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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, 04:36 PM
Number of posts: 32,053

Journal Archives

The issues with DU participation IMHO, are a conflict between two thoughts on how to advance Liberal


One group insists that the best way to advance Liberal ideas is to support the most Liberal candidate that is electable at that moment, even if that means minimal progress as long as we prevent things from moving backwards. This group thinks that supporting Democrats in office doing the best they can in difficult circumstances is a good idea because the alternative effectively gives support to the other side by tearing down the popularity of Democrats in office.

The other group insists that the best way to advance Liberal ideas is to support the most Liberal candidate regardless of perceived elect-ability. This group seems to believe that if that results in losses to radical right wing Republicans who will not only implement regressive policies and undo 10-20-30 years of progress but use the bully pulpit to try to convince the masses that regressive policies are the best ones for the country, making progress difficult even after they are gone, that's acceptable as long as we have backed the most liberal candidate possible. This group also seems to think that pillorying elected Democrats doing the best they can in difficult circumstances for not being Liberal enough is a good strategy. By relentlessly pillorying Barack Obama, this group has turned off a large portion of the African American community on DU which indicates, IMHO, not only a complete lack of political savvy, but either a complete lack of awareness of, or simply not caring at all about the sensitivity people of color have to attacks on the first African American president.

The two groups do not seem to be able to coexist here on DU and admins seem loathe to do anything about it. I think the evidence is clear that the website cannot accommodate both groups and continue to be successful. It seems to be turning off large swaths of people from both groups.

The non-indictment of Eric Garner's killer is unacceptable

I don't even know what to say anymore. In my opinion, the officer in the Ferguson case should have been indicted. But the situations with Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner are much more egregious and should have been slam dunk indictments and convictions. In America, we are supposed to have the right to be left alone when we walk the streets.

Even the police have a limited capacity to intrude on that right to be left alone and that limited capacity depends on a warrant (very specific) or probable cause or reasonable suspicion, terms/ideas that also have limits.

What seems to have happened is, the rights of people of color to be left alone outside of those constitutional limits seems to have been thrown out the window.


Putin funds France's far right Marine Le Pen and her Front Nationale Party, other EU far right...


Taking campaign funds from a foreign government would break French law, to be sure. But the money comes in the form of “loans” from the Moscow-based First Czech Russian Bank, whose head – Roman Yakubovich Popov – is a former state banker and well-placed member of the Russian political establishment.

“A first installment has been released from a loan of 40 million,” a member of FN’s political bureau told Mediapart. “The installment of 9 million has arrived, 31 will follow.”

“Mediapart has lost its head,” Marine Le Pen answered on Twitter, adamantly denying the larger figure: “The sums they mention are totally fanciful.”

The €9 million she was forced admit. This “is no secret,” she told Le Monde with her usual sangfroid. She even instructed FN’s treasurer to report the “loans” to the party congress this past weekend, where they were celebrated in the company of two Russian dignitaries and fellow-travelers like Holland’s Geert Wilders and the Italian Matteo Salvini of the League of the North.


As I reported in September, many European neo-Nazis and former Fascists side with Putin’s Russia as a counter to American hegemony. Marine’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen called for such an alliance in his presidential election campaign in 2007, and again in 2009 in his appeal for “a powerful, independent, [and] respected Europe encompassing the nations of the northern (boreal) continent from Brest to Vladivostok.”
(more at above link)
Putin funds far right wing political parties throughout Europe because that is with whom he identifies.

Excellent NY Times article that I think supports need for indictment of Wilson


Ferguson Grand Jury Faced Mass of Evidence, Much of It Conflicting

Many witnesses first began to pay attention while the two were wrestling at the car window, though they often said they could not see enough to know what was going on. But even when the confrontation broke out into the open, the accounts diverged.

“I see the officer running behind shooting,” said one witness. “When he gets out the car he immediately starts to shoot,” said another. “Let me stop you,” still another said. “He did not take off running after Michael.”

Testimony about the critical final moments – when Mr. Brown stopped running, turned and moved back toward Officer Wilson – lay along a spectrum. Some hewed closer to Officer Wilson’s recollection. “I could say for sure he never put his hands up,” said one witness, a man who was working in the area and did not live there, and whose recollection most strongly bolstered Officer Wilson’s case. “He ran to the officer full charge.”

Others spoke just as confidently that events unfolded in a completely different way.

“Yes I personally saw him on his knees with his hands in the air,” one witness said in a recorded interview with federal officials that was played for the grand jury before he testified. The prosecutor questioning that witness did not hide her skepticism of his story, highlighting contradictions in his various accounts. “Basically just about everything that you said on Aug. 13, and much of what you said today isn’t consistent with the physical evidence that we have in this case, O.K.,” she said to him.

Matthew Shepard's parents head to Russia to confront homophobia there

Brave folks, I fervently hope they remain safe.


NEW YORK (AP) — The parents of a gay U.S. college student tortured and murdered in 1998 are traveling to Russia on Friday to spread their message of tolerance and acceptance in a country where anti-gay policies and attitudes are widespread.

The centerpiece of their five-day trip is a gay film festival in St. Petersburg at which a documentary film about Matthew Shepard will be shown and discussed. The film's director, Michele Josue, a high school classmate and close friend of Matthew's, will be accompanying the Shepards on the trip.

Matthew Shepard, at the time of his murder, was a 21 year-old student at the University of Wyoming. His death became a rallying cry for the U.S. gay-rights movement and was a factor in the passage of federal hate-crimes legislation in 2009.

The Shepards also will visit Moscow, and are hoping to meet with Russian parents who have gay or lesbian children.

Obama Executive order. Figuratively says to GOP... "ˇVete a la mierda con su porquería!"

Or, translated, "Go to hell with your B.S."

Haw! Boehner threatens to stop cooperating?

Haw! Get this, Boehner said if Obama does the Immigration Reform Executive Order, he and Republicans will... hehehee (Laughing so hard I can barely type...)... stop cooperating with him!!!!!! Bwahahahahaha, GOP cooperating!!! Hahahahahaha, Government shut down, scores of Obamacare repeal votes, tea party protests of stimulus, a half dozen invented scandals including Benghazeeeeeeeee!!!!!! Cooperation ending? Bwahahahahahahaha!

Putin hoped to get Merkel and Germany on his side in the Ukraine crisis. That hope is over

Merkel and Germany have had enough of Putin. What's startling is how significantly the relationship between Germany and Russia, Merkel and Putin has changed. When you read this article immediately below, its hard to imagine that just nine months ago they were enjoying friendly relations.


Nov 17 (Today) - Russia could seek to destabilise vast areas of eastern Europe if it is not challenged in Ukraine, Angela Merkel warned on Monday.

The strongly worded statement came as Ukraine's president warned of a resumption of "total war" in the strife-torn country's east.

In a speech to Sydney's Lowry Institute for International Policy Studies, the German Chancellor said Russia's annexation of Crimea and subsequent destabilisation of eastern Ukraine "called the whole of the European peaceful order into question".

"This isn't just about Ukraine," she said. "This is about Moldova, this is about Georgia, and if this continues then one will have to ask about Serbia and one will have to ask about the countries of the Western Balkans."

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/angela-merkel/11236622/Angela-Merkel-warns-Russia-could-seek-to-destabilise-whole-of-the-European-peaceful-order.html

Note from two articles from severla months ago how the status of the relationship and Merkel's statements have changed since the beginning of the crisis. She was thought of as the "Chief Mediator", but Putin's behavior has put Merkel against him.

March 7 - (Reuters) - After one of her first encounters with Vladimir Putin in 2002, Angela Merkel joked to aides that she had passed the "KGB test" by staring straight into his eyes without averting her gaze.

Unlike presidents in Washington - George W. Bush claimed to have gotten a glimpse of Putin's soul and Barack Obama promised to "reset" relations with Russia - the German chancellor has never harbored any illusions about the former Soviet agent, nor hopes that she might change him.

It is this hard-nosed realism, born of Merkel's own experience growing up in a Soviet garrison town in East Germany and reinforced over a turbulent 14-year relationship with Putin, that has earned her respect in the Kremlin and thrust her into the potentially risky role of chief mediator in the Ukraine crisis.


May 2 - Teneo Intelligence's Carsten Nickel has discussed the relationship between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir in light of the Ukraine crisis.

He said that Germany has" "economic interests in maintain ties with Russia if you think of the energy challenge in Germany.

"It puts every German government...in a position where they will have to work towards mediation".

The Rude Pundit and I will be live on the air at 9pm ET, 6pm PT tonight

Talking immigration reform, wrap up of the election, and more. Listen in at http://tunein.com/radio/KCAA-1050-s31934/ . Call in and talk to us at (888) 909-1050

Slate: Don’t Accept Putin’s Version of History. The West didn’t provoke Russia...

Excellent article by Slate's Anne Applebaum. Since the fall of the USSR, the US and NATO did everything to reassure Russia and make Russia feel like a part of what was going on in the world. Putin and his government did nothing but take advantage of that. Ms. Applebaum lays out the history.


But one Western policy stands out as a phenomenal success, particularly when measured against the low expectations with which it began: The integration of Central Europe and the Baltic States into the European Union and NATO. Thanks to this double project, more than 90 million people have enjoyed relative safety and relative prosperity for more than two decades, in a region whose historic instability helped launch two world wars.
For the record: No treaties prohibiting NATO expansion were ever signed with Russia. No promises were broken. Nor did the impetus for NATO expansion come from a “triumphalist” Washington. On the contrary, Poland's first efforts to apply in 1992 were rebuffed. I well remember the angry reaction of the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw at the time. But Poland and others persisted, precisely because they were already seeing signs of the Russian revanchism to come.

When the slow, cautious expansion did eventually take place, constant efforts were made to reassure Russia. No NATO bases were ever placed in the new member states, and until 2013 no exercises were conducted there. A Russia-NATO agreement in 1997 promised no movement of nuclear installations. A Russia-NATO council was set up in 2002. In response to Russian objections, Ukraine and Georgia were in fact denied NATO membership plans in 2008.

Meanwhile, not only was Russia not “humiliated” during this era, it was given de facto “great power” status, along with the Soviet U.N. Security Council seat and Soviet embassies. Russia also received Soviet nuclear weapons, some transferred from Ukraine in 1994 in exchange for Russian recognition of Ukraine's borders. Presidents Clinton and Bush both treated their Russian counterparts as fellow “great power” leaders and invited them to join the G-8—although Russia, neither a large economy nor a democracy, did not qualify.
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