. Perrault. It won’t hurt you to credit your actual sources. You know full well Bluestem exists.

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Rick Perry, Jim Stuck, Rosemary Lehmberg

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 20, 2014

Recently indicted Rick Perry claims that the desire to keep a state watchdog agency off his back was not why he pressured Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her DUI incident.

If that’s the case, why then was he far more lenient towards another state official with a DUI incident, Jim Stick?

As Progress Texas reports:

In 2011, Republican and former State Representative Jim Stick was arrested for drunk driving. He has since been appointed as chief legal counsel for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, earning an annual salary of $162,000.
Then, there are officials who held identical offices as Rosemary Lehmberg. Since Perry has taken office, two other District Attorneys have been charged with drunk driving, but Rick Perry made no calls for their resignation.

• In 2009, Kaufman County District Attorney Rick Harrison was found guilty of drunk driving after driving the wrong way in traffic.
• In 2003, Swisher County D.A. Terry McEachern was found guilty of a DWI.

What’s the difference between these District Attorneys and the Travis County District Attorney? It could be that they are Republicans. More likely, it’s that these district attorneys were not overseeing investigations of the governor’s signature project – the Cancer Research Fund – which has since resulted in a felony indictment.

The thing speaks for itself.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted by MEC on August 15, 2014

Friday Cat Blogging

Posted in Alexander the Great, Friday Cat Blogging | 1 Comment »

 
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