“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."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

“The ideas of inalienable human rights, rule of law and representational democracy possess an almost subversive power.” - Heinrich August Winkler

Part of the West? 'German Leftists Have Still Not Understood Putin'
By Christiane Hoffmann and Rene Pfister
"Many Germans still have sympathy for the idea that Germany can exist as something like a large Switzerland in the middle of Europe.”

Many in Germany would like to see their country strive for equidistance between the West and Russia. In an interview, German historian Heinrich August Winkler harshly criticizes that stance and explains how some Germans have romanticized Putin.
SPIEGEL: Professor Winkler, Germany's tight link to the West has been a solid pillar of the country's foreign policy for decades. Is that still the case?
Winkler: There is at least cause for doubt. A strong minority is questioning vital elements of our Western orientation, namely our memberships in NATO and the European Union. I find that unsettling.
SPIEGEL: In your books, you have written that, following several detours and mistakes, Germany is finally firmly embedded in the West. Are you going to have to revise your theory?
Winkler: I wouldn't go that far. Among Germany's democratic parties, there is an overwhelming consensus when it comes to the Western bond. It is a historic achievement. Konrad Adenauer (the country's first post-war chancellor) initiated Germany's bond with the West, but it was bitterly contested at the beginning, particularly by the Social Democrats. It was only with the famous 1960 speech by SPD lawmaker Herbert Wehner in German parliament that the Social Democrats threw their support behind West Germany's treaties with the West. In 1986, Jürgen Habermas argued that Germany's unconditional opening to the political culture of the West was the greatest intellectual achievement of our postwar history. It signaled the birth, posthumously, of a pro-Adenauer left. Today, that consensus is being attacked by the fringes on both the left and right of our political spectrum. When it comes to Germany's orientation to the West, the maxim "Les extremes se touchent" applies -- the extremes touch.
SPIEGEL: How do you mean?
Winkler: German leftists have still not understood the degree to which Russian President Vladimir Putting has drifted to the right domestically. Now, insightful observers are saying that Putin is trying to create something like a reactionary Internationale. The turn toward homophobia and to clerics is completely ignored by leftists in Germany. Their sympathy for Putin comes largely from their antipathy for America. And this anti-Americanism is what binds them with the far-right. When, for example, Alexander Gauland of the Alternative for Germany says essentially that Russia's grab for Russian land is a completely understandable policy, then I can only say: That is racial nationalism in its purist form.
SPIEGEL: But we aren't just talking about the political fringes here. A recent survey found that 45 percent of Germans wanted to see their country firmly anchored in the West. But 49 percent would prefer to see the country take up an intermediary position.
Winkler: Indeed, a large share of the population has this irritating desire for equidistance. Such survey results, I believe, can partially be explained by political failures. In recent years, the largest parties have shied away from making clear statements about where they stand. That was a huge mistake. I very much welcomed the fact that German President Joachim Gauck spoke clearly at the Munich Security Conference and demanded that Germany become more engaged internationally.
SPIEGEL: Perhaps Germans have simply lost the belief in recent years that we are dependent on NATO. The Warsaw Pact, after all, dissolved on its own.
Winkler: That would be a very limited view of the situation. Imagine if Eastern and Southeastern European countries had not been accepted into the trans-Atlantic alliance. It is likely that a zone of instability and anti-democratic resentments would have resulted, just like in the interwar period.
SPIEGEL: By that logic, Ukraine should have been offered NATO membership as well.
Winkler: No. In Ukraine, there has never been a consensus behind NATO membership. Even Yulia Tymoshenko was noncommittal when she was still prime minister. Georgia under President Mikhail Saakashvili pursued a rather aggressive stance, which stood in the way of its NATO membership. Given both states' unique relationships with Russia, concerns were justified that NATO membership would trigger Russia's reasonable fears of encirclement.
SPIEGEL: Essentially, you are saying that countries like Ukraine belong to the Russian sphere of influence and are thus less sovereign than others.
Winkler: In many regards, the West is dependent on Russia as a partner. Showing consideration for Russian sensitivities when it comes to old, historical bonds is a reasonable, well-founded approach.
SPIEGEL: Do you think that Germany would be prepared to go to war for the Baltics?
Winkler: That is the crucial question when it comes to Germany's conception of itself. In Article 5 of the NATO treaty, it says that an attack on one NATO member-state is the same as an attack on the entire alliance. That is the essence of collective defense. Should Article 5 lose validity, then NATO is dead. But that would pose an existential risk to our own security.
SPIEGEL: Is it not one of the ironies of history that Germany's arrival in the West came concurrently with the country's rejection of military means? How can you get a highly individualized society to accept armed conflict?
Winkler: Germany is not the only country that one could call post-heroic. But there is an additional aspect for Germany when it comes to this generally Western stance -- one which Putin would call decadent. For almost four-and-a-half decades after World War II, we didn't have full sovereignty. During this period, we existed in a niche of global politics. This experience of limited sovereignty continues to have an effect. Many Germans still have sympathy for the idea that Germany can exist as something like a large Switzerland in the middle of Europe.
SPIEGEL: Do you seriously believe that the chancellor could say in a speech: Dear citizens, you have to be prepared to die for Riga?
Winkler: Germany cannot allow any doubt that it would treat an attack on a member state as a case for collective defense. And that also applies to Riga and Warsaw.
SPIEGEL: Many Germans are also opposed to taking tough measures against Russia because of the vast suffering Germany visited on the Soviet Union during World War II. Do you have understanding for that viewpoint?
Winkler: No. I wouldn't hesitate to say that such a position is the result of a pathological learning process. The Nazi crimes cannot lead us to react less sensitively to human rights violations than others do. If we were to insist, because of the Holocaust, on a kind of German exceptionalism in this regard, that would in fact represent a German detour.
SPIEGEL: Do you think NATO should increase its military presence on the alliance's eastern border to deter Putin?
Winkler: Currently, a credible military presence is needed to make it clear that Article 5 of the trans-Atlantic alliance also applies to its newer members. I don't see Putin as one who takes unnecessary risks. Certainly he is a politician who takes chances, but thus far he has realistically appraised the risks associated with his actions. Putin knew that annexing the Crimea posed little danger. Now, it is important to make clear to him that expansionist policies, particularly coupled with an attack on a NATO member state, would have very serious consequences. But he knows that by now.
SPIEGEL: Is there not a danger that Putin will try to wear down the West with myriad pinpricks?
Winkler: Putin is doubtlessly trying to drive a wedge into the Western alliance. When it comes to the Russian minorities in the Baltics, Putin will surely know that his chances there are slim to none. They are quite comfortable in those countries. But at the moment, there are at least three EU member-states where it is questionable whether they still belong among Western democracies: Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.
SPIEGEL: Did NATO and the EU expand too far?
Winkler: When it comes to the EU, you have to treat the expansion rounds of 2004 and 2007 separately. The 2004 expansion round, which saw eight Central and Eastern European countries join -- from the Czech Republic to Poland and Latvia -- it represented the reunification of the Occident, which had been split by the Yalta agreement. They were all countries that belonged to the old, historic West. But with the 2007 expansion round, when Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU, the Copenhagen accession criteria were interpreted incredibly generously. As such, their memberships came too early.
SPIEGEL: Does the rejection of Western values in Germany also come as a result of America having lost its role model status?
Winkler: I don't see a broad rejection of Western values. We have a conflict with the Americans when it comes to the NSA, there is no question. When George W. Bush released the so-called Bush Doctrine in 2002, which later provided the justification for the invasion of Iraq, there was significant and well-founded criticism in Germany. We argue with the Americans about many things, from the death penalty to the relationship between security and freedom. We have to be honest about these differences. And yet, whenever we quarrel with the Americans, it amounts to controversies over different interpretations of values we share. You can't say that about Russia. Putin fundamentally questions Western values.
SPIEGEL: Has the West made mistakes in its treatment of Russia?
Winkler: In a broad sense, no. In the 1990s, the West actively approached Russia and took Mikhail Gorbachev's avowal seriously when he said that Western values apply universally, meaning to Russia as well. Had Russia followed this course, even its membership in the trans-Atlantic alliance would be imaginable. But the backlash began already under Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s and has dramatically accelerated under Putin.
SPIEGEL: At the moment, there is a global struggle between authoritarian states and democratic states. How do you think it will end?
Winkler: I think that the ideas of inalienable human rights, rule of law and representational democracy possess an almost subversive power. Take a look at Charta 08 in China. That is a document which, for me, is on a par with the Virginia Declaration of Rights from 1776 or the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen by the French National Assembly in 1789. I am convinced more than ever that the West, despite all of its weaknesses and contradictions, has a bright future.
SPIEGEL: Yet Charta 08 is a document of the intellectual elite. And of the upheavals in the Arab world, only the changes in Tunisia remain. Where does your optimism come from?
Winkler: When the newly formed middle class in China begins to perceive its interests and discovers the value of the rule of law, the existing power structure will lose its foundation. It is a process that no government can put a stop to in the long term. That also applies to some Arab countries, with some limitations. But we have to be patient. In the 1980s, nobody expected that the freedom movement in Poland would lead to the collapse of entire Eastern Bloc. That's why it would be a huge mistake were we to believe that authoritarian systems were indestructible.
SPIEGEL: Poland is, as you yourself said, historically a part of the West. But could it not be that there are places in the world that value stability and social security above human rights? Putin's rise can easily be explained when one looks at the chaos that reigned in Russia under Yeltsin in the 1990s.
Winkler: The latter point is true. But there is no contradiction between the Western project and the value of social justice. During the Cold War, the West was extremely careful not to allow the gap between the rich and poor to widen too far, first and foremost to counter communist depictions of the squalid masses in the West. But the same remains true today: If the West does nothing about the growing social inequities, it endangers its internal legitimacy.

SPIEGEL: Does the West need an adversary for its own survival? Otherwise, the market economy transforms into predatory capitalism and individualism become naked egoism.
Winkler: No. But you can certainly ask the question as to whether Putin has in fact done a great service in clearly showing the EU and NATO their raison d'être. It is reminiscent of sardonic demands decades ago that Stalin be given the peace prize of Aachen.
SPIEGEL: Professor Winkler, we thank you for this interview.

About Heinrich August Winkler

Heinrich August Winkler, 75, is professor emeritus at Berlin's Humbolt University with a focus on modern German history. His two-volume work "Germany: The Long Road West" documents the country's bumpy path toward democracy and the rule of law.


  1. During the Cold War, the West was extremely careful not to allow the gap between the rich and poor to widen too far, first and foremost to counter communist depictions of the squalid masses in the West. But the same remains true today: If the West does nothing about the growing social inequities, it endangers its internal legitimacy.

    This statement stands in opposition to western values with respect to the nature of capitalism, which automatically rewards ambition and competence and punishes mediocrity, and also with respect to the Ten Commandments we often hang on the woodwork in our courtrooms, which says "Thou shalt not covet".

    1. .

      Utterly nonsensical.

      You talk of the ideal of 'capitalism' while ignoring the reality today.

      The system is rigged. Always has been to a degree but now the pretense is gone.


    2. Cant let a post go by without quoting Torah, THE religious text of the Jews.

    3. Abram insisted that Melchizedek take the tithe of goods too, not just the servants, and for himself he only accepted the full bellies of the men in his army, and some booty for three of his lieutenants. Abram was not a greedy man. And in that sense, he was worthy of being a role model. Later when he tried to kill his son, not so much.

  2. .

    Perhaps, utterly nonsensical is too vituperative.

    I should have said pollyannish.


  3. If the West was Capitalistic, that would be one thing, Ms T. But it has lost that, the ystem in place now does not automatically rewards ambition and competence and punishes mediocrity, far from it.

    Not one of the Banksters that perpetrated the "Collapse of 2008" were punished. Indeed they were rewarded for their mediocrity.
    The West has embraced a Fascist economic model of Corporatism abandoning Capitalism as it has done so.

    All that is left of the Capitalistic system, in the West are the Cronies.

    1. So we have an ideal paradise over there at 085 and our ship is steering 355. Hard to starboard, helmsman.

    2. .

      I think you mean hard to port.


    3. No, Drink the Port, and turn the wheel hard to starboard. :)

    4. If we're on course 355 and turn to port (left), we have to rotate 270 degrees to reach course 085. But if we turn to starboard (right), we just have to rotate 90. Didn't I tell you landlubbers I was in the United States Navy?

    5. What do you mean, "You landlubbers?" I agreed with you. :)

    6. Let's have a toast then, Rufus. It's a round planet, so the sun is over the yardarm somewhere...

    7. "Round?"

      Have you run that by the republicans, yet?


    8. I derive much entertainment doing so on Wordpress.

    9. .

      Hell, I took a boating course from the Coast Guard.

      On the subject we were discussing, capitalism, moving left would be the appropriate move.

      "...with respect to the nature of capitalism, which automatically rewards ambition and competence and punishes mediocrity...


      I still don't know where you come up with this stuff.



    10. We did our survival training (which included map-reading) in North Carolina, in February. That seemed reasonable, since our wars, at the time, were in SE Asia. :)

      They did issue us sleeping bags, though.

      Corrugated Paper, sleeping bags. :)

    11. Deuce was wrong about one thing, though.

      "Crazy" was not the prerequisite for joining the Marines.

      "Stupid" was the necessary qualification. :)

    12. Actually, they weren't "sleeping bags" as you think of sleeping bags. They were just large paper sacks.

      If you were 3 feet tall you might have even been able to close up the top, as you laid on the icy NC ground.

    13. We referred to it as "the crotch" for a reason. :)

  4. Ed Miliband: David Cameron 'toxic after EU defeat'

    Labour leader Ed Miliband has described David Cameron as "toxic" following the prime minister's defeat in a row over the appointment of a new European Commission president.

    Mr Miliband said Mr Cameron was taking the UK "closer to the exit door" of the EU and posed a "clear and present danger" to the UK economy.


    The UK forced the vote in an attempt to block the selection of former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who is seen as a backer of closer political union.

    But EU states voted 26-2 to appoint him president of the Commission, in what Mr Cameron described as "a bad day for Europe".


  5. Bashar al-Assad's interests and the west's coincide over Iraq

    Syria's air strikes against Isis place it – temporarily at least – in a loose, uneasy coalition with the US, UK, Iraq and Iran

  6. Draft Dodger Bob told us the Battle of Iraq was over, the partition was complete.
    His geopolitical expertise shown to be as nonexistent as both his military experience and his intellectual capacity, again

    Iraqi Forces Advance on Tikrit

    Baghdad - Iraqi troops advanced towards Tikrit on Saturday pounding insurgent positions in the city with air strikes in their biggest counter-offensive so far against jihadist-led Sunni militants.

    The War in Iraq has entered a new phase, it is far from being over, over there.

    1. Bob never said 'the Battle of Iraq' was 'over'.

      Bob said that Iraq was being de-facto partitioned.

      rato lies again.

    2. Jack 'ratshit' Hawkins, coward, and killer, lies again.

      Jack should be in prison.

    3. Bob continues to dissemble and lieSat Jun 28, 12:01:00 PM EDT

      Should I go get that quote, too, Bob?
      Then your later attempts to revise them, they are scattered in the last five days worth of posts.

      Documentation is easy to get.
      Don't be a horse's ass. Fess up to being wrong..

    4. Bob continues to dissemble and lieSat Jun 28, 12:59:00 PM EDT

      Jack HawkinsFri Jun 27, 08:46:00 AM EDT

      You wrote two days ago that it was over.
      BobFri Jun 27, 09:26:00 AM EDT

      It is as far as the break up of Iraq is concerned.

      But new forces seem to be coming into focus that may make it much worse.

      Who knows.....

  7. Yeah, uh, back then the digital cameras didn't have the time resolution we do now.

  8. What simplistic bullshit about capitalism being 'over'.

    The truth is much more complex than that.

    I am surprised that a man as intelligent as Quirk was fall for this concept. The system is far from totally 'rigged'.

    And only the truly brain dead like Jack 'shitbirdrat' Hawkins would imply or say that "the ystem in place now does not automatically rewards ambition and competence and punishes mediocrity, far from it."

    Capitalism doesn't promise anything to anyone. It does not automatically reward ambition and competence. It encourages it.

    rat is an idiot.

    1. Being an ambitious man, and at my age too, I got to go to work today.

      I hope I am rewarded for it, but there ain't no guarantee.


      Cheers !

    2. Cheesus Crust pie in the sky is your reward Bob.

  9. Yesterday afternoon, California was getting approx. 15,400 Megawatts of Electricity from Renewables (not including Nuclear.)

    They were getting 15,700 Megawatts from Thermal (Coal and Gas.)

    This is the 8th largest economy on earth.


  10. Capitalism can reward seemingly contradictory things, depending on the circumstances.

    It can for instance reward risk taking, but also can reward the most conservative savings schemes imaginable.

    The money in the bank at 1% interest, or the risk taking that might reward a great deal more.

    It all depends on the circumstances, the market, etc prevailing.

    Only the simplistic reduce such a complex state of affairs to simplistic slogans such as automatically rigged, over, etc.

    Capitalism also requires such things as human rights, a functioning court system, the ability to sue and be sued, property rights etc, etc etc.

    1. .

      Only the simplistic reduce such a complex state of affairs to simplistic slogans such as automatically rigged, over, etc.

      Only the ill-informed would think any economic system is independent of the political system within which it operates.

      The wealthy in this country and for that matter the West in general have a built in advantage and for that matter a propensity to 'rig' the system to their further advantage. The larger the inequality the larger the advantage the rich have in getting their politicians elected, in hiring lawyers and lobbyists to not only press for favorable legislation but in many cases to write it, in defending themselves in courts of law, and in getting their children into prestigious schools so that the oligarchy can be continued. The trend has been there for a long time and if the system is not fully 'rigged' it is certainly close enough to it for government work.

      "...a functioning court system..."

      Laughable on its face except to those who think the justice you receive isn't tied to the money you spend. In some states, you can go to jail for a long, long time for possessing a bag of crack or a little too much marijuana. Yet, the captains of industry, the guys who brought the economy to its knees, that screwed their own investors, that criminally gamed the Libor rates, get rewarded with millions in bonuses and/or golden parachutes.


      There is no risk, not for the guys at the top. They get their money for nothing and rather than chicks for free they get designated as 'too big to fail'.


    2. Mostly Nonsense.

      Also has a whiny tone to it.

      But, I'm in a good mood, so why argue?

    3. "Only the ill-informed would think any economic system is independent of the political system within which it operates."

      When did I say that?

      You are using the tactic of a rat, putting words in my mouth.

      Shame on you !

    4. .

      When did I say that?

      So you admit you are the Anonymous ass that wrote the initial note. I've noticed that is one of the trademarks of the people on this blog who use Anonymous, they are usually chicken-ass punks who only use it when they know they can expect blow back from what they say.


  11. The Financial Times is reporting that Turkey, in an historical shift, is willing to accept an independent Kurdish state.

  12. Corn ethanol production is seriously harming the ground water supply in the US mid-west.....

    1. Fox News, Hotair, and Saudi Arabia tell us so. You're a fucking moron.

    2. Fracking harms ground water too. NASCAR harms ground water. Climate change harms ground water. Even same sex marriage harms ground water. Save the ground water!

    3. You are a religious nut, Rufus.

      You should be put in the loony bin.

      One thing about you though, your button is easy to push.

    4. The source for this study actually is the interesting part, as it comes from Ceres, a group self-described as “a non-profit organization advocating for sustainability leadership.” Among their key issues, they list climate change and the need to move away from fossil based fuels. In other words, this isn’t exactly a right wing think tank. But now they’ve released a lengthy study on the subject of aggressive corn production to meet ethanol demands and the effect it is having on water supplies.

      Here's the link -

      Go for it Rufus, you idiot worshipper of Gaia.


    5. The extreme left is just as "ate up with stupid" as the extreme right.

      Ceres wants everyone to ride bicycles, and electric rail (tomorrow.)

      Sounds okay, I guess, if you don't live in a non-urban area (like Northeaster Mississippi.)

      I know "common sense" is uncommon, but damn.

    6. I suggest ethanol corn farming and intense irrigation may be harming the ground water, which it probably is to some extent, and I, even though I have always supported all sorts of renewable energy if they make sense economically, am branded a heretic.

      It''s an odd fact that in extreme belief systems the heretic who disagrees on something minor is treated more viciously than those that reject the whole line out of hand.

      All I wish is acceptance !! into the clean energy future.


    7. You're a phony asshole. You pick fights, then cry about being a victim. You're an ignorant, unpleasant ass; fuck you.

    8. That' Draft Dodger Bob for ya.
      He plays the part so well in fact there is a song written for him

      We'll make a film about a man that's sad and lonely
      And all I gotta do is act naturally

      Well, I'll bet you I'm gonna be a big star
      Might win an Oscar, you can never tell
      The movies gonna make me a big star
      'Cause I can play the part so well

      Well I hope you'll come and see me in the movies
      Then I'll know that you will plainly see
      The biggest fool that ever hit the big time
      And all I gotta do is act naturally ...
      - Draft Dodger Bob, Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison.

      Beatles - Act Naturally
      It was also sung by Buck Owens, but Ringo hits the Bob better.

  13. In Nigeria, Mubarak Bala has been beaten, threatened, drugged and confined to a mental institution simply for being an atheist. That’s pretty harsh. Pappy Bush just wanted to take voting rights away from people for being atheists, he never mentioned a loony bin.

    1. Religion will be the death of us all.

      A reasonable society would giggle, point fingers at, and make fun of "religious" asshole when they went out in public.

    2. In Arthur C. Clarke's novel, "3001: The Final Odyssey" astronaut Frank Poole is revived after being frozen and left for dead floating somewhere in the Jupiter system in 2001, and every time he says something like, "My God, that's incredible!" people wince exactly like you would if someone said, "Okay you cunts, let's head out!"


    1. Xena says, "It was a real nasty bruise, I had to amputate."

    2. Xena wraps the blood pressure cuff around your neck and says, "Did you sleep well Mr., or should I say, Miss Ruffian?"

    3. Gabrielle says, "Waitaminute Xena, if that is his spleen what's this?" and Xena replies, "I don't know what it is but pack it in ice anyway."

    4. Xena says, "Look at it this way, now your highest note is 'Ti.'"

    5. Xena says, "Whatdja say? Who's on the other bedroll you ask? Actually that's also you."

    6. Xena says, "Hey Gabby, unzip the body parchment on that one, he's still moving."

    7. Xena says, "I'm sorry, I had to give you a local anaesthetic, can't get the imported stuff."

    8. Gabrielle says, "Did you know he would look like that afterward Xena?"

    9. You've always wanted to give your heart to Xena, but you didn't mean it literally.

    10. You realize that Xena is using you as a live version of a Milton Bradley game ("Remove Wrenched Ankle!").

  15. Celebrating the Seattle Rain Festival (January 1-December 31)

  16. Draft Dodger Bob, is proven wrong once more, The Battle to Partition Iraq is far from over.
    Despite his statement of BobFri Jun 27, 09:26:00 AM EDT

    Iraqi troops went on the offensive Saturday, using helicopter gunships, tanks and commandos to week out Sunni militants who had taken over Tikrit, hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

    There were conflicting reports over who had control of the city, part of the large swath of northern and western Iraq seized by extremist militants in recent weeks. Residents said air raids began around the University of Tikrit at dawn.

    The offensive in Tikrit, about 95 miles north of Baghdad, came as heavy clashes between Iraqi security forces and insurgents killed at least 21 troops about 30 miles south of Baghdad. Officials says dozens of militants were killed or captured. Separately, Iraq's air force carried out several airstrikes against the city of Mosul, which fell to militants earlier this month.

    Shekh Khamis al-Joubouri, a Tikrit tribal leader, told CNN that security forces had retaken Tikrit. But combatants told CNN that fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) remained in control.

    The pre-dawn raid, backed by helicopter gunships and tanks, includes pro-government Sunni fighters and Shiite militia. The extent of the fighting was unclear and there was no immediate word on casualties. Sabah Numtate-run Iraqiya TV said that Iraqi army forces told the station that 120 militants had been killed and 20 vehicles destroyed.

    Tikrit is one of two major cities to fall to ISIL. Tikrit residents confirmed that air raids took place at the University of Tikrit around dawn Saturday, with clashes between ISIL and Iraqi forces to the southeast. Muhanad Saif al-Din, said the city has emptied out in recent days as locals flee ahead of anticipated clashes.

    "Tikrit has become a ghost town because a lot of people left over the past 72 hours, fearing random aerial bombardment and possible clashes as the army advances toward the city," Saif al-Din said. "The few people who remain are afraid of possible revenge acts by Shiite militiamen who are accompanying the army. We are peaceful civilians and we do not want to be victims of this struggle."

  17. Another "Suicide", this time not hackavist, but a Tea Bagger.

    Tea Party Leader Mark Mayfield Found Shot to Death in Apparent Suicide
    By Jessica Michele Herring (

    Mark Mayfield, Mississippi Tea Party leader who was arrested in connection with taking photos of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's wife in her nursing home, was found dead Friday in a possible suicide.

    Mayfield, 58, was vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party and a Central Mississippi Tea Party chairperson, according to Reuters. He was found dead from a gunshot wound.

    "We found him at his home with a gunshot wound in his head. We found him deceased there. We are working this currently as a suicide because all of the indications, it appears to be suicide, but we still got some things to look into," Ridgeland, Mississippi, Police Chief Jimmy Houston told CNN.

    According to Houston, Mayfield left a suicide note, which is currently being verified.

  18. Vice Video
    Christian City Under Siege: The Battle for Iraq (Dispatch 5)

    Earlier this week, ISIS began an assault on the historically Assyrian Christian city of Qaraqosh in the northern Nineveh province, just east of Mosul. Kurdish peshmerga forces moved into the city to fortify it against a barrage of mortar shells. The city, though not officially located in the Kurdistan Regional Government, has become one of the disputed areas, as the Iraqi government has abandoned it and ISIS is vying for control.

    Dozens of mortar rounds landed on the outskirts of the city Wednesday night, causing tens of thousands of residents to flee towards Erbil. Assyrian Christians from Mosul had previously fled the ISIS takeover and were seeking sanctuary in Qaraqosh and in the nearby Christian city of Bartella.

    Iraq's Assyrian Christians are some of the earliest converts to Christianity and are indigenous to the Nineveh plains. Of recent, they have suffered massacres and persecution owing to the instability sowed by the American invasion in 2003. Qaraqosh has always seen as a safe haven, especially for those periodically fleeing violence in Mosul, such as in 2008.

    While the attack continued, VICE News was caught in a miles long traffic jam as many residents fled in fear with nothing but the clothes on their back. Peshmerga forces, fearing car bombs and hidden insurgents, meticulously combed through the traffic, and set up tense checkpoints, causing further chaos. We also travelled to the abandoned city of Qaraqosh to speak with residents who have remained there despite the attacks. They tell us why they've decided to stay and protect their city.

  19. An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

    A fight is going on inside me, he said to the boy. It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,Which wolf will win?

    The old Cherokee simply replied, The one you feed.

    1. Parables, and platitudes are just spiffy, fuckhead,

      but an ignorant, racist asshole is still an ignorant, racist asshole.

    2. You had poor ol' Zimmerman convicted without a trial, you ignorant racist asshole.

      Without even reading the evidence documents.

      And your knowledge of religion is ZERO.

      You ignorant drunk old fool.


    3. You'd rather have justice by tomahawk than actually have a trial.

      Thank God for the coming of the traditions of English Law, you cocksucking shithead.


  20. Now, we all can remember that Draft Dodger Bob has repeatedly told us that the United States is not an Empire.
    Funny stuff, but one of his guiding lights, a minion in the Republican hierarchy vehemently disagrees.

    Karl Rove ... said that guys like him were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued.

    "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
    - Karl Rove - quotation from an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind.

    Poor Draft Dodger Bob, left without a life raft, in a Sea of Deprivation

    1. That was the world's most brief empire. 2001-2009.

    2. Tell that to Queen Liliuokalani and the people of Hawaii, Ms T.

  21. Stop Playing Putin’s Game
    30 JUN 26, 2014 3:20 PM EDT
    By The Editors Bloomberg

    Events in Ukraine are following a familiar pattern. When evidence mounts of Russian military activity on the eastern border of Ukraine, Western leaders re-up their threat of economic sanctions, and President Vladimir Putin makes conciliatory gestures in response.

    On this occasion, Putin asked the Russian parliament to rescind a March 1 law that gave him legal authority to invade Ukraine, saying he supported a cease-fire. Very considerate of him. And shrewd: It will almost certainly be enough to ensure that European Union leaders don't move to impose economic sanctions on Russia at their meeting this week.

    Standoff in Ukraine

    Yet there is little doubt about Russia's intentions or actions. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization says Russia continues to antagonize Ukraine, and Russian hardware appears to be moving to the border uninterrupted. The rebels responded to the cease-fire on Tuesday by shooting down a Ukrainian helicopter with a surface-to-air missile they didn't get from an army surplus store, killing nine servicemen. And as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday, Putin's sacrifice of the legal authority to invade "could be reversed in 10 minutes, and everyone knows that."

    Putin's gestures have put President Barack Obama in the invidious position of having to decide whether to go it alone with sanctions that would target Russia's energy and financial sectors, as well as ban technology transfers. U.S. companies, unsurprisingly, are loudly pressing the administration not to act, fearing they will lose business to their European competitors. If Obama backs off, Putin can continue destabilizing Ukraine undisturbed; if the administration does impose sanctions, the U.S. and Europe will be split -- also a gain for Putin.

    What to do? There is a way to escape this continuous loop: Both Europe and the U.S. should be much more specific about what Russia must do to avoid sanctions. So far, the U.S. and allies such as the U.K. have called for Russia to stop supplying the Ukrainian rebels with arms.

    Such generalities allow the game to continue. The U.S. and the EU should instead jointly tie sanctions to Putin's agreement to have personnel from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe seal off Russia's border with Ukraine's two separatist provinces, Lugansk and Donetsk.

    From the moment Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko proposed a unilateral cease-fire to end the crisis, combined with measures to devolve more power to Ukraine's regions and protect Russian-language rights, he said the deal was contingent on sealing the border. Poroshenko has been pushing the OSCE idea, and it should become the centerpiece for Western pressure.

    In May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Obama declared that unless Ukraine's presidential election was allowed to proceed, they would impose economic sanctions. Putin appeared to respond. Now they should jointly make a new demand: acceptance of European border guards.

    These monitors would obstruct the flow of Russian tanks, missiles, guns and "volunteers" into Ukraine. If Putin accepts the proposal, then the crisis will recede. If he is reluctant, then his true intentions will be all the more clear -- and any symbolic conciliatory gestures will be exposed for what they are.

  22. 28 June 2014, 15:25
    President Putin signs decree on call-up of reservists for military training

    President of Russia Vladimir Putin has signed a decree on call-up of citizens of Russia currently staying in reserve for military training in 2014. The document was published today on the official Internet-portal of legal information.

    According to the decree, reservists will be conscripted for military training for a term of up to two months in the Russian Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry troops of Russia, in the state security agencies and bodies of the Federal Security Service.

    Terms of military training will be agreed with the executive bodies of the Russian subjects, with the exception of checkout military training, which term is determined by the Ministry of Defense of Russia
    Russian troops return to permanent deployment sites after completing drills

    Troops and forces, which participated in drills in Russia’s Kaliningrad region, have returned to permanent deployment sites and started scheduled training, the Western Military District press office said on Tuesday, Interfax reports.

    "Jets of the military transport aviation delivered subdivisions of the Pskov guard unit of paratroopers to Pskov yesterday. Su-34 ZVO front destroyers and A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft flew to the aerodromes of permanent deployment,” Western Military District press office head Colonel Oleg Kochetkov said.

    Air and space defense troops' brigade involved in the drills has returned to the permanent deployment base as well, he said. During the exercises conducted in the Kaliningrad region troops held over 100 private drills and training sessions on carrying out practical rocket and artillery fire, air and sea landing, and rocket and bomb air strikes.

    Baltic Fleet ships and vessels spent over 100 days in sea, while planes and helicopters of the Baltic Fleet aviation and Russian paratroopers had over 200 flights and spent over 300 hours up in the air.

    During the flights crew held bomb attacks and used around 140 bombs of different modifications. Guard detachment subdivisions landed personnel and battle equipment at ranges during the drills. The main task of holding the exercises was checking the organization of cross cooperation of different troops and forces and practical inspection of automatic system managing troops and forces of the district.

    Read more:

  23. The border between Russia and Ukraine is porous and there are not enough EU border guards that it can be closed. It would require militarizing that border, which the Russians nor their sympathizers in the Ukraine will allow to happen.

    As for the EU, it is in the process of splintering. The UK and Mr Cameron has just taken a whipping from the Germans. Germany, as Heinrich August Winkler made clear, has a "large share of the population has this irritating desire for equidistance."

    The EU is not a monolithic political force, it is fractured and collapsing. Greece, Italy, Spain and now the UK are all ready to walk.

    1. I just don't see how any of this affects Clan Rufus.

    2. You may have your question answered shortly.

    3. Putin can despise Obama all he wants, I still don't see how it affects Me.

  24. Here is the game from The Guardian:

    Russia's foreign minister on Saturday accused the United States of encouraging Ukraine to challenge Moscow and heavily weighing in on the European Union.

    Speaking in televised remarks on Saturday, Sergei Lavrov said that "our American colleagues still prefer to push the Ukrainian leadership toward a confrontational path."

    He added that chances for settling the Ukrainian crisis would have been higher if it only depended on Russia and Europe.

    Lavrov spoke after Friday's European Union summit, which decided not to immediately impose new sanctions on Russia for destabilising eastern Ukraine, but gave the Russian government and pro-Russian insurgents there until Monday to take steps to improve the situation.

    Ukraine on Friday signed a free-trade pact with the EU, the very deal that angered Russia and triggered the bloodshed and political convulsions of the past seven months that brought Russia-west relations to their lowest point since the Cold war era.

    In November, under pressure from Moscow, a former Ukrainian president dumped the EU pact, fuelling huge protests that eventually drove him from power. Moscow responded by annexing the mainly Russian-speaking Crimean peninsula in March, and pro-Russian separatists soon rose up in Ukraine's eastern provinces.

    The US and the EU slapped travel bans and asset freezes on members of Russian president Vladimir Putin's inner circle and threatened to impose more crippling sanctions against entire sectors of Russia's economy if the Kremlin fails to de-escalate the crisis.

    The EU leaders on Friday gave Russia and the rebels until Monday to take steps to ease the violence, including releasing all captives, retreating from border checkpoints, agreeing on a way to verify the cease-fire and launching "substantial negotiations" on Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko's peace plan.

    The week-long ceasefire, which both sides have been accused of violating, expired at 10 pm local time (1900 GMT), but Poroshenko quickly declared its extension until 10 pm local time on Monday.

    Ukrainian defence minister Mykhailo Koval was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying on Saturday that the situation in the east was largely quiet overnight and there were no casualties among Ukrainian troops despite sporadic shooting.

    Lavrov acknowledged that Russia has some leverage with the rebels, pointing at their move this week to release four observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe after weeks of captivity, but claimed that Moscow's influence is limited.

    "There are reasons to believe that they hear us on other aspects of Russian position regarding the crisis in Ukraine, but that doesn't mean that they immediately move to heed our calls," he said.

    Four other OSCE observers are still being held, but a leader of the insurgents promised on Friday to free them "in the nearest days".

    Following talks with a troika including a former Ukrainian president who represented the Kiev government, the Russian ambassador and an OSCE envoy, rebel leader Alexander Borodai also promised to abide by the extended ceasefire.

    He rejected the EU leaders' demand to retreat from three checkpoints on the border with Russia captured by the rebels, but invited OSCE to send its monitors to the border crossings and any other areas in the east.

  25. Putin wants to add Russian influence on both Syria and Iraq leveraging his influence on energy markets. With Iraq, some used fighter planes, undoubtedly with Russian pilots from a newly formed Russian Blackwater. Maliki will take it from wherever it is offered. That is probably why Obama is making the $500 million offer to “moderate” Syrian rebels. One of these whacked off moves is going off the tracks.

  26. WORLD NEWS 06.28.14
    Why ISIS Won’t Take Baghdad
    The jihadist-led Sunni coalition that’s swept through parts of Syria and northwest Iraq strikes where there’s local support and the least resistance. That’s not the Iraqi capital.
    BEIRUT, Lebanon — Fighters loyal to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have at times been as close as six miles to Baghdad, according to Iraqi and Kurdish commanders interviewed by The Daily Beast. But the Iraqi capital may well be “a city too far” for this ferocious al-Qaeda offshoot that is determined, as its name says, to establish a state of its own.

    While there’s no solid consensus among intelligence analysts in the region about ISIS’s precise strategy, several interviewed in recent days say the jihadists are likely to launch demoralizing commando raids and a suicide bombing blitz in Baghdad, probably timed to coincide with the arrival of the main contingent of US military advisers. (An advance guard arrived Tuesday.)

    The Americans presumably will make the defense of the capital a priority, but that may be precisely what ISIS hopes they will do, because it has other interests. “The priority, I think, for ISIS is to build their Islamic State straddling the Syria-Iraq border – that is their ultimate objective—and trying to capture Baghdad would be too big for them to accomplish; it could also sidetrack them,” says a US intelligence official based in the Middle East who is closely monitoring ISIS.

    1. ISIS has not picked difficult battles. It has calculated carefully where it could move with the biggest impact and the least resistance. Mosul was not Stalingrad, holding out against a powerful siege; it was more like Copenhagen in World War II, folding without a fight.

      A concerted ISIS campaign to capture Baghdad would no doubt trigger greater military reaction from the Iranians -- key backers of the Shia-dominated government of beleaguered Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki – who already have sent members of their Revolutionary Guard and military supplies to bolster Iraqi security forces. The Iranians reportedly are flying surveillance drone flights on behalf of Maliki’s government as well.

      ISIS lacks the manpower to hold Baghdad even if it could succeed in storming the capital.
      Such attacks as do take place in and around Baghdad will likely aim to sow political discord and fan sectarian divisions, keeping Maliki’s government wrong-footed and on the defensive. Iraqi troops and allied Shia militiamen are holding a line north of Baghdad and trying to establish what army commanders call the Baghdad Belt around the capital. But they are making little headway mounting an offensive, relying on instead on the spotty use of airpower to take the fight into ISIS territory.

    2. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and other ISIS leaders have made clear their ambition to establish a caliphate stretching from Aleppo in Syria right across northern and western Iraq. “ISIS is not only talking the talk about establishing an Islamic state, it is walking the walk,” jihadist expert Aaron Zelin notes in a research paper on the group released Thursday by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a D.C.-based think tank.

      “Further, the reality of a proto-state and ISIS’s willingness to try to govern—this khilafa project, as many within the group call it—is quite appealing to jihadists,” says Zelin. It is helping to attract recruits and undermine the standing of al-Qaeda, whose leadership disowned ISIS earlier this year, partly over its state-building aspirations.

      On Baghdad, Zelin told The Daily Beast that ISIS has always had a presence in the capital. “I don’t think they can take it, though,” he said. “With 80 percent of the population being Shia, it would pretty much be impossible, though they may take Sunni neighborhoods.”

      Mideast expert Jonathan Schanzer of the US-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies says ISIS lacks the manpower to hold Baghdad even if it could succeed in storming the capital.

    3. “Strategically for ISIS, invading Baghdad would therefore seem like a mistake,” says Schanzer. But he adds the caveat, “We also don't know what kind of quiet support it enjoys from the disaffected Sunnis -- former Baathists are said to be among ISIS base of support -- who could help the group conquer and hold the seat of power in Iraq.”

      The Mideast-based American intelligence official says al-Baghdadi and his inner core of advisers made up of experienced Iraqi jihadists and military veterans -- as well as some Chechens -- are unlikely to make the mistake of trying to mount a full-scale assault on the capital.

      He argues the group’s leadership has shown a remarkable grasp of military strategy, astutely withdrawing from towns in rebel-controlled provinces in northern Syria when faced by a backlash from Syrian rebel groups and thus avoiding defeats, negotiating with local Sunni tribes in both Syria and Iraq and entering a pact with former Saddam Hussein-era military officers and Iraqi Baath party members to unleash an audacious Sunni insurgency in Iraq.

      Most ISIS military operations have focused on isolating the capital by securing important land routes around it or consolidating their hold on Sunni towns already captured, and by overrunning pockets of resistance in the majority-Sunni zones of western, south-western and northern Iraq bordering Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

      Another priority target has been refineries and oil wells. Already in eastern Syria ISIS has been smuggling and selling oil from wells captured in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad. It’s a lucrative trade that has helped swell the jihadist group’s coffers and transform it into the world’s wealthiest terrorist organization. Taking a chunk of Iraq’s oil production could make it much richer still.

      The insurgents are continuing an intense fight at Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery, the country’s largest, despite Iraqi government claims that its forces have asserted full control over the facility.

      Meanwhile, a jihadist bombing campaign in Baghdad appears to have started. Two car bombs hit Baghdad’s suburbs during the week, the latest killing 19 and wounding more than 40. Infuriated Shia vowed revenge.


    5. Please, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the bastard child of AIPAC

  27. Pravda is already off the rails:

    NATO will attack Russia in 2 years to fight for Crimea

    NATO will attack Russia in 2 years to fight for Crimea. 53044.jpeg
    The NATO administration warned Russia of new sanctions, should the Russian administration does not contribute to the cessation of the conflict in Ukraine. Foreign ministers of NATO countries gathered in Brussels to elaborate a joint approach to Russia. US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf stated that the USA had prepared additional sanctions against Russia. The sanctions can be introduced very quickly, Harf said. According to her, Washington positively estimated Moscow's move not to use Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine. However, the US would like to see more dynamic actions from Russia.

    The USA and the EU introduced sanctions against several Russian politicians, businessmen and companies after Russia reunited with the Crimea in March, following the results of the referendum on the peninsula. Now the US threatens to expand sanctions by introducing restrictions on the export of technologies for the oil and gas industry to Russia.

    Vice Rector of the Russian Economic University named after Plekhanov, member of the Public Chamber, Director of the Institute of Political Studies, political scientist Sergei Markov said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that Washington may decide to impose the third package of sanctions against Russia.

    On Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Moscow should stop the flow of weapons across the border. Kerry urged Putin to call on "separatists" to "lay down their arms." Obama again called Merkel and Hollande and agreed to make the announcement about sanctions in the field of energy and "Moscow's restrictions to world financial markets" at the EU summit on June 26-27.

    "Putin stated in Vienna that peace talks do not imply the disarmament of the south-east of Ukraine, so it is unlikely that the wishes of the Americans will be fulfilled. Does it mean that the West will announce new sanctions against Russia?"

    "I think that sanctions will be inevitably developing. The more steps Russia takes to retreat, the tougher the sanctions will be. There is a struggle of the party of peace and the party of war in Washington. The party of war claims that it can arrange a coup in Russia with the help of war to overthrow the leadership and bring a puppet government to power to put Russia down on its knees. They claim that the Russian government is afraid of sanctions, and, therefore, sanctions must be applied as the main tool of showing influence on Russia.

    "Moreover, I think that sanctions will affect middle classes in the future as well, because the goal is to set the middle class against the leadership of the country and create problems for the middle class. So all this will continue to evolve.

    "Washington has committed so many crimes in Ukraine, that it is obvious that there is a global goal hidden behind it. Obviously, the goal is a coup in Russia, like it was in Ukraine. Russia maneuvers and tries to get away from deploying the troops.

    "There should be no peace and no equality of Russian and Ukrainian communities in Ukraine. Washington needs the de-Russification of Ukraine, to have extremist, terrorist forces in power that will conduct the violent de-Russification and become a tool of struggle against the Russian leadership.

  28. Rufus IISat Jun 28, 05:04:00 PM EDT
    I just don't see how any of this affects Clan Rufus.


    Clan Rufus, the Center of the Universe

    Rufus IISat Jun 28, 05:19:00 PM EDT
    Putin can despise Obama all he wants, I still don't see how it affects Me.

    Rufus the Center of Clan Rufus

  29. "Felony Jack" Hawkins aka desert rat, continues thinking he scores points by calling names.

    This is his "Alinski Secret"

    I found a wonderful article on Alinski the other day, but failed to put up.

    Dang, it shredded Alinski and his stupid tactics.

    If you don't have anything intelligent to say, isolate, lie, slander, and repeat, endlessly.

    But it fits "Felony Jack" Hawkins, aka, desert rat, to a t.

    1. Really now, Draft Dodger Bob, I can document where and when you claimed to use college to dodge the draft.
      So please document the "Felony" you claim for Jack.
      If you cannot, please desist in making the claim.

      BobSun Jun 22, 01:42:00 PM EDT

      I have a college degree in English Lit. from U of Washington.

      To avoid being drafted in part. ...

  30. I agree with Doug, whose opinion is, if I him read aright, that two dumbest most absurd posters at this mostly absurd place are, as he calls them, Swamp Rat and desert rat.

    The rat twins.

    1. Explain something. How long would your feud last, if you simply ignored it? Either one of you could disengage and mercifully stop boring the rest of us.

      Forget about it.

    2. The racism, bigotry, hateful misogyny, and outright lies of Draft Dodger Bob will not be ignored.
      If he ever admitted to the traits, ever acknowledged the lies, that would be enough, but if he won't, then he don't.

    3. I was a paid hit man for Ollie North, killing those I was told to liquidate.Sat Jun 28, 09:24:00 PM EDT

      Just as desert rat aka Jack Hawkins needs to his crimes and lies.

    4. Ollie North worked out o the Executive Office Building, for Ronald W Reagan, if Jack Hawkins worked for him, hell, he is top notch.
      North and Company saved a bunch of people in Nicaragua from genocide.
      They couldn't do as well in Guatemala, that's where the Israeli assisted in the genocide of the indigenous people.
      Ollie would take on the Sandinistas, but had his hands tied when it came to the Israeli, they had to much juice in DC.

      Documented in his discovery motions prior to his trial, though some of the story was suppressed.
      It's why all his convictions were over turned, he was working for the President.
      Representing the United States, he was.

  31. As Habu might say, I go now.

    To return sometime.....

  32. Who will volunteer to stand in front of a group of high school kids, and explain to them why Russia's relationship to the Ukraine is important enough that they should go die for it?

  33. On Today, of all days. Did the whole world really go to war because some crazed asshole shot an Arch-Duke? (quick, tell me, exactly, what IS an "Arch-Duke?"

  34. Or, did powerful, monied interests Want a war?

  35. You know, it's bad enough having to fight wars when crazy assholes like Hitler, and Tojo decide they want to fight, without having to go fight wars of stupidity started by our own idiot leaders.

  36. I think that the US model on our military droid 'Ya Vol, Mein fuhrer!' system is a problem. What would happen if we had a cabinet level position, not under the President or Congress, maybe a council of State Governors, that could veto stupid military adventures, and would say , “Hell no”. I know it sounds simplistic, but look at the last sixty years of real time experience.

    1. All that is required is to hold the President and Congress to the Constitutional Standard.

      Make the Congress declare war, before the US goes to war

  37. Pro-Russian Rebels Free 4 OSCE Observers
    MOSCOW — Jun 28, 2014, 8:19 AM ET

    By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV Associated Press
    Associated Press

    Pro-Russian insurgents on Saturday released a second team of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who had been held captive since the end of May, the organization said.

    OSCE spokesman Michael Bociurkiw said that the four observers were released and met by an OSCE official in the eastern city of Donetsk.

    "They're in good health, they're in good spirits," he said.

    OSCE lost contact with four monitors from its Donetsk team and four monitors from its Luhansk team in late May. The members of the Donetsk team were freed earlier this week.

    The second release followed a European Union summit Friday, where leaders decided not to immediately impose new sanctions on Russia for destabilizing eastern Ukraine, but gave the Russian government and pro-Russian insurgents until Monday to take steps to improve the situation. The EU leaders said Russia and the rebels should work to release all captives, retreat from border checkpoints, agree on a way to verify the cease-fire and launch "substantial negotiations" on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's peace plan.

    "We have fulfilled our obligations before the Ukrainian side. All eight observers have been released," Alexander Borodai, one of the leaders of the insurgents, said after the release, according to news agency Interfax.

    Ukraine on Friday signed a free-trade pact with the EU, the very deal that a former Ukrainian president dumped under pressure from Moscow in November, fueling huge protests that eventually drove him from power. Moscow responded to those events by annexing the mainly Russian-speaking Crimean Peninsula in March, and a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine erupted the month after, leading to the developments that have brought Russia-West relations to their lowest point since the Cold War times.

  38. Putin is eyeing a deeper alliance with Iran and Syria, rather than a genuine solution in Iraq. He saves Baghdad, the country is partitioned, a permanent DMZ is set up across Iraq, and a new Cold War between the Saudi satellites and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization satellites commences – one that divides the world’s biggest energy powers. Energy sales and the loyalty of Moslems from Sinkiang to the Mediterranean will be the battlefields.

    1. Oil sells to the highest bidder. It will, regardless of who pumps it, continue to sell to the highest bidder.

      If we had back that two or three trillion we pissed away on the last Iraqi war, we would have a lot more money with which to buy it.

    2. No, Putin does not accept the "White Man's Burden" to govern the world.
      He does not accept that the "West" has the "right" to do it.

      He is not a racist, like those that think the "West" has that 'right' or 'obligation'.
      Because it does not.

    3. Two or three trillion spent on our own defense contractors, who's employees spent it at Starbucks and Walmart and shit. If you wannt talk about flushing money down the toilet look at the $10 billion we gave Israel in 1991 to settle the Russian immigrants in occupied territory.

    4. You are just a liar.

      Israel Requests $10 Billion in U.S. Loan Guarantees for Soviet Immigrants
      By Donald Neff

      It was four years ago, on May 5, 1991, that Israeli Ambassador to the United States Zalman Shoval said Israel would soon ask America for $10 billion in loan guarantees to help provide housing for as many as a million Soviet immigrants expected to arrive in Israel over the next five years.

      Loan guarantees cost America NOTHING.

      Once again your bigotry shines thru

    5. Just lies, distortion and misdirection.

      AND you work for the the USA government?

      Now it makes sense

  39. Hinduism, which has a wonderful thought system, is generally very peaceful. Once in a while some Hindu mob will get feed up with the lasted Moslem atrocity and take some revenge, but it is not their way. Even Buddhists get feed up once in while.

    Hinduism is very tolerant, having the view that there are many paths up the Spiritual Mountain, and the trick is to get to the top, by whatever the route. Just don't go down the mountain, as Islam so often induces its followers to do.

    They also have the view that there are different spiritual drinks, so to speak, on the path upwards, and that a heady spiritual ambrosial drink is fit for some, usually those past the midterm of life, water for the teenagers, milk for the babes, and Budweiser, so to speak, for those who refuse to imagine and sit on their asses and pass gas. Having infinite patience - what else would they have with their view of time - they affirm all with reach top in some future incarnation in some inevitable future universe.

    The Jains never commit violence at all, even against insects, and another group of intensely peaceful religious folks has been the Hopi, if there any true ones left, whose myth of guided wandering has much in common with that written of in the early parts of the Bible.

    While I am ignorant of the higher reaches of Jewish thought my hunch is it might well have much in common with Hinduism.

    Atheists and agnostics and totalitarians of all sorts have done more violence than the religions, excepting Islam, over the course of the centuries.

    1. "Hinduism is very tolerant, having the view that there are many paths up the Spiritual Mountain...

      Christ on a crutch Bob, haven't you ever heard of the caste system?

    2. Tis a dying institution, dear, and is not intrinsic to their higher thought system.

      Change takes time, old ways die slowly.

      The slow passing of the caste system is another benefit of contact with the West, specifically, the English.


      Rather than saying "Religion will be the death of us all" it would be much better to say that "Human nature may well be the death of us all."

      It is human nature of this violent lower sort that religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and many others are designed to overcome. They are well aware of the dangers inherent in an unreformed human nature.

    3. Bob needs to expand his information sourcesSat Jun 28, 08:35:00 PM EDT

      Those are not the religions that will be the Death of Us.
      Those religions the will be the Death of Us, the religions of genocide, those are the Abrahamic religions, the Semitic religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. With Judaism and Christianity leading the way, in genocide, historically.

    4. Robert Anton WilsonSat Jun 28, 08:39:00 PM EDT

      “The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer.
      This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of Western Civilization.”

  40. .

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has built a sizable political profile — including the requisite presidential speculation — by espousing a simple idea: that the system is "rigged" against average Americans.

    And you might be surprised who agrees with her: A whole bunch of conservatives.

    According to a new Pew survey, 62 percent of Americans think that the economic system unfairly favors the powerful, and 78 percent think that too much power is concentrated in too few companies. The discontent isn't limited to those who share Warren's liberal ideology; 69 percent of young conservative-leaning voters and 48 percent of the most conservative voters agree that the system favors the powerful, according to Pew.

    Although Warren seems an outlier in the legislative branch for her fiery discontent with inequality — and the role she says Wall Street plays in exacerbating it — the Pew survey suggests that the vast majority of Americans are at least open to her underlying premise.

    Everyone, that is, except business conservatives. This faction has vastly different views of the American economic system than most Americans. Two-thirds of business conservatives think the economic system is fair to most people, and 57 percent think that large companies do not have too much power...

    Once again, Anonymous Bob and his minions find themselves out of sync with mainstream America.


  41. Taking Saul Alinsky to task

    15 Thing You Probably Didn't Know About Psychpaths

    Causes – Neurological defect or injury is often associated with psychopathy, though some cases have no known causative factors. Cases have been reported of identical twins, one psychopathic, the other not. Stalin, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein exhibited traits common to psychopaths, and each had been subject to abusive or neglectful parenting, possibly resulting in psychological damage. There is another possible factor relating to an outsider status. Napoleon was not French, but Corsican. Lenin was not Russian, but Kalmyk and Turkic. Stalin was not Russian, but Georgian. And Hitler was not German, but Austrian.
    Flavors – By far, most psychopaths operate on a family and community level, destroying family relationships, committing crimes and misdemeanors, and rotating in and out of mental hospitals, jails, and prisons, and then back into the community. But many psychopaths tend to come in other distinct flavors depending on their personalities. Serial-murder psychopaths and corporate psychopaths were previously mentioned. Other flavors include military, religious, financial, and political psychopaths. Dr. Clive Boddy made a convincing argument that the 2008 financial meltdown was the product of financial and political psychopaths.

    The rarest of psychopathic types is the intellectual psychopath.Karl Marx, Saul Alinsky, and Cloward-Piven come to mind. Both Marx and Alinsky displayed psychopathic traits and inspired other psychopaths to infiltrate and sometimes forcibly seize governments, followed by characteristic psychopathic inefficiency, incompetence, and corruption in the administration of the state.

    1. The last thing our nation needs is Alinskiite rats leading militias on marches to Washington, D.C.

    2. Draft Dodger Bob now wants to limit the 1st Amendment.
      He is showing his fascist tendencies, again.

      “A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.”
      ― Henry A. Wallace

  42. .

    U.S. diplomatic facilities abroad may be at risk because of problems with their security standards and practices, according to a report this week from federal auditors.

    The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative wing of Congress, found inconsistency in the way the State Department prepares for evolving threats and the potential dangers to temporary facilities that operate longer than anticipated.

    The report sheds additional light on the failures that led to a 2012 assault on a temporary diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including U.S. ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. It could also provide more ammunition for Republicans to attack former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is considering a possible 2016 presidential run...

    And when was the last time we heard this?

    The agency said it was not in a position to answer a recommendation about its policies on temporary facilities because it is still evaluating that issue with an internal work group.


  43. The caste system has no legality in India[19] and discrimination against lower castes is illegal in India under Article 15 of its constitution.

    Caste is commonly thought of as an ancient fact of Indian life, but various contemporary scholars have argued that the caste system was significantly reconfigured by British colonial regime.[4][12] Nicholas Dirks has argued that Indian caste was "fundamentally transformed by British colonial rule",[13] to recreate it as a "modern phenomenon".[12][14] Between 1860 and 1920, the British segregated Indians by caste, granting administrative jobs and senior appointments only to the upper castes. Social unrest during 1920s led to a change in this policy.[15][16] From then on, the colonial administration began a policy of affirmative action by reserving a certain percentage of government jobs for the lower castes.[17] After India achieved independence, this policy of caste-based reservation of jobs and positive discrimination was formalized with lists of Scheduled Castes (Dalit) and Scheduled Tribes (Adivasi).[18]

    My argument, dear Miss T, has nothing whatsoever to do with social conventions. It is a religio/philosophical argument.

    1. After India achieved independence, this policy of caste-based reservation of jobs and positive discrimination was formalized with lists of Scheduled Castes (Dalit) and Scheduled Tribes (Adivasi).[18]

      It is nowadays even a form of affirmative action !

      But change does come slowly in a county of 200 languages and 1 billion or more souls, most of whom are still rural and uneducated for the most part.

    2. You may now apologize with due humility for your ignorance, Miss T.


    3. Religion is not based on legalities, Draft Dodger Bob.
      You are conflating religion with government, what kind of a dimwit are you?

    4. Hinduism is not limited to, nor contained by the government of India.

      What a fool you are proving yourself to be, again.

  44. .

    The Supreme Court handed President Obama his 13th unanimous loss in two years on Thursday, and this one may be the most consequential. All nine Justices voted to overturn Mr. Obama's non-recess recess appointments as an unconstitutional abuse of power...


    ...Justice Breyer instructs, and the legislature and executive are supposed to work things out along the way. By violating these norms, Mr. Obama invited the judiciary to mediate and jeopardized the recess power for all future Presidents...


    Mr. Obama has thus strengthened the Senate, now armed with a judicial guide to preventing recess appointments: Presidents must take no for an answer. The ruling also opens to challenge some 436 decisions that the NRLB issued while the imposter members were seated.

    But the true import of Noel Canning is that even liberal Justices are alarmed that Mr. Obama's executive law-making is visiting real damage on the Constitution. This will not be the last legal torpedo aimed at the hull of his increasingly willful Presidency.


    1. Turns out we have a republic after all.

    2. Writing for that majority, Justice Stephen Breyer found that a recess of less than 10 days is “presumptively too short” to permit a recess appointment. But he declined to agree to the other limits on a president’s appointment powers, saying going that far would be too disruptive to the traditional balance of power and at odds with what he called “centuries of history” of recess appointments made during Senate sessions and to posts that have been vacant for some time prior to the break.

      “We are reluctant to upset this traditional practice where doing so would seriously shrink the authority that Presidents have believed existed and have exercised for so long,” Breyer wrote in an opinion joined by the court’s liberals and Republican appointee Justice Anthony Kennedy, a frequent swing vote.
      Justice Antonin Scalia issued a withering opinion for the court’s conservative wing, accusing the majority of ignoring the plain text of the Constitution in order to accommodate a practice clearly at odds with it.

      “The Court’s decision transforms the recess-appointment power from a tool carefully designed to fill a narrow and specific need into a weapon to be wielded by future Presidents against future Senates,” Scalia warned. He called the majority’s work “atextual” and an endorsement of “an adverse-possession theory of executive authority” —scoffing at the idea that if one branch of government fails to assert its prerogatives for a time, it loses those powers.

      “A self-aggrandizing practice adopted by one branch well after the founding, often challenged, and never before blessed by this Court—in other words, the sort of practice on which the majority relies in this case—does not relieve us of our duty to interpret the Constitution in light of its text, structure, and original understanding,” Scalia wrote.

      Scalia also accused the court’s majority of crafting the 10 day rule and other parts of its opinion out of thin air.

      “If the Constitution’s text empowers the President to make appointments during any break in the Senate’s proceedings, by what right does the majority subject the President’s exercise of that power to vague, court-crafted limitations with no textual basis?” he asked.

      “An interpretation that calls for this kind of judicial adventurism cannot be correct,” he added.

      Breyer’s majority opinion contains a series of rather blunt, even caustic rebuttals to the fiery Scalia, who added emphasis to his opinions by delivering much of it from the bench.

      “Justice Scalia would render illegitimate thousands of recess appointments reaching all the way back to the founding era. More than that: Calling the Clause an ‘anachronism,’ he would basically read it out of the Constitution,” Breyer wrote. “He performs this act of judicial excision in the name of liberty. We fail to see how excising the Recess Appointments Clause preserves freedom.”

      Looking for how the SCOTUS decision impacts the process and decisions of what were described as 'imposters' in Q' post.

    3. Still, the high court's ruling means that hundreds of decisions made by the labor board while dominated by Obama's recess appointees will be called into question. The new five-member board, including four members since approved by the Senate, may have to revisit those cases.

      Ronald Reagan made 232 recess appointments during his eight years in office. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush each made well more than 100. In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt made more than 160 recess appointments during one short break between congressional sessions.

      To date, Obama has made only 32 recess appointments. But in this case, he did so to get around the Senate's intransigence rather than its absence — something both liberal and conservative justices frowned upon during oral arguments in January.

      "The recess appointments clause is not designed to overcome serious institutional friction," Breyer said. "Friction between the branches is an inevitable consequence of our constitutional structure."

    4. .


      The decision was 9-0 with all justices agreeing that Obama's actions were unconstitutional. Justice Breyer wrote the majority opinion.

      Justice Scalia while concurring in the decision wrote a blistering rebuttal of Breyer's 10 day standard and likened it to pulling something out of thin air. Likewise, the conservative minority opinion argued for an even stricter and narrower interpretation of the president’s recess powers, one that would have substantially limited future presidents ‘ ability to make recess appointments. A single vote say from Kennedy would have swung the vote to the conservatives. This could have been an even more serious blunder by Obama. It was that close.


      To date, Obama has made only 32 recess appointments. But in this case, he did so to get around the Senate's intransigence rather than its absence — something both liberal and conservative justices frowned upon during oral arguments in January.

      IMO, in this case it wasn't really 'Senate intransigence' but rather House intransigence.

      What has been portrayed as the money quote,

      Because the Constitution delegates power to each branch to independently make their own rules, writes Justice Breyer, "the Senate is in session when it says it is."

      But, in this case,

      ... the Senate was conducting pro forma proceedings (gavel in, gavel out, every three days) because neither chamber can adjourn without the other's permission under Article I, Section 5. The House refused to consent to prevent Mr. Obama from making recess appointments, so he simply assumed the power to define on his own when a coequal branch of government is at work.


  45. And WiO calls me a liar.

    Currently, Israel owes the U.S. government almost $3 billion in economic and military loans. Direct government-to-government loans are included in the above numbers for total aid, because repayment of several loans has been “waived” by the U.S. Israeli officials are fond of saying that Israel has never defaulted on a loan from the U.S. Technically, this is true. The CRS report, however, notes that from FY 1994 through FY 1998 $29 billion in U.S. loans have been waived for Israel. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider all loans to Israel the same as grants.

    1. Exactly,
      Loans that are never repaid, are not loans at all.
      They are gifts, in the case of Israel, obtained fraudulently. The promise to repay was made, knowing it wuld never be fulfilled.
      There was never any intention of repayment.

    2. The promise to repay was made, knowing it WOULD never be fulfilled.

    3. a LOAN Guarantee aint a LOAN.

      That was your statement."Teresita RedingerSat Jun 28, 07:37:00 PM EDT
      Two or three trillion spent on our own defense contractors, who's employees spent it at Starbucks and Walmart and shit. If you wannt talk about flushing money down the toilet look at the $10 billion we gave Israel in 1991 to settle the Russian immigrants in occupied territory."

      again, in 1991 10 billion was not a loan and America gave NOTHING to settle Russian immigrants.

      You are a liar.

    4. Changing the argument AFTER the fact?

      Makes you a misleading liar. A distorter of facts.


    5. Israel - damned their country for moneySat Jun 28, 10:06:00 PM EDT

      A loan that is not paid back, is theft.

      Israel did not make the payments, it stole that money.

  46. And now you know how J Street earns their money, lobbying Congress for loan forgiveness. It's a shell game.

    1. Always did hating to see that street corner Three Card Monte bullshit.

    2. Israel - damned their country for moneySat Jun 28, 10:27:00 PM EDT

      Looters, those Israeli.
      If the loan is forgiven, the outstanding loan amount becomes taxable income.
      That is the Standard, set by the IRS.

      Title of the outstanding balance transfers.
      Looters and thieves, the Israeli are not even going to pay the tax.

  47. Reading the brilliant commentaries on the EB has become such a joy without all the Abrahamic, Israeli, and Zionists crap posted by the Israel-Firsters taking up so much valuable space.


    You know you have them by the balls when they cannot stop even when you are gone.

    1. Israel - damned their country for moneySat Jun 28, 11:00:00 PM EDT

      But allen, you're still here, you never left.
      Despite your promises.

    2. Israel - damned their country for moneySat Jun 28, 11:02:00 PM EDT

      And besides, it is not about YOU.

      It is about the pagan state of Israel.
      The nation that defies the God of Abraham.



    Jazz and American support...what a wonderful world...


  50. ...good news for those with no interest in Israel...
    Rocket from Gaza sets factory ablaze in southern Israel

    By this time tomorrow, I may have some good news. It won't be Gaza blazing, but you can't have everything at once.

    As I drove through Druid Hills this evening, watching all the Jewish families walking to Beit Jacob, so innocently, I wondered if they knew of all the hard men who made their worship possible.

  51. ...from MS...
    Possibly The Biggest Anti-Gun Lunacy of the Year!

  52. Israel - damned their country for moneySat Jun 28, 11:00:00 PM EDT
    But allen, you're still here, you never left.
    Despite your promises.

    Post that promise.

  53. ...sorry...Please, post that promise, Ralph Ellis.


    1. Did you forget your name as well as the point? That's too bad. "Regular Use of Medication Is Strongly Recommended." You will have to extract your head from you ass, first.

      "Chai Israel"!

  54. I ran into an interesting short article, while ago, and it reminded me, somewhat, of Deuce's and my earlier chatter.

    It is a cliché, but an accurate one, that in dealing with Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine, Americans have been inclined to apply the lessons of World War II (don’t let territorial aggression go unchecked) where European allies have applied the lessons of World War I (don’t allow tit-for-tat escalation to take hold). Americans could do well to understand that both experiences offer important lessons in how to deal with an expansionist autocrat.

    Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story

    Continue reading the main story

    As many commentators have noted, the emergence of China as a global economic powerhouse trying to assert itself has some eerie echoes of Germany’s rise in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As China has skirmishes with Asian neighbors over claims on some minor islands in the Pacific, the historical lesson for leaders in both China and its regional rivals Japan and South Korea is to recognize that nationalistic temptations and no-compromise stances can make everyone far worse off.
    Continue reading the main story

    The global . . . .

    Two Lessons

    1. ... in dealing with Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine,...
      Funny thing, that.
      From many perspectives it is much more a case of of US aggression towards Ukraine, than Russian.

      Despite a perilous period for the global economy, the interconnections among the world’s most populous nations are arguably deeper than they were even a decade ago.
      Rampant inflation and economic stagnation along with political instability in Africa and the Middle East, now spreading into the EU. The interconnections are illusory at best, at worst they are chains that bind us to a sinking ship.

    2. Putin does not need a war in Europe to get what he wants. With time and patience, he will work it all out and the EU's will thank him. Why, they already have: There will be no ugly debate about the swallowing of Crimea and they will not allow themselves to be drawn into confrontation with him, no matter the provocation.

  55. Martin Luther is probably the most famous supercessionist, though replacement theology was articulated and endorsed by early church fathers such as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and even St. Augustine. Luther, however, was particularly acidic. A punitive supercessionist if ever there was one, he believed the Jews should be severely punished for their unbelief.

    In his pamphlet “On the Jews and Their Lies,” Luther went on a hair-raising, incendiary diatribe that gave false spiritual and theological legitimacy for persecution of the Jews. He recommended Germany’s political leaders urge citizens to burn Jews’ schools and synagogues; exile Jews to ghettos; get rid of all Jewish literature; refuse to let rabbis to teach lest they face execution; deny Jews safe-conduct; confiscate all the Jews’ wealth; and have Jews do only forced labor. The miner’s son who became a monk and theologian was so hardened against the Jews that even shortly before his death he was still fuming, “We are at fault for not slaying them.”

    It’s a fact that in Luther’s day, politics was religion. The Church was the government, and factions of Christianity were willing to go to war over doctrinal divisions. But as history was to tragically reveal, the reasoning behind replacement theology abstracted from any theological context and put into purely political contexts meant the practice of anti-Semitism by the secular state. To put it another way, most readers of history will recognize the progression of anti-Semitism from what Luther’s friend Phillip Melanchthon called the “rabies of theologians” to the rabies of Nazi ideology.

    1. While the Lutheran church has spent literally centuries struggling with their leading theologian’s anti-Semitism; and, to its credit, largely diffusing it or ignoring it altogether, it now appears the PCUSA is fast becoming infected with the anti-Semitic theological rabies of replacement theology..........

      By adding to that list divestment from the PCUSA’s portfolio companies doing business with Israel, the proclaiming of Israel an apartheid state and the refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Israel’s sovereignty as a nation, the church has given itself over to the political rabies of the Left.


      Is the situation reparable?

      Probably not.

      But maybe there is hope the denomination will radicalize itself out of existence. As Tooley notes, “In just the last two years, the PCUSA lost nearly 200,000 members, a rate, which if continued, would mean no more PCUSA in less than 20 years.”

      Considering the Presbyterian Church USA has gone where no church worthy of the name has ever dared to go, its disappearance might be a good thing.

      Fay Voshell holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, a flagship institution of the PCUSA. She was awarded the seminary’s prize for excellence in systematic theology. Her articles have appeared in National Review, PJMedia, American Thinker, RealClearReligion and many other online publications. She was selected as one of the Delaware GOP’s “Winning Women,” Class of 2008.

    2. All of this comes from misreading.

  56. ISIS is dysfunctional