ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points [294] -- CPAC Follies And More

[ Posted Friday, March 7th, 2014 – 17:59 PST ]

It's been a busy week in politics -- even without all the CPAC follies -- so let's get right to it.

In the House, Republican Darrell Issa, who chairs the Investigate Obama Until We Find Something To Impeach Him Over Committee (I think that's what it's called, at any rate...) held a hearing over the alleged abuses at the Internal Revenue Service.

Reportedly, he was recalling Lois Lerner to testify because she was going to answer questions. How do I know this? Because Issa himself told me, on one of last Sunday's political talk shows. But when she did appear, she took the Fifth again. Behind the scenes, her lawyer had been working on a deal with Issa in exchange for testimony, but the deal fell apart. This annoyed Issa no end, and after asking her question after question, he abruptly gaveled the hearing to a close and tried to walk out.

Representative Elijah Cummings tried to speak, but Issa continually cut off his microphone and tried to beat a hasty retreat from the room. Cummings kept on speaking, getting visibly more annoyed at being silenced in such a fashion. Watch the video, it's pretty cringe-worthy.

This is a new low in Congress, where Republicans now apparently feel that they are the only ones who will be allowed to speak. So much for all that "democracy" stuff, I guess. Issa reportedly apologized to Cummings after realizing what a bully he had been... but then described what Cummings did in an interview as a "hissy fit" -- so maybe he hasn't really seen the light quite yet.

In other news from the Republican House, Paul Ryan would like you to think that he cares about poor people. He's not going to do anything for them, of course, he just wants you to think he cares, that's all. In fact, if he had his way, he would make life much harder for poor people, to "free" them from what he calls a "poverty trap." Tough love, in other words. Or, in more-accurate terms, a giant "Tough luck!" to all poor people.

Ryan released a report which purported to show how spending federal money on poverty programs has been useless. The only problem is that Ryan cherry-picked his data to make his case so shamelessly that it was eviscerated by pretty much all and sundry (examples abound, from New York magazine, Salon and Salon again, while Huffington Post ran a very comprehensive wrapup of links to all others who performed brutal takedowns of Ryan's "facts.")

The Ukraine erupted in crisis during the past week, as Russia's Vladimir Putin essentially grabbed the Crimea in his own hissy fit. President Obama, of course, has very limited options for dealing with Russia over the Crimea, in precisely the same way that President George W. Bush had very limited options to react to Russia moving troops into Georgia. Back then, nobody complained much about Bush's actions, because they knew there was little the United States could (or would) do to change the situation on the ground in any meaningful way.

Now, of course, with a Democrat in the White House, Republicans loudly criticize President Obama, essentially saying it is Obama's fault that Putin did what he did. Carping Republicans have no better answer for what to do now (other than insisting that Obama take actions which he's already taken, which doesn't really count), but that doesn't stop them from declaring that it's all Obama's fault anyway.

Here's a news flash for all these Republicans: the United States is not going to threaten Russia militarily. It's just not going to happen. Bush knew this, and Obama knows it. So what, exactly, is the big complaint?

Lindsey Graham (of course) took this to the extreme, laying the blame for the Crimea on (wait for it...) Benghazi. This was too much for Michelle Malkin, who chastised Graham publicly, tweeting: "UGH. @grahamblog, you are an embarrassment to all who truly care about Benghazi. Just stop".

Hillary Clinton got caught in a pushback of her own, by pointing out the similarities of Putin going into the Crimea "to protect the Russians there" and Hitler doing the same thing for the Germans in his land-grabs leading up to World War II. This comparison annoyed some, apparently.

This was also CPAC week, which is a big get-together of conservatives and their lunatic fringe, and is also a showcase for any Republican eyeing a 2016 presidential run. Call it the audition process for who gets to be in the clown car, next time around. Think I'm being too harsh? Hey, Donald Trump was a featured speaker (who mistakenly referred to Jimmy Carter as dead) -- that pretty much sums it up right there.

Several sites have amusing "best of" lists from CPAC, or have highlighted the most bizarre statements spoken there. My favorite is a photo of a session on minority outreach, which shows an absolute sea of empty chairs. Guess that minority outreach thing just isn't that popular among the conservative faithful, eh?

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

We've got two Honorable Mention awards to hand out this week. The first goes to Wendy Davis, who just chalked up an impressive win in the Texas Democratic primary for governor. She's got a tough race in front of her to win the general election, but it's impressive enough to have gotten this far. Our second goes to Steve Gallardo, state legislator in Arizona, who just came out publicly as gay right after the whole "Turn The Gays Away" bill fiasco happened.

But the coveted Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award (also known as the "Golden Backbone") goes to none other than Representative Elijah Cummings, for his outrage at being silenced by Darrell Issa. It's a rare day when I agree with someone using the label "anti-American," but that is precisely what it was, and Cummings did not shy away from saying so -- microphone or no microphone.

The only way to deal with bullying is to stand up to the bully and tell him his behavior is flat-out unacceptable. Cummings did so, and did so admirably. For this, he is awarded this week's MIDOTW. When Congress calls a hearing -- no matter which party is in the majority -- both sides get to speak. That's a basic rule of fairness. Issa called the hearing knowing his witness wasn't going to answer any questions, so the entire thing was a political stunt in the first place. But even in the midst of such a partisan political stunt, the other side still gets to have their say. That's the American way, folks.

For refusing to be silenced in the face of outrageous behavior, and for forcefully pointing out the outrageousness of the behavior, Cummings was indeed the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

[Congratulate Representative Elijah Cummings on his House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

There were a lot of disappointing candidates this week, sad to say.

Ten Senate Democrats voted against Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to remove prosecutions for sexual assaults from the military chain of command. The bill got 55 votes, and even got a few Republicans in support, but it failed to reach the 60-vote threshold in the end. This was a showdown of sorts between Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill, who has a competing bill on the subject (which leaves the chain of command in charge of decision-making). McCaskill's bill advanced, and will likely pass next week, but this bill doesn't make the fundamental changes in the military that Gillibrand's bill does. This fight isn't completely over -- Gillibrand's bill may get another chance, later on -- but it was indeed disappointing to see the Gillibrand bill fail. The Pentagon should be on notice: one more bad year of data on their handling of sexual assault cases, and things are likely going to change in a big way.

We've got two minor (Dis-)Honorable Mention awards, but before we get to them we have to mention that while we are vigilant here on the subject of castigating Democrats who don't respect women (this is crucial, we feel, in order for the party to take the high ground in the War On Women), we are not going to pass judgment on Representative Alan Grayson quite yet. Grayson's wife (they're in the midst of a divorce) made accusations against him this week, but Grayson not only swears he's innocent, he also swears there are plenty of witnesses to the alleged altercation and even a video which exonerates him. So we're going to take a "wait and see" approach, until the dust settles. If his wife is right, Grayson deserves condemnation. If, however, his wife is not right, then we'd have to just later rescind any award given, so we'll see how it all plays out, for now.

But two minor Democrats from Alabama certainly do deserve their (Dis-)Honorable Mention awards this week. If the MDDOTW vote hadn't happened (more on this in a second), either one of these would have easily won, in a normal week.

First up is Alabama legislator Alvin Holmes. During a debate over a strict new abortion limits bill, Holmes replied to a Republican (who had just compared the bill to Brown v. Board of Education):

Ninety-nine percent of all of the white people in here are going to raise their hand that they are against abortion. On the other hand, ninety-nine percent of the whites who are sitting in here now, if their daughter got pregnant by a black man, they are going to make their daughter have an abortion. You know, the truth sometimes hurts. All this stuff about abortion and this and that -- that's just a con game. That's for whites, it ain't for blacks.

While heartfelt, this is simply not the best way to "play the race card," even in Alabama (and even if true). Holmes may have thought he was pointing out hypocrisy, but in doing so he accused his opponents of actions that he had absolutely no proof of -- which is nothing short of character assassination. Holmes could have made the same point without leveling personal accusations, and it would have been just as strong.

Our second (Dis-)Honorable Mention goes to Erick Wright, who is running for Congress in Alabama. This is after he posted a video on YouTube titled "Politics on the Throne," which consisted of (are you ready for this?) two minutes of Wright sitting on the toilet shooting the breeze about politics.

Whew. Talk about "too much information."

Kidding aside, though, we have seven Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week awards to hand out, to the senators who voted against an Obama nominee to head the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Debo Adegbile was eminently qualified, but the reason these seven Democrats voted against him sets a horrible precedent for the future.

Adegbile, as director of the N.A.A.C.P.'s legal defense fund, had previously participated in an appeal of the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal for killing a Philadelphia police officer. But -- a key point -- lawyers are never supposed to be politically "tainted" by clients they advocate for. It's a basic and fundamental concept. Seven Democrats, however, cowardly caved in to the fears that such a vote would be used against them in the upcoming midterm campaign. That is bad enough, but what is even worse is the precedent set.

If this standard -- not defending convicted murderers, even politically-important murderers -- had been held to in the past, then it would have disqualified Chief Justice John Roberts from confirmation. If that's not a good enough example, we can go back further in history, to consider the fact that John Adams, a practicing lawyer, defended the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre in court. Even though politically radioactive at the time (much more so than Abu-Jamal), Adams felt it his duty to see that they got the best legal defense possible. And then he went on to become president.

So, for voting in a politically cowardly way, with no other reason than "this will look bad against me, in ads," the following seven senators are all awarded their own Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week awards: Bob Casey, Chris Coons, Joe Donnelly, Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin, Mark Pryor, and John Walsh. Collectively, they sent a clear message to young lawyers who might want to advance politically one day: don't take on any pro bono cases, ever, because they will harm you later politically (even though they shouldn't). Which, obviously, is a horrible message to send.

For shame.

[Contact Senator Bob Casey on his Senate contact page, Senator Chris Coons on his Senate contact page, Senator Joe Donnelly on his Senate contact page, Senator Heidi Heitkamp on her Senate contact page, Senator Joe Manchin on his Senate contact page, and Senator Mark Pryor on his Senate contact page, to let them know what you think of their actions. Senator John Walsh has apparently not set up an official contact page yet.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 294 (3/7/14)

A real mixed bag this week. As always, these talking points are offered up for Democrats everywhere to use, from the Sunday talk shows to the office watercooler. Let's get right to them, as we're already running insanely long this week.

 

1
   Let's vote on voting rights

While I'm a fan of pushing a Voting Rights Amendment on a national scale, that doesn't mean that state efforts aren't important, too.

"I see that in Arizona, they've come up with a great idea that Democrats should work to emulate in every state where voting rights are under attack from the Republican Party. Instead of fighting battles in court over measures designed to keep people from voting, instead let's put voting rights right on the ballot. Let the people decide whether their states should expand or restrict access to the ballot box. After all, this affects every citizen, so let's let the people have their say. I think it'd be a great idea to put this on the ballot in every state -- let the voters decide to expand poll access!"

 

2
   Jobs, jobs, jobs

This has a few parts to it, and could be expanded into several talking points.

"I see that this month's job report was more encouraging than had been expected. I also note that while Republicans make outlandish claims about how Obamacare is forcing everyone into part-time jobs, the actual data show that part-time employment has held pretty steady since Obamacare passed, while full-time jobs are steadily increasing. You can believe the facts, or you can listen to the Republican hype, folks. On a related subject, I see there's a new report out of Berkeley that shows the facts of raising the minimum wage, rather than the scare stories Republicans love to tell. San Francisco raised its minimum wage ten years ago. The counties surrounding it didn't. San Francisco then saw more employment growth than the other counties (5.6 percent growth, as opposed to a range of 3.0 percent growth to 4.4 percent shrinkage for the other counties). Even food service work was up far more than in the other Bay Area counties. This proves -- once again, I might add -- that raising the minimum wage is not a 'job-killer' in any way. Because it is just a lie -- real-world evidence shows that this does not happen."

 

3
   Censorship in action

Unbelievable.

"Up in Alaska, I see a Republican official has successfully gotten Ms. magazine removed from the shelves of his local store, because he didn't like the subject matter it published. Funny, I'm still waiting to hear from all those on the right wing who love to cry 'Censorship!' at the drop of a hat. Here is some blatant censorship, from an elected official -- the worst kind. Denying the public a choice of reading material just because its content offends you is nothing short of un-American, folks. This isn't some corporate network cracking down on a paid spokesman, this isn't some television station pulling some celebrity for making odious remarks, this is nothing short of instituting a political test for what appears on the shelves of a store open to the public. It is despicable, and I am still waiting to hear one single conservative denounce such an action. But I'm not holding my breath, if you know what I mean."

 

4
   GOP fails, once again, at Latino outreach

This is a good one to bring up if the subject of President Obama getting tough questions about deportation comes up.

"It is nothing short of a fantasy that Republicans are going to somehow gain because Latinos are upset with President Obama over deportation policy, as some have suggested. Just this week, the Republicans in the House voted to remove all funding for advocates who work with immigrants in detention. This is often the only way women in detention can fight back if they are sexually assaulted or raped while in custody. This is apparently not money well spent, as far as the Republicans are concerned. Removing the advocates means such things will be hushed up and never see the light of day, which is apparently just fine with Republicans. While Democratic immigration policy isn't perfect, at least Democrats aren't actively passing laws which remove all hope of humane treatment for those in the deportation system. Republicans ought to be ashamed of themselves, really. And they certainly are never going to improve their standing among Latino voters with policies like these."

 

5
   WWBD?

Speaking of Obama....

"I've heard a lot of hot air about what President Obama should do over the situation in the Ukraine, but the funny thing is even those who are upset with the president only seem to be able to come up with suggestions that Obama is already currently doing. Also conveniently ignored in all the talk about how Putin invaded the Crimea 'because Obama is so weak' is the fact that a conservative exemplar of testicular fortitude already faced the same exact problem and did pretty much the same things Obama is doing now. Was Russia 'exploiting the weakness' of George W. Bush by invading Georgia? Was America so weak then? What is different, really, other than the name of the man in the White House? For every complainer about Obama's strategy in dealing with Russia, I challenge you to clearly state: What would Bush do? What did he do that was any different?"

 

6
   Proof of GOP civil war

This one is pretty stunning, when you think about it.

"Republicans have been trying to push a talking point in the media that somehow Democrats are 'just as divided' as the Republican Party. This is nothing short of ridiculous. Want the facts? Here they are. One out of every five dollars spent by all super PACs was spent by conservative groups attacking Republicans running for Congress. Liberal groups spent zero dollars doing the same thing to Democrats. Conservative groups spent $2.3 million attacking Republicans, while spending only $2.1 million attacking Democrats. In other words, they're spending more money attacking their own party than they are attacking their opponents. That is nothing short of a civil war in the Republican Party, and there is nothing like it -- nothing -- on the other side of the aisle."

 

7
   Nobody will shop there

This one's just for sheer amusement, I have to admit.

"When the Arizona 'Turn The Gays Away' bill was being debated, many on the right tried to make the case that any private organization which discriminated against customers (black, brown, gay) would not stay in business long. The public would recoil at such discrimination, and people would take their money elsewhere, we were told, leading to the business in question utterly failing. I was thinking of this logic when I read that the CPAC gathering of conservatives -- a private organization -- banned gay groups from participating in their conservative-fest. Gay groups weren't allowed to speak, and weren't even allowed to have a table in the hall to get their message out. Other conservative groups would have fallen over in a swoon if the gays were present, I guess. Now, by their own logic, there are only two possible conclusions. Either there are plenty of bigoted consumers out there, and businesses could indeed thrive while discriminating against whomever they chose (see, for instance, Jim Crow), or CPAC itself is going to wither on the vine and never be heard from again. You can only draw one conclusion or the other, really."

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post

 

122 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [294] -- CPAC Follies And More”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is a new low in Congress, where Republicans now apparently feel that they are the only ones who will be allowed to speak. So much for all that "democracy" stuff, I guess. Issa reportedly apologized to Cummings after realizing what a bully he had been... but then described what Cummings did in an interview as a "hissy fit" -- so maybe he hasn't really seen the light quite yet.

    Yea, cuz all Democrats did was to toss nukes... :^/

    So, basically Democrats feel that THEY are the only ones who can bully the minority Party, eh??

    I told you at the time when Dems were tossing nukes that the gloves will come off and Dems won't like it when they are on the receiving end.

    And here we are...

    Back then, nobody complained much about Bush's actions, because they knew there was little the United States could (or would) do to change the situation on the ground in any meaningful way.

    Ahem......

    The difference between then and now is that Bush didn't issue a "red line" ultimatum against the use of CWMDs and then ignore it when CWMDs were actually used to kill thousands of innocent men, women and children..

    Big difference.. BIG.. HUGE...

    essentially saying it is Obama's fault that Putin did what he did.

    Of course, it's not Obama's fault..

    But Obama could have prevented it. By, ya know, showing some leadership...

    My favorite is a photo of a session on minority outreach, which shows an absolute sea of empty chairs. Guess that minority outreach thing just isn't that popular among the conservative faithful, eh?

    DO you want to trade empty chairs/stadiums pics?? :D

    I'm just sayin....

    For refusing to be silenced in the face of outrageous behavior, and for forcefully pointing out the outrageousness of the behavior, Cummings was indeed the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

    Is that the same Cummings who used his position to bully and intimidate a conservative??

    THAT sounds a helluva lot more "Un American" than what Issa did, which was essentially to tell Cummings to sit down, shut up and follow the rules...

    Collectively, they sent a clear message to young lawyers who might want to advance politically one day: don't take on any pro bono cases, ever, because they will harm you later politically (even though they shouldn't). Which, obviously, is a horrible message to send.

    Not at all..

    The message is, "Don't side with a convicted cop-killer and try to save him from the fate he/she so richly deserves"...

    Frankly, I don't have a problem with that message whatsoever.

    Nor would any American have a problem with THAT message...

    Am I wrong??

    Michale

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    "I've heard a lot of hot air about what President Obama should do over the situation in the Ukraine, but the funny thing is even those who are upset with the president only seem to be able to come up with suggestions that Obama is already currently doing. Also conveniently ignored in all the talk about how Putin invaded the Crimea 'because Obama is so weak' is the fact that a conservative exemplar of testicular fortitude already faced the same exact problem and did pretty much the same things Obama is doing now. Was Russia 'exploiting the weakness' of George W. Bush by invading Georgia? Was America so weak then? What is different, really, other than the name of the man in the White House? For every complainer about Obama's strategy in dealing with Russia, I challenge you to clearly state: What would Bush do? What did he do that was any different?"

    You mean, beyond giving Putin tacit permission??

    OH that's easy...

    Ukraine and the Crimea... Georgia and Ossetia..

    The population divide is one difference.

    Ukraine is also a helluva lot more strategically and tactically important than Georgia..

    To put it into proper context...

    If Russia invaded Burkina Faso, the US would be like "eh?? So???"....

    If Russia invaded Great Britain, the response would be remarkably different...

    To paraphrase Uncle Joe, "THAT would be a big f*cking deal!!"

    I could go on and on about the differences between the two events, but ya'all get the idea...

    Having said all that, at the time, I came down on Bush for his wimpy response to the Russian invasion of Georgia....

    The only difference is that back then, when it was Bush, I had a lot of company from the Left..

    But, now that it's Obama, no one on the Left wants to condemn him...

    I am shocked!! Shocked, I tell you!!! :D

    Michale

  3. [3] 
    LewDan wrote:

    lol, Michale,

    Holding VOTES is "bullying the minority?" You don't really get the whole "democracy" thing, do you? And just how is Issa justified because he "followed the rules" while Dems are using "nukes" and "bullying the minority" when THEY "follow the rules?" By no stretch of the imagination is a Congressional "hearing" where only the committee chairman gets to speak, fair, what "the rules" intended, or a "hearing." As always, your insistence on defending the indefensible proves just how much of an "independent" you really are.

  4. [4] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Oh, and Michale,

    You're absolutely right about the relative strategic importance of the Crimea to Georgia--to Russia. The Crimea is of absolutely NO strategic importance to us.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LewDan,

    I think the outcome of the crisis in Ukraine will be of great geopolitical significance to the US, the impacts of which will extend far beyond eastern Europe.

  6. [6] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Liz,

    Only in the sense that ANY international incident has significance for us, as we all share the same planet. The Ukraine borders Russia. We're on a different continent on the opposite side of the Earth. Russia reabsorbing a state it totally dominated, until recently, for decades, isn't going to change life in America. The "Domino Theory" of geopolitics has already been thoroughly discredited.

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm not talking about a silly domino theory, LewDan. But, geopolitics is alive and well. Obama would be wise to realize that.

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LewDan,

    The US is not an island.

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    LD,

    Lerner had refused to answer questions. Since the entire hearing was about Lerner answering questions and since she illegally refused to answer questions, Issa adjourned the hearing.

    All perfectly within the rules.

    Once the hearing was adjourned, Cummings had no reason to ask anyone anything, ESPECIALLY since the witness had already refused to answer..

    Cummings got slapped down and he threw a hissy fit..

    That's it..

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Liz,

    We also don't run the planet.

  11. [11] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    Lerner had PREVIOUSLY invoked her fifth amendment rights. Issa had NO reason to believe she wouldn't again. He didn't call a hearing and then closed it when she took the fifth. He called a pointless hearing and then closed it AFTER MAKING A PERSONAL STATEMENT and allowing no one else to do the same.

    Fifth amendment protection exists to prevent EXACTLY the kind of harassment Issa's committee engages in. Repeatedly subpoenaing a witness who has invoked the fifth isn't "fact-finding" its abuse of power and harassment.

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LewDan,

    Of course, you don't run the planet. Even if you wanted to, you couldn't.

    But, just because you don't share a border with Ukraine or Russia, and you still have a couple of large bodies of water on each coast, not to mention a big friendly neighbour to your north, ahem, and a fairly reliable partner on your southern flank, you are still deeply affected by what happens continents away and your response to crises in far away places, and your actions to pre-empt them in the first place, can directly impact - positively or negatively - your personal and national security.

    This is really not up for debate. It is the reality in which we all must live.

    I really would have thought that the 9/11 attacks would have disabused Americans from such isolationist thinking ...

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    You're absolutely right about the relative strategic importance of the Crimea to Georgia--to Russia. The Crimea is of absolutely NO strategic importance to us.

    Yea??

    It's the ONLY port in Russia that offers unfettered access to the Med....

    No strategic importance to us, my right arm pit...

    Denying Russia the use of the Crimea would be a HUGE strategic boost for the US, not to mention a tactical bonanza...

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Denying Russia the use of the Crimea would be a HUGE strategic boost for the US, not to mention a tactical bonanza...

    That's not gonna happen, no matter who occupies the White House.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    We also don't run the planet.

    We're closer than anyone else. :D

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Lerner had PREVIOUSLY invoked her fifth amendment rights. Issa had NO reason to believe she wouldn't again.

    Uh yea, he did. Lerner's lawyer indicated that she would testify this time..

    You cannot make a statement and THEN invoke your 5th Amendment rights...

    That's why Lerner is NOT allowed to invoke her 5th Amendment rights..

    She gave up that right when she made a statement, saying she was completely innocent of everything..

    This is the law....

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    We're closer than anyone else. :D

    Well, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Oh, wait ...

  18. [18] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Yea??

    It's the ONLY port in Russia that offers unfettered access to the Med....

    No strategic importance to us, my right arm pit...

    Denying Russia the use of the Crimea would be a HUGE strategic boost for the US, not to mention a tactical bonanza...

    "ONLY" if you are too lazy to look at a map...

    Russia prefers Sevastopol due to location and existing infrastructure. It's far from Russia's only option. Plus Russia has a lease on the Sevastopol port until 2042. They are not going anywhere no matter what Ukraine or the US does.

  19. [19] 
    LewDan wrote:

    National security does not mean fighting clandestine cold (or hot) wars with the nations who compete with us. If we want to declare war on Russia we've a strategic national security interest in the Crimea. That's not going to happen. Thinking you can pursue wartime strategic objectives in peacetime, as if no one would notice, is stupid. If you're not going to declare war on Russia forget about trying to deny it access to Med ports, they're the same thing. YOU may pretend there's a difference but Russia won't see any. And rightly so.

    --And if our neighbors to the north are so concerned, they can act on their own. Russia's action in the Crimea poses NO identifiable probable threat near term OR long term.

    When there's a definite threat, other than some hypothetical possibility, THEN we may have a strategic national security interest warranting confronting Russia. But being a superpower doesn't mean we have super powers. We are neither invincible nor invulnerable. Russia still has plenty of nukes. If we're stupid enough to engage in the kind of international breast-beating that gifted us with WWI we may start WWIII--and we may not survive it. ANY of us.

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    "ONLY" if you are too lazy to look at a map...

    By all means.. Point out another facility with the size of Sevastopol (remember, we're talking STRATEGIC here) that has unfettered access to the Med..

    Go on...

    Plus Russia has a lease on the Sevastopol port until 2042.

    Yea, and "leases" mean SO much during war, right??

    They are not going anywhere no matter what Ukraine or the US does.

    There's this thing called "WAR"... Maybe you have heard of it..

    It tends to change things...

    "Did IQs suddenly drop while I was away??"

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    National security does not mean fighting clandestine cold (or hot) wars with the nations who compete with us.

    Spoken like someone truly ignorant of what National Security entails... :D

    "There is no dishonor in not knowing everything"
    -Subcommander T'al

    :D

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again, it's amazing.

    Obama is always right.

    Obama did nothing wrong.

    Obama didn't make any mistakes.

    Everything bad happening has absolutely NOTHING to do with Obama.

    Everything good in this world is all because of our lord and savior, Obama..

    It's downright pathetic....

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Go on...

    Novorossiysk.

    There's this thing called "WAR"... Maybe you have heard of it..

    It tends to change things...

    There are these things called nuclear weapons, maybe you have heard of those? Or are you actually calling for WW3?

    [22] Uh...I think Michale just had a major explosion of hysteria. Should we call someone :D

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    [22] Uh...I think Michale just had a major explosion of hysteria. Should we call someone :D

    Naw ... he'll be fine.

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    LewDan[19],

    Not sure if that little rant was directed at me or not, but, I'd like to clear something up ... for the record, you know.

    You seem to be equating any discussion of national security and geopolitical considerations with the US going to war. That's hardly what I was talking about.

    You also seem to be ignoring the fact that the crisis in Ukraine is going to have significant repercussions for the US/Russia relationship which will impact on any number of wide-ranging global issues that require the cooperation of Russia and the US to resolve.

    Had the US and the West understood the geopolitical consequences of the fall of the Soviet Union and acted to mitigate the negative ones then, I dare say, we would not have had a simmering Ukraine crisis over the years that would have come to a head now.

    That's what the practice of geopolitics is all about. It's about securing national interests while working to prevent conflict, often continents away. Unfortunately, the US has not always proven to be particularly adept at this game. We shall see if any lessons of history have been learned and held within the institutional memory of the country as this latest geopolitical crisis plays itself out.

  26. [26] 
    TheStig wrote:

    - Liz M

    "That's what the practice of geopolitics is all about. It's about securing national interests while working to prevent conflict, often continents away."

    Well said, but success in the geopolitical game should be judged over decades, not moments. Overall, the US (and European allies) has proven quite adept with regards to Eastern European affairs. The fact we are using the term Russia rather than Soviet Union is evidence of that. The fact that the Warsaw Pact is now a subset of NATO is more evidence of that.

    Ukraine is the last frontier of the Old Soviet Empire. Ukraine contains some geographical regions, notably Crimea, where a significant proportion of the population, contrary to pretty much everybody else, actually wants to renter the Russian orbit. The rest of Ukraine seems to want to move westward.

    Russia is pushing back, but hasn't actually gained anything of high strategic value yet. They already controlled the bases for the Black Sea fleet, now they control it more firmly. They may ultimately claim a new province (a sort of Russian Florida) and 2 million more citizens. (Many of the latter are said to be Russian retirees, but hey, it's Russian Florida).

    There are potential geopolitical costs to the Russian push back. Russia is a major player in the world energy markets. Being perceived as an unreliable business partner is bad for business. Putin has triumphed in Russian politics in large part because he has good for business. Is it better for Russian business if Europe is forced to hedge its bets by shifting to more expensive imported natural gas, alternate fuels, or God Forbid! - increased emphasis on fuel efficiency?

    It's an interesting question, but in the mid term, say 5-10 yrs, I'm guessing events will show Putin impulsively played a pretty weak hand.

    Fear not, that's plenty of time for interested parties to generate millions of more comments on this subject at CW.com :-)

  27. [27] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Obama is always right.

    Obama did nothing wrong.

    Obama didn't make any mistakes.

    Everything bad happening has absolutely NOTHING to do with Obama.

    i think i can speak for just about everyone here at CW when i say we all recognize that's not the case. even obama himself most likely recognizes that's not the case. the question is how many and and myriad the "mistakes were made" by obama, relative to his successes, in comparison to other presidents.

    i maintain that he's about average in that regard, and above-average in foreign policy. this is probably (to everyone here's chagrin including myself) for implementing bush's fp strategies more intensively than bush did, and (to conservatives' chagrin, most likely including yourself) suavely enough to avoid inciting the level of domestic push-back that bush did.

    does that mean he's got the foresight of richard nixon who got ahead of the curve and started winning the cold war? probably not. nixon and kissenger were brilliant in that regard. obama and his staff have still been pretty good though. not brilliant, and certainly not mistake-free, but substantially stronger than you're giving them credit for at the moment.

    JL

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    i think i can speak for just about everyone here at CW when i say we all recognize that's not the case.

    Really??

    When was the last time someone slapped down Obama for a POLICY decision or bonehead play or something having NOTHING to do with politics or Republicans??

    Uhhh... NEVER...

    If it wasn't for that guy who critized CW a couple weeks back, I would have bailed on Weigantia... But I had to stick around and defend CW's honor.. :D

    The straw that nearly broke the camels back was the totally BS insistence that Obama didn't lie with his "Like Your Plan, Keep Your Plan" BS..

    I mean, how can ANYONE stand so much utter felgercarb and blatant un-reality and still maintain a semblance of sanity???

    You say that Weigantians don't believe that Obama is not perfect and Obama does not walk on water??

    Fine..

    Show me...

    Show me the LAST time ANYONE took Obama to task over something unrelated to politics or Republicans...

    My gods, man!

    This POTUS ***ASSASINATES*** Americans without due process!!

    This POTUS has a domestic surveillance apparatus that would give Dick Cheney's and Richard Nixon's love child a wet dream!!

    This POTUS has prosecuted more whistle blowers than the previous FOUR Administrations!!

    And not ONE SINGLE Weigantian can find ONE single thing to rip Obama over without prompting from yours truly???

    Ya'all savaged Bush at the drop of a dime...

    Obama doesn't merit even a stern word or a sad shake of the head???

    Is that "-D" so all important that principles, morals and even COMMON SENSE are chucked out the door?

    What's the price of one's self RSPECT these days??

    Michale

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Stig,

    Well said, but success in the geopolitical game should be judged over decades, not moments. Overall, the US (and European allies) has proven quite adept with regards to Eastern European affairs.

    I would seriously beg to differ. Well, not with the very first part ... :)

    For instance, if the US and its western allies had been at all adept at the geopolitical game in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, then there wouldn't have been a crisis in Ukraine that we are witnessing today.

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Stig,

    The fact that the Warsaw Pact is now a subset of NATO is more evidence of that.

    That is precisely why we are in crisis mode today.

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The Stig,

    It's an interesting question, but in the mid term, say 5-10 yrs, I'm guessing events will show Putin impulsively played a pretty weak hand.

    That may very well be true but, that doesn't excuse the fact that the years since the end of the Cold War have been squandered by the US and its allies in so many more ways than one.

    Fear not, that's plenty of time for interested parties to generate millions of more comments on this subject at CW.com :-)

    Absolutely, positively, unequivocally! :)

  32. [32] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    When was the last time someone slapped down Obama for a POLICY decision or bonehead play or something having NOTHING to do with politics or Republicans?? Uhhh... NEVER...

    We don't have to. You do enough of that for each one of, 100 times over. :)

    Just had a thought ... if you take a break from comments that do nothing but slam Obama, then you just might hear some constructive criticism from the rest of us and realize that it was there in some of our comments all along. I'm just sayin' ...

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    oops ... for each one of us, 1000 times over. ahem .

  34. [34] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    Once again, in the fervent hope that I irritate you AT LEAST as much as you irritate me...OBAMA DID NOT LIE when he assured people they could keep their policies. He didn't HAVE to tell people they still had to honor the TERMS of those policies. That's a given.

    The "Obama lied" argument is the argument of a two year-old. NOTHING about Obama's statement could POSSIBLY lead ANY ADULT, with an IQ at least equal to their shoe-size, to believe they could stop making payments and still keep their insurance--just because Obama didn't TELL them they still had to keep paying premiums. And NOTHING in Obama's statement could lead them to believe the terms of their CURRENT policies had changed in any way, INCLUDING their insurers rights and options regarding modifications and cancellations.

    The REAL lying going on is coming from YOU and your right-wing fellow travelers.

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    We don't have to. You do enough of that for each one of, 100 times over. :)

    SOMEONE has to keep Weigantia grounded in reality..

    On the other hand, if ya'all picked up some of the slack, *I* wouldn't have to do it all.. :D

    Just had a thought ... if you take a break from comments that do nothing but slam Obama, then you just might hear some constructive criticism from the rest of us and realize that it was there in some of our comments all along. I'm just sayin' ...

    Tried that. Nothing changed..

    So, why don't we try something different. Why don't Weigantians start pointing out Obama's mistakes BEFORE I do??

    LD,

    "If you like your insurance plan, you can keep your insurance plan. PERIOD"

    There's no ambiguity there, LD... There is no caveat.. There is no equivocation or "but...." or "unless....." or "if...."

    There is a "PERIOD"..

    Now, I will grant you that YOU believe you know that Obama MEANT those things..

    But you are alone in that belief. Every other American, INCLUDING every Weigantian knows that Obama lied. Because THAT is the fact..

    I know you believe Obama didn't lie. It is not in your nature to believe anything bad or wrong about Obama.

    It's like a Christian who can't believe that their god might be wrong or might make a mistake.

    It just can't happen...

    So, I understand why you continue to defend Obama.. Obama is your god and you must support him wholly and completely without reservation.

    But you just have to know that you are completely wrong, just as a Christian is wrong about their god...

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again, in the fervent hope that I irritate you AT LEAST as much as you irritate me...

    hehehehehe Now THAT was funny.. :D

    He didn't HAVE to tell people they still had to honor the TERMS of those policies.

    The people WERE honoring the terms of their policies..

    The problem was that the policies were not honoring the terms of TrainWreckCare...

    You yourself had stated those policies had to be cancelled because they were subpar under TrainWreckCare...

    So, the people were fine with their policies and the people were honoring the terms of their policies..

    But the policies were (in YOUR words) subpar and had to be cancelled under TrainWreckCare...

    You see, this is what's so frustrating.. When you are defending Obama, you throw logic, reason and rational thought out the window..

    Up is down, Black is white, wrong is right..

    The Obama Administration epitomizes George Orwell's 1984 and you are right along there with it...

    Michale

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    I think I just had an epiphany!!! :D

    The problem here is that NO ONE around here (with one, possibly two notable exceptions) are critical of the Democratic Party or the Left in general when it comes to policy...

    I can't recall a time where anyone has said, "Ya know, the Democratic Party is just WRONG in this particular direction they are going"

    Oh sure, individual Democrats are called out and thrumped.. The entire Democratic Party might be slammed for not being tough enough against Republicans or not pushing the Liberal/Progressive agenda far enough..

    But I don't think that there was EVER a time when it was stated here in Weigantia, "Ya know. Obama/Democratic Party is just WRONG on this policy" or "That policy of the Democratic Party/Obama is just wrong for this country" or something like that...

    So, only one of two possibilities exist.

    1> Everything that Obama/Democratic Party does is RIGHT for this country......

    or

    B> No one in Weigantia is willing to point out when Obama/Democratic Party is wrong..

    The odds are against #1.... So, that only leaves B...

    Michale

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Obama Administration epitomizes George Orwell's 1984 and you are right along there with it...

    When Obama and the Democrats were trying to sell TrainWreckCare to the American people, it was all about bringing health insurance to millions and millions of Uninsured Americans.

    When less than 10% of TrainWreckCare signups were those Uninsured Americans, all of the sudden TrainWreckCare was NOT about bring health insurance to the uninsured...

    When Obama needed a foreign policy boost, it was all about the Reset With Russia...

    When Russia slapped down and ignored Obama in Ukraine, no one in the Obama administration had even HEARD of a "Reset With Russia"...

    The Obama administration EPITOMIZES 'double think'...

    Michale

  39. [39] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Liz M (29)

    "if the US and its western allies had been at all adept at the geopolitical game in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union, then there wouldn't have been a crisis in Ukraine that we are witnessing today"

    I would assign far more of the ineptitude to the leadership Russian Government. Formidable problems after the breakup, they got Yeltsin, then Putin to handle them. Bad start after a bad fall.

    (30) It's fair to say that Russian intervention in Crimea is a consequence of NATO expansion. I rate that a minor case of "be careful what you wish for." There are downsides to NATO expansion, but overall, expansion has reduced tension in most of Europe.

    The fog of diplomacy is as great as the fog of war. You shouldn't expect to play a near perfect game, or to win every hand.

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    TheStig,

    Of course, the Russian leadership in the post-Cold War era has left quite a lot to be desired, particularly since Putin came to power.

    The downsides of NATO expansion and other actions taken by the West, are substantial, however, especially since the West has never demonstrated that it understood what was happening in Russia during this time - or now, for that matter - in terms of the awakening of Russian nationalism.

    I hardly expect geopolitical perfection. But, I do expect intelligent leaders to understand the fundamentals that underpin relationships between leaders and nations.

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    But I don't think that there was EVER a time when it was stated here in Weigantia, "Ya know. Obama/Democratic Party is just WRONG on this policy" or "That policy of the Democratic Party/Obama is just wrong for this country" or something like that...

    I know there was, on more than a couple of occasions. I can't say that I'm surprised you missed it because you are so completely caught up in the irrational condemnation of everything that the Obama administration has done with little or no regard to the reality of any given situation.

    It appears to be impossible for you to see any constructive criticism in our comments - could it be because you view all politics through your highly distorting prism of hyper-partisanship and extreme cynicism?

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    Actually, I have credited Obama many times for MANY actions when credit was due..

    So to say that I am "caught up in the irrational condemnation of everything that the Obama has done" is not accurate..

    I am also constrained to point out that my attitude regarding Obama and his administration is not at all different than the attitude everyone here displayed towards Bush and his administration. Except, back then, NO ONE gave Bush credit for ANYTHING.

    This IS a reality based forum. It's simply IMPOSSIBLE to believe that Obama is ALWAYS right in EVERY policy non-politics decision he has ever made..

    And, while I have NO problem admitting that Obama might not be as bad as I say he is, it's ALSO undeniable that Obama is not as good as ya'all say he is..

    The difference is that I admit that.

    No one (with the obvious exceptions) here would reciprocate..

    I get it. Party loyalty above all else.. So, if ya'all can't admit that Obama is wrong sometimes, at least concede that it's Party loyalty that causes ya'all to believe that Obama is never wrong...

    The alternative is for ya'all to actually point out when Obama DOES frak up...

    Saves me the trouble which will free me up for other pursuits. :D

    SOMEONE has to keep Wegantia grounded in reality.. :D

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    On another note:

    Ten countries scour sea for Malaysia jet lost in 'unprecedented mystery'
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/10/us-malaysiaairlines-flight-idUSBREA2701720140310

    Anyone ever see THE EVENT?? :D

    Michale

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    (30) It's fair to say that Russian intervention in Crimea is a consequence of NATO expansion. I rate that a minor case of "be careful what you wish for." There are downsides to NATO expansion, but overall, expansion has reduced tension in most of Europe.

    One does not necessarily excuse the other..

    That's why I said that Kissinger was wrong in his assessment.

    Kissinger said that Ukraine must be free to choose their own path, but then stated that Ukraine must not join NATO..

    If Ukraine is forbidden from joining NATO then, logically, Ukraine is not free to choose their own path...

    Michale

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    I mean, as Liz said... Ukraine should be free to choose what's in it's own best interests, no??

    I am sure we can all agree that membership in NATO is infinitely more preferable than to be absorbed into the old USSR...

    And having Ukraine in NATO is also in NATO's best interests as well..

    So, if 'best interests' is the watchword then it seems clear that Ukraine's best interests are served by NATO membership...

    I fail to see how the US/NATO have done anything wrong here??

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    EVERY insurance policy is explicit in how, when, and in what manner policies may be modified or cancelled. An insurance policy would be pretty useless without it. I can guarantee you policies would "just happen" to have been cancelled just prior to major claims without it. Supposedly expecting you've a right to renew IN SPITE of the terms outlined in your policy, to which you agreed, IS NOT "honoring the terms of your policy."

    It is NOT logical or rational to assume an assurance from the President that you can keep your policy is a "promise" from the President that he will CHANGE your policy so you can have YOUR way WHATEVER the other party to your contract may wish, in spite of YOUR promise that terms could be modified and policies cancelled upon expiration.

    And, aside from radical right-wingers, Americans wouldn't assume the government so authoritarian it would cavalierly, indiscriminately, and arbitrarily, dictate one party to a contract must prevail over the other. Nor would Americans believe it to be constitutional. If the President wanted to lie to America he wouldn't make statements that would only mislead delusional radicals.

    And, finally, there is nothing rational about interpreting Obama's remarks as some insane unconditional proactive commitment of government enforcement instead of the passive commitment to government noninterference that it was. The latter is in context with his other remarks about ACA. The former you just pulled out of your ass. Nothing else said by anyone, at anytime, even remotely supports such a fantasy.

    As I said, you keep making the argument of a two year-old. Taking a statement completely out of context, deliberately misrepresenting it, and claiming absurd connotations for which there is NO rational basis to assume.

    "If you like your policy, you can keep it," does NOT mean doctors can't quit, retire, move, or die if YOU want to keep them. It does not mean you get to break your promises and deny your insurer THEIR right to modify and cancel. It does NOT mean you can stop paying premiums and still keep your policy, just because you want to.

    NO rational adult would think the President's remark the unconditional entitlement you want to pretend it was. For the President to have lied he would have had to assume all Americans are morons who are incapable of correctly parsing a simple declarative statement. Even IF the idiots on the Right ARE, in fact, such morons, the President's remarks, directed at adult Americans with functioning brains, wouldn't be lies just because Republicans are too stupid to correctly figure them out.

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    LD,

    Find me someone else who believes that Obama didn't lie and I'll listen..

    Until that, it's your word against every American in the country...

    Michale

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    The American people were concerned that, as a result of TrainWreckCare, their insurance plans would be cancelled.

    In THAT context, Obama said:

    "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

    And that was a lie..

    And, every time Obama said it, he KNEW it was a lie...

    That is the context of the statement..

    No other possible explanation exists, other than that Obama lied... Obama KNEW that, if the truth was known, then TrainWreckCare would NEVER make it thru Congress...

    Obama lied to save his signature legislation.

    This is the fact that NO ONE (with both oars in the water) can dispute...

    Michale

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let's nip this in the bud, right now..

    The Weigantian Lie Of The Year For 2013 was when Obama said that he "welcomed debate" on the domestic spy programs...

    LD, do YOU believe that Obama lied when he said that??

    It's a simple YES or NO question requiring a simple YES or NO answer.....

    Do YOU believe that Obama lied when he said he welcomed debate on the domestic spy programs??

    Michale

  50. [50] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Michale,

    I'm through playing your "heads I win, tails you lose" games. You demanded I off er proof to back up my comments. I have. Look at ANY insurance contract. Talk to ANY insurance agent or broker. In response to my irrefutable proof you offer NO factual refutation. You simply ignore it, repeat your same old lies, and move the goal-posts by issuing NEW demands for cosponsors before you'll "listen." Since clearly NOTHING about your comments is honest I'm all done pretending your overt lies are anything OTHER than lies. There's no point in trying to discuss anything with anyone who's only going to lie and will never admit it.

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    . In response to my irrefutable proof you offer NO factual refutation.

    The American people were concerned that, as a result of TrainWreckCare, their insurance plans would be cancelled.

    In THAT context, Obama said:

    "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

    And that was a lie..

    And, every time Obama said it, he KNEW it was a lie...

    That is the context of the statement..

    No other possible explanation exists, other than that Obama lied... Obama KNEW that, if the truth was known, then TrainWreckCare would NEVER make it thru Congress...

    Obama lied to save his signature legislation.

    This is the fact that NO ONE (with both oars in the water) can dispute...

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    You obviously cannot admit that Obama has EVER lied..

    Therefore any discussion with you on the fact that Obama DID lie is useless, as you will never concede the reality..

    So, you are correct..

    Discussion with you on this point is as useless as discussing with a religious fanatic whether god exists or not.

    They won't concede the point no matter HOW many facts one brings to the table..

    Obama is your god so trying to get you to see reason and logic with regards to Obama is simply not possible..

    Michale

  53. [53] 
    Kevin wrote:

    LewDan,
    Futile, isn't it?
    Trying to reason with Michale is brain numbing...when you give up in frustration, he declares victory because of course there's no arguing with his mind-set...Obama evil and Michale all-knowing. Hope you can stay true to your resolve and quit trying to waste brain cells over his provoking :)

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    And another ObamaIsGod/BushIsSatan voice heard from.. :D

    Michale

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    SOrry, I forgot ya up there. :D

    Novorossiysk.

    Is a commercial port that is Russia's primary grain port. It has little to no military application whatsoever..

    The Russian port in the Crimea is Russia's ONLY realistic access to the Med..

    Cripple or eliminate that port and one effectivly eliminates Russia's naval power in the Med and beyond.

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1f749b24-9f8c-11e3-b6c7-00144feab7de.html#axzz2vb3dlLh4

    Like I said.. Leave military matters to military people..

    If the Left ran things, we'de all be speaking Russian right now.. :D

    Michale

  56. [56] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Michale-

    Would it be possible for you to read the article you post a link to just once? Try it, you might just learn something.

    From the article you just posted but were too lazy too read:

    Some defence analysts believe the uncertainty in Crimea could provide additional impetus for Moscow to step up plans to convert Novorossiysk, a city on Russia’s Black Sea coast which is already the country’s largest commercial port, into a full-scale naval base.

    Like I said.. Leave military matters to military people..

    Well, if you are a prime example, I really don't think that is a good idea. Does the rest of the military lack a basic reading ability? :D

  57. [57] 
    LewDan wrote:

    Kevin,

    Wasn't always this way. Michale once offered intelligent honest counterarguments. His descent into extremism hasn't been pretty.

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    Some defence analysts believe the uncertainty in Crimea could provide additional impetus for Moscow to step up plans to convert Novorossiysk, a city on Russia’s Black Sea coast which is already the country’s largest commercial port, into a full-scale naval base.

    Which means, in the HERE AND NOW as I STATED the Crimea is the ONLY base that offers the Russian Fleet unfettered access to the Med...

    Jeezus, did IQs REALLY drop around here???

    Well, if you are a prime example, I really don't think that is a good idea. Does the rest of the military lack a basic reading ability? :D

    Not only can we read, we can actually comprehend...

    Apparently ya are having a problem with the comprehension part...

    Novorossiysk is not a deep water port.. The COSTS of making it a viable replacement for Sevastopol is nearly prohibitive..

    Further, the technological know-how in Russia is severely lacking...

    If Russia went on a crash program and excluded EVERYTHING in the budget but the expansion of Novorossiysk, then Russia MIGHT have a viable military port in, roughly, about a century...

    Again..

    Military matters???

    Military people...

    It's the ONLY logical choice....

    LD,

    Actually, it's you who have descended into extremism with your hero worship of Obama..

    Your mistaken and totally refuted idea that Obama can do no wrong is what tags you as the extremist here....

    I am still waiting for SOMEONE... ANYONE ... to refute the facts I laid out in comment #28...

    No one has offered any facts???

    That's because there are no facts to offer that refutes the conclusions...

    Michale

  59. [59] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Jeezus, did IQs REALLY drop around here???

    Your's is in question as I started off this thread with:

    Russia prefers Sevastopol due to location and existing infrastructure. It's far from Russia's only option.

    You wrote:

    It's the ONLY port in Russia that offers unfettered access to the Med....

    I even highlighted the the "ONLY" in quotes.

    It is not the only port to offer that access. Russia prefers it for many reasons but if forced it has existing plans to build a full-scale naval base at Novorossiysk.

    It would be expensive but Putin just spent 50 billion on the Olympics. I think Russia could afford the expense.

    And, if you actually knew what you are talking about you would realize Novorossiysk is a deep water port.

    Not only can we read, we can actually comprehend...

    Not so far, but keep trying. A broken clock is still right twice a day...

    As for the here and now, I covered that. You know, nukes, WW3. Sorry mister alleged military expert, Russia is not going to be kicked out of Sevastopol in the short term and most likely not in the long term either.

  60. [60] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    I am sure we can all agree that membership in NATO is infinitely more preferable than to be absorbed into the old USSR...And having Ukraine in NATO is also in NATO's best interests as well..

    I think Ukraine could come to see its inclusion in NATO as not being in its best interests, all things considered.

    But, that doesn't mean it can't have a close and comprehensive relationship with the EU ... or with Russia for that matter.

    You know, the EU offer to Ukraine for an economic association left quite a lot to be desired. It's really no wonder the ousted Ukrainian president opted for the much more lucrative offer, financially speaking, from Russia! I mean, let's see ... $400 million or $15 billion ... gee, it's so hard to decide ... Heh.

  61. [61] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    You, like LD, simply can't admit when you are wrong..

    The port in the Crimea is Russia's only viable military port.

    Novorossiysk is NOT a viable port. It's not a deep water port and it doesn't have the room to be a viable military port because it's a commercial port.

    These are the facts.. Sorry you can't accept them, but they are facts nonetheless..

    Liz,

    I think Ukraine could come to see its inclusion in NATO as not being in its best interests, all things considered.

    But, we agree that THAT is up to Ukraine to decide, no??

    You might be right. Ukraine might decide that membership in NATO is not in their best interests.

    But Ukraine might decide that NATO protection from Russia IS in their best interests..

    It's up to Ukraine, not Russia, to decide. Right??

    But, that doesn't mean it can't have a close and comprehensive relationship with the EU ... or with Russia for that matter.

    The problem here is that a close and comprehensive relationship with the EU would be on Ukraine's terms.

    A close and comprehensive relationship with Russia would be on Russia's terms..

    Therein lies the difference..

    You know, the EU offer to Ukraine for an economic association left quite a lot to be desired. It's really no wonder the ousted Ukrainian president opted for the much more lucrative offer, financially speaking, from Russia! I mean, let's see ... $400 million or $15 billion ... gee, it's so hard to decide ... Heh.

    Drug dealers ALSO make "lucrative offers" that are really great deals....

    At first...

    Don't think for a moment that Russia is the good guy here....

    Michale

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    As for the here and now, I covered that. You know, nukes, WW3. Sorry mister alleged military expert, Russia is not going to be kicked out of Sevastopol in the short term and most likely not in the long term either.

    The problem is, you make such conclusions based on nothing but wishful thinking and ignorance of the issues...

    Having said that, you might get lucky and you may be right..

    See? I have no problem admitting that..

    Too bad no one here can't seem to admit that they MAY be wrong...

    Michale

  63. [63] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Don't think for a moment that Russia is the good guy here....

    What do you take me for, some kind of Putin apologist!?

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    I honestly don't know what gives you people more angst..

    Admitting you are wrong..

    Or admitting that I am right..

    Michale

  65. [65] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sorry mister alleged military expert, Russia is not going to be kicked out of Sevastopol in the short term and most likely not in the long term either.

    Further, I never claimed that Russia is going to be kicked out of the Crimea.

    I merely stated that, since the Crimea houses Russia's ONLY viable unfettered access to the Med and beyond, that if... *IF* Russia were to lose access to Sevastopol, it would be of HUGE strategic interests to the United States...

    You really need to READ what I write, rather than just assume you know what I am saying...

    As I said, I don't know which bugs you more..

    Admitting you are wrong or admitting I am right...

    Michale

  66. [66] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    What do you take me for, some kind of Putin apologist!?

    Absolutely not!! :D

    I merely pointed out that, while Russia may have offered Ukraine a BBD, that would have come with a LOT of strings attached..

    Of course, a deal with the EU would have had strings as well.

    "..... nature of the beast."
    -Col Hadley, THE FINAL OPTION

    But, with the EU, Ukraine would have been free to say NO..

    As we have readily seen, Ukraine can't say "NO" to Russia as easily...

    Michale

  67. [67] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I merely pointed out that, while Russia may have offered Ukraine a BBD, that would have come with a LOT of strings attached..

    Well, I did say the Russian offer was better, financially speaking ... of course, there were other strings attached. Not even Putin gives away $15Billion for nothing, after all. :)

    You really need to read what I write, you know ...

  68. [68] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    ... but, wouldn't you agree that the European offer was a bit lame?

  69. [69] 
    Michale wrote:

    You really need to read what I write, you know ...

    Touche' :D

    ... but, wouldn't you agree that the European offer was a bit lame?

    Compared to Russia's, "lame" would be one way to describe it..

    But, "realistic" would be a better way to describe it..

    Once upon a time, I was working undercover in San Diego. I put the word out that I was looking for a gun. I was approached by a guy who said he had a revolver for sale. I said I needed a semi-auto. Of course, he changed his "deal" and said that's what he had...

    True story..

    Anyways, my point is that the bad guys will say anything, offer anything to get the hook in..

    A deal Russia is NOT in Ukraine's best interests, no way, no how....

    Standing alone is also (likely) not in Ukraine's best interests because of the bear that lives on Ukraine's borders...

    Therefore, the ONLY logical and rational choice for Ukraine is NATO and/or EU membership...

    Due to Ukraine's strategic value (to Russia and to the US) and it's geographical location, being another Switzerland just is not possible...

    Michale

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    And now the Obama Administration is putting American boots on the ground in Poland..

    Note to Liz.... I applaud Obama's actions... :D

    The response from the Left??

    ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    It's fair to say that I slam the Left for their hypocritical lack of response to Obama's actions a bit more than I slam the Obama Administration.. :D

    Michale...

  71. [71] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am also constrained to point out that Poland joined NATO 15 years ago..

    The world didn't end.. WWIII didn't start... Russia survived and (somewhat) prospered...

    Granted, Poland is not as strategically important as Ukraine, but still..... It shows that NATO membership, in and of itself, is not destabilizing...

    Michale

  72. [72] 
    TheStig wrote:

    In contemplating the addition of Ukraine to NATO, be careful what you wish for.

    You get natural gas pipelines to Russia, your new neighbor,

    plus rough equivalents of:

    * the acreage of France

    * the population of Spain

    * the GDP of Romania

    * the coastline of Somalia

    * political/economic corruption in the Russian style

    This amounts to dilution of NATO power in exchange for a tripwire defense commitment. Or, as Fredrick the Great would put it:

    “He who defends everything, defends nothing.”

  73. [73] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    This amounts to dilution of NATO power in exchange for a tripwire defense commitment. Or, as Fredrick the Great would put it:

    Ya'all were all for the Cold War and the MAD Doctrine a few comments ago.. :D

    The question facing Russia would be the same question ya'all posed regarding the US..

    Does Russia want to go nuclear against NATO???

    Your sword from a few comments ago has a double-edge you may not have been aware of... :D

    Michale

  74. [74] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    The port in the Crimea is Russia's only viable military port.

    Novorossiysk is NOT a viable port. It's not a deep water port and it doesn't have the room to be a viable military port because it's a commercial port.

    These are the facts.. Sorry you can't accept them, but they are facts nonetheless..

    And as usual you would not know a fact if it snuck up and bit you on the ass. From the web site of the company that runs the port:

    http://www.nmtp.info/en/holding/about/history/port/

    Today, the deep-water Port of Novorossiysk is Russia’s largest sea port in terms of cargo volume according to the Association of Russian Sea Ports, and in 2005 it was Europe's fifth largest commercial sea port by cargo volume, according to Global Insight/ISL. The Port is one of the few Russian sea ports in the Black Sea-Azov basin, which is one of only three commercially viable gateways for passage by ship between Russia and the open seas.

    I merely stated that, since the Crimea houses Russia's ONLY viable unfettered access to the Med and beyond...

    And I proved you wrong. Novorossiysk is deep water and has access to the open seas. Russia currently has military facilities there that service the the Black Sea Fleet and has contingency plans to make it their home. Some of this information you yourself posted but were too lazy to read.

    More info if you are interested:

    [htinfoweb.newsbank.com]

    I honestly don't know what gives you people more angst..

    Admitting you are wrong..

    Or admitting that I am right..

    Look in the mirror, dude. Look in the mirror...

  75. [75] 
    Michale wrote:

    And MY link said that Novorossiysk is NOT a deep water port..

    From the web site of the company that runs the port:

    Oh yea.. THEY will have un-biased factual information, eh?? :D

    Today, the deep-water Port of Novorossiysk is Russia’s largest sea port in terms of cargo volume according to the Association of Russian Sea Ports, and in 2005 it was Europe's fifth largest commercial sea port by cargo volume, according to Global Insight/ISL. The Port is one of the few Russian sea ports in the Black Sea-Azov basin, which is one of only three commercially viable gateways for passage by ship between Russia and the open seas.

    Which is WHY it's not viable as a MILITARY port...

    Your own information proves my point..

    It's like saying New York Cargo Port is a viable military port just because it's a huge Cargo Port..

    It's ridiculous..

    Like I said. Leave military matters to military people..

    Michale

  76. [76] 
    Michale wrote:

    Put another way...

    If Novorossiysk was a viable military port, Russia would be using it as such..

    It's not so they ain't...

    Give it up, Bashi. You're wrong. Just admit it...

    Michale

  77. [77] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    And MY link said that Novorossiysk is NOT a deep water port..

    You mean the article that has a broken link? I googled it and made it through the pay wall but you should really check your link before posting...

    It is not a "natural" deep water harbor. It is deep water harbor. From the article in question:

    Moscow is already building naval infrastructure at Novorossiysk, including a deep sea terminal.

    If Novorossiysk was a viable military port, Russia would be using it as such..

    It's not so they ain't...

    Seriously flawed logic. There is a difference between ideal and possible. Sevastopol is a much better base. Has over 200 years of history and infrastructure. There is no denying that and it's most likely the real reason Putin has invaded Crimea. But I have proven that Novorossiysk is a viable option. Russia knows this and, per the article you posted, is in the process of making it such just in case.

    Give it up, Bashi. You're wrong. Just admit it...

    Actually, I'm not. Try reading the links you post rather than making up as you go along.

  78. [78] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like comments are being whisked away to NNL....

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    There is a difference between ideal and possible.

    Yea.. It's called VIABLE.

  80. [80] 
    Michale wrote:

    Weird...

  81. [81] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Sputtering?

    Yea.. It's called VIABLE.

    And I proved it is viable and Russia is working on it to make it so. Your argument only works with an unrealistically short time frame with lots of magic and pixie dust. In real world time frames, if Russia lost the Sevastopol base, they would move to Novorossiysk. And, as the article you yourself posted points out, Russia is currently working on Naval facilities at Novorossiysk including sending many of their new warships and subs there.

  82. [82] 
    Michale wrote:

    Noss port has a max depth of around 16' at dockside.

    Naval vessels have a draft that is almost twice that..

    Noss port is NOT a viable military port.

    These are the facts, whether you acknowledge them or not..

    Michale

  83. [83] 
    Michale wrote:

    The channel at Novorossiysk is deep water.

    The port itself is not..

    Novorossiysk is NOT a viable military port.

    This is fact...

    Michale

  84. [84] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since the facts have been established on Ukraine...

    Moving on....

    Feinstein: CIA searched Intelligence Committee computers
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/feinstein-cia-searched-intelligence-committee-computers/2014/03/11/982cbc2c-a923-11e3-8599-ce7295b6851c_story.html

    Don'tcha all just LOVE your Obama Administration?? :D

    Michale

  85. [85] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    This is fact...

    Yawn...the Oil Terminal can handle 19 M draft. And as I have already posted, from an article you posted but evidently refuse to read:

    Moscow is already building naval infrastructure at Novorossiysk, including a deep sea terminal.

    Russia is building a naval deep sea terminal at Novorossiysk. And that is what is called a fact, Jack.

  86. [86] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yawn...the Oil Terminal can handle 19 M draft. And as I have already posted, from an article you posted but evidently refuse to read:

    And if the military wanted to pump oil, then you would have a point.

    But they don't so you don't...

    Again.. Military Matters.. Military People...

    Russia is building a naval deep sea terminal at Novorossiysk. And that is what is called a fact, Jack.

    Yes.. IS building..

    Meaning, as of RIGHT now, Novorossiysk is NOT a viable military port.

    Which is all I have been saying..

    You and LD.. Two of a kind. The facts stare you in the face and yet you STILL can't let go of your delusions...

    Michale

  87. [87] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/03/10/middle-school-students-arrested-for-pot-edibles/

    Legalized marijuana..

    What could POSSIBLY go wrong... :^/

    Michale

  88. [88] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russia is building a naval deep sea terminal at Novorossiysk. And that is what is called a fact, Jack.

    And I am constrained to point out that, with the Russian economy in free-fall and the highest technology that Russia has is indoor plumbing :D Novorossiysk, as a viable strategic military installation, MIGHT be ready by 2114..... :D

    THEN I will concede that you are correct, that Novorossiysk is a viable military naval installation.. :D

    You be around that long?? :D

    Michale

  89. [89] 
    Michale wrote:

    Regarding the latest revelations of the Obama Administration's and it's domestic surveillance apparatus....

    What Else Can the Obama Administration Do to Undermine U.S. Security?After the administration spied on Americans and lied to Congress, Feinstein's bombshell now raises even more questions about its activities.
    http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/what-else-can-the-obama-administration-do-to-undermine-u-s-security-20140311

    Any "red lines" yet???

    "Fascinating"
    -Spock

    Michale

  90. [90] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    And I am constrained to point out that, with the Russian economy in free-fall and the highest technology that Russia has is indoor plumbing :D Novorossiysk, as a viable strategic military installation, MIGHT be ready by 2114..... :D

    Ah, talking out your ass or trolling? Actually the Novorossiysk timeline was to be 2020 for a finished base and the deep water part finished in 2011 when it started and got initial funding. It's falling behind schedule but no where near your "out of your ass" 2114...As for your technology remark, are you that big of an idiot or do you just play one on the internet?

  91. [91] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M - 73. Ya'all were all for the Cold War and the MAD Doctrine a few comments ago..

    In (26) I pointed out that the Western Powers ultimately defeated the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Soviet Union is no more, the Warsaw Pact has been absorbed into NATO. The Cold War is over, the West won that round.

    The grand strategy that did this was Containment of the Soviet Block combined with the latter's low economic efficiency. It was a winning geopolitical insight in the Cold War era, successfully maintained for decades by a succession of US and European political administrations. I think the West can take some pride in that.

    MAD, which I never mentioned, is a math model not a grand strategy, it's a NASH equilibrium that explains why nuclear arms races occur and yet strategic nuclear exchanges of all those nukes don't. MAD explains nuclear deterrence and simultaneous, limited, conventional conflicts. Being for or against MAD is like being for against a NASH equilibrium.

    "Does Russia want to go nuclear against NATO???"

    No, it does not, and the MAD Nash explains why. But what of it? Russia doesn't need to need to nukes to get a slice Ukraine...and the West isn't going to use Nukes to prevent it.

    The West can prop up Ukraine short of admitting them immediately to NATO. If Russia want's to play a version of the old cold war game, so be it, because the West can play a modern variant of the old containment game, and Putin faces the same end game that the old Soviet Union faced, for the same basic reasons. Same end game, but fewer decades to get there because because Putin's Russian is smaller than the old Soviet Union.

    Yeah, lots of two edge swords, I'm glad you noticed.

  92. [92] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ah, talking out your ass or trolling? Actually the Novorossiysk timeline was to be 2020 for a finished base and the deep water part finished in 2011 when it started and got initial funding.

    Yea, you can trust the Russians for an HONEST assessment... :D

    You stick around til 2020 and we'll see if the Novorossiysk base is done...

    Then I'll have a good laugh at your expense.. :D

    As for your technology remark, are you that big of an idiot or do you just play one on the internet?

    Listen, son. I cut my teeth in the military where it was drilled into our heads that the "Red Menace" was a technology advance military marvel that matched our own technology..

    We all found it that the Red Army was a joke. A paper tiger that couldn't fight it's way out of a paper sack..

    Do I have a very low opinion of the technology of Russia??

    You betcha...

    And it's based on FACT..

    Something you have clearly shown you ain't to familiar with...

    But, as I said... Stick around til 2020.. We'll see the vaunted Russian technological terror.. :D

    "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."
    -Darth Vader, STAR WARS IV, A New Hope

    Irregardless of all that, in the HERE AND NOW....

    Novorossiysk is NOT a viable military port..

    "That's the fact, Jack!!!"
    -Bill Murray, STRIPES

    Michale

  93. [93] 
    Michale wrote:

    TS,

    The West can prop up Ukraine short of admitting them immediately to NATO. If Russia want's to play a version of the old cold war game, so be it, because the West can play a modern variant of the old containment game, and Putin faces the same end game that the old Soviet Union faced, for the same basic reasons. Same end game, but fewer decades to get there because because Putin's Russian is smaller than the old Soviet Union.

    I am glad we are in agreement.. :D

    So, what do you think of the Obama Administration's CIA spying on Congress revelations?? :D

    Michale

  94. [94] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Michale-

    Bla, bla, bla. The usual crap eh? So, is it America who sends our astronauts to international space station or Russia?

    Novorossiysk is NOT a viable military port..

    But would be by the time they were required to leave if Ukraine cancelled their lease on Sevastopol. Which makes your highly amended argument a bit trite and silly...

  95. [95] 
    Michale wrote:

    But would be by the time they were required to leave if Ukraine cancelled their lease on Sevastopol.

    SO, you agree..

    RIGHT now, Novorossiysk is NOT a viable military port..

    Which is ALL I said almost 100 comments ago...

    I am glad you finally concede the point....

    "Moving On!!!"
    -Robert Singer, SUPERNATURAL

    Michale

    Michale

  96. [96] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Which is ALL I said almost 100 comments ago...

    Bullpuckies. It is a viable port in any real world time table except for sudden war which you have already back tracked from. You are in the wrong here. Why can't you admit it?

  97. [97] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bullpuckies. It is a viable port in any real world time table except for sudden war which you have already back tracked from. You are in the wrong here. Why can't you admit it?

    Because I am not wrong..

    In the here and now, Novorossiysk is NOT a viable *STRATEGIC* military port..

    Which is what started the whole discussion from LD when he was claiming, falsely, that there is NO strategic interests for the US in Ukraine and the Crimea...

    The Black Sea Fleet port in the Crimea is a STRATEGIC Russian asset that provides unfettered access to the Med and beyond..

    NO OTHER PORT in Russia provides the STRATEGIC asset that Sevastopol provides...

    It's not a question of Russian or Putin "druthers"...

    It's a fact that no other port in Russia has the STRATEGIC advantage that Sevastopol has...

    Are we clear???

    Michale

  98. [98] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Wow, you can write "STRATEGIC" 4 whole times in all caps. Aren't you special. Relocate the Black Sea Fleet to Novorossiysk and it becomes a strategic port. Do you really think if Ukraine cancelled Russia's lease on Sevastopol, the Black Sea Fleet would suddenly cease to exist? If so I have slightly used Olympic park to sell you. It's in a nice resort town on the black sea near a deep water port...

    Are we clear???

    Yup, we are clear you don't know what you are talking about...

  99. [99] 
    Michale wrote:

    Relocate the Black Sea Fleet to Novorossiysk and it becomes a strategic port.

    Right now, you CAN'T relocate the Black Sea Fleet to Novorossiysk.

    At dockside, the depth is only 16ft.. Most of the ships of the BSF have a draft that is twice that...

    It would be like trying to move a bunch of semis into a Japanese car park.

    They simply WON'T fit..

    Yup, we are clear you don't know what you are talking about...

    Looked in a mirror lately?? :D

    Michale

  100. [100] 
    Michale wrote:

    Wow, you can write "STRATEGIC" 4 whole times in all caps.

    And ONCE with attached asterisks!!!! :D

    Aren't you special.

    Damn skippy!!! :D

    Michale

  101. [101] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M - (93)

    "CIA spying on Congress revelations??"

    Not much has actually been revealed yet, but my own opinions at this are pretty similar to those of CW.

    (97)

    "The Black Sea Fleet port in the Crimea is a STRATEGIC Russian asset that provides unfettered access to the Med and beyond.."

    Once Russia runs it through the Turkish Straights, but I wouldn't want to try that under wartime conditions. Once it gets to the Med it's still small, old and not very powerful. Once there, some of it could base at the small Russia base at Tartus, or maybe Latakia?

    As I see it, the Black Sea Fleet is of some significance in the Black Sea, elsewhere, it just shows a flag.

  102. [102] 
    Michale wrote:

    Not much has actually been revealed yet, but my own opinions at this are pretty similar to those of CW.

    What's your view on Obama's culpability???

    Michale

  103. [103] 
    Michale wrote:

    As I see it, the Black Sea Fleet is of some significance in the Black Sea, elsewhere, it just shows a flag.

    Granted, it ain't MUCH of a strategic asset..

    It IS Russian, after all.. :D

    But it is, inferior though it may be, a strategic asset...

    Michale

  104. [104] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Right now, you CAN'T relocate the Black Sea Fleet to Novorossiysk.

    At dockside, the depth is only 16ft.. Most of the ships of the BSF have a draft that is twice that...

    You are really grasping at straws here. Can you give me a real world scenario related to the current situation that Russia would not have years to move the base from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk? Can not include war, which you have already backed away from, or magic pixie dust...

  105. [105] 
    Michale wrote:

    Can you give me a real world scenario related to the current situation that Russia would not have years to move the base from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk?

    I don't need to..

    My statement didn't refer to "years", it referred to right now.

    And, as YOU yourself concede, RIGHT now, Novorossiysk is capable of replacing Sevastopol as a strategic asset...

    Ergo, Sevastopol is the ONLY port that, RIGHT NOW, offers Russia's military unfettered access to the Med and beyond...

    So, in 50-100 years, you MIGHT be right.

    But, in the here and now, you are wrong..

    These are the facts..

    Michale

  106. [106] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, as YOU yourself concede, RIGHT now, Novorossiysk is capable of replacing Sevastopol as a strategic asset..

    DOH!!!

    That, of course, should read:

    And, as YOU yourself concede, RIGHT now, Novorossiysk is INcapable of replacing Sevastopol as a strategic asset..

    Oh how I know you are going to have fun with THAT typo... :D

    Michale

  107. [107] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, in other news..

    Two buildings collapse in Harlem...

    Two people are killed and Moron Extraordinaire' Charlie "THE CROOK" Rangel calls it, "our communities 9/11"....

    Jeeezus, where do Democrats GET these people???

    Michale

  108. [108] 
    TheStig wrote:

    M - (102)

    "What's your view on Obama's culpability???"

    How would I know? It's all classified! :-). It's not even clear what happened. It will never be clear, at least in my lifetime, see above.

    Still,

    He's responsible at the Buck Stops Here Level.

    At the operational level, I suspect this is happening far down the intelligence food chain. Obama likely read about it in the paper, like most everybody else. How he responds will tell the tale.

  109. [109] 
    Michale wrote:

    A well known, wise and respected Weigantian once said (and I am paraphrasing) that if a leader has a hand in a nefarious operation, then he is a jerk/crook/scumbag...

    If said leader didn't know about the operation, then he is incompetent...

    Would you agree with that?? :D

    Michale

  110. [110] 
    Michale wrote:

    How would I know? It's all classified! :-). It's not even clear what happened. It will never be clear, at least in my lifetime, see above.

    Still,

    Still... That didn't stop the Left from blaming the POTUS from 2000 thru 2008....

    He's responsible at the Buck Stops Here Level.

    And yet, this POTUS gets a free ride from the Left......

    Funny how that is, eh? :D

    Michale

    Michale

  111. [111] 
    Michale wrote:
  112. [112] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Right now, you CAN'T relocate the Black Sea Fleet to Novorossiysk.

    At dockside, the depth is only 16ft.. Most of the ships of the BSF have a draft that is twice that...

    Actually the non-oil dockside berths of Novorossiysk can handle between 5.6 M to 13 M. Converted to feet: 18.3ft to 42.6ft.

    The naval section first phase was to be completed 2013 and included an artificial break water peninsula and dredging to accommodate the larger ships of the Black Sea Fleet.

    The navy would have to commandeer a certain amount of the commercial port, and it would be a tight squeeze but currently Novorossiysk could take the Black Sea Fleet in an emergency at this moment in time. So, even you taking your argument to a unrealistic and pedantic level, you are still wrong.

    But hey, look at the bright side. Your misuse of the word "fact" remains unblemished...

  113. [113] 
    Michale wrote:

    Like I said... You and LD... Two of a kind..

    I have documented my facts.

    You spew nonsense w/o any reference..

    But, I'll give you credit for tenacity.. Only matched by your delusions.. :D

    Michale

  114. [114] 
    Michale wrote:

    If Novorossiysk could replace Sevastopol, then Russia would have done so all ready, in order to bring a strategic asset back to the motherland..

    But it can't, so they haven't...

    But don't let the FACTS interfere with your delusions. :D

    Michale

  115. [115] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    I have documented my facts.

    You spew nonsense w/o any reference..

    No, actually you haven't. Your one link proved my argument not yours. As for the rest of your assertions, no references to original material as was posted.

    If Novorossiysk could replace Sevastopol, then Russia would have done so all ready, in order to bring a strategic asset back to the motherland..

    But it can't, so they haven't...

    Yawn, the second time you have brought this up. Answered it above...

    But don't let the FACTS interfere with your delusions. :D

    Your flawed logic has nothing to do with facts...

  116. [116] 
    Michale wrote:

    You yourself admitted that Novorossiysk isn't the base that Sevastopol is right now.

    So, apparently, you are now arguing with yourself. :D

    Michale

  117. [117] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ooooooo Scaarrryyyyyy

    The Obama Administration has issued ANOTHER red line...

    washingtonexaminer.com/john-kerry-russia-has-until-monday-to-reverse-course-in-ukraine/article/2545610

    (yyaaaaaaaawwwnnnn) Time for a repeat of STAR TREK: VOYAGER :D

    It's pretty sad for our POTUS when Americans think that the RUSSIAN leader is a stronger leader than our own President..

    washingtonexaminer.com/poll-vladimir-putin-a-far-stronger-leader-than-president-obama/article/2545617

    Democrats have a MAJORLY uphill battle in the upcoming elections...

    It's pretty clear that DEMOCRAT != LEADERSHIP

    Michale

  118. [118] 
    Michale wrote:

    Looks like Russia is not going to be satisfied with just the Crimea...

    Russian forces are massing at Rostov, Belgorod and Kursk...

    Who would have thunked that Putin would give Obama the finger and try to take East Ukraine en masse???

    Oh wait.... :D

    Once again, people...

    Military matters.. Military people...

    Michale

  119. [119] 
    Michale wrote:

    Common thought around here is that the US will not respond militarily to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

    We may not have any choice.

    The 1994 Budapest Memorandum treaty (signed by Bill Clinton) requires that the US (and Britain) defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

    This guarantee was given in exchange for Ukraine giving up it's nuclear weapons arsenal..

    So, the US is obligated BY TREATY to defend Ukraine..

    Of course, Obama has already totally decimated US integrity and presitge world-wide...

    What's adding a broken treaty to the list, eh??

    Michale

  120. [120] 
    Michale wrote:

    On a completely unrelated note...

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/python-in-the-dog-house-after-eating-family-pet-20140314-34qzh.html

    Poetic justice??

    Sometimes you get the bear... Sometimes the bear gets you... :D

    Michale

  121. [121] 
    Michale wrote:
  122. [122] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russia is moving US Dollar holdings off shore..

    That's the biggest indication that Putin intends to take at LEAST Eastern Ukraine...

    Under Bush, the world hated and feared the US..

    Under Obama, the world laughs at and ignores the US...

    Michale

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