Archive for March 26th, 2014

The State Department Responds

Our State Department’s idea of a coordinated response to Putin’s aggression in Crimea is – wait for it – a hashtag.  This afternoon, using her official State Department Spokesman Twitter account, Jen Psaki tweeted out this picture and text:

That hashtag was later used by embassy staff, as well, so apparently they’re invested in this.  Also note that @BarackObama is not the twitter account for the President or the White House, but rather Organizing For Action, the official/unofficial campaign arm of the Obama Administration.  That account has been tweeting heavily about Obamacare, the minimum wage, and immigration, along with touting their official OFA Store Grand Opening, but nothing about Ukraine, so it appears that the @StateDeptSpox doesn’t even know how to properly reference her boss on her social media of choice.  Way to go, guys.

Under Barack Obama, the State Department has gone from incompetent (remember the Reset that was actually “Overcharged”), to dangerously incompetent (Cairo and Benghazi), to delusional (the Palestinian “peace process”), to now simply being an embarrassment.  It’s going to be a long three years.

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Grayson’s Parallel Universe

Alan Grayson (D-Cloud Cuckooland), has long been given to weird and outrageous comments.  A cursory search reveals many of them, including his speech in favor of Obamacare, claiming that Republicans “want you to die quickly.”  Presumably this is to differentiate them from the Democrats who want to place in charge of your health care, a bureaucracy utterly indifferent to your fate.

Yesterday, he delivered one of the more stunning apologias for tyranny that I’ve been privileged to witness since the end of the Cold War, in his defense of Putin’s wrenching of the Crimea, and most of Ukraine’s Navy, away from Ukraine.

Now, you may say that he (Yanukovich) was thrown out of office for good reason. There are allegations against him that he was corrupt. There are allegations against him that he used the military against his own people to stay in power. But the fact is that from the perspective of the Crimeans, their leader, the one that they placed in charge of their country, was thrown out of power.

So it should come as no surprise, as Secretary Kerry recognized, that the Crimeans had had enough, and they wanted to leave this artificial entity called “The Ukraine.” Now, in fact, the Russians did assist. They assisted by disarming the local Ukrainian Army and Navy, that’s what they did, and they did it virtually bloodlessly. They did it so the Ukrainian Army and Navy could not interfere in the referendum that was held.

That’s the fact of the matter. Why are we pretending otherwise? Why are we speaking about “naked aggression?” Why are we speaking about “stealing Crimea?” Why are we speaking about bullying, or the new Soviet Union, or thuggery, or audacious power-grabbing, or “Bully-Bear Putin,” or Cold War II? I’m surprised that Judge Poe didn’t tell us that he was saddened that the Iron Curtain had descended over Sevastopol.

This fact is, as the Chairman has recognized, this is not some new Cold War that is occurring. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. We should be pleased to see – pleased to see – when a virtually bloodless transfer of power establishes self-determination for two million people somewhere in the world, anywhere in the world.

And in fact, what we’re seeing here, instead, is the vilification of Putin, the vilification of Yanukovich, the vilification of anybody who we try to identify as our enemy. Before that it was Saddam Hussein. Before, and since then, it’s been Assad. This does not help. The basic principle here is self-determination, that’s what’s happened in the Crimea, and it’s not for us to determine otherwise.s

These comments are best described by Mary McCarthy’s critique of Lillian Hellman’s writing.  Others, such as California’s Dana Rohrabacher, opposed sanctions on the grounds that they wouldn’t serve US interests. That’s a debatable proposition, but at least it’s debatable, and the people putting it forward appear to live in the same universe as the rest of us.  Grayson appears to have been starring in a trailer for an upcoming science fiction movie involving travel between worlds.

As noted before, Grayson has a history of this sort of nonsense, usually directed at Republicans, so it barely causes a ripple.  If we had an actual media, they’d ask every Democratic member of Congress about Grayson’s absurdities, but there’s little hope of that.

There is, however, some hope that the voters of Florida will rid us of this turbulent representative.  He was first elected, somewhat narrowly, Florida’s 8th District, in 2008, and then crushed by Republican Daniel Webster in 2010 in the same district.  Redistricting seems to have given him a new lease on political life, as it put Webster in the 10th, and Grayson in the 9th, where once again, he was returned to office.  Perhaps, after November 2014, with Obama having turned from aid to anchor, Grayson will once again have to find gainful employment outside of the public payroll.

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