“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, February 20, 2014

From flames to fiery opposition, protests rock Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand

  Catherine E. Shoichet. Jethro Mullen and Greg Botelho

(CNN) -- Demonstrators pack public squares. Flames shoot into the air. Tear gas sends crowds scrambling.

Dramatic scenes are unfolding during anti-government protests in three disparate countries this week, on three different continents.

The images are striking, and things are heating up quickly. What's happening on the ground?

Here's a cheat-sheet guide to the protests in Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand


What are protesters' demands?
Who's a better economic ally, Europe or Russia? That's the key issue at the heart of Ukraine's protests. Demonstrators want the government to forge closer ties with Europe and turn away from Russia.

But the dispute is also about power. Many in the opposition have called for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych and the ordering of new elections. And both on the streets and in parliament, they've also pushed to alter the government's overall power structure, feeling that too much of it rests with Yanukovych and not enough with parliament.

Who's protesting?

An opposition coalition has been leading the charge against Yanukovych and his allies.

On CNN iReport, protesters and onlookers have shared more than 100 photos and videos of clashes between demonstrators and police. The nighttime images are especially striking -- figures are silhouetted against large bonfires set alight in the streets.

When did demonstrations start?
In November, thousands spilled onto the streets after Yanukovych did a U-turn over a trade pact with the European Union that had been years in the making -- with Yanukovych favoring closer relations with Russia instead.

What's the latest?
Long-simmering tensions exploded anew in Ukraine as clashes between police and anti-government protesters left more than 25 people dead and the capital's central square on fire into early Wednesday.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will raise the possibility of sanctions against the Ukrainian government in remarks in Paris, a senior administration official told CNN.
Also Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande said the violence and crackdowns in Ukraine are "unspeakable, unacceptable, intolerable acts." "Those who committed violent acts have to know they will be sanctioned," Hollande said.


 Photos: Protests erupt in Venezuela
What are protesters' demands?
Demonstrators are demanding better security, an end to goods shortages and protected freedom of speech.
They blame Venezuela's government, led by President Nicolas Maduro, for those problems. Maduro and other officials blame the opposition for the country's security and economic problems.

Who's protesting?
Many demonstrators across the country are students. Prominent opposition politicians have also led protests and joined marches.
Since February 13, more than 1,100 images have been uploaded to iReport, CNN's user-generated platform. Many of the videos and photos are gruesome and depict violent scenes between demonstrators and police.

When did demonstrations start?
Nationwide student protests started this month. On February 12, the demonstrations drew global attention after three people were killed.

What's the latest?
As throngs of supporters chanted their support, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez turned himself in to authorities Tuesday. He faces charges of terrorism and murder connected with violence during the protests. Lopez has denied the charges. Maduro, meanwhile, has called members of the opposition fascists and compared them to an infection that needs to be cured.


Photos: Protests in Thailand's national election

What are protesters' demands?
Protesters in Bangkok have been calling for months for the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, whom they allege is a puppet of her billionaire brother, the deposed, exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Who's protesting?
Opposition to Thaksin and Yingluck is strongest among the urban elites and middle class. That's why the demonstrations have been concentrated in Bangkok. The protesters want to replace Yingluck's government with an unelected "people's council" to see through electoral and political changes.
Thailand residents and visitors have shared dozens of stories of unrest on CNN iReport over the past month. The latest approved photos show demonstrators sleeping in the streets in Bangkok as a form of peaceful protest.

When did demonstrations start?
Protests began in November after Yingluck's government tried to pass an amnesty bill that would have paved the way for her brother's return to the political fray.

What's the latest?
Deadly violence erupted in the heart of Bangkok Tuesday as anti-government protesters clashed with police, and the country's anti-corruption commission filed charges against the Prime Minister.


  1. These "protests" all have One Thing in common:

    They are All, without exception, None of My Business.

  2. 62nd Security Forces Squadron
    335 members
    A place for current and former...

    Wailea Canoe Club
    181 members
    Surf and Paddle Club in Kihei, Maui

    I have been to Camp Shelby, Ms and I'm dumber because of it. :-)

  3. Shoot to kill orders in Ukraine.

  4. “We may be witnessing the first hour of a civil war,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told lawmakers in Warsaw yesterday. “If people are dying and being injured during protests, it’s the authorities who are responsible.”

  5. Some outfit in Chicago, a couple of years back, tested the DNA of 4 random Americans (including a full-blooded Cree Indian,) and it all traced back to a single Ukrainian woman circa: 13,000 BC.

    1. Is "Eve" a Ukrainian name?

    2. I wouldn't know a Cree from Adam.

    3. That might have been 13,000 BCE.

    4. ...notice how Rufus slipped a Cree in with real Americans.

      As if...

    5. .

      Sounds like the lady was kept pretty busy.


  6. Well, the flames are Orange, shall we call it Orange Revolution 2.0 ?

  7. Somebody asked an expert somebody if Putin might just put a military move on Kiev.

    The expert somebody replied that that was unlikely, 'cause the Ukrainian Military was well-trained, and had fourth and fifth generation equipment.

    The result would be plenty of blood let for DNA testing on both sides.

  8. The scene on the live feed from has changed. No longer focused upon the Revolutionary Square, it appears the rebels are building a new defensive line, prepping for another round of street fighting, as the sun drops low into the western sky.

    No telling where they are, in relationship to last nights' battle. The loudspeakers can still be heard, in the background.

    1. They have a large supply of tires prepared to be laid on the fires, yet to be lit.

      There were just the sounds of small arms firing, the people in the field of view are taking cover!

  9. .

    The only striking thing about US policy is the hypocrisy that is involved. The US now says any deaths in the Ukraine are the responsibility of the present government (one inimical to US and EU overtures) and along with the EU are threatening sanctions.

    On the other hand you have Thailand where there has been little talk of sanctions even though US law demands it. There is not only the current political violence but the longstanding charges of kidnapping and trafficking in the fishing industry where forced labor, torture, and death are ubiquitous. Thailand's latest record on this issue puts them in the lowest class with one or two other countries such as North Korea, a category that by law demands US sanctions. However, John Kerry granted the country a one year waiver to try to improve its performance. Fat chance, given the trafficking has been going on for years and is important to the Thai economy. Thailand supplies one sixth of the US' total imports of fish.

    Then you have Venezuela and the abuses there. However, Venezuela is one of the US main trading partners. They are the fifth largest supplier of oil to the US and buy about a half billion of US product each year. I would be surprised if we saw any sanctions there.


    1. The same applies in Egypt, Q.
      The law is clear, with regards to military coup de etats.

      When is a coup not a coup?
      When the military has US and Israeli support.

      The other option for the thread, Bibi consoling a wounded international mercenary, currently hospitalized in Israel.
      When is a mercenary not a mercenary, when they have US and Israeli support.

      You are right, there will be no sanctions against the Venezuelans, the US will not cut off its nose, to spite its face.

  10. Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) -- A shaky truce crumbled Thursday as gunfire erupted at Independence Square, the center of anti-government protests and an increasingly violent crisis that protest leaders say left as many as 128 dead in recent days.

  11. .

    The following shows the true stripes of right-wing whack jobs like Nicki Haley.

    South Carolina is glad to have non-union jobs from BMW, Michelin and Boeing, but don’t expect any factories from Ford, General Motors, Chrysler or other companies with unionized work forces.

    According to Gov. Nikki Haley, they’re not welcome.

    Haley said Wednesday that she discourages companies from building new facilities in South Carolina if they are planning to bring a union with them.

    “It’s not something we want to see happen,” she told the Greenville News following an appearance at an automotive conference in downtown Greenville.

    “We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to take the water.”

    State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, Haley’s Democratic opponent in this year’s gubernatorial race, said he thinks South Carolina should remain a right-to-work state where workers are free to decide whether to join unions or not.

    “But I also think that if Ford Motor Co. wanted to bring 10,000 jobs to South Carolina, we would welcome them with open arms,” Sheheen said.

    “We need good, high-paying jobs in South Carolina. Part of leadership is putting ideology and partisanship to the side when there’s something that could be good for South Carolina.”

    Public unions are one thing and there are plenty of reasons for not having them. Private unions are what created the middle class we know in this country. Wig job extremists like Haley are not helpful in a country with high unemployment and declining median incomes.


    1. The Republican Party has an animus towards the 'Middle Class', Quirk.

      As is well illustrated by Nikki Haley and her statement.

    2. Then, again, maybe Nikki Haley is not a 'Real' Republican...
      It may be that Nikki Haley is a 'Conservative'!

      Only doug would know, fer sur.

    3. Nikki is, she's cute.

      Jindal, not so much.

    4. “We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to take the water.”


      "take the water."

    5. USA Today's got it right:

      "we don't want to taint the water."

      Now it makes perfect sense, you go, girl!

      Good Girls don't like taint.

    6. "taint an asshole and taint a pussy"

    7. That'll keep Real Americans going down for more.

    8. gooch, grundle, scrid, taint, tisney, and barse

  12. KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Fearing that a call for a truce was a ruse, protesters tossed firebombs and advanced upon police lines Thursday in Ukraine's embattled capital. Government snipers shot back and the almost-medieval melee that ensued left at least 33 people dead.

    Video footage on Ukrainian television showed shocking scenes Thursday of protesters being cut down by gunfire, lying on the pavement as comrades rushed to their aid. Trying to protect themselves with shields, teams of protesters carried bodies away on sheets of plastic or on planks of wood.

    Protesters were also seen leading policemen with hands held high around the sprawling protest camp in central Kiev — Ukraine's Interior ministry says 67 police were captured in all. They are being held in Kiev's occupied city hall, an opposition lawmaker said.

    1. has returned to its previous camera location. The rebel camp seems to have 'grown'.

  13. Is Ted Cruz a 'Real' Republican, or a 'Conservative'?

    Ted Cruz Blasts Senate Republicans for 'Trickery' over Debt Ceiling Vote: In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash Thursday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas slammed the Senate Republican leadership for trying to force a “show vote” on the debt ceiling last week. “What Republican leadership said is we want this to pass, but if every senator affirmatively consents to doing it on 51 votes, then we can all cast a vote no and we can go home to our constituents and say we opposed it,” Cruz said. “And listen, that sort of show vote, that sort of trickery to the constituents is why Congress has a 13 percent approval rating.”

    “In my view,” he added. “We need to be honest with our constituents. And last week, what it was all about was truth and transparency. I think all 45 Republicans should have stood together and said of course not.”

    The Senate Republican leadership wanted the debt ceiling vote to pass without Republican votes but Cruz' filibuster forced Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn to vote “yay” on a procedural vote to advance the debt ceiling bill.

    Cruz argues that he was not trying to throw his fellow Republicans “under the bus” by forcing them to vote for cloture. “I would like to see all 45 Republicans stand together and actually do what we tell our constituents,” he said.

    He went on: “The funny thing is what I told the voters of Texas, I guarantee you all 45 Republican senators tell voters in their states the same thing, which is they're going to lead the fight to stop the spending and to stop the debt and if 45 Republicans had stood together, nobody gets thrown under the bus.”

    1. Surprise you missed the real question:

      Is he a real American???

    2. Of course he is an American, doug.

      Whether or not he qualifies as a 'Natural Born citizen of the United States. ...

      Well, Farmer Bob would say no. Cruz being the son of an immigrant.

      But the immigrant was from America, just not one of the United States thereof.

      Just like people born in Hawaii, today, they are natural born citizens of the US, but they are not Americans, they are Polynesians.

      It is a matter of geography, not genetics or political lines drawn on a map.

    3. Definitely not a Mainstream DC GOPer.

      That other vote would have been typical DC Chickenshit Bullshit.

    4. .

      When guys like Cruz and Christie are the ones being considered for the GOP nomination in 2016, you know the GOP is in trouble.

      When, you start looking at the entire field for 2016 and Hillary looks like the most qualified, you know the entire country is in trouble.

      Hopefully, a governor or a no-name will surface from somewhere and save us all.


  14. Sorry Quirk, maybe your girls will do better next time ;)

  15. Replies
    1. and tomorrow - the US boys go down! Hopefully you've got your tissues close by.

    2. Yeah, if they win, we all know what Q's gonna use those tissues for.

    3. .

      I love it when people boast before the game is played.


      I'll pick up some tissues when I actually need them.


    4. Throwing down the gauntlet dude! If only we could bet I'd be makin' money ;)

    5. Loser Keeps Bieber

      USA vs Canada hockey match tomorrow: Loser keeps Bieber

      (billboard found in Chicago)

  16. Suvarnabhumi airport braces for rice farmer protest - Bangkok Post- news

    -Bangkok Post- news

    Suvarnabhumi airport has set aside its long-term parking area to host around 1,000 farmers coming to Bangkok to demand rice-pledging payments from the caretaker government.

    The farmers are travelling to the capital in a convoy of about 400 e-taen farm trucks, 10 ten-wheel trucks, 12 six-wheel trucks, 50 pick-up trucks and about 150 motorcycles. They left Uthai Thani and...

    1. What if 10 Iranian Terrorists disguised as Mexican Truckers protesting the new safety and mileage regulations drove their Semis loaded with fertilizer and kerosene to DC...?

    2. The current picture shows a Hell of a lot of Tractors, too.

      Previously showed the trucks, which were quite colorful.

  17. Today
    79° 46°

    81° 52°

    82° 54°

    84° 54°

    heh, heh, heh.

  18. In Sochi?

    Tonight - Mostly clear, with a low around 71. Southeast wind around 7 mph.

    Friday - Isolated showers after noon. Sunny, with a high near 78. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

    Friday Night - Mostly clear, with a low around 70. West wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable after midnight.

    Saturday - Sunny, with a high near 78. North wind 3 to 6 mph.

  19. Adelaide:

    Today - 72' partly cloudy.

  20. Investors blamed another round of disappointing U.S. economic data on the weather, sending stocks and the dollar higher, while Treasurys fell. Oil slipped as data showed weekly supplies rose, and gold fell on weak manufacturing data from China.

    There's not much happening on the data front Friday in Asia, but the Bank of Japan is set to release the minutes of its January policy meeting. While the minutes themselves aren't likely to cause fireworks, they could provide some insight into the internal debate on the board about whether to engage in further easing.

    U.S. stocks gained broadly, propelling the S&P 500 closer to its record high, as investors shrugged off a mixed bag of economic reports.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Replies
    1. Looks like the other lazy ass cop didn't even push.


  23. Union Intimidation Continues at Volkswagen's Chattanooga Plant

    The head of VW’s union in Germany is at it again, threatening both to refuse further expansion in the entire South and also to block production of an additional VW model at the Chattanooga plant.

    These statements, made by a person who sits on VW’s board, are just as patently illegal as would be equivalent statements made by management threatening loss of jobs if unionization occurred:

    1. In that same article, by the same author doug, it is stated that ...very likely illegal ... is the Standard.

      patently = openly, plainly, or clearly

      very likely = maybe.

      Since the author of the piece is not sure of the legality of a statement made in Germany, about expansion of the product line in a US manufacturing plant, it is difficult to draw a conclusion, based upon the story told.

      Then there is a further bug in the mix, a play on words, so to speak.
      "... as would be equivalent statements ..." There are no equivalent statements made by management.

      The next wiggle word used by the author ...
      "...construed ..."
      Construed = interpret (a word or action) in a particular way.

      There are many other ways to 'construe' the statement made by the German, than as a threat.

      Guess we all need to get a "RedState" decoder ring, so we can read between the lines, too.

  24. (Reuters) - Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators faced off in streets blocked by burning barricades in several provincial cities on Thursday as protests escalated against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government.

    At least five people have died since the violence broke out last week, the most serious unrest since Maduro was narrowly elected in April 2013. There have been scores of injuries and arrests.

    The protesters, mostly students, want Maduro to resign, and blame his government for violent crime, high inflation, product shortages and alleged repression of opponents.

    Thursday's most serious unrest was in the western Andean states of Tachira and Merida, which have been especially volatile since hardline opposition leaders called supporters onto the streets in early February demanding Maduro's departure.

    In the city of San Cristobal, which some residents are describing as a "war zone", many businesses remained shut as students and police faced off again. The government says it is taking "special measures" to restore order in Tachira.

    "This is not a militarization," Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres said on state TV from San Cristobal.

    "We are here to work for the great majority of people in Tachira. ... Before we have dialogue, we must have order."

    Maduro says he will not let his rivals turn Tachira into "a Benghazi," referring to the violence-wracked Libyan city.

    1. Wasn't Venezuela another peaceful South American Country in the 1950's?

      What went wrong w/all those places?

      I guess DC provides a good template for the early years of decline.

    2. Nixon wasn't exactly welcomed w/open arms.

    3. Oil, is what went wrong in Venezuela.
      Mexico ... Oil, Nationalism, Chauvinism, Greed, all compounded by US policies, foreign and domestic.

      And the Napoleonic legal system, which is not well suited for the modern world.

  25. Q:


    "Hopefully, a governor or a no-name will surface from somewhere and save us all."


    Wisconsin had a 3 Billion Dollar Deficit when Walker took office.

    Now, a 1 Billion Dollar Surplus.

    ...and Q conveniently forgets his prediction of Doom.

    1. ...probly deleted it by now, and he tells me to go fetch. :-(

    2. .

      Hey, grab me a beer and then go fetch.


    3. All I got is Rolling Rock.
      No Hops, No Carbonation, far as I can tell.

      (I don't consider the Sierra Nevada IPA to be "Beer")

      It's Injun Pale Ale, afterall.

      Pure Ukrainian DNA, I'm told.

  26. Replies
    1. :-)

      Gotta send that to my future dotter in law.

      She just stood me up.

  27. Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager expects to file a roadmap in federal court on Friday detailing how the city will treat some $18 billion of debt and other obligations as it tries to exit bankruptcy, a city spokesman said on Thursday.


    Judge Steven Rhodes, who is overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy case -- the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history -- set a March 1 deadline for the plan.