Challenging Klobuchar on Ukraine War

As Democrats compete to become the new War Party – pushing for a dangerous confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia – some constituents are objecting, as Mike Madden did in a letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

From Mike Madden (of St. Paul, Minnesota)

Dear Senator Klobuchar, I write with concern over statements you have made recently regarding Russia. These statements have been made both at home and abroad, and they involve two issues; the alleged Russian hack of the presidential election and Russia’s actions in the aftermath of the February 22, 2014 coup in Kiev.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota

U.S. intelligence services allege that President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to denigrate Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump. The campaign is purported to include the production of fake news, cyber-trolling, and propaganda from Russian state-owned media. It is also alleged that Russia hacked the email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, subsequently providing the emails to WikiLeaks.

Despite calls from many quarters, the intelligence services have not provided the public with any proof. Instead, Americans are expected to blindly trust these services with a long history of failure. Additionally, the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, have both been known to lie to the public and to Congress, Mr. Clapper doing so under oath.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange maintains the emails did not come from Russia (or any other state actor) and his organization has an unblemished record of revealing accurate information in the public interest that would otherwise remain hidden. While responsible journalists continue to use the word ‘alleged’ to describe the accusations, Republicans with an ax to grind against Russia, and Democrats wishing to distract from their own failings in the campaign, refer to them as fact. Indeed, on the Amy in the News page of your own website, Jordain Carney of The Hill refers to the Russian meddling as “alleged”.

A congressional commission to investigate the alleged Russian hacking is not necessary. Even if all the allegations are true, they are altogether common occurrences, and they certainly don’t rise to the level of “an act of aggression”, “an existential threat to our way of life”, or “an attack on the American people” as various Democratic officials have characterized them. Republican Senator John McCain went full monty and called the alleged meddling “an act of war”.

Joining War Hawks

It is of concern that you would join Senator McCain and the equally belligerent Senator Lindsey Graham on a tour of Russian provocation through the Baltics, Ukraine, Georgia, and Montenegro. The announcement of your trip (December 28, 2016) on the News Releases page of your website renewed the unproven claim of “Russian interference in our recent election”. It also claimed that the countries you were visiting were facing “Russian aggression” and that “Russia illegally annexed Crimea”.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

It is unfortunate that these claims have become truisms by sheer repetition rather than careful examination of the facts. Russia has not invaded eastern Ukraine. There are no regular units of the Russian military in the breakaway provinces, nor has Russia launched any air strikes from its territory. It has sent weapons and other provisions to the Ukrainian forces seeking autonomy from Kiev, and there are most certainly Russian volunteers operating in Ukraine.

However regrettable, it must be remembered that the unrest was precipitated by the February 22, 2014 overthrow of the democratically elected president Viktor Yanukovych which, speaking of meddling, was assisted by U.S. State Department, other American government agencies, and one Senator John McCain. The subsequent military and paramilitary operations launched by the coup government against the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk were described by President Putin as “uncontrolled crime” spreading into the south and east of the country. In American parlance, both the interim coup government in Kiev and the current government of President Petro Poroshenko have engaged in “killing their own people”.

Ignoring the Details

If Russia’s actions are to be considered “aggression” or an “invasion”, one must find a whole new word to describe what the United States did to Iraq in 2003. If, like your colleague Senator McCain, you hold the annexation of Crimea to be illegal under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, I urge a closer look.

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

On February 21, 2014, an agreement brokered by the European Union was signed between President Yanukovych and the leaders of three major opposition parties. The agreement contained terms for a cessation of violence, immediate power sharing, and new elections. Smelling blood in the water, the opposition in Maidan Square did not withdraw from the streets or surrender their illegal weapons as agreed, but instead went on the offensive. Yanukovych, under threat to his life, fled Kiev along with many others in his Party of Regions.

Nor did the opposition party leaders honor the agreement. The next day, they moved to impeach Yanukovych, however they failed to meet several requirements of the Ukrainian Constitution. They failed to indict the president, conduct an investigation, and have that investigation certified by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. Instead, they moved directly to a vote on impeachment and, even on that count, they failed to obtain the required three-fourths majority vote. So, even though the Budapest Memorandum did offer assurances of Ukrainian security and territorial integrity in exchange for surrender of Soviet-era nuclear weapons on its soil, the sovereign government of Ukraine had fallen in a violent unconstitutional putsch.

Yanukovych remained its legitimate president-in-exile and he, along with the prime minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, requested Russian intervention on the peninsula to provide security and protect the human rights of ethnic Russians threatened by the new coup government and neo-Nazi elements within it.

One can now see how real that threat was by looking to eastern Ukraine where the Ukrainian military and neo-Nazi paramilitaries such as the Azov Battallion, have moved with force against the defenders of the Donbass region whose people seek autonomy from a government in Kiev that they do not recognize. Approximately 10,000 people have died in the Donbass War, whereas only six people were killed during the period of annexation (February 23-March19, 2014) in Crimea.

While the Donbass War drags on, Crimea remains stable today. The popular referendum conducted on March 16, 2014 lent legitimacy to the subsequent annexation. Official results claimed 82% turnout with 96% of voters favoring reunification with Russia. Independent polling conducted in the early weeks of March 2014 found 70-77% of all Crimeans favored reunification. Six years prior to the crisis in 2008, a poll found that 63% favored reunification. Even though many ethnic Ukranians and Tatars boycotted the election, rejoining Russia was clearly the will of the majority of Crimean people.

President Putin, characterizing the situation in Ukraine as a revolution, claimed that Russia had no agreements with the new state and therefore no obligations under the Budapest Memorandum. He also cited Chapter I: Article 1 of the United Nations Charter, which calls for respect for the principle of self-determination of peoples. The 1975 Helsinki Accords, which affirmed post-World War II borders, also allowed for the change of national boundaries by peaceful internal means.

The Kosovo Precedent

It is also useful to consider parallel occurrences in Kosovo. In 1998, amidst ongoing reciprocal attacks and reprisals by Kosovo Liberation Army and Serbian forces, NATO intervened on behalf of Kosovar Albanians without U.N. authorization. There is little question that the move was illegal, but legitimacy was claimed due to the urgent humanitarian need. Ten years later, Kosovo would declare independence from Serbia and the disputed matter would end up before the International Court of Justice. In 2009 the United States provided the Court with a statement on Kosovo that read in part: “Declarations of independence may, and often do, violate domestic legislation. However, this does not make them violations of international law.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a crowd on May 9, 2014, celebrating the 69th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Crimean port city of Sevastopol from the Nazis. (Russian government photo)

The United States should accept the Russian annexation of Crimea both as a pragmatic matter, and one of principle. In 1990, during negotiations for the re-unification of Germany, the United States promised that there would be no eastward expansion of NATO. That promise has now been broken three times and eleven new nations have been added to the alliance. Ukraine has also entered in partnership with NATO, and at various times, full membership has been discussed. Russia has consistently expressed its disapproval. According to your website, an objective of your trip was “to reinforce support for NATO”. If this weren’t provocative enough, your three-senator delegation went to a front-line military outpost in Shirokino, Ukraine to incite an escalation to the Donbass War. Senator Graham told the assembled soldiers “Your fight is our fight, 2017 will be the year of offense”. The leader of your delegation, Senator McCain, said “I am convinced you will win and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win”.

After the speeches were given, you are seen in a video of the New Year’s Eve event accepting what appears to be a gift from one of the uniformed soldiers. With all of the furor over former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s resignation, and possible violation of the Logan Act, for discussing alleviation of sanctions with a Russian ambassador, this appears to be a far more serious offense. Not only did your delegation advocate for a foreign policy that was not aligned with that of acting President Obama, it was also contrary to President-elect Trump’s approach to the region. And the results of your advocacy have the potential to be far more deadly than the mere alleviation of sanctions.

Sincerely, Mike Madden St. Paul, Minnesota

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58 comments for “Challenging Klobuchar on Ukraine War

  1. Realist
    February 19, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Well said, Mr. Madden. My respect for Klobuchar has plummeted since she decided to join the warmonger party. Is the anti-Russian vote that significant in Minnesota?

    • Joe J Tedesky
      February 19, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      I’m glad Mike Madden brought the trip of McCain, Graham, and Klobuchar up. The other day when listening to CNN and MSNBC go on about Flynn I could not help but think of these three Ukraine roving senators and think of how wrong their out promoting war over peace compared to Flynn telling the Russian diplomat how the Trump Adminstration when in power would take a look at the sanctions. Trying to balance the two parties foreign involvement isn’t in my mind even close, but Flynn’s a possible traitor, while Amy and her two sidekicks are either patriots or go unnoticed. My guest is Klobuchar is going for the big bucks, maybe Uncle Joe Bidden talked to loud about the riches to be made in Ukraine and Senator Klobuchar caught the fever. In any case our American government has this time really went to the dogs. Convert operations changing out members of the White House Adminstration while senators go off to set up shop in foreign lands, and Americans get prepared because the Russians are coming….all to be viewed on Cable News Networks newest Reality TV show….”Your American Goverment, LIVE”

      • Realist
        February 20, 2017 at 3:00 am

        She may also be positioning herself to run for president against Trump (or Pence) in 2020. She has been mentioned as a potentially strong female candidate. Since the Democratic narrative is distinctly anti-Russian, she may be planting her flag in that turf. You know the 2020 campaign began last November 9th, Joe.

        • Joe J Tedesky
          February 20, 2017 at 4:46 am

          So does that means we can scrub out the name Hillary on our Hillary campaign buttons, and replace it with Amy? Now that’s easy.

          • Richard Coleman
            February 23, 2017 at 6:32 pm

            Not my campaign button! It reads “Bernie”! Much harder.

          • Realist
            February 25, 2017 at 2:30 am

            Joe did not vote for Hillary, Richard. He was just being sarcastic.

  2. Damian
    February 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Russian propaganda piece

    • Liam
      February 20, 2017 at 2:08 am

      The everyone who disagree’s with the ‘official’ corrupt establishment anti-Russia narrative is a Russian troll meme grew old during last years presidential election where 50 million ‘Russian trolls’ voted for Donald Trump for president. Thus, you should get a new line….. and a life. The American people clearly see through all the anti-Russia lies the media and Deep State are pushing.

    • Barry Smart
      February 20, 2017 at 2:21 am

      Cognitive dissonance

    • GM
      February 20, 2017 at 11:53 am

      Translation: ‘Simple facts make me uncomfortable — tell me a story’

    • Rob
      February 20, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Damian is a troll who is unwilling to address the substance of the article. It’s so much simpler to label those who take a position contrary to his own as Russian tools and propagandists. But being such an obvious troll makes Damian easy to ignore.

    • Antonio Arganda
      February 22, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Ukrainian hohol propaganda piece.

  3. John
    February 19, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Follow the money…….

  4. Don Bacon
    February 19, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    VP Pence has recently stressed with Poroshenko a policy conforming to the Minsk II Agreement, which is a good thing, at variance with the warmongers (McCain etc) promoting more war. If the two ethnic Russian provinces in Donbass are awarded special status in Ukraine, problem solved. (But the warmongers don’t want that.)

  5. Bill Bodden
    February 19, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Re Klobuchar’s trip with McCain and Graham. This makes her a Judas-Democrat in my book.

    She is also, not surprisingly, owned by the Israel lobby: “The news that many progressive US senators as well as vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine signed on to an Israel lobby letter designed to limit President Obama’s actions against the Israeli occupation, now nearly 50 years old, has been widely reported, but the plain facts need to be stated.

    “Yesterday the Israel lobby group AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, flexed its muscle against President Obama and on the side of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu by posting a letter signed by 88 senators warning President Obama not to back any international measures that would pressure Israel to withdraw from occupied territories.

    “We urge you to… make it clear that you will veto any one sided UNSC [UN Security Council] resolution that may be offered in the coming months.

    “The brave senators who did not sign this letter include Democrats Patrick Leahy of VT, Bernie Sanders, Tom Carper of Delaware, and Dick Durbin of Illinois, along with Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky. The letter was circulated by NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and got many progressive signatures: Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, Amy Klobuchar, Ron Wyden, Tammy Baldwin, Chris Murphy, Barbara Mikulski, Barbara Boxer, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal, Ed Markey, Jack Reed, right along with John McCain, Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham and John Barrasso.”
    – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2016/09/beholden-progressive-senators/#sthash.kjeIr9AT.dpuf – Note again in sync with McCain and Graham

    • John
      February 20, 2017 at 3:47 am

      Maybe just a coincidence… but do such things exist in geopolitics?

      88 is a popular number in the alt-reich. H is the 8th letter in the alphabet, 88 is alt-reich code for “heil hitler”. 18 is also used, as the 1 indicates A as in Adolph.

      As traditional Judaism teaches that G-d will send the Mosiach to lead the Jewish people back to Zion, it is pretty obvious as to why today’s Zionists would see Hitler as their Mosiach…

  6. February 19, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    We have been waiting for such a level-headed, thoughtfuland cogent statement on this situation. I can’t imagine why someone like Mr. Madden is sitting this one out in Minneapolis, when it’s obvious that he has what it takes to represent this country far better than his Senator and the dubious daring-duo of McCain and Graham. I’ve heard better pep-talks at high school football games than what this pair is offering. And the incitement to violence is truly stunning, especially at this time and in that place.

  7. Zachary Smith
    February 19, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    I looked up this Amy Klobuchar, a person I’d never previously heard of, and found she is basically a neocon. That means no matter what Israel is for or against, she’ll stand squarely beside the little shithole of a nation.

    “Amy Klobuchar on Foreign Policy”

    When the head dingleberry of the murderous and thieving little state spoke to the Congress, Al Franken stayed away, but not Netanyahu’s heart-throb Klobuchar.

    Since Russia is preventing the disintegration of Syria and thwarting the next land grab to the north, Russia must be punished, and Senator Klobuchar is right on board with that.

    So I’d suppose the author of this piece is wasting his time petitioning this particular congresscritter. Talking to his living room wall would likely get similar results as his letter.

    • Gregory Herr
      February 20, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      She is also one of 13 Senate Democrats who voted for expanded warrentless FBI powers after the Orlando nightclub shooting.

  8. Gregory Kruse
    February 20, 2017 at 12:52 am

    They are determined to start a real war.

  9. Lynn Olivier
    February 20, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Thanks for the excellent dissection of the history and politics that led to my Senator publicly lying to undermine the official policy of the Government of the United States. I wish I could say I am surprised that Sen Klobuchar would do this but she has not represented the will of the people of Minnesota who voted against the Iraq War and now want the illegal, immoral, abominablepointless wars to end, Our country has fallen to 3rd world status while using war to justify and solve everything. Sen Klobochar came out as a hawk after her first primary and has not checked back to actually see if that is what Minnesota wants as she has done on so many other things. Our slogan used to be “Minnesota the State that works” because it was so true under the leadership and hard work of Minnesota liberals.
    #primaryKlobuchar

    • Michael Cavlan RN
      February 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      Your Senator- Please read my comment- I am deadly serious in this.

  10. Loren Bliss
    February 20, 2017 at 3:43 am

    Sen. Klobuchar, like her colleague Sen. Sanders with his abandonment of support for single-payer health care (for which see yesterday’s [18 February] Popular Resistance website), is merely following the example of the Reichstag liberals c. 1933. After Hitler’s ascension to power, most of the Reichstag’s liberals betrayed their further-Left colleagues by indicating support for the Nazis’ New Order, regardless of their positions on Hitler himself.

  11. Josh Stern
    February 20, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Nice letter, Mr. Madden. I am also in the Twin Cities area, and also appalled by the uniform march of the political class to support continuous military interventionism, covert war making, and empire building on dishonest principles

    Speaking of odd trips, I haven’t seen any comments on this article that claims to show pics of McCain hanging out with al Qaeda and ISIS leaders: http://theduran.com/john-mccain-and-president-trump-are-at-war-but-these-5-photos-show-senator-mccain-in-bed-with-al-qaeda-and-isis/ If it’s real, the public must be interested in hearing about any peaceful concessions he was able to negotiate or any clues he got about how they stay so well hidden…

    • Richard Coleman
      February 23, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Wow. And by wow I mean holy shit! Has anybody vetted these pictures? They need to be blasted all over the web. Stunning.

  12. Brendan
    February 20, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Overall a very good piece but one sentence contains more pro-NATO propaganda than it appears to: “In 1998 ethnic cleansing by Serbian troops and paramilitaries led to a NATO intervention without U.N. authorization.”

    In fact, there was no ethnic cleansing by Serbs in Kosovo. Those allegations have been shown to be a fabrication that was used as an excuse to bomb Yugoslavia, which would eventually lead to the breakaway of Kosovo and the building of a huge US military base there (Camp Bondsteel).
    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2001/03/koso-m01.html

    Yugoslavia was just one of many countries that were targets of not just bombs, but also fake news. Milosevic’s “ethnic cleansing” has been followed by Saddam’s WMD’s, Gaddafi’s plans to massacre Benghazi’s residents, Assad’s Sarin gas attack in Damascus and Yanukovych’s sniper massacre in the Maidan in Kiev.

    All of these stories were spread for the purpose of justifying regime change. Unfortunately they are still repeatedly accepted by the media and politicians as fact, despite all the evidence that they are false.

    • Liam
      February 20, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Your post is the true story. There was no ethnic cleansing and all the numbers of dead were vastly exaggerated so that NATO could bomb and take over that region. Albright, Clinton, Clark and others lied about that conflict in the same manner that Obama, McCain, Biden and others lie now about what is really going on in Ukraine and Syria. These people are perpetual liars and warmongers. Anything for empire is what they are really about. They are truly disgusting, murderous, lying, deceitful people.

    • Adrian Engler
      February 20, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Indeed, there had been ethnic cleansing (by all sides) in Bosnia, but the claims that there was ethnic cleansing against Kosovar Albanians, the majority population in the Serbian (at that time, at least) province of Kosovo were false. At the Hague, attempts to charge Milosevic in connection to alleged ethnic cleansing in Kosovo were quickly given up because there was no evidence. The “horseshoe plan” that was used in the propaganda for the war against Yugoslavia was a fabrication.

      The real situation in Kosovo was that there was a strong independence movement and many ethnic Albanians boycotted institutions of the Serbian state. There was no systematic discrimination, but the Kosovar Albanians excluded themselves from public institutions.

      The situation was made more complicated by the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army) that was recognized as a terrorist organization by the US during some periods. They killed people of the Serbian minority, policemen and Kosovar Albanians who had normal relationships with Serbs and state institutions (“traitors”). The police fought them, and probably, after some of the attacks, there was disproportionate force. I suppose that this would happen in many countries where such attacks take place, and the KLA was the driving force in the cycle of violence.

      On the other hand, there were also Serbian nationalist paramilitary groups that committed attacks in Kosovo.

      Serbia had allowed an international fact-finding mission in Kosovo. Probably, it was inevitable to give Kosovo more autonomy, but the exact terms had to be negotiated – the protection of the Serbian minority (the ones who were most threatened by ethnic cleansing) would certainly have been an important point.

      At the talks in Rambouillet, everything was designed to prevent an agreement with Serbia. As an ultimatum, the Serbian government was given a treaty that would have allowed stationing NATO troops with complete immunity in all of Serbia, not just in Kosovo. This was a demand of complete surrender no government would have signed in such a situation.

      To make an agreement less likely (because the US and NATO really wanted to have a pretext for starting to bomb Serbia), the more moderate Kosovar leader Rugova who had represented Kosovo in earlier negotiations had been replaced by representatives of the extremist KLA militias. The KLA did not like the terms of the agreement, either (because it did not call for immediate independence of Kosovo), but they were told that it was necessary that Serbia does not sign the agreement and they do, so that NATO can start bombing, and so they signed.

      NATO started bombing Yugoslavia – both Kosovo and the rest of the country, often deliberately targeting civilians (for instance a train on a bridge, radio and television headquarters, killing, among others, makeup artists) and some civilian targets (e.g. a hospital) were hit by mistake. After the bombing had started, many people in Kosova started fleeing. In an absurdly twisted argumentation, it was claimed that this proved ethnic cleansing and that it was a retroactive justification for the war.

      • FobosDeimos
        February 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm

        Exactly. And Kosovo is now worse than a failed state. It is a maffia-run, narco-state, where islamic fundamentalist thrive and decent people abandon the country. But oh yeahh, they surely have a Bill Clinton statue..

  13. Michael Cavlan RN
    February 20, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Frankly- I do not want to hear the ‘left” or “peace community” in Minnesota whinging and whining about Senator Klobuchar. She is a prefect representation of the complete cowardice and complicity of the Minnesota “left.” I am a Registered Nurse who had treated some of the victims of the September 11 pentagon attack- a week after Sept 11. – promoting Single payer healthcare. I was raised in northern Ireland and was promoting the northern Ireland Peace Process as a viable guide for non violent conflict resolution, as well as speaking out from experience on the dangers of state power. As an official Observer in the 2004 Ohio Re-Count I was speaking out on the dangers of real election fraud and voter suppression (Bernie Sanders and the theft of the DNC in the last primary- guaranteeing president Trump anyone?) I was also speaking out on how the corporate media were not telling you all- the American people the truthWhen I ran against Senator Klobuchar in 2006 our campaign got no support and 1%. When i ran against her again- in 2012- Klobuchar got 64% of the vote- Kurt Bills the Republican got 32%- Tim Davis The Pot party guy- who is a Global warming denier – got 3% and our merry little campaign got 0.49%- not even a half percent. So Amy had a 23 % over the Republican. Our campaign goal was two fold- getting a 5% and so the creation of potential starting point of an actual opposition movement in this nation- a VOICE- as well as the fact that this would have pressured the corporate media to actually allow progressive voices in the media and news. Dissident voices in the news. Creating a dynamics of a more informed public. That was central to our long range strategic goals.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC_FXX9ROnY

  14. Michael Cavlan RN
    February 20, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I will not run again- That is what happens when the “left” decide to back war mongers and war criminals and turn your backs on actual dissident voices against US Foreign Policy.

    As for the Ukraine- well now- lets get VERY REAL on that shall we? The US government aided and supported a Neo-Nazi led coup in Ukraine- Yes- Neo-nazi. The folks who led the coup were members of groups like the Svpoda party and the Right Sektor. Actual- real “Seig Heil- Kill the Jews” Neo-Nazis.A big part of that is because- the Vice president Joe Biden? His son is the chief executive of a company that worked with them. For oil- gas and fracking in Ukraine.

    So again- quit your whining. I rally don’t want to hear about it. She is your senator- she represents you all perfectly. OK?

    • orwell
      February 20, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Michael, you are absolutely correct. There is no “Left” in the USA.
      It was destroyed many years ago by the Capitalist Monsters.
      What exists now is the “Identity-Left”, which has been silent about
      Drone-Massacres, the Lies about All American Interventions, including Ukraine,
      and all the Foreign and Domestic Atrocities of the Empire. They now march
      and scream about “women’s rights” and “extra vetting of immigrants” from the 7
      countries where Obama massacred little babies and their mothers and fathers,
      yet they never marched against these Obama-Atrocities. No, they never marched
      about “women’s rights” to not have their babies and themselves and their husbands
      murdered by Hellfire Missiles unleashed by Drones.
      This is not a “Left”. These are Liberal Zombies with a very limited Moral Compass,
      and they would have been thrilled if the War Criminal Hillary had won the Election.

      • February 20, 2017 at 5:02 pm

        It is obvious that the “progressives” have been handled by secret services for quite a time already. Some of the “progressives” are rather innocent (the proverbial “useful idiots”) but the “progressive” leaders are complicit in conscious cooperation with the CIA (see the amusing production of MSM). This is a replay of an old story. In the pre-revolutionary Russia, the tsar’s secret police was able to “organize” certain voluble and fiery propagandists to attract and draft the enthusiastic youth into revolutionary circles in the name of “freedom.” Lo and behold, the opening of the secret police’ archives after the Bolshevik revolution elucidated the plan and made public the names of the fiery recruiters (provocateurs). One of the most successful was some “Alef,” who helped the government to send hundreds of idealistic young men and women (the potential revolutionaries) to prisons and to camps in Siberia.
        ” Yevno Azef, the notorious Okhrana [secret police] provocateur who managed to become the head of the Socialist Revolutionary Fighting Organization, epitomized the Okhrana’s inscrutable practice of revolutionary group infiltration. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okhrana, http://spartacus-educational.com/RUSazef.htm
        The sudden demonstrations against Trump (on whose dime?) and the sudden demonization of the newly-elected president BEFORE his administration had a chance to act, looks like a business of provocateurs.

      • Richard Coleman
        February 23, 2017 at 6:46 pm

        Does that Include the Greens?

  15. Adrian Engler
    February 20, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    The situation is not completely clear-cuts, the Democrats still have a small left wing, but it really seems that a realignment has been going on that is now being accelerated.

    I find two-party systems rather odd, anyway, and I think that parliamentary systems with proportional representations and some elements of direct democracy are much better at allowing voters to express their preferences. With purely majoritarian systems, voters are always faced with the choice of two rather arbitrary sets of political positions.

    But the two sets the two party system in the US is moving towards, seem particularly odd to me:

    A) Democrats: progressive rhethoric with a kind of trickle-down identity politics that mostly ignores inequality and class issues and is mainly geared towards an affluent professional class combined with neoliberal trade policies and an aggressive militarist foreign policy aiming at neoconservative regime change wars

    B) Republicans: nationalism, economic protectionism and a more isolationist and interest-based foreign policy

    I find both of these two sets of policy options abhorrent, but while I used to think that the Democrats are the lesser evil, now – especially with regard to foreign policy – it seems to me that they are becoming the greater evil.

    Maybe, there is some hope that sane progressive forces will prevail in the Democratic party, but at the moment, it looks like much of the Democratic party adapts in a way that John McCain could join them without changing his positions and without being an outsider in the party.

  16. February 20, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Despite the inaccuracy of details of the past regime change trial balloon of Yugoslavia, it is great that Mr Madden sent the letter to Klobuchar, and he should also send a copy to his other senator, Al Franken, who is getting on the Israel support train, along with Warren of MA, who shows only economic policy knowledge and no foreign affairs understanding.

    Both parties are corporatist, money rules and corruption is so completely embedded that anyone running on a platform of truth as was Mr. Calvan, is up against nearly insurmountable odds. Which is why US electoral turnout is so poor, many people have given up on this system and simply go on with their lives. The political writer Thomas Frank has some excellent and even satirically witty books on the demise of the American political system since entrenchment of lobbying and corruption. His most recent came out a year before this election, “Listen, Liberal: Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?” His main point is that the GOP is the party of the wealthy, the 1%, but the Democrats no longer support the middle and working class as they did in days of the New Deal; they went for the professional classes, the 10%, selling a narrative that if you can just get a good education, you’ll get a job. This change of the Democrats started with the Clintons. But there aren’t that many jobs after NAFTA and other globalist schemes. And now, since the horrors of Bush-Cheney years, the war machine dominates. There were worldwide protests before the Iraq invasion which did not stop the neocons. And they’ve never stopped since.

    • fuzzylogix
      February 23, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Thomas Frank’s books (What’s the matter with Kansas and Listen Liberals) offer great political insight. However, I still think that the Dems only take care of the 1 percent like their counterparts. Being a member of the professional class does not guarantee job security unless one is at the higher incomes, i.e., 500K which constitutes the 1 percent. Many people have good educations and not so good jobs.

  17. February 20, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Since we all know the NATO alliance takes its orders from Washington, we can all ask what will happen when Washington finally absorbs Ukraine under the NATO fig leaf? Do you think Russia might take a little umbrage at that? Or, do they even have a right to to say anything to protect their national sovereignty?

    By the way, did we actually see any real evidence that Russia has set in place intimidating military force (troops, tanks, rocket launchers, artillery) near the Russian borders of Baltics, Poland and Romania over the Christmas break. Something like satellite photos maybe? Anything like we have just introduced in response to the “Russian threat of aggression”? I thought the alleged threat was in Ukraine, which is already a four year old civil war recently reheated in honor of your trip with Sens. McCain and, Graham.

    Returning to adding Ukraine to NATO, Germany and France would have to be dragged in, as their vetoes prevented it in 2008 – but they did not prevent the European Partnership Agreement of 2013 from being offered to the freely elected, democratic government of Ukraine, Possibly one of the reasons President Yanukovich did not sign was the $80B price tag to a desperately poor Ukraine, or, perhaps it was the “military security clause” on page 1,000 saying that the “principles of NATO” would apply to any signatory. Sounds a lot like NATO membership through the back door to me. How despicably clever we are in advancing to World War III. No wonder the Russians refer to American negotiators as “treacherous” (S.Lavrov).

    I used to be Democrat Amy – all my life – but since both majority parties now seek confrontation and not cooperation with Russia, it’s time to look for a party that thinks we have quite sufficient military power (10 carrier groups versus zero for any other country), maybe a more domestically oriented Third Party – say the Sanders folks, ditched by the Democrats – they might be a good place to start. Hope you rethink where you are trying to take us. Thank you.

    • February 20, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Plutocracy needs a “small victorious war” to distract the populace from the disastrous management of the US and the painful boil on a border between Russia and Ukraine is a dream come true for ziocons (the Tokyo Rose McCain can be safely assigned to the ziocons camp). But it is highly doubtful that Russian Federation could be made into an example of a defenseless victim of the desirable war. Perhaps even the psychopathic “deciders” somehow got a memo that a war with Russia would be a war with the US inside and beyond the US borders. Unfortunately, the MIC/CIA/Lobby juggernaut cannot be just stopped, because of the enormous inertia, both political and economic.

  18. Jack
    February 20, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    . The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;

    Is the very first wording of the 1994 accord(to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of the Ukraine) could not have been spelled out more clearly. Sorry the argument above is sadly missing some truths.

    • Gregory Herr
      February 20, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      How does it miss the truth? The United Ststes broke their “commitment” to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine.

      • Richard DeBacher
        February 21, 2017 at 2:21 pm

        Gregory: The United States violated its commitment to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine when Senator McCain and undersecretary of State Victoria Newland advocated the overthrow of a legitimately elected government on the streets of Kiev. In doing so they not only violated the 1994 accord, but by collaborating with neo-nazis, they violated basic standards of morality and decency.

        • Gregory Herr
          February 21, 2017 at 6:28 pm

          That’s the way I look at it.

  19. Kalen
    February 20, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    With all the wild accusation about Russia alleged aggression in Ukraine here below is an excerpt from:
    https://contrarianopinion.wordpress.com/ukrainian-war-update/

    which balanced, fair even in part critical of specific Russia response to the crisis, a unique take on the Ukrainian War.

    (07/31/2015) UKRAINIAN WAR UPDATE: Geopolitics of Ukrainian “Winter Revolution” 2014 Part 2: The Role of Russia;

    The shameful role played by US and most of EU countries especially central European countries in instigation of deadly conflict in Ukraine has been very well documented in western independent news outlets as well in Russian and Asian news media, therefore I will not be focusing on this aspect of the situation but rather on role of Russian government that has been subject to horrendous western propaganda of distortions devoid of basic facts, merits or rational judgments.

    The West wants to put the questions of Russian role in Ukrainian crisis as fake binary morality play of hero or villain, and by that reducing important debate to kindergarten level, devoid of any merit. As always things in real life are much more complex and require political sophistication that turned out to be lacking in the west much more than in the east.

    First of all Ukraine is in perpetual crisis since 1993 and never recovered from disorderly collapse of Soviet Union that left mountains of old political, economic and social issues unsettled, dangerous situation for brand new unstable and artificial state in search for its identity and legitimacy. A concise background on Ukraine can be found at:
    https://contrarianopinion.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/ukraine-no-country-for-no-man/

    Unfortunately, Russia, by supporting some Ukrainian oligarchs and their theft of Ukrainian national treasury, notoriety funded by western banking accomplices to a crime, somewhat contributed to misery of Ukrainian people. The Russian inability to form more politically savvy alliance with Ukraine during Yeltsin years, helped to breed social and economic instability, catastrophic collapse of high standard of living achieved under Soviet Union and hence facilitated rebirth of fascism and political extremism, ironically mostly anti-Russian in nature, which is responsible for the collapse of the nation torn apart by their own oligarchs on Washington/EU and/or Moscow payroll.

    Russia has obvious interest in Ukraine namely her staying away from NATO with possible neutral status such as was arrangement with fascist Finland after WWII and this is what defines Russia’s national strategic policies regarding Ukraine. Additionally continuation of cooperation in procurement of military equipment in many join ventures was also of some importance before and much less now.
    The economic interests of Russia in Ukraine are much more modest and are limited to Ukrainian brain drainage into Russian industry and academia as well as cheap agriculture labor and products, an economic relations not dissimilar to that of Mexico and US.
    In contrast, Ukraine interests in economic cooperation with Russia are vital to country’s very survival.
    Only in this context one could try to understand policies and action of Russian government in relation to new western inspired Ukrainian crisis.

    So what did Russia actually do as a response to Kiev coup d’état and pro-western pro-NATO fascist leaning factions officially taking power in Kiev?

    First, Russia assured her national strategic interests including securing navy ports for her Black sea fleet headquarters, surface ships and submarines as well as air force bases and strategic anti-ballistic missile and surveillance installations in Crimea. Russia initially considered new Kiev government as illegitimate product of coup d’état, and hence viewed her precious military base lease agreements potentially under the threat.
    Moreover, there was a threat of illegal fascist paramilitary units, mainly from Right Sector and private battalions, moving into 89% ethnic Russian Crimea, and likely to cause violence, mayhem and disruption of law and order, capabilities fascist paramilitary have shown already in eastern Ukraine.

    In such circumstances Russia became more receptive and supportive of already autonomous ethnic Russian Crimean push for independence from Ukraine but from the beginning ruled out direct involvement of Russian troops stationed in Crimea as well from troops from mainland.

    Hence, ethnic Russian civilians, mostly former veterans of Soviet Union or ethnic Russian conscripts of Ukrainian army took path of negotiating peaceful surrender of Ukrainian bases to new independent government of Crimea. It was mostly successful because many of soldiers were ethnic Russian reluctant to spill blood of their own kin. The taken over military bases in Crimea were major source of uniforms and weapons for the new Crimean militia and not Russian supplies.

    Also Tatar minority that was initially split with allegiance between Russia and Ukraine was quickly swayed by Putin politically smart new policy of granting them rights of return to their ancestral land after expulsion for supporting anti Bolshevik forces 1917-1922 and collaboration with German Nazi State during WWII. A humanitarian move of supposedly evil empire, which “civilized” Israel continuously denies to Palestinians, forcefully expelled from their land in 1948 for allegedly conspiring with state enemies.

    Russia, by taking over in Crimea saved thousands of lives that would have been lost or shattered and ultimately avoided devastation to the economy, which is even now being illegally strangled by Kiev regime economic blockade by impertinently shutting down water and electricity, to hospitals and pensioners homes, devastating tourist industry by imposing criminal penalty for westerners to travel to Crimea as well as western businesses doing business there. Since then number of Russian military personnel in Crimea rose only a little and only one Russian military invasion that was ever accomplished was a to ferry a column of hundreds military electrical power generators in support of Crimea people, but only few western media were there to witness it.
    Secondly, as a response of nationwide mobilization of Ukrainian army and its unscheduled and unannounced movement to the east, to suppress Donbas militia, Russian military engaged standard procedures of military readiness and deployment of troops from bases into the field (within RF) to disperse forces as a preprogrammed military tactic and to secure borders being approached by Ukrainian army that numerous times shelled territory of Russian federation in pursuit Donbass militia, drawing not even measured military response from Putin, while several border service officers, Russian civilians and Donbass refugees were killed or wounded.

    Western media lied or impudently blamed militia for open Ukrainian aggression against Russia that would have justified Russian “American style” pre-emptive military invasion that never actually happened.
    All those Russian military movements including those incorporated within previously scheduled training exercises where propagandized in the western MSM as invasion hysteria, while no invasion preparations or attempt was ever made while there were many humanitarian reasons to do so.

    An authorization of use of force beyond the Russian Federation borders that president Putin obtained from Duma (Russian parliament) was not aimed to take over territory but rather to protect Russian bases and their supply lines in Crimea. Again, it was routine political procedure in times of political instability in the region. Although, it has been used as political warning against brutal suppression of ethnic Russians in the eastern Ukraine. How effective it was we only learned after it was rescinded, inadvertently giving green light to most vicious atrocities by Kiev regime in Donbass to follow.

    What spurred wider Russian military movements however, was unprovoked, since there were no movements of Russian military near NATO borders, deployment of NATO air force, followed by US army assets closer to Russian border which instigated Russian’s reaction and needless spiral of escalation of the tensions ensued.
    Thirdly, to disappointment and dismay of millions of Ethnic Russians in Ukraine, Russian government did not declare new Ukrainian government as illegal, and limit itself instead to vague declaration of humanitarian need for cessation of violence and expressed support for democratic process in Ukraine, while having Yanukovitch, rightful president on her soil capable to declared state of war in Ukraine and ask Russia to help to restore constitutional order, as Ukrainian constitution required him to do.

    See: (07/27/2015) UKRAINIAN WAR UPDATE: Geopolitics of Ukrainian “Winter Revolution” 2014 Part 1: Fascist Putsch or CIA black Op? for details.

    Putin rejected such scenarios, and open low-level government contacts including military contacts with pro-western fascist Regime in Kiev, apparently in a bid to calm down tensions, all while Russian embassy in Kiev was attacked by mob and partially burned with no police protection, violating Vienna convention. Russian airlines pilots were collectively harassed locked in cockpit since they were not allowed to enter Ukraine territory, so were countless Russian journalists and employees of Ukrainian companies and ordinary citizen visiting families were denied entry on a whim all that was met with silence from the west.

    Russia introduced no retaliatory measures as a response of clear violation of international agreements. On the top of that there was all out assault on Russian speaking (not necessary owned by Russia) publications and radio/TV media in Ukraine accused of collaborating with enemy that was not even officially declared, as there was no state of national emergency imposed.

    Publishers were threatened with death if they did not resign and close the publication. Russian language books were burned, by fascist groups in infamous tradition of Nazi Germany. Russian language movie and music stars, Ukrainian citizen, were condemned; their concerts and movies were disrupted or removed from distribution. Rampant censorship, harassment or murder of Ukrainian journalists was condoned by Kiev regime that called on citizen to denounce anyone who criticizes the government. Many Russian citizens living permanently in Ukraine were forced into “exile” back to Russia for safety reasons. All the frightening developments are occurring as we speak with no acknowledgement or condemnation from freedom loving western media elites.

    But Putin attempt of balanced approach and dead serious attitude of preventing WWIII by NATO psychotics did not work but rather embolden fascist paramilitary groups to commence even more vicious reign of terror against ethnic Russian living in Ukraine.

    Hundreds of trains, buses and cars traveling to/from east and south of Ukraine were stopped by armed Nazi paramilitary, the passengers of Russian ethnicity were dragged out, beaten, robbed, tortured via mocked executions, stripped and humiliated and several killed in classic ethnic cleansing rampage, news of such terrorist acts widely disseminated in Russia never made to western media although all the video clips were available on YT and social media. Even at that time many Russian commentators called Putin appeasement to Ukrainian fascist, a disaster that would backfire, and it did in Odessa just few weeks later.

    While Putin was consulting with the West that already declared him a pariah, and was referring to those talks as meetings with western partners, important for political stability of Europe, Nazi paramilitary groups committed open mass murder of over 50 Ethnic Russians seeking shelter in trade union building in Odessa while protesting coup d’état. In the Nazi tradition of UPA and OUN, victims have been burned alive after they were herded into the building and then set on fire.

    Many of those who jumped from the windows of burning building and suffered critical injuries were executed on the ground, knifed or shot while crowd of Ukrainian fascist cheered and encouraged people to jump. Even if fire station was located half a mile from the burning building, fire trucks arrived after over one hour since first notified, a proof of complicity of city authorities in this crime. After fire was put out fascist groups were going from room to room and executed remaining injured including pregnant woman as well desecrated dead bodies, atrocities very well documented by their perpetrators on the video similarly to nazi filming their crimes during WWII.

    Those who survived were beaten, shouted at, cursed and otherwise intimidated by death threats and often medical assistance for their critical injuries was denied or delayed to augment their suffering. Almost all injured, victims unable to move, were arrested by local police on the spot and put in jail instead of hospital, suffering excruciating burn pains for hours or days while lingering in the jail before being released to hospital.
    Despite assurances to western media that investigation will be thorough and impartial, after a year, no suspects have been arrested and investigation is in dead-end even though there are hundreds of close range videos posted on social media as well as complete video documentation taken from adjacent buildings covering over six hours before and after murder and fire.

    Odessa tragedy was a barbaric act of one human being against another human being, who left humanity behind and descended into dark abyss of animalism, as one could see clearly in those smiling faces of evil, taking selfies with their tortured victims. On that day ugly head of fascism growing inside the body of Ukrainian society for decades, and fed and nurtured by western elites, was in the open for everybody to see.
    Western MSM kept their eyes wide shut proving their Orwelian duty to protect brutal, totalitarian Anglo-American and European aristocratic regimes and their ‘friends”, all other priorities, as truth and freedom of press, rescinded to rough will of world oligarchs. MSM response to mass murder in Odessa, that could not have been otherwise ignored, was proliferation of shameful lies and sewage style propaganda of whitewashing perpetrators and blaming victims, all familiar approach to race relations in US. Fortunately, Russian and Asian media reported the truth about ugliness of raising fascism in Ukraine.

    The most of fascist atrocities in Donbass began when Russian military withdrew from the borders to army to barracks under western verbal “pressure” and baseless MSM hysteria of Russian invasion. Just a threat of Russian invasion, if left on the table by Putin, alone would likely be enough to save thousands of lives on both sides since Ukrainian army would have to be redeployed all over the long borders and mostly in Kiev leaving almost nobody to murder their own citizen in Donbas conflict area.

    Whole thing would have been over by now with political settlement of autonomy or federalization. I will not mention here unexplainable fact that throughout worse fighting in Donbass, Russia supplied Ukraine with natural gas without being paid, with no effort to leverage it with cessation of Kiev hostilities. It hardly can be called a support for “separatists”.

    Also against western delusions Russia did not provide, sometimes life saving military equipment, except perhaps few anti-aircraft, and guided anti-tank weapons bought by Russian private organizations supporting Donbas insurgents. Russian military may have provided some intelligence and sent or allowed to cross into Donbass, trainers, instructors as volunteers (like US in western Ukraine) to train young insurgents, but I have found to direct proof to support such a claims.

    Russia government also actively discouraged Russian citizen who volunteered to join insurgents from doing so, treating it as unlawful, while refrained from prosecute them. What’s interesting is that most of the material and financial support for Donbass militia came from opposition leaders rather than from pro-Putin political camp in Russia seen as too moderate.

    The best example of so-called “help” for insurgents was the pressure that Putin imposed on Chechen pro-Russian Leader R. Kadyrov to withdraw small detachments combat savvy of former Chechen volunteer fighters that joined Donbas militia and were instrumental in defeating early Ukrainian army advances in spring 2014.

    The 90% of Donbass military fighter’s equipment came from surrendered/abandoned or taken over Ukrainian military bases in Donbas territory as well as those abandoned during the fighting and numerous caldron operations. Most of them have been repaired and conditioned for combat in one of numerous metal works in Donbas. What’s interesting is that even 10 months ago the tank battalions of Donbas army were manned with grandpas in their fifties, Ukrainian veterans of Afghanistan war fighting in T64 tanks they remember from youth, now we see mostly T72 with much younger freshly trained cadres.

    Even now, when Kiev regime illegally, violating its own constitution, imposed complete economic blockade over Donbass area in a bid to starve the population, Russia is not using its economic leverage such as ability to push for Ukraine default for $30 billions of non-performing debt. It is understandable that Putin balanced policies do not need to be hostile to Kiev regime but also do not need to be “very friendly” and giving away money for nothing but unabridged hatred to Russian government and Russian people.

    Is Russian policy in this conflict akin to Gazprom consumer relation campaign, overriding murder and mayhem perpetrated by Kiev regime?

    I must say that in face of fascist atrocities, Russian government and most of all Russian people’s humanitarian support for their families (yes families) in Donbas is commendable and proved, often questioned by the West fact, that Russian nation organized highly civilized European state and society in contrast to barbarian western elites devoid of humanity as it was clearly demonstrated in the events of last year. The Russian government politics is unwavering and tough, but most of all realistic based on fact and not on propaganda hyperbole of exceptionalism that justifies anything by noble causes.
    It is clear that Russia did not instigate, or significantly supported or pushed ethnic Russians into conflict with Kiev regime after coup d’état.

    Russia numerous times rejected pleadings of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) to join Russian Federation and by that rejected any notion of separatism of Donbass despite overwhelming support for it among Donbas population as well as Russian public at large.
    It was exactly opposite. President Putin all the time was trying to restrain military and political activities of Donbas DPR/LPR authorities, militia and partisans, forcing them time and time again into almost impossible political accommodations with ideologically aroused, nearly psychotic, US/EU backed Ukrainian fascist regime set on annihilation of ethnic Russians in entire Ukraine proper, even in July 2014 when militia defense lines were about to completely collapse under Ukrainian military assault.

    Even then except for critical humanitarian aid to starving Donbas residents, Putin did not give any open material or even psychological support for new fragile people s republics of Donbass restricting himself to allowing freely distributed, truthful media reports to reach Russian and world audience paid with blood of many journalists.

    The forced upon LPR/DPR militia, Minsk I agreement of contact group was prime example of Russian diplomatic interference to stop huge advances of militia in the south and north-west of Donbass practically destroying sixty thousand strong Ukrainian army operational capabilities in the war zone, and practically leaving road wide open to Kiev.

    Instead Russia supported OSCE insistence on complete withdrawal of militia up to 25 miles east from positions they gained during late August 2014 offensive. A move clearly against interest of Donbass rebels at that time whose goal was to liberate entire Donetsk and Lugansk provinces, as it was ordered by local governments in Donbass and to establish full political autonomy of those provinces from Kiev regime.
    This was clear Russian appeasement to the west that ultimately brought nothing but more misery and more deaths to the region and finally necessity of Minsk II almost identical agreement to Minsk I and as much violated by Ukrainian regime provocative actions that drew only weak criticism from Russian side and silence in the western media, UN and OSCE for months.

    Questions arise, why self-declared Donbass republics were never recognized and defended by Russia as it was in Abkhazia and North Ossetia.

    The pragmatic answer is that Russian oligarch interests in the west, including Putin’s own interests were threatened but not by those phony western sanctions which are just propaganda ploy and actually helped to pursuit certain economic policies not feasible without sanctions, but rather their asset holdings intertwined into global financial system.

    Putin’s accommodative language, despite being vilified by the west is very telling. It was not just polite, stately response since to insult him and his office was to insult Russian state and Russian nation and that was political taboo, but rather a plea to return to familiar and profitable pre-conflict arrangements with the west, even if he aggressive pursuit economic and military relations with China and Turkey to hedge his position.

    This leverage that the West has over Russian oligarchs relying on western financial system to launder their money extorted from Russian people is partially responsible for bloody solution that have been forced upon on both sides of Ukrainian conflict which could have been over in days if there was a will of Russian elites to break up with the West and to stop bloodshed. Neither Russian nor Chinese ruling elites are ready to do so yet.
    So what was a role of Russian government in Ukrainian crisis?

    Mainly to protect their own vital national and economic interests and to balanced relations with the West as any country would do but that’s not all. Putin made enormous but not always successful effort to moderate emotions and feelings of his own people outraged by rebirth and aggression of fascism against their brothers and sisters in Ukraine, the same fascism that their grandfathers fought against and died during WWII.

    Russia made enormous effort to protect innocent victims of war in Donbas and violence elsewhere in Ukraine against women and children once they were on her soil, providing shelter and governmental programs for resettlement, political asylum or family reunification of those escaping war zone, as required by international law.

    Russia made significant efforts and pleas on every international forum and in bilateral relation with US, EU and Kiev regime for ceasefire, halt military hostilities, against all odds promoting tirelessly peaceful settlement and federalization of Ukraine as a sensible solution to the conflict as UN charter requires of peaceful coexistence among nations.

    All those efforts however, were met with vicious western propaganda of condemnation of Russia’s lawful and legitimate actions, financial terrorism such as unsuccessful attack on Russian currency, toothless economic sanctions that failed to isolate Russia from global trade, and intense, surreal ostracism in the international forum, such as unjustified expulsion/suspension from Council of Europe, often expressed as insane Orwellian rants about freedom and democracy from those in the West who know none.

    The fact is that corrupted, morally bankrupt Western elites infected with neo-conservative/neo-liberal virus of the corporatist fascism are stuck in the past, cold war state of political mind unwilling to distinguish between somewhat aggressive pasture of Soviet Union with so far benign, conservative nature of today’s Russia, an important member of international community, whether they want it or not. The problem is that we are those who ultimately will be paying for it with our sweat, blood and tears.

  20. Mike Madden
    February 20, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Even as I wrote, I realized my words describing the violence in Kosovo were an oversimplification. Thanks to Brendan, Liam, and Adrian, I would now say they were more akin to a distortion of actual occurrences. Thanks also to Noam Chomsky for his 2001 review of the conflict in Z Magazine. It confirms Adrian’s account.

    I’ve amended the letter by changing the second sentence under ‘The Kosovo Precedent’ to read:

    “In 1998, amidst ongoing reciprocal attacks and reprisals by Kosovo Liberation Army and Serbian forces, NATO intervened on behalf of Kosovar Albanians.”

    Still an oversimplification, but at least it’s a balanced oversimplification.

    The amended letter has been sent to Senator Klobuchar. I’m new at this, but I hope it can be also be corrected as it appears here at Consortium News.

    Mike Madden

    • David Otness
      February 21, 2017 at 4:18 am

      Thank you for stepping up and adding your concise legal points to the better understanding of this immorally cruel and ongoing travesty. Your senator and her ‘wanna-be a playah’ sideshow act with that cretinous McCain and his sidekick will hopefully give rational Minnesotans pause enough to send her shortly to her post: Senate lobbying career sooner than later. I find her actions despicable, self-gratuitous and appalling.

    • Tom Laney
      February 21, 2017 at 9:02 am

      “Keep on fighting!” – Paul Wellstone

  21. Loren Bliss
    February 20, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Realist, in the first post on this thread, asks “is the anti-Russian vote that significant in Minnesota?” Kalen, immediately above, describes the resurrected fascist horrors the anti-Russian vote endorses and applauds. And I cannot but note how, in the context of Kalen’s soul-wrenching disclosures, the anti-Russian vote — whether in Minnesota or any other of the 50 states — is both a vote against humanitarian civilization and a vote for our species’ extinction via World War III.

  22. Tom Laney
    February 21, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Thank you Mike Madden!!

  23. February 21, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Thank you, Mike. I’m in St. Paul and represented by Betty McCollum. I tuned her up in a scathing letter for her bleats about “Russian Aggression” in not so nearly eloquent a fashion.

  24. tina
    February 22, 2017 at 12:13 am

    All of us in the United States of America ought to take a real good look at our own history. We collectively, willingly or unwillingly , did a lot of damage to this world. How do we go on from here? At times, we were not the worst, sometimes we were the best. How do we get an honest look at ourselves, as a nation? South Africa and Germany at least tried to confess the horrors. We in the USA have an attitude of “forget that noise” move on. How can anyone move on, without at the very least, know something about the past? If you were abused as a child, is that a good solution, “Hey, little kid , it happened, so what, move on now”?

  25. Dennis Wise
    February 22, 2017 at 9:10 am

    This letter is a five star refutation of the contempt the political class and their mainstream media mouthpieces seem to have for the intelligence of the American people. It soars far above any of the insulting drivel coming out of Washington which we’re subjected to day after day.
    Heartfelt thanks, Mr Madden!

  26. Az
    February 22, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Excellent “letter” to Minn Senator. This letter does not accuse but educates. Once upon a time, Amy K. was knowledgeable about what she spoke but now it seems she tossed history like bad sushi.

    She has joined the party of McCainocrats.

    Democrats should be rebuilding their party not focused on destroying the very country to put them in the minority in 2016.

  27. delia ruhe
    February 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Bravo, Mike Madden

  28. Stan Expat
    February 23, 2017 at 4:54 am

    It is unfortunate that the insightful balanced and historically accurate letter by Mr. Madden will have no influence and will only be read by that tiny minority who by independent streak or by unusual intelligence, are immune to the most massive propaganda machine every directed towards any country. The alignment of both parties, the media, CIA, the elites, neocons and liberals for unity in calling for ending president selection by voters, and for continuation of the goals of world domination regardless of the costs to the dying working and middle classes, quality of life, and democratic principles and promotion of wars of aggression, are winning.
    A guess of 90% of the public believes every world used to demonize Russia and Putin, possibly more, reaching the level of hatred for Iraq’s leader generated in massive propaganda that infected 93% of the population with the demand for war. The lies told then are no more egregious than those told now, but the current targets have been vilified much longer than Saddam.

    Putin and Russia have been daily topics in MSM for about 12 years and from my own perspective, as an American from California, who moved to Russia as semi-retirement 16 years ago, I have watched with horror how easily the people have been manipulated, and how willing the press has been to suspend any integrity to follow along. As an observer of both countries from the inside there is no question in my mind where the fault is. The public would not have been so eager to accept the propaganda is the media had displayed the least bit of scepticism due of any agency or official who had consistently lied in the past. But instead of their duty, their sole reason to exist, the media jumped on board and became uncritical cheerleaders for very very unwise, illegal, inhumane foreign policy.
    Every time I return to the US for a visit, the change for the worse in mood, degree of desperation, irrationality and anger scares me. It has been growing gradually but slow change is not seen easily by those the subject to the change daily, continuously, not as readily seen by those who only experience it for 2 weeks every year or two.
    The US has become a scary place and the streets reflect that inhumane foreign policy. It has lost its civility. Right now, Russia is a healthier place for humans, it is not angry, the stress levels are low, little personal of government debt, medical care is still free, as is education, year or 2 of family leave is still the law of the land, and no homelessness, with over 70% owning their homes free and clear of any debt. People seem to be polite and respectful of others. I feel sorry for my relatives and friends who are living in the hostile environment that has become the USA. More citizens are leaving than immigrants arriving in the US, and that negative migration rate has existed for the last 6 years. Knowing the differences between the societies and seeing Russians attacked continuously for things they did not do saddens me.
    The forces that have aligned, CIA/Media/Liberals/republicans/democrats/NeoCons/wall street and others is a very large block of people who want war, the propaganda is more intense than any other citizenry has been subjected to and decent more soundly defeated than even 1930s Germany. I don’t see any way that the tiny disorganized anti-imperialists/anti-war believers can have any impact against the united front backing the McCains and Graham’s of the world. They assure that war IS coming and facts do not matter at all.
    Luckily, I have, along with 5,000,000 others in this one Russian city have 300 foot deep shelters to retreat to. It may come to a shock to Americans that wars sometimes result in blowback felt on the mainland, this one will not be for arm chair quarterbacks rooting from 7,000 miles away, it will come to each person’s neighborhood. The last time a foreign military did damage to the US was 1812 so Americans are not prepared mentally or with survival tools.
    It would be great if I am wrong about peace advocates being listened to but nothing that has happened in the last 24 years of nonstop aggression to suggest that there is any hope for sane thinking to win the day. The anti-war minority did nothing over the last 8 years when aggression was ramped up over anything Bush did so expecting it now when far more power is aligned against peace is not a good prospect.

    • February 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      Stan Expat,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your honest, morality-based, and concerned thoughts about the current state of U.S.-Russia relations. Your comments, conveyed with only the best and noblest of intentions – trying to bring peace and a better world for everyone on Earth – represent the greatest positive aspect of the internet. May your effort to communicate with integrity become reproduced by the thousands across the internet, so that the insane war makers of this generation – finally – get the message loud and clear: “Humanity demands peace, an end to wars forever!” Thank you again sir. And thank you to blessed peacemakers from all nations, everywhere on Earth..

  29. jonathan doff
    February 23, 2017 at 5:14 am

    War Is A Racket – Smedley Butler. That’s all this is. New enemy. Same as the old enemy. The Military Industrial Congressional Complex needs and an excuse to spend trillions of your tax dollars. Amy wants some. Ordinary greed. Hmmm. I wonder what else we might do with all that money.
    All the elections are rigged. If the Russians even bothered to try, it effected nothing. The midwestern states had plenty of voter suppression courtesy of the Repubs. The DNC rigged their primary. Hillary won the election. It was handed to orange ball by 18th century slave owning farmers. There is one party in America – the property party – it has two right wings. We voters don’t matter. This is a simple campus fight about who gets the football trophy this year.
    Why not pick Viet Nam as an enemy? We haven’t been there for a while. Or any other boogie man.
    Russian troops are massed at the Mexican and Canadian Borders. We must be wary.
    good clear article.

  30. nexusxyz
    February 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    They (the war mongers) appear to view Russia, China and Iran as no more than bigger versions of Iraq. The delusion and hubris is off the scale.

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