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Profile Information

Name: Steven Leser
Gender: Male
Hometown: New York, NY
Home country: USA
Current location: NYC
Member since: Tue Jan 4, 2005, 05:36 PM
Number of posts: 28,622

Journal Archives

LA Times: Russian President Vladimir Putin may pay heavy price for Crimea moves


...Western officials and analysts increasingly feel that in the long run, Russians will come to see their nation's military and political move into Crimea as a mistake.

Two weeks after Russian forces entered the peninsula en masse, Russia's stock market and economic data have started to signal trouble — the start of what could become a lasting pullback by foreign investors. That would badly hurt Russia's efforts to modernize and diversify its economy.

At the United Nations and other international forums, the number of countries supporting Moscow's strong-arm action has shrunk close to zero. Even China, which frequently sides with Russia on international issues, has turned sour.

Nor has Putin succeeded in splitting the Western coalition and stopping U.S.-led efforts to impose sanctions in retaliation for the seizure of Crimea. Instead, his strategy seems to have driven the alliance together while frightening countries on Russia's borders into closer cooperation with the United States and Western Europe.

The clearest indication of how Putin's action may be backfiring came Thursday when German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had been the foremost advocate for a soft line, shifted position and warned Moscow of a possible new East-West division that could "massively damage Russia, economically and politically."
More at above link

Show this wk:Update on Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Native Iraqi who served with the Seals and more!

Don't miss Making Sense with Steve Leser this week!

This week we have a special interview with a native Iraqi interpreter who ended up working with the Navy Seals in Iraq and cowrote a book about it. Codenamed Johnny Walker, Mr. Walker joins us along with his co-author Jim DeFelice. Before we get to that interview, we have continuing coverage of the situation in Ukraine and after that if we have time, a special 60th anniversary of an important broadcasting event and first looks at who won the 2016 Presidential Poll at CPAC, the Conservative conference that ended this past Saturday.

At the end we will have our trademark weekly hall of fame and shame for those politicians and prominent individuals who made great sense or shameful nonsense, respectively.

If you want to write to me and give me your opinion of any topic I cover, write to makingsenseletters@yahoo.com and I may just read your opinion on the air. Again that’s makingsenseletters@yahoo.com

Please support the show and our special sponsor by signing up for Audible at www.audibletrial.com/lesersense

The show will air tonight (Sunday March 9) on blogtalkradio.com at 7pm Eastern time at this address http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lesersense/2014/03/09/iraqi-hero-who-served-with-navy-seals-ukraine-update-and-murrow-anniversary . It will be permanently available at this address via podcast after 8:30pm eastern time.

It will also air tomorrow, Monday, March 10 at 2pm Pacific time in the Los Angeles Basin on KCAA 1050am. It can be heard live at that time from anywhere in the world at http://tunein.com/radio/KCAA-1050-s31934/ . The podcast will be available on KCAA's website at this address http://kcaaradio.celestrion.net/kcaa-podcasts/leser/ .

Putin 2003:“The use of force abroad...can only be sanctioned by the United Nations. This is intl law


1. Putin on Iraq in 2003: “The use of force abroad, according to existing international laws, can only be sanctioned by the United Nations. This is the international law." http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/12/18/sprj.irq.uk.baker/

2. “I am convinced that it would be a grave error to be drawn into unilateral action, outside of international law,” he (Putin) said. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/11/international/europe/11WIRE-RUSS.html


4. Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich has said: “Any unilateral use of force without the authorisation of the U.N. Security Council, no matter how ‘limited’ it is, will be a clear violation of international law.” http://news.yahoo.com/ap-interview-putin-warns-west-syria-action-050109984--finance.html


xpost from GD: Me on Fox News' America's News HQ re: Obama Admin's conf call on Obamacare

xpost from GD: Me on Fox News' America's News HQ re: Obama Admin's conf call on Obamacare

I discuss the Obama admin's conf call on Obamacare/ACA on Fox News America's News HQ show Today

State Dept - President Putin's Fiction: 10 False Claims About Ukraine


Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 5, 2014

As Russia spins a false narrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine, the world has not seen such startling Russian fiction since Dostoyevsky wrote, “The formula ‘two plus two equals five’ is not without its attractions.”

Below are 10 of President Vladimir Putin’s recent claims justifying Russian aggression in the Ukraine, followed by the facts that his assertions ignore or distort.

1. Mr. Putin says: Russian forces in Crimea are only acting to protect Russian military assets. It is “citizens’ defense groups,” not Russian forces, who have seized infrastructure and military facilities in Crimea.

The Facts: Strong evidence suggests that members of Russian security services are at the heart of the highly organized anti-Ukraine forces in Crimea. While these units wear uniforms without insignia, they drive vehicles with Russian military license plates and freely identify themselves as Russian security forces when asked by the international media and the Ukrainian military. Moreover, these individuals are armed with weapons not generally available to civilians.

2. Mr. Putin says: Russia’s actions fall within the scope of the 1997 Friendship Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

The Facts: The 1997 agreement requires Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, which have given them operational control of Crimea, are in clear violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

3. Mr. Putin says: The opposition failed to implement the February 21 agreement with former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The Facts: The February 21 agreement laid out a plan in which the Rada, or Parliament, would pass a bill to return Ukraine to its 2004 Constitution, thus returning the country to a constitutional system centered around its parliament. Under the terms of the agreement, Yanukovych was to sign the enacting legislation within 24 hours and bring the crisis to a peaceful conclusion. Yanukovych refused to keep his end of the bargain. Instead, he packed up his home and fled, leaving behind evidence of wide-scale corruption.

4. Mr. Putin says: Ukraine’s government is illegitimate. Yanukovych is still the legitimate leader of Ukraine.

The Facts: On March 4, President Putin himself acknowledged the reality that Yanukovych “has no political future.” After Yanukovych fled Ukraine, even his own Party of Regions turned against him, voting to confirm his withdrawal from office and to support the new government. Ukraine’s new government was approved by the democratically elected Ukrainian Parliament, with 371 votes – more than an 82% majority. The interim government of Ukraine is a government of the people, which will shepherd the country toward democratic elections on May 25th – elections that will allow all Ukrainians to have a voice in the future of their country.

5. Mr. Putin says: There is a humanitarian crisis and hundreds of thousands are fleeing Ukraine to Russia and seeking asylum.

The Facts: To date, there is absolutely no evidence of a humanitarian crisis. Nor is there evidence of a flood of asylum-seekers fleeing Ukraine for Russia. International organizations on the ground have investigated by talking with Ukrainian border guards, who also refuted these claims. Independent journalists observing the border have also reported no such flood of refugees.

6. Mr. Putin says: Ethnic Russians are under threat.

The Facts: Outside of Russian press and Russian state television, there are no credible reports of any ethnic Russians being under threat. The new Ukrainian government placed a priority on peace and reconciliation from the outset. President Oleksandr Turchynov refused to sign legislation limiting the use of the Russian language at regional level. Ethnic Russians and Russian speakers have filed petitions attesting that their communities have not experienced threats. Furthermore, since the new government was established, calm has returned to Kyiv. There has been no surge in crime, no looting, and no retribution against political opponents.

7. Mr. Putin says: Russian bases are under threat.

The Facts: Russian military facilities were and remain secure, and the new Ukrainian government has pledged to abide by all existing international agreements, including those covering Russian bases. It is Ukrainian bases in Crimea that are under threat from Russian military action.

8. Mr. Putin says: There have been mass attacks on churches and synagogues in southern and eastern Ukraine.

The Facts: Religious leaders in the country and international religious freedom advocates active in Ukraine have said there have been no incidents of attacks on churches. All of Ukraine’s church leaders, including representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, have expressed support for the new political leadership, calling for national unity and a period of healing. Jewish groups in southern and eastern Ukraine report that they have not seen an increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

9. Mr. Putin says: Kyiv is trying to destabilize Crimea.

The Facts: Ukraine’s interim government has acted with restraint and sought dialogue. Russian troops, on the other hand, have moved beyond their bases to seize political objectives and infrastructure in Crimea. The government in Kyiv immediately sent the former Chief of Defense to defuse the situation. Petro Poroshenko, the latest government emissary to pursue dialogue in Crimea, was prevented from entering the Crimean Rada.

10. Mr. Putin says: The Rada is under the influence of extremists or terrorists.

The Facts: The Rada is the most representative institution in Ukraine. Recent legislation has passed with large majorities, including from representatives of eastern Ukraine. Far-right wing ultranationalist groups, some of which were involved in open clashes with security forces during the EuroMaidan protests, are not represented in the Rada. There is no indication that the Ukrainian government would pursue discriminatory policies; on the contrary, they have publicly stated exactly the opposite.

Poll on DUer Pot Usage and the law - Do you use Pot and how would changes in law affect that usage

Russian stock market plunges 10%, ruble in free fall. Russians expect Ukraine invasion backlash


As the possibility of a war with Ukraine and international isolation pushed all Russian financial instruments and the ruble down, the Russian central bank finally decided to defend the free-falling national currency and raised its refinancing rate from 5.5 to 7 percent. Russians, however, have rushed to banks and exchange offices to buy up dollars and euros, and the stock market fell by about 10 percent. The central bank can hardly stop the panic by monetary means: it is caused by overpowering fear and pessimism, both quite rational in the current situation. Though there are macroeconomic reasons for the ruble to weaken, a peaceful resolution of the Crimea conflict would cause it, and the Russian stock indices, to bounce back.

The US and Europe can affect the situation with economic sanctions. I am in favor of harsh sanctions.

In Ukraine, Echoes of the Anschluss

By Leonid Bershidsky

A corollary to Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies states that once a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis is made in an online discussion, the thread ends and the person who mentioned Hitler automatically loses the argument. In some cases, however, the rule doesn't apply -– such as when the behavior of other totalitarian regimes is discussed.

I never thought the day would come that I would say this, but it no longer applies to discussing my country, Russia. Here’s a Nazi analogy.

“It is not only the same people but above all a long communal history and culture which bind together the Reich and Austria,” Adolf Hitler said in February, 1938.

On March 11, Austrian Nazis seized power in Vienna, and the following day, Josef Goebbels read this statement from Adolf Hitler on German and Austrian radio: “The German Reich will not tolerate persecution of Germans in this region because they belong to our country or because they hold certain opinions. There must be peace and order. I have therefore decided to help the millions of Germans in Austria with the resources of the Reich. Since this morning, soldiers of the German Wehrmacht have marched over the German-Austrian borders. The new National Socialist government in Vienna has itself summoned panzer troops, infantry divisions, and SS legions on the ground and the German Luftwaffe in the blue sky. Our soldiers guarantee that the Austrian people will shortly be given the opportunity to determine their future themselves and thereby their fate with a plebiscite."
(more at above link)
I had posted this as a response and thought it deserved its own OP.
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