BBO Discussion Forums: Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? - BBO Discussion Forums

Jump to content

  • 1031 Pages +
  • « First
  • 973
  • 974
  • 975
  • 976
  • 977
  • Last »
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#19481 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 6,496
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2022-February-24, 20:32

Paul Krugman said:

https://www.nytimes....e-accounts.html

The United States and its allies aren’t going to intervene with their own forces against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. I’ll leave it to others with relevant expertise to speculate about whether we’ll send more arms to the Ukrainian government or, if the Russian attack achieves quick success, help arm the Ukrainian resistance.

For the most part, however, the West’s response to Putin’s naked aggression will involve financial and economic sanctions. How effective can such sanctions be?

The answer is that they can be very effective, if the West shows the will — and is willing to take on its own corruption.

By conventional measures the Putin regime doesn’t look very vulnerable, at least in the short run.

True, Russia will eventually pay a heavy price. There won’t be any more pipeline deals; there will be hardly any foreign direct investment. After all, who will want to make long-term commitments to a country whose autocratic leadership has shown such reckless contempt for the rule of law? But these consequences of Putin’s aggression will take years to become visible.

And there seems to be only limited room for trade sanctions. For that, we can and should blame Europe, which does far more trade with Russia than America does.

The Europeans, unfortunately, have fecklessly allowed themselves to become highly dependent on imports of Russian natural gas. This means that if they were to attempt a full-scale cutoff of Russian exports they would impose soaring prices and shortages on themselves. Given sufficient provocation, they could still do it: Modern advanced economies can be incredibly resilient in times of need.

But even the invasion of Ukraine probably won’t be enough to persuade Europe to make those sorts of sacrifices. It’s telling, and not in a good way, that Italy wants luxury goods — a favorite purchase of the Russian elite — excluded from any sanctions package.

Financial sanctions, reducing Russia’s ability to raise and move money overseas, are more easily doable — indeed, on Thursday President Biden announced plans to crack down on Russian banks. But the effects will be limited unless Russia is excluded from SWIFT, the Belgium-based system for payments between banks. And a SWIFT exclusion might in practice mean a stop to Russian gas supplies, which brings us back to the problem of Europe’s self-inflicted vulnerability.

Yet the world’s advanced democracies have another powerful financial weapon against the Putin regime, if they’re willing to use it: They can go after the vast overseas wealth of the oligarchs who surround Putin and help him stay in power.

Everyone has heard about giant oligarch-owned yachts, sports franchises and incredibly expensive homes in multiple countries; there’s so much highly visible Russian money in Britain that some people talk about “Londongrad.” Well, these aren’t just isolated stories.

Filip Novokment, Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman have pointed out that Russia has run huge trade surpluses every year since the early 1990s, which should have led to a large accumulation of overseas assets. Yet official statistics show Russia with only moderately more assets than liabilities abroad. How is that possible? The obvious explanation is that wealthy Russians have been skimming off large sums and parking them abroad.

The sums involved are mind-boggling. Novokment et al estimate that in 2015 the hidden foreign wealth of rich Russians amounted to around 85 percent of Russia’s G.D.P. To give you some perspective, this is as if a U.S. president’s cronies had managed to hide $20 trillion in overseas accounts. Another paper co-written by Zucman found that in Russia, “the vast majority of wealth at the top is held offshore.” As far as I can tell, the overseas exposure of Russia’s elite has no precedent in history — and it creates a huge vulnerability that the West can exploit.

But can democratic governments go after these assets? Yes. As I read it, the legal basis is already there, for example in the Countering America’s Enemies Through Sanctions Act, and so is the technical ability. Indeed, Britain froze the assets of three prominent Putin cronies earlier this week, and it could give many others the same treatment.

So we have the means to put enormous financial pressure on the Putin regime (as opposed to the Russian economy). But do we have the will? That’s the trillion-ruble question.

There are two uncomfortable facts here. First, a number of influential people, both in business and in politics, are deeply financially enmeshed with Russian kleptocrats. This is especially true in Britain. Second, it will be hard to go after laundered Russian money without making life harder for all money-launderers, wherever they come from — and while Russian plutocrats may be the world champions in that sport, they’re hardly unique: Ultrawealthy people all over the world have money hidden in offshore accounts.

What this means is that taking effective action against Putin’s greatest vulnerability will require facing up to and overcoming the West’s own corruption.

Can the democratic world rise to this challenge? We’ll find out over the next few months.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#19482 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 6,496
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2022-February-25, 01:16

David Brooks said:

https://www.nytimes....crat-myths.html

The democratic nations of the world are in a global struggle against authoritarianism. That struggle has international fronts — starting with the need to confront, repel and weaken Vladimir Putin.

But that struggle also has domestic fronts — the need to defeat the mini-Putins now found across the Western democracies. These are the demagogues who lie with Putinesque brazenness, who shred democratic institutions with Putinesque bravado, who strut the world’s stage with Putin’s amoral schoolboy machismo while pretending to represent all that is traditional and holy.

In the United States that, of course, is Donald Trump. This moment of heightened danger and crisis makes it even clearer that the No. 1 domestic priority for all Americans who care about democracy is to make sure Trump never sees the inside of the Oval Office ever again. As democracy is threatened from abroad it can’t also be cannibalized from within.

Thinking has to be crystal clear. What are the crucial battlegrounds in the struggle against Trump? He won the White House by winning Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with strong support from white voters without a college degree. Joe Biden ousted Trump by winning back those states and carrying the new swing states, Arizona and Georgia.

So for the next three years Democrats need to wake up with one overriding political thought: What are we doing to appeal to all working-class voters in those five states? Are we doing anything today that might alienate these voters?

Are the Democrats winning the contest for these voters right now? No.

At the start of 2021 Democrats had a nine-point advantage when you asked voters to name their party preference. By the end of 2021 Republicans had a five-point advantage. Among swing voters, things are particularly grim. A February 2022 Economist/YouGov survey found that a pathetic 30 percent of independents approve of Biden’s job performance. Working-class voters are turning against Biden. According to a January Pew survey, 54 percent of Americans with graduate degrees approved of Biden’s performance, but only 37 percent of those without any college experience did.

Are Democrats thinking clearly about how to win those voters? No.

This week two veteran Democratic strategists, William A. Galston and Elaine Kamarck, issued a report for the Progressive Policy Institute arguing that Democrats need to get over at least three delusions.

The first Democratic myth is, “People of color think and act alike.” In fact, there have been differences between Hispanics and Black Americans on issues like the economy, foreign policy and policing. Meanwhile working-class people have been moving toward the G.O.P. across racial lines.

“Today, the Democrats’ working-class problem isn’t limited to white workers,” the veteran Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg wrote in The American Prospect. “The party is also losing support from working-class Blacks and Hispanics.”

The second Democratic myth is, “Economics trumps culture.” This is the idea that if Democrats can shower working- and middle-class voters with material benefits then that will overwhelm any differences they may have with them on religious, social and cultural issues — on guns, crime and immigration, etc. This crude economic determinism has been rebutted by history time and time again.

The third myth is, “A progressive ascendancy is emerging.” The fact is that only 7 percent of the electorate considers itself “very liberal.” I would have thought the Biden economic agenda, which basically consists of handing money to the people who need it most, would be astoundingly popular. It’s popular, but not that popular. I would have thought Americans would scream bloody murder when the expansion of the existing child tax credit expired. They haven’t. Distrust in government is still astoundingly high, undercutting the progressive project at every turn.

What do Democrats need to do now? Well, one thing they are really good at. Over the past few years a wide range of thinkers — across the political spectrum — have congregated around a neo-Hamiltonian agenda that stands for the idea that we need to build more things — roads, houses, colleges, green technologies and ports. Democrats need to hammer home this Builders agenda, which would provide good-paying jobs and renew American dynamism.

But Democrats also have to do something they’re really bad at: Craft a cultural narrative around the theme of social order. The Democrats have been blamed for fringe ideas like “defund the police” and a zeal for “critical race theory” because the party doesn’t have its own mainstream social and cultural narrative.

With war in Europe, crime rising on our streets, disarray at the border, social unraveling in many of our broken communities, perceived ideological unmooring in our schools, moral decay everywhere, Democrats need to tell us which cultural and moral values they stand for that will hold this country together.

The authoritarians tell a simple story about how to restore order — it comes from cultural homogeneity and the iron fist of the strongman. Democrats have a harder challenge — to show how order can be woven amid diversity, openness and the full flowering of individuals. But Democrats need to name the moral values and practices that will restore social order.

It doesn’t matter how many nice programs you have; people won’t support you if they think your path is the path to chaos.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#19483 User is offline   Winstonm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 16,944
  • Joined: 2005-January-08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Interests:Art, music

Posted 2022-February-25, 08:19

You say corruption
I say corrupshun

Let’s all learn to say, Da!
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
0

#19484 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 6,496
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2022-February-25, 09:27

View PostWinstonm, on 2022-February-25, 08:19, said:

You say corruption
I say corrupshun

Let’s all learn to say, Da!

Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Republican party
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#19485 User is offline   barmar 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Admin
  • Posts: 21,076
  • Joined: 2004-August-21
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2022-February-25, 15:24

View PostChas_P, on 2022-February-22, 20:02, said:

You boys really are amusing. Rather than continuing to flog an inanimate equine please tell us just ONE thing that your boy Joe has done to improve the lives of we plebeians. Please. Just one.

He spearheaded the American Rescue Plan.

But questions like yours presume that the President is a dictator. He's very limited in what he can do, it's Congress that makes laws. POTUS can make recommendations to Congress, and he often tries to act as a negotiator and cheerleader, but he can't force anything through. When we have an obstructionist Congress, it's not his fault when his plans don't materialize. On the contrary, we're surprised when his initiatives are implemented. Although often this requires watering it down significantly -- Obamacare provides much less than Obama actually wanted in universal health care, although it's still significantly better than what we had before.

#19486 User is offline   barmar 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Admin
  • Posts: 21,076
  • Joined: 2004-August-21
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2022-February-25, 15:31

View Postkenberg, on 2022-February-19, 08:02, said:

Notice that Trump did not lie! He agreed that this was intended to suggest he had more than a 50% stake. On the stand, he agreed as to what he had written and he agreed as to his intention in writing it. I suppose that he didn't actually own more than 50% Well, he did not, strictly speaking, say that he did. He asked if Peter, whoever Peter is, thought 50% was small.

I don't think any court would be fooled by language tricks like this. Euphemisms and rhetorical questions are common parts of language, and we all know what they really mean. When a mobster says "It would be a shame if something happened to your wife", everyone knows he's making a veiled threat, not expressing hope that nothing happens to her.

So a rhetorical question can indeed be a lie, because we translate it to its intended meaning before assessing the truth.

Tucker Carlson talks in stupid questions all through his commentaries, but he's not fooling anyone. He can't get away with spreading disinformation by claiming "I'm just asking".

#19487 User is offline   Winstonm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 16,944
  • Joined: 2005-January-08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Interests:Art, music

Posted 2022-February-25, 16:30

View Posty66, on 2022-February-25, 09:27, said:

Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Republican party

Da…, da , da, da, DA

This is the city, Los Angeles. California….just the alternative facts, M’am.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
0

#19488 User is offline   PassedOut 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 3,653
  • Joined: 2006-February-21
  • Location:Upper Michigan
  • Interests:Music, films, computer programming, politics, bridge

Posted 2022-February-25, 17:42

And Joe Biden has made an excellent choice for the Supreme Court: How Ketanji Brown Jackson found a path between confrontation and compromise

This article in the Post is a long and very interesting portrayal of Justice Jackson's history, qualifications, and approach. She was quite special even as youngster:

Quote

A persona taking shape

She was a star from junior high school on. Chosen as “mayor” of Palmetto Junior High, just south of Miami, and elected class president of Palmetto High three times, Jackson was voted “most likely to succeed” and “most talented,” according to her high school yearbook. In one largely White setting after another, she soared to the top.

The keys, according to those who knew her well, were confidence, discipline and a clarion sense of direction seeded and nurtured by her parents.

When Johnny and Ellery Brown grew up in South Florida, the segregation and closed doors in many workplaces seemed forbidding. After attending historically Black colleges, Jackson’s parents moved to Washington, where they launched their careers, and then went back to Miami, where Johnny attended law school and wound up as the top attorney for the Dade County School Board. Ellery taught school and rose to become principal of the New World School of the Arts, a magnet public high school.

From her earliest years, “it was important to me to be seen as a person who worked hard and was good to work with,” Jackson told Black law students in Chicago in 2020. “As a young Black woman with a funny name, I already stood out, and so I invested heavily in doing what was required to build my brand within each organization I worked in.”

In the Browns’ modest suburban house, Johnny and Ellery kept on their coffee table a book about racism in America, “Faces At the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism,” by Derrick Bell, the first Black professor to win tenure at Harvard Law School. Jackson would stare at the book’s cover, struggling “to reconcile the image of the person, who seemed to be smiling, with the depressing message that the title and subtitle conveyed,” she later recalled.

She and her father spoke often about what was required to both earn that smile and find your way to the top.

“As a dark-skinned black girl who was often the only person of color in my class, club, or social environment, my parents knew that it was essential that I develop a sense of my own self worth that was in no way dependent on what others thought about my abilities,” Jackson said.

At Palmetto High, Jackson encountered a wide array of students — almost three-quarters White, 16 percent Black and 11 percent Hispanic — but most did not mix much outside their own groups, according to Jackson and several of her friends.

Jackson, though, waded into activities that were heavily dominated by White students. She sang, debated and got involved in theater, even after a drama teacher told her she would not get a role in a play about a White family because she was Black.

For classes and for her speech and debate prep, she hit the books, hard. “While other kids were hanging out late going to parties, I was either writing or rehearsing my speech, or sleeping ahead of a 5 a.m. Saturday morning tournament wake-up call,” Jackson recalled in the 2020 speech at the University of Chicago. “That kind of self-discipline and sacrifice … if I’m being honest, has made me kind of boring, but has also allowed me to have opportunities that my grandparents could not have even dreamed about.”

“She didn’t waste time,” said Nathaniel Persily, a friend and high school classmate who was on the speech and debate team with Jackson. “She wasn’t going to be distracted by something like I was, like video games. … She was personally sort of conservative, more mature in her attitude and outlook on life. I always thought of her as an old soul.”

But Jackson was no nerd, her friends said. “We’d go to The Falls,” the high-end mall a couple of miles south of Palmetto High down South Dixie Highway, said Denise Lewin Loyd, a high school friend and, with Jackson, one of the few Black students tracked into honors classes at Palmetto. “We’d go to pool parties. We’d spend a lot of time at each other’s houses, just hanging out. And the beach, of course. Ketanji wasn’t as big on the beach as I was, but we’d go now and then.”

With all of the ugliness in politics these days, it's encouraging to read about the good side of our country too -- a story like this one that shows the best of America.
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper. — Friedrich Nietzsche
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell. — Bertrand Russell
0

#19489 User is offline   Chas_P 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,499
  • Joined: 2008-September-03
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gainesville, GA USA

Posted 2022-February-25, 18:51

View PostPassedOut, on 2022-February-25, 17:42, said:

And Joe Biden has made an excellent choice for the Supreme Court: How Ketanji Brown Jackson found a path between confrontation and compromise

This article in the Post is a long and very interesting portrayal of Justice Jackson's history, qualifications, and approach. She was quite special even as youngster:


With all of the ugliness in politics these days, it's encouraging to read about the good side of our country too -- a story like this one that shows the best of America.

Yes. Just like Justice Clarence Thomas.
0

#19490 User is offline   Gilithin 

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 569
  • Joined: 2014-November-13
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2022-February-25, 19:59

View PostChas_P, on 2022-February-25, 18:51, said:

Yes. Just like Justice Clarence Thomas.

A timely reminder that 25% of the current SCOTUS stand accused of sexual assault. Hopefully the new Justice can reduce that slightly.
0

#19491 User is offline   johnu 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,630
  • Joined: 2008-September-10
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2022-February-25, 20:12

View PostChas_NoDignity_NoHonesty_NoIntegrity, on 2022-February-25, 18:51, said:

Yes. Just like Justice Clarence Thomas.

Which Clarence Thomas would that be?
a) Clarence "Long Dong Silver" Thomas, well known porn enthusiast
b) Clarence "Pubic Hair" Thomas, well known sexual harasser
c) Clarence "No Ethics" Thomas, well known biased justice who refuses to recuse himself from cases associated and advocated for by his wife.
0

#19492 User is offline   Chas_P 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 1,499
  • Joined: 2008-September-03
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Gainesville, GA USA

Posted 2022-February-25, 20:16

View PostGilithin, on 2022-February-25, 19:59, said:

A timely reminder that 25% of the current SCOTUS stand accused of sexual assault. Hopefully the new Justice can reduce that slightly.

"Accused" and "proven guilty" are two entirely different things my friend. But thanks for the timely reminder.
0

#19493 User is offline   johnu 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 4,630
  • Joined: 2008-September-10
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2022-February-25, 20:20

View PostGilithin, on 2022-February-25, 19:59, said:

A timely reminder that 25% of the current SCOTUS stand accused of sexual assault. Hopefully the new Justice can reduce that slightly.

Sorry, it will still be the same 2 when a new Justice is confirmed.
0

#19494 User is offline   Gilithin 

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Full Members
  • Posts: 569
  • Joined: 2014-November-13
  • Gender:Male

Posted 2022-February-26, 02:01

View PostChas_P, on 2022-February-25, 20:16, said:

"Accused" and "proven guilty" are two entirely different things my friend. But thanks for the timely reminder.

Absolutely! In the same way, Vladimir Putin is accused of having ordered an invasion of Ukraine but noone has found him guilty of it.
0

#19495 User is offline   awm 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 8,249
  • Joined: 2005-February-09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Zurich, Switzerland

Posted 2022-February-26, 05:16

In terms of what the Democratic party stands for, it seems like we can capture it in a couple pretty simple statements:

1. When we see someone in trouble, we help.
2. We stand up to bullies.


When you talk about America being great, the best things we've done all fall into these categories. We fought off a bully in our revolution, and rather than install a tyrant of our own, we created a government "for the people, by the people." We ended slavery in our country (standing up for people in trouble, though it took us longer than it should've). When we saw our European allies in trouble, we helped (in both world wars). We stood up to Hitler, and we stood up to Stalin afterwards. When we saw Americans struggling in the Great Depression, we built the New Deal. When enough of us finally understood how bad the Jim Crow south was for Black Americans, we passed Civil Rights. And we have accepted many refugees from many lands across the world.

Of course, America has made mistakes and done bad things too, but most of these come when we either ignored people in trouble, or when we decided to be the bully ourselves -- when we failed on these principles.

In terms of the world today, when Democrats see a man being choked to death on the street, we say "something's wrong with that" and we do something. And when it's overwhelmingly Black people being killed on our streets, we march and we say that Black lives matter too. When we see a bully like Putin try to invade his neighbours, we stand up to him. When we see people fleeing from violence in their home countries, we try to help.

Comparing this to the modern Republicans, Trump is a bully himself -- he lies (tens of thousands of times just when he was in office), he steals (failing to pay people who did work for his businesses, dozens of times), and he cheats (on his taxes, on his wives... he thinks it makes him "smart"). But when he comes up against a bigger bully like Putin or MBS or Kim Jong-un does he stand up to them? No, he caves and gives them whatever they want. He's even on Putin's side on the Ukraine invasion. The policies the Republicans stand for also stink of "I've got mine, screw you" -- tax cuts for millionaires, children caged on the border, the US closed to refugees, trying to deport the dreamers, cheering for the bad cops who shoot first and ask questions later.

The US ought to be better than that. We haven't always been, but we should be.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
1

#19496 User is online   Cyberyeti 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 13,208
  • Joined: 2009-July-13
  • Location:England

Posted 2022-February-26, 06:52

Sadly US/EU response to Ukraine is pretty accurately this

Posted Image
0

#19497 User is offline   kenberg 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 10,883
  • Joined: 2004-September-22
  • Location:Northern Maryland

Posted 2022-February-26, 08:32

View Postawm, on 2022-February-26, 05:16, said:

In terms of what the Democratic party stands for, it seems like we can capture it in a couple pretty simple statements:

1. When we see someone in trouble, we help.
2. We stand up to bullies.


When you talk about America being great, the best things we've done all fall into these categories. We fought off a bully in our revolution, and rather than install a tyrant of our own, we created a government "for the people, by the people." We ended slavery in our country (standing up for people in trouble, though it took us longer than it should've). When we saw our European allies in trouble, we helped (in both world wars). We stood up to Hitler, and we stood up to Stalin afterwards. When we saw Americans struggling in the Great Depression, we built the New Deal. When enough of us finally understood how bad the Jim Crow south was for Black Americans, we passed Civil Rights. And we have accepted many refugees from many lands across the world.

Of course, America has made mistakes and done bad things too, but most of these come when we either ignored people in trouble, or when we decided to be the bully ourselves -- when we failed on these principles.

In terms of the world today, when Democrats see a man being choked to death on the street, we say "something's wrong with that" and we do something. And when it's overwhelmingly Black people being killed on our streets, we march and we say that Black lives matter too. When we see a bully like Putin try to invade his neighbors, we stand up to him. When we see people fleeing from violence in their home countries, we try to help.

Comparing this to the modern Republicans, Trump is a bully himself -- he lies (tens of thousands of times just when he was in office), he steals (failing to pay people who did work for his businesses, dozens of times), and he cheats (on his taxes, on his wives... he thinks it makes him "smart"). But when he comes up against a bigger bully like Putin or MBS or Kim Jong-un does he stand up to them? No, he caves and gives them whatever they want. He's even on Putin's side on the Ukraine invasion. The policies the Republicans stand for also stink of "I've got mine, screw you" -- tax cuts for millionaires, children caged on the border, the US closed to refugees, trying to deport the dreamers, cheering for the bad cops who shoot first and ask questions later.

The US ought to be better than that. We haven't always been, but we should be.


I will get around to some agreement in a bit, but my first thought was "Isn't it pretty to think so". Ok, I only crib from the best.

WW II: Germany invaded Poland in November of 1939. We declared war on Japan Dec 8 1941. After they bombed Pearl Harbor. And we declared war on Japan. Of course then, predictably, Germany and Italy declared war on us. True, Roosevelt successfully pushed for Lend-Lease. This was after Poland, after the invasion of France. after the Battle of Britain,

As noted, I am sort of on your side here, but thinking that we saw our friends in trouble and rushed to help them is a rosy picture. Wilson's slogan for the 1916 election was "He kept us out of war".

There is a lot to be said for working with our friends and sticking with them in times of trouble. That's my view, personally and globally. Further, a neighborhood, the nation, the world will all go much better if people can see a path forward. Government can help with that. And yes, there are bad people in the world that have to be dealt with. "Forward together" is better than "I'm gonna kick your butt". Better for everyone, most especially including ourselves. There was once a time when many people, some R, some D, believed this.

I have always felt lucky to have been born in the United States. That doesn't mean I can't think of anything better, but still I feel very lucky. A good part of world history is a story of misery. I think being lucky gives a person an obligation, or at least some motivation, to spread some good luck around. I am pretty sure some people with a conservative political philosophy agree with these general ideas. We should welcome them.
Ken
0

#19498 User is offline   PassedOut 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 3,653
  • Joined: 2006-February-21
  • Location:Upper Michigan
  • Interests:Music, films, computer programming, politics, bridge

Posted 2022-February-26, 09:48

View PostChas_P, on 2022-February-25, 18:51, said:

Yes. Just like Justice Clarence Thomas.

Yes, when I read that her nomination is disparaged as that of an unqualified person being elevated because of affirmative action I am reminded of how Thomas feels that his own accomplishments have been discounted as a result of the affirmative action on his behalf. When a person has opportunities that were not available to his or her parents, the skills and talents of that person are nevertheless real and valuable to the country. As a nation, we've lost a lot over the years by laws and customs that blocked talented folks from opportunities to develop and use their skills.
The growth of wisdom may be gauged exactly by the diminution of ill temper. — Friedrich Nietzsche
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell. — Bertrand Russell
0

#19499 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 6,496
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2022-February-26, 11:38

Heather Cox Richardson, Boston College History prof said:

This week was historic precisely because it brought into the open the degree to which freedom and liberty are, in fact, under attack, as Russian president Vladimir Putin launched a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine.

Fighting in Ukraine is approaching Kyiv, where the government has armed its civilians to defend the city. Washington Post military reporter Dan Lamothe tweeted information from a senior defense official, who said that Russia is getting more resistance than it expected and that it has not managed to establish air superiority over Ukraine. The U.S. believes that Russia has launched more than 200 missiles at Ukraine, aimed at military sites but hitting civilian areas as well. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said today that 150,000 Ukrainians have been displaced since Russia invaded.

Putin today called for Ukrainians to overthrow their own government and negotiate peace with him.

Putin needed a quick victory in Ukraine, and the heroic resistance of the Ukrainians has made that impossible, buying time for pressure against him to build. Last night, 1800 Russians were arrested for protesting the war at rallies around the country; prominent Russians, including the children of leading businessmen and lawmakers, are speaking up against the invasion.

When Facebook fact-checked Russian state media accounts and put warning labels on them, the Kremlin limited Russians’ access to the site, where they were sharing their anger at Putin’s war. Apparently, ill-trained Russian conscripts are shocked to be on the front lines in Ukraine—Russian law says only volunteer troops are supposed to be used there.

Tonight Meta, the parent company of Facebook, banned Russian state media from running ads or raising money on Meta platforms anywhere in the world. While the ban apparently does not eliminate third-party ads, it does show which way the wind is blowing.

Today, members of the European Union and Britain froze the European assets of Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The U.S. also sanctioned Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, as well as Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, which is intended “to attract capital into the Russian economy in high-growth sectors,” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. The Russian Ministry of Defense was hacked and taken down, and the personal information of its employees was leaked; the hacker group Anonymous claimed credit.

For the first time in its history, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) activated its rapid response troops that can deploy quickly in case Russian troops cross the borders of NATO countries.

Putin is rapidly becoming isolated. Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the invasion and calling for an immediate end to hostilities and the withdrawal of Russia’s troops from Ukraine, but it was notable that China, India, and the United Arab Emirates abstained rather than vote. Also today, President Milos Zeman of Czechia and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, both of whom have been supporters of Putin, came out strongly against the invasion. So did Romania and Bulgaria. Kazakhstan has refused to send troops to Russia.

The Ukraine resistance has given rise to the Ghost of Kyiv, a fighter pilot who may or may not be real, and who may or may not be a woman, and who has shot down six Russian planes. Such a superhuman legend symbolizes Ukraine’s people this terrible week.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

#19500 User is offline   y66 

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Group: Advanced Members
  • Posts: 6,496
  • Joined: 2006-February-24

Posted 2022-February-26, 12:24

Tony Wood, author of"Russia without Putin: Money, Power and the Myths of the New Cold War (2018)" said:

It is too early to tell exactly how bad the consequences of Russia’s senseless and unnecessary war against Ukraine will be. The least pessimistic scenario – a short war followed by a ceasefire – still entails widespread destruction and suffering in Ukraine. And the situation could get even worse, as further players become involved in a proxy war that has every chance of exploding beyond Ukraine’s boundaries. How did it come to this, and could it have been avoided?

The answer to the second question is yes. Primary responsibility lies with the Russian government, which was under no imminent threat from Ukraine, and decided not only to abandon diplomacy but to proceed with an assault on its neighbour. The shift was rapid. On 20 February, Emmanuel Macron claimed to have laid the groundwork for a summit between Putin and Biden. The following day, Putin officially recognised Luhansk and Donetsk, two provinces of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed militias, as independent states. Early in the morning of 24 February, he announced that Russia would begin a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, launching air strikes and sending in troops. The invasion long predicted by Western media, and strenuously denied by Russian officials, had begun. By 25 February, Russian forces were closing in on Kiev, artillery battles were ongoing in the east of Ukraine and as many as 50,000 people had fled the country.

A share of blame must also lie with Ukraine’s Western backers, in particular the US and its Nato allies, who helped to create the conditions for the conflict. The strategic concern driving Russia’s actions has been apparent for more than a decade now: no further enlargement of Nato. Faced with this, the US and its allies have repeatedly insisted that Nato expansion is non-negotiable. Relations between Russia and the West in recent years have foundered on the incompatibility of these views, from the Nato Bucharest summit and Russo-Georgian War in 2008 through the Ukraine crisis of 2013-14 to the present. The refusal to give ground on enlargement was made in the knowledge that it would create further conflict with Russia, and that it would not make Ukraine any safer. The decision is all the more culpable because the costs will not be borne in Brussels or London or Washington, but measured in Ukrainian lives.

In Russia there is little domestic appetite for conflict with Ukraine, as was made clear by the scores of anti-war protests held in more than fifty cities on 24 February, despite such gatherings being illegal. Protesters carried banners reading ‘No to the War’ and ‘Peace to Ukraine’, and chanted ‘Shame’; they were met with fierce repression, with close to 1800 arrests on that day alone. But although it hardly bothered to conjure up a casus belli, the Kremlin seems to be preparing for a prolonged conflict. Its stated war aims have stark implications. In his speech announcing the start of hostilities, Putin referred to the ‘demilitarisation’ and ‘denazification’ of Ukraine. The first term suggested a conflict of limited scope, targeting military infrastructure (including the equipment recently shipped to Ukraine by its Nato allies). But the second pointed to a larger, neo-imperial project. Since 2014, Russian state media have seized on the prominence of right-wing nationalists in Ukrainian public and political life to depict the country’s rulers as fascist sympathisers (on 25 February Putin called them ‘a gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis’). In the current context, ‘denazification’ is shorthand not just for regime change, but for sweeping away the entire post-2014 political settlement. Doing this by force in a country the size of Ukraine – Europe’s largest by area – would involve long-term military occupation, and a death toll on the level of Afghanistan or Iraq.

Three days before the invasion, on 21 February, Putin made a speech to Russia’s National Security Council disputing Ukraine’s claim to sovereignty over the land within its current borders. He described modern-day Ukraine as an artificial creation of the Bolsheviks, who had ‘squeezed in’ the Russian-speaking territories of the Donbass alongside Ukrainian-speaking lands to the west. The move to recognise the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk – DNR and LNR, in the Russian acronyms – may be the first step in a plan to absorb these provinces into Russia, cleaning up the Bolsheviks’ historical ‘mistake’. (This, incidentally, should put paid to the idea that Putin is bent on reconstituting the USSR: on the contrary, he claims that the Bolsheviks redrew Russia’s borders to its disadvantage and gave national minorities too many rights – including the right to self-determination for the USSR’s fifteen constituent republics, which provided the constitutional basis for the break-up of the union.)

It is possible that Russia does not intend to absorb the DNR and LNR just yet, preferring to leave them in limbo. In that scenario, the two territories would be less like Crimea, swiftly incorporated into the Russian Federation in 2014, than South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two breakaway regions of Georgia whose independence Russia recognised after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War; or Transnistria, another Russian-backed unrecognised state wedged between Ukraine and Moldova. Either way, the decision to recognise the independence of the DNR and LNR on 21 February showed that Russia had given up on influencing Ukraine’s internal politics by means other than force. The invasion confirmed this shift.

In the process, Russia reanimated Nato’s Cold War status as a military alliance against Moscow, and has surely consolidated public opinion in Ukraine firmly behind Nato membership. Though the aspiration to join Nato was written into the Ukrainian constitution in 2019, surveys showed that barely half the population were in favour – surveys that did not include Donetsk or Luhansk, which in 2018 numbered 3.8 million people, around a tenth of Ukraine’s total population.

It is a bitter irony that Russia’s invasion will be taken to justify membership in an organisation that did nothing to prevent it. Western chancelleries are insisting that Ukraine’s sovereignty must be defended, but while arms deliveries will be ramped up, it is not clear how else they intend to do that, short of declaring war on Russia. Might Nato declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, as it did in Libya, drawing the alliance into an air war with Russia?

In any scenario the conflict is likely to result in a massive reduction in Ukraine’s sovereignty. Russia’s goal is at the very least to demonstrate that it can neutralise Ukraine’s military and slice off pieces of its territory at will. Its resort to force is also designed to cripple Ukraine as a functioning, independent state. Even in the event of a ceasefire or a Russian withdrawal, Ukraine will see its room for manoeuvre drastically reduced, its economy further crippled and its security compromised. Ukraine as a Nato client state in an intensified geopolitical struggle with Russia is not a happier prospect. This would be the sovereignty of a battlefield. The other possibility is for Ukraine’s sovereignty to be uncoupled from the question of Nato membership. There is no intrinsic connection between ‘Europe’ and Nato, as demonstrated by the EU membership of Austria, Ireland and Sweden – none of them Nato states, all of them neutral. On 24 February, President Zelensky expressed a willingness to discuss Ukrainian neutrality in exchange for peace, and this may be his, and Ukraine’s, best chance of survival.

Other paths were possible. The second Minsk Protocol of February 2015 established a ceasefire between Ukrainian pro-government forces and Russian-backed separatist militias in the Donbass. It stipulated that the Ukrainian government should recognise the two separatist provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk as legitimate interlocutors, and amend its constitution by the end of that year to allow for a degree of decentralisation. This would have given the rebel provinces constitutional protection, while still maintaining Ukraine’s territorial integrity. It would also have provided Ukraine’s Russian-speaking provinces with a de facto veto on Nato membership. This would have left the country internally divided between pro-Western and pro-Russian blocs; it would also have done nothing to address the continuing Ukrainian claim to Crimea. But it would have at least provided a political framework for addressing Ukraine’s pressing dilemmas, rather than continuing to militarise them.

There are many reasons Minsk II didn’t work. The ceasefire was scarcely observed: UN figures give 13,000 casualties in the Donbass between 2014 and 2021. But the larger problems seem to have been political. Since the fall of Yanukovych in 2014, two successive Ukrainian presidents have been elected as ‘peace candidates’, Petro Poroshenko in 2014 and Zelensky in 2019. Each had a democratic mandate to negotiate a deal that would reincorporate the two rebel provinces and thus restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Neither did so. Having been compelled to accept a peace deal at Russian gun-point, it is perhaps not surprising that Ukraine would drag its feet about implementing it. But there has been little serious pressure on Kyiv from its Western allies; instead, successive US administrations have kept arms shipments flowing and continued to promote Ukraine’s bid for Nato membership. The implicit message was that the political process laid out in Minsk would sooner or later be a dead letter. Russia’s invasion suggests that its own commitment to the agreements was a sham, but the broader failure to implement Minsk II never put that to the test. The troubled peace has been shattered. The question remains, why did all those who for so long foretold this war do so little to stop it, and so much to hasten the disaster Russia has now set in motion?

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
0

  • 1031 Pages +
  • « First
  • 973
  • 974
  • 975
  • 976
  • 977
  • Last »
  • You cannot start a new topic
  • You cannot reply to this topic

12 User(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 12 guests, 0 anonymous users

  1. Google