Crimean Russians Vote

So Crimean Russians voted to leave Ukraine today. No surprise there given that 60% of Crimea is Russian. My problem rises with a number of issues/questions over this supposed “democratic” vote and the legitimacy of the results. Too many of these issues are reminiscent of what typical dictatorships do when they attempt cover their actions under the guise of democracy.

  1. Russian military occupation of Crimea. That alone invalidates the vote in my opinion, especially without neutral observers to watch over the process during such a highly propagandized time.
  2. Lack of international observers from neutral countries (say from Africa or Asia). I laugh at the notion that the observer from Serbia are even remotely thought of as neutral. Serbia in general still resents the breakup of Yugoslavia and their loss of influence over the surrounding regions, blaming the EU and NATO.
  3. The swiftness of the vote, without any effort at real debate and discussion, just fear mongering and Russian nationalist rhetoric.
  4. Silencing of non-Russian controlled or dominated news sources and outlets.
  5. The “95%” pro-Russian vote, considering Russians only make up 60% of the population. The remaining 40% non-Russians made it clear they distrusted Russians given past oppression and current harassment by Russian troops in Crimea and Ukraine’s borders. Even then, noting the opposition in Russia to what Putin is doing in Crimea makes it clear even Russians do not whole heartedly agree with what is happening. So 95% support….no. Reads like the old Soviet era propaganda crap.
  6. 83% turnout. Maybe amongst Crimean Russians but I doubt that was the case for Ukrainians and Tartars given overt Russian nationalists and Russian troops intimidating presence. Again, sounds like good ol’ Soviet era propaganda.

So the vote went the way everyone expected, and only Russia will acknowledge as legitimate. I suspect this will just lead to Russia becoming more isolated and former Soviet states eagerly looking to align with one another, the EU, the US, and NATO to bolster political, economic, and most importantly in the face of Russian militarism and pan-Slavic nationalism, military cooperation. Even China while not openly going against Russia they didn’t support Russia at the U.N. this past week in move that subtly shows their disapproval of both sides actions in Ukraine.

I suspect we’ll get the usual huff and puff from Russia over the sanctions that will be put on them in the short term but long term who knows. Depends on if Putin is stupid enough to follow is pan-Slavic nationalists of the cliff into oblivion by trying to start a war to annex Ukraine or other former Soviet states. Right now I don’t see that immediately happening, but you never know. Most Russian leaders aren’t known for diplomacy or restraint.

As an aside, I hope Putin realizes the potential disaster he may have just unleashed on Russia by following in the footsteps of Hitler in using ethnocentric policies to justify his (as the Russians used to like call it) adventurism. By claiming the invasion of Ukraine was justified to protect Russians, he has now made legitimate any ethnic groups (i.e. Chechens, Ossetians, Tartars, et al) claim in Russia that they can secede from the so called Russian Federation for the exact same reason. And possibly have other neighboring countries invade to “protect” these ethnicities as well using the same or similar justifications.

Russia siezes Crimea

Sadly Putin continues his imperialist intentions towards Ukraine by sending troops into the Crimea region, in essence setting up a de facto puppet state for Russia there ahead of elections that were moved up by Russian nationalists. So the question is: now what?

For the world, it’s about holding Russia accountable for its violation of international law and territorial sovereignty of a foreign state. Those repercussions will likely come in some form of political and economic isolation and estrangement and possibly an increase in negative worldwide popular opinion. Certainly it will prompt some former Soviet states to consider distancing themselves from Russia and furthering ties with other nations and organizations outside of Putin’s sphere like the U.S., China, the EU and NATO. It may even revive efforts by some East European nations to revive plans for their own mutual defense organization to provide their own defensive buffer zones in case of NATO or EU abandonment.

Though Putin himself may care less about such things these repercussions could play significantly into the global political dynamic. For example, China (despite their occupation of Tibet) is a nation that has staunchly staid by its position that all national boundaries and territorial integrity should be inviolate. For Russia to so blatantly have a hand in Crimea via military force may prompt the Chinese to impose economic and political sanctions that would stifle efforts to improve Sino-Russian relations on a host of territorial, economic, and political issues.

For Ukraine, they must decide whether Crimea is worth the effort of trying to oust the Russians via political maneuvering as they would likely not be able to withstand a military conflict with Russia without EU, US, and/or NATO support. Given that Crimea was transferred to Ukrainian control in 1954 from Russia some Ukrainians might be happy to shed off the pro-Russian region. For others, even Russians living in Ukraine it will be a matter of pride to not allow Putin’s military aggression to go unanswered.

For Putin, he has effectively crushed his own efforts to improve Russia’s standing in the world by interfering in such a knee jerk reaction. As one of my Russian associates put it Putin was “interfering too soon”, by which he meant events in Crimea and Ukraine did warrant the disproportionate Russian response and Putin should have waited for a “legitimate reason to invade” (per the same Russian associate). Putin’s action may play well to the blind nationalists and imperialists in Russia but it doesn’t address the nation’s ongoing socio-economic and political problems while likely harming economic and investments meant to address Russia’s woes.

For now, the region is tense but generally calm. It’s now a matter of how each side approaches the events in Ukraine, hopefully with a mind towards not repeating the mistakes of history (i.e. Sudetenland 1938), Russia returning to pre-crisis military deployments and Ukrainian territorial integrity reinstituted.

Russia Flexes Muscle at Ukrainian Crisis

Sadly it appears Russia (and by this I mean Putin and his cronies more than anything) is trying to intimidate its neighbors with its military after Ukraine ousted its pro-Moscow President amid protests over his questionable turn around from the EU in favor of Russia. Sound familiar? (I.e. 2008 Georgia invasion). Whether you support the Ukrainian’s protesters or the ousted President, I think it’s fair to say that no one wants Putin invading another country, especially when it would merely confirm in the eyes of many in the world that he has become nothing more than a dictator.

Do I think he will? Possibly, but only after he foments rebellion and stokes ethnic tensions (as he did Georgia) to justify an invasion to “protect” Russians and get nationalistic pride ramped up at home to quash any who question his actions.  Such measures in the past with the Ossetians certainly didn’t get them what they wanted from the Russian invasion of Georgia – an independent nation combining North Ossetia (which Russia hypocritically refuses to give up) and South Ossetia (which Russia recognizes as an Ossetian independent state).

As for our own politicians, I have no idea if they’ll continue to support Ukraine or if they’ll allow Putin to do as he pleases. Given the recent weak willed and limp wristed approach of our government to world affairs, I do not think things bode well for Western support for Ukraine.

Ultimately I would prefer Russia and the West (and honestly, everyone) alike stay out of Ukraine’s affairs and let them work it out internally.

Woe to the Republic: SCOTUS Betrays America

When I was a child, I had no doubts what so ever that the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States would always make the correct decision, a decision that balanced the rights of the individual American citizen with the principles and Rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Until recently, I still believed in the wisdom and guidance of the SCOTUS. But that belief and support was heavily eroded by decision that curtailed individual property rights in favor of corporate controlled politicians, of declaring corporations not only equal to an individual person but by their decision gave de facto greater rights to corporations over that of the common man, and the destructive and corruptive Citizen’s United decision. 

The Supreme Court has betrayed America. Today the SCOTUS made a decision that has ended my belief that the Justices make decisions based on preserving U.S. citizens rights and preserving the Constitution. Today, the SCOTUS said the individual mandate in ObamaCare will stand. In other words, Americans are property– slaves to the whims of the corrupt, vindictive, and greedy politicians and bureaucrats of the U.S. government.

That’s right my fellow citizens, we’ve returned to bad old days of slavery except this time it’s not limited to one race or area of the country, it’s all of us. Worse, this new incarnation of slavery is codified in law and approved by the very Court that is supposed to help prevent the rise of dictatorship in our government. With this ruling, the SCOTUS has said the government can force any American to buy a product by including a “tax”, as the SCOTUS so quaintly justified their traitorous decision, as punishment for refusal to partake in what ever commerce they demand of you.

Is this the America you want? The next time a corporation or bank has financial trouble, do you really want the government to be able to order you to buy that corporation’s or bank’s product? Well, that’s exactly the dangerous precedent the SCOTUS  made today. In the yes of the government, you are not a citizen, or an individual, you are property. And believe me, there are plenty of wanna-be dictators in our government who will look to use this decision to strip away Americans of their rights and freedoms. All one need do to see evidence of this is to look at the previously mentioned curtailments of property rights and granting supremacy of corporate personhood over the individual to see the path to a dictatorship in this country is fast approaching.

The question is this: will Americans stand for this or fight back against the forces within our nation that want to destroy it for their personal wealth and power? A part of me wants to give up and leave the country as it looks less and less like the nation of opportunity, change, and freedom of my youth. But a bigger part of me wants to fight back and reclaim my country and turn it back to a beacon of freedom and liberty and individuality. I for one, will fight, be it at the ballot box, in the courts, or, if it comes to this terrible last resort, in the streets against the rise of dictatorship in this nation. Despite the corruption of our government, I think America is still worth fighting for.

What will you do, my fellow Americans?

The only good thing about the decision by the SCOTUS: it revealed Obama’s blatant lie that the individual mandate was not a tax. The SCOTUS clearly stated it mandate was (even though they ignore basic economic principle that you are a not a participant in an economic activity if you chose not to partake in said activity). That makes Obama, Pelosi and Reid LIARS! Seems that Representative who called Obama a liar was absolutely correct.

Woe to the Republic!

SCOTUS Strikes Down MT 100 Year Old Anti-Corruption Law

A bad decision by the SCOTUS occured to day, though many have missed it given the Court’s decision on Arizona’s SB1070.

The SCOTUS struck down Montana’s century old law, the Corrupt Practices Act of 1912, limiting corporate political spending, arguing that the Citizen’s United ruling applies to the Montana law. Sadly this decision was made in the face of overwhelming historical evidence of Montana’s position that the independent expenditures corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.

It still boggles my mind that the SCOTUS says corporations have free speech or even accept the notion of corporate personhood when by their very definition a corporation is not a person but a legal construct of an organization form with government approval to act as an artificial person to carry on business or other activities. On several counts by definition makes it clear that a corporation is not a person.

I still have to wonder what is going on in the Supreme Court with ridiculous rulings over the past decade giving more and more rights and powers to corporations while eroding the rights of the citizens of the United States. Sure I’ve been warning people to be alert for growing corporate hegemony (and often laughed at for these claims) yet here we are with more and more rulings asserting the right of corporate supremacy over that of the citizen and individual.

SCOTUS Ruling on AZ SB1070

The United States Supreme Court made what can only really be called a split decision over Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law. Some see it as a win for the state of Arizona, others as a win for Federal supremacy. I did laugh at the range of headlines form assorted newspapers and internet sites in response to ruling as it became evident what political stripe said groups were in based on their choice of headline. Perhaps the most amusing was HuffPuff’s (aka Huffington Post) use of the term “gutted”
 in their headline, when the ruling was actually quite the opposite.

What was upheld:

  1. Allowing local law enforcement officers to attempt to verify the immigration
    status of a person who has been stopped or detained for violating other laws,
    including moving vehicle violations.

This was one of the hot button issues involved with the law and one most often criticized as an overreach by the state of Arizona into Federal powers. With this ruling, the SCOTUS has made it clear that enforcement of immigration law for non-immigration related issues is lawful and appropriate.

What was struck down:

  1. A crime for illegals to be in Arizona.
  2. A crime for illegals to seek employment in Arizona.
  3. Authorized police officers to make warrantless arrests of anyone they believed had made a deportable offense.

I could see why these three were struck down. They could be seen as violating an array of laws and civil rights such as double jeopardy and protections from illegal search seizure to name but two.

Ultimately it is what it is: a split decision of which neither side can claim
complete victory. Already the pro-illegal supporters claim victory while
the anti-illegal supporters also do so. Overall, I’d say the decision was an minor victory for Arizona as the SCOTUS kept a key provision that the Federal government argued was their purview alone. That alone was a slap at the current administration’s dictatorial attitude and arrogant self righteousness of the Department of Justice towards the States.  I also see the decision as a push by the SCOTUS against the Federal government to start enforcing existing U.S. immigration law and working on genuine reform, not just pandering and declarative amnesty by politicians looking to be re-elected to office.

Regardless of the decision, it still does not address keys issues that needs to be resolved by the United States: immigration reform and illegal immigrants. Obama simply can not “wave his hand” and claim so called “Dreamers” effectively a free pass and not bring on the ire of many American citizens and legal immigrants, especially in states that bore the brunt of illegals eating up local services, who are tired of government policies that give the perception (rightly or wrongly) of favoring illegals and law breakers over those are citizens, legal residents, and law abiding. Solve the immigration policies and problems and you’ll solve much of the debate and concern over illegal aliens.

Unfortunately, given the issues surrounding illegals has been around since long before I was born and we have self serving politicians more interested in their party and their greed than the well being of the nation I don’t see any resolution coming in the near future. All I see is pandering and promises to Hispanics in vain attempts to get votes, not workable solutions.

Commentary: Obama’s “Buffet Rule”

Basically Obama is trying to stir up class warfare once more out of fear that he may lose the 2012 Presidential election by attempting to pit the “poor and middle class” against the “rich”. Somehow he thinks dividing Americans will save him a damaging Presidential campaign and that he’ll not have to explain the many failures and lack of leadership over his first term. The days of “Blame Bush” died with the 2010 midterm elections. It’s time for the President to take responsibility for actions and stop wasting time deflecting his poor decisions and policies on to others. If he can’t do so, then he doesn’t deserve to be President of the United States.

Obama Calls On Congress To Pass ‘Buffett Rule’ Tax

“We don’t envy success in this country. We aspire to it,” Obama said in his Saturday radio and Internet address. “But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead – not just a few.”

‘And how exactly does the government taking successful peoples money and blowing it on failed government projects and stimulus either “fair” or give people “the opportunity to get ahead”? This just show’s Obama’s neo-socialist views that government can create jobs and prosperity through taxation.

While the plan would force millionaires and billionaires to part with more of their money, Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that if enacted, legislation reflecting Obama’s proposal would collect $47 billion through 2022 – a trickle compared with the $7 trillion in federal budget deficits projected during that period.

More evidence that this is simply Obama trying to stir up a rabble and ignite the extremist left-wing base of socialists and communists into getting out to support him while trying to imply anyone who is “rich” is somehow evil and bad for America. How about the government truly cut unnecessary spending, something Obama has no interest in since he obviously thinks someone else should have to pay for everything. This is extremely hypocritical considering how Obama uses none of his own wealth to assist his poorer family members, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Obama also renewed his call for ending tax cuts for taxpayers earning more than $250,000.

Read that as small business owners, you know the people who pretty much drive local business across this nation. So we clearly see Obama lies when he says he supports small business and then turns around and labels them “rich” in order to tax them. From my perspective someone who make $250,000 from their business is not “rich” whatsoever. I also don’t see how punishing them for being successful through taxation will help others have an opportunity to get ahead unless Obama thinks putting business out of work somehow opens up opportunity. That sort of thinking is simply asinine.

They should call the “Buffet Rule” the “buffet rule” because it isn’t about “fairness” it’s about fat government pigs wanting more taxes to waste on their pet projects while American’s suffer declining quality of life by these same pigs efforts to undermine commerce, opportunity, liberty, and freedom in the United States. Fortunately the so called “Buffet Rule” has about zero chance of passing in Congress, at least for now.