“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 27, 2014

In Crimea, armed men seize regional government HQ and raise Russian flag

Ukraine Protests
Pro-Russian demonstrators protested outside government buildings in Crimea, Ukraine, on Wednesday. (Darko Vojinovic/The Associated Press)

Armed men seize Crimean headquarters

Meanwhile, armed men seized the regional government headquarters and parliament in Ukraine's Crimea on Thursday and raised the Russian flag, alarming Kyiv's new rulers, who urged Moscow not to abuse its navy base rights on the peninsula by moving troops around.
"I am appealing to the military leadership of the Russian Black Sea fleet," said Olexander Turchinov, acting president since the removal of Yanukovich last week. "Any military movements, the more so if they are with weapons, beyond the boundaries of this territory [the base] will be seen by us as military aggression.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry also summoned Russia's acting envoy in Kyiv for immediate consultations.
There were mixed signals from Moscow, which put fighter jets along its western borders on combat alert, but earlier said it would take part in discussions on an International Monetary Fund (IMF) financial package for Ukraine. Ukraine has said it needs $35 billion US over the next two years to stave off bankruptcy.
The fear of military escalation prompted expressions of concern from the West, with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urging Russia not to do anything that would "escalate tension or create misunderstanding".
Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski called the seizure of government buildings in the Crimea a "very dangerous game".
It was not immediately known who was occupying the buildings in the regional capital Simferopol and they issued no demands, but witnesses said they spoke Russian and appeared to be ethnic Russian separatists.

Map: A divided Ukraine

European loyalties run highest in the Ukrainian-speaking west of the country, while the eastern half generally falls more into the Russian orbit. Hover over the red and blue dots to learn more about specific flashpoints in the conflict.


  1. Hillary Clinton lauds Ariz. veto of anti-gay bill
    Washington Post

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Hillary Rodham Clinton praised Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's decision to veto a bill that would have allowed people with sincerely held religious beliefs to refuse to serve gays.

  2. MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Ukraine's Viktor Yanukovich said on Thursday he was still the legitimate president of his country and that people in its south-eastern and southern regions would never accept the "lawlessness" brought by leaders chosen by a mob.

    Russian news agencies quoted a statement by Mr Yanukovich as saying he had asked Moscow to guarantee his personal safety.

    The statement could not be independently verified and it was not clear where Mr Yanukovich was, although some media groups have suggested he is in Moscow after fleeing Ukraine, where he was toppled by opposition forces at the weekend.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said he had no information and could not comment on the statement.

  3. Ukraine has the 2nd largest military in Europe (behind only Russia.)

  4. .

    $35 billion.

    And I thought Egypt had problems.


    1. .

      Just kidding of course.

      While Ukraine has an industrial and resource base to draw on Egypt is currently the poster boy for a failed, or at least failing, state.

      However, the Ukraine has still been in recession and is estimated to have a 50/50 chance of bankruptcy.


  5. meanwhile:

    "President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered the Russian military in its central and western commands – more than 150,000 troops with hundreds of tanks and helicopter gunships – to be put on alert for war games in the areas bordering Ukraine while fighter jets patrolled the border."


    "Mr. Shoigu said the drills will last until March 3. Russia has so far refused to recognize the regime that came to power in Kiev following the violent ouster of Mr. Yanukovych. Meanwhile, the West is rushing to support it, with Washington and Brussels giving vocal support – and promising money – to the protest movement.

    Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird is also rushing to Kiev this week, aiming to show solidarity with interim president Oleksander Turchynov and the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, who Ukraine's parliament approved Thursday.

    President Barack Obama warned “outside actors in the region … to end provocative rhetoric and actions.” Instead, Moscow should use its “influence in support of unity, peace and an inclusive path forward,” Josh Earnest, a White House spokesman said."

  6. Look at what we did, Jack

    Steve Anderson - via

    This is amazing. I’ve just had a meeting with our campaigns team about the results of The Day We Fight Back against secret spying.

    Turns out over 850,000 people just like you took part, and we sent over 89,000 phone calls and messages to key decision-makers in the U.S. and across the globe.1 Events were held on five continents - from Ireland to India, California to South Africa. And that’s not all - incredibly, over 37 MILLION people were reached by our campaign on just a single day.

    I’m the founder of Internet freedom organization, one of the organizations behind The Day We Fight Back campaign. Jack, I just want to thank you for being a part of it.

    The secret spying establishment is not backing down yet, but decision-makers are finally starting to feel the heat from Internet users and not just spy agency bureaucrats.

    At collaborative campaigns like this are what we do – we amplify the Internet community’s voice for an open and surveillance-free Internet.

    Here’s an example: we found out that several repressive governments are trying to use the U.N. to impose widespread Internet surveillance and censorship. So we launched an international website that enables citizens around the world to push back: People from over 190 countries have taken part!

    You can count on your team to alert you to the most pressing threats to our privacy and free expression, and to provide effective online tools to move policymakers.

    You can continue to play your part by joining the community conversations on our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+; and, if you really believe in the transformative power of the open Internet, by contributing what you can to our joint efforts. All these activities help advance our cause.

    Secret spying threatens the very foundations of a free society. We know we have a long way to go to rein in out-of-control spy agencies, and to restore our democratic right to privacy. We’re determined, with your help, to keep at it until we win.

    Thank you for being a part of this,

    Steve, on behalf of your team

    P.S. Right now, we’re at a tipping point when it comes to secret spying. Either we push back now or we could end up with mass surveillance of anyone, at any time, and we wouldn’t even know when we’ve been a victim. Make sure you’re in the loop - follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+; and our website today.

    1. ha ha ha, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and we'll track you :O

    2. .

      As if you weren't already being tracked anyway.



    3. .

      Reddit, Tumblr and Mozilla are among nearly 6,000 websites participating in "The Day We Fight Back," an online protest Tuesday against government surveillance.

      The goal of the protest, organizers say, is partly to pass a federal bill called the USA Freedom Act, which is intended to rein in the mass surveillance programs by the National Security Agency that were exposed by Edward Snowden.

      "The hope is that we'll be able to ... demonstrate that there's going to be ongoing public pressure until these reforms are instituted," says David Segal of Demand Progress, one of several activist organizations spearheading the protest.

      Participating sites are displaying banners or alerts asking U.S. visitors to contact their congressmen in support of the Freedom Act. Visitors outside the U.S. are asked to sign a petition against mass surveillance worldwide.

      The Internet showed that it was capable of taking on national lawmakers two years ago. On Jan. 18, 2012, tens of thousands of sites protested two proposed laws, the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, which opponents said would censor the Internet. (Some might remember it as the day Wikipedia went dark to raise awareness for the cause.) The strike gained significant traction: Millions of people emailed Congress, and the bills were shelved two days later.

      6,000 websites promoting "The Day We Fight Back" since last September and I become aware of it the day after "The Day We Fight Back".

      I'm obviously spending too much time on this blog.



  7. .

    Re: Ukraine, Syria, Egypt, et al:

    “There will be consequences if people step over the line,” Obama threatened.

    Believe me, I completely support the current US non-intervention in the various hot-spots around the world, but how much longer must we be embarrassed by the toothless outrage being spouted by our leaders?


  8. .

    Interesting factoid:

    Indeed, shipping liquefied natural gas from Houston to Swinoujscie [Poland] means traveling 5,392 miles over about 25 days -- a savings of 1,474 miles and four days over the trip from Qatar's terminal in Doha. Furthermore, the trip from America doesn't involve the nuisance, expense and increasing risk of transiting the Suez Canal.


  9. .

    And then you have Erdogen and Turkey.

    In the alleged tapes of the Erdogan’s telephone conversations, it sounds as though the prime minister has asked his son to remove $1 billion from the homes of family members and conceal it. When news of the recordings broke, the senior leaders in the opposition parties — the center-left Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and nationalist-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) — held emergency meetings and declared the end of the legitimacy of Erdogan and his government.

    Around the same time, Erdogan met with the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Organization and the interior minister. They issued a brief official statement asserting that the YouTube tapes had been faked.

    The next day, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition CHP, addressed his party members in the parliament building and played the tape in its entirety on a giant TV screen behind the rostrum. Some TV channels, afraid of Erdogan’s reaction, immediately halted live transmission of the CHP meeting, but four channels aired the full conversation between the prime minister and his son.

    The tapes broke YouTube view count records in Turkey. Before the day was over, two million people had listened to the alleged discussion on how to hide a billion dollars. The affair ballooned. The tapes were played on ferry boats across the Bosphorus and at the exits of several metro stations.

    Demonstrations resembling those recently witnessed in Ukraine were staged in many cities, most notably in Istanbul. Clashes erupted between the police and citizens in Kadikoy, the center of Istanbul’s Asian side. The pepper-gas scenes were reminiscent of those from 2013 in Taksim, the center of the city’s European side.

    A statement by Kilicdaroglu referring to Erdogan as a thief is one indicator of how intense the situation has become. Kilicdaroglu said, “A thief cannot occupy the prime minister’s chair” and that he no longer recognizes Erdogan as Turkey's leader.

    Read more:

    Perhaps, Obama should issue another warning. Of course, Turkey is a US ally and a NATO member so the umbrage may be a little more restrained.

    Unfortunately, in Turkey as in the Ukraine, it can be argued that any presumed new leadership that might come about will be as bad as or worse than the democratically elected leaders they replaced.


  10. Replies
    1. Congratulations, You use each side of your brain equally. You are hair/hare brained.

    2. That's interesting. I got:

      Left Brain - 1%

      Right Brain - 1%

      98% - ???

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. :)

      Least you aren't playing favorites.

  11. I can't help but think that Ukraine is in inherently better shape than Turkey, Syria, Egypt, or any of the other potential hotspots.

    They have a Great agricultural base, and a fair manufacturing capability.

  12. BOB DOUG you have told us numerous times how Obama is purposefully ruining the place, the monetary policy is going to bring US down. I found a solution for you. This guy is great! Right up you alley!!

    Patriot Survival Plan

    As seen on FOX, ABC, CNN....

    1. Thank you, Ash. You are always looking out for me. When the hard times come, and they are near, you are invited to my survival bunker out at the farm. Doug will be safe and easy at his place in the lava tubes of Maui, and Q will be in........Detroit.

      Don't worry about Quirk though. He looks at such a situation as an opportunity, and a skill challenge.......

    2. Survival bunker on a farm? This from a guy who had to give away a dog he loved because he couldn't provide it the open space it needed. riiiight!

      You didn't watch the video did you? He's not selling survival bunkers.

    3. I'm way ahead of you, Ash --

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    4. I'm not living in my survival bunker just to take care of a dog, any dog, even Shasta.

    5. Our buddy at PSP isn't selling anything - he is giving it away Totally FREE for only 37 dollars.

    6. Has the distinct odor of a Quirk Special, doesn't it?

      Off to The Faucet, then to CdA Casino to win more money.

      tata, noble Ash

    7. .

      Regular Price: $97

      Your price: $39

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    8. errrr, regular price was 197 I believe - down from the 5k it is really worth.

    9. .

      You are drifting again, Ash.


    10. End of the video - he lays it all out.

    11. .

      You watched the video?


      Good heavens.


    12. He's a funny guy. I did skip to the end see his "sell". Totally free for 39 bucks. It's worth seeing that part for shits and giggles.

  13. "Base politics is preventing a principled debate about when and how the state should kill its own people."
    -found on NTYimes main page.


  14. Radiation Therapy Gambling Theory Confirmed --

    Day 12

    Winning days - 10

    How you like them odds, suckers?