Quotes of the day

posted at 8:41 pm on March 28, 2014 by Allahpundit

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia called President Obama on Friday to discuss a proposal by Mr. Obama for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine, and the two leaders agreed that diplomats for both countries should meet soon to discuss it, the White House said.

In a statement from the White House, officials said that the telephone call from the Russian president followed a proposal presented by Secretary of State John Kerry to Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, during talks at the Hague earlier this week.

Officials did not describe details about the proposal but said that Mr. Obama told Mr. Putin during the call that the United States would like to see a diplomatic solution that involves Russia pulling back its troops from the Crimean Peninsula and not making any further steps to invade other parts of Ukraine.

***

Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, U.S. officials said…

The rapid speed of the Russian military buildup and efforts to camouflage the forces and equipment have stoked U.S. fears, in part because American intelligence agencies have struggled to assess Russian President Vladimir Putin’s specific intentions

“It’s really a question of leadership intentions. Who does Putin tell, if anyone, what his plans are?” a senior Obama administration official said. “He’s obviously putting things in place in case he wants to go in. The question is whether a political decision has been made to do so.”…

“It’s not the number that matters most. They have enough to move in now, regardless, and in the right composition to be dangerous,” the senior U.S. official said. “What matters is the intent. And we don’t have a clear sense of that.”

***

SCOTT PELLEY: What is Vladimir Putin after?

BARACK OBAMA: Well, if you take him at his word –

PELLEY: Can you?

OBAMA: Well, on this, I think he’s been willing to show a deeply held grievance about what he considers to be the loss of the Soviet Union. You would have thought that after a couple of decades that there’d be an awareness on the part of any Russian leader that the path forward is not to revert back to the kinds of practices that, you know, were so prevalent during the Cold War, but, in fact, to move forward with further integration with the world economy and to be a responsible international citizen. You know, he’s said that he considers the breakup of the Soviet Union to be tragic. I think there’s a strong sense of Russian nationalism and a sense that somehow the West has taken advantage of Russia in the past and that he wants to in some fashion, you know, reverse that or make up for that. What I have repeatedly said is that he may be entirely misreading the West. He’s certainly misreading American foreign policy. We have no interest encircling Russia and we have no interest in Ukraine beyond letting Ukrainian people make their own decisions about their own lives, and it is true that we reject the notion that there is a sphere of influence along the Russian border that then justifies Russia invading other countries. Certainly they’re going to have influence because of trade and tradition and language and heritage with Ukraine and everybody acknowledges that. There’s a difference between that and sending in troops. And because you’re bigger and stronger, taking a piece of the country, that is not how international law and international norms are observed in the 21st century.

***

The East Europeans know they inhabit the battleground between the West and a Russia that wants to return them to its sphere of influence. Ukrainians see tens of thousands of Russian troops across their border and know they are looking down the barrel of quite a zero-sum game.

Obama thinks otherwise. He says that Vladimir Putin’s kind of neo-imperialist thinking is a relic of the past — and advises Putin to transcend the Cold War.

Good God. Putin hasn’t transcended the Russian revolution. Did no one give Obama a copy of Putin’s speech last week upon the annexation of Crimea? Putin railed not only at Russia’s loss of empire in the 1990s. He went back to the 1920s: “After the revolution, the Bolsheviks . . . may God judge them, added large sections of the historical South of Russia to the Republic of Ukraine.” Putin was referring not to Crimea (which came two sentences later) but to his next potential target: Kharkiv and Donetsk and the rest of southeastern Ukraine.

Putin’s irredentist grievances go very deep. Obama seems unable to fathom them. Asked whether he’d misjudged Russia, whether it really is our greatest geopolitical foe, he disdainfully replied that Russia is nothing but “a regional power” acting “out of weakness.”

***

Putin assumes that CIA agents were behind the ousting of his clients in Kiev last month. It is what he would have done in their shoes. You can almost see him beaming with (misguided) professional pride: a (highly visible) covert operation emphasizing (implausible) deniability by (inadequately) disguising invading Russian troops and then establishing a (puppet) Crimean regime to appeal for annexation.

This is skillful espionage work — by the standards of U.S. covert operations in Guatemala, Iran and elsewhere in the 1950s. That seems to be Putin’s chronological frame of operational reference, not the 19th century…

Rather than admit defeat in the spy-vs.-spy contest that rages largely in his head, Putin has ended the 30-year post-Cold War era dedicated to making Russia a normal state. That gives Obama, who possesses no realistic immediate option to roll back the annexation of Crimea, room to use diplomatic jujitsu by employing Putin’s own momentum against him.

***

The Russian president did not engineer the Ukrainian crisis, but he has exploited it to begin forging something far more dangerous than land grabs: namely, a political arrangement that could secure his rule of Russia for life. The annexation of Crimea has fueled nationalist hysteria and paranoia within Russia, and Putin has ridden that wave, reshaping his government into one that is far more repressive, ideologically driven, openly messianic and founded on a revisionist view of history that is explicitly anti-West and anti-American…

Never before has a dictator with such a cult of personality had such access to these kinds of weapons. Stalin, as brutal and antagonistic to the West as he was, did not have missiles. Even the Soviet Union under Nikita Khrushchev had only short-range missiles. (It was his move to place them close enough to reach the United States that provoked the Cuban missile crisis.) And Khrushchev, for all his erratic aggressiveness, was definitely constrained by the Supreme Soviet, which in the end removed him from office, in part because of the Cuba escapade.

Mao Tse-tung had a bomb but no missiles. Leonid Brezhnev had long-range missiles, but his was definitely a collective leadership regime, overseen by the largely older, conservative and generally risk-averse Politburo. In North Korea today, Kim Jong Un is certainly a totalitarian leader with a god-like cult of personality, but he has only a handful of ICBMs whose reliability, range and precision are still uncertain. Finally, China is busily developing its long-range delivery vehicles, but its leader, at least for now, is selected — and largely controlled — by the elite. Moreover, he is rigidly limited to two five-year terms.

Since Western democracies have never confronted an aggressive personality-driven autocracy armed with strategic nuclear warheads, a response must be quickly improvised.

***

Perhaps this will serve as Obama’s new “orienting” moment. Already, he has taken the lead in imposing sanctions on Russia, while orchestrating the global response to the annexation of Crimea. In his Brussels speech, he noted that “a coldhearted calculus” of interests in Ukraine might dictate that the United States “look the other way.” Yes, that’s a typical Obamian straw man — on the order of “some say …” — but the assertion also allowed him to reaffirm those “universal” principles that guide American foreign policy. Maybe it took Putin to remind the president of those principles. Obama has always said that he admires realists like former Secretary of State James Baker and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, but his sense of his own destiny, and of America’s, is too exalted for him to accept the coldhearted calculus that made those men so effective.

What would it mean for the Putin challenge to reorient Obama? First, it might give Obama a large and urgent sense of purpose. Secretary of State John Kerry, consumed by the sense of urgency and hyperbolic self-assurance Obama once exuded, has taken on every impossible portfolio; meanwhile, the White House has complacently waved as he disappeared over the horizon. Protecting “the West” is a fine job for a president once accused of harboring “post-European” sentiments. Only the United States can organize the military, diplomatic, and economic response to Russia’s provocation. Kerry will wind up doing that too, but there must be no doubt, including in Putin’s mind, that Obama himself is driving the policy…

One thing Obama believes in deeply, as anyone who has read his national security strategy would recognize, is international law and institutions. Putin has quite helpfully reminded the world of why a rule-based international order matters. Obama has the opportunity to wrap himself in that flag.

***

The message seems to be that if Mr. Putin doesn’t move troops into eastern Ukraine, the West will impose no further sanctions or costs. De facto, Russia’s seizure of Crimea will stand and, except for a handful of Russian officials, business will go on as usual.

No one wants a new Cold War, much less a military confrontation. We want Russia to be a partner, but that is now self-evidently not possible under Mr. Putin’s leadership. He has thrown down a gauntlet that is not limited to Crimea or even Ukraine. His actions challenge the entire post-Cold War order including, above all, the right of independent states to align themselves and do business with whomever they choose.

Tacit acceptance of settling old revanchist scores by force is a formula for ongoing crises and potential armed conflict, whether in Europe, Asia or elsewhere. A China behaving with increasing aggressiveness in the East and South China seas, an Iran with nuclear aspirations and interventionist policies in the Middle East, and a volatile and unpredictable North Korea are all watching events in Europe. They have witnessed the fecklessness of the West in Syria. Similar division and weakness in responding to Russia’s most recent aggression will, I fear, have dangerous consequences down the road…

Therefore, the burden of explaining the need to act forcefully falls, as always, on our leaders. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Government includes the act of formulating a policy” and “persuading, leading, sacrificing, teaching always, because the greatest duty of a statesman is to educate.” The aggressive, arrogant actions of Vladimir Putin require from Western leaders strategic thinking, bold leadership and steely resolve—now.

***


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5.1 earthquake rattles LA

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:00 AM

what’s up with comments?

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:01 AM

Sarah Palin is laughing whilst sipping a cup of joe on her porch….

“MARCH 28–New York State officials have filed a $79,000 judgment against Tina Fey, alleging that the comedian has failed to carry required workers’ compensation insurance, according to court filings.

The Workers’ Compensation Board lodged the judgment against Fey last week in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. State records indicate that the 43-year-old entertainer is being dunned for “Failure to Carry Workers’ Comp Ins” from late-2012 through last month.

A “Final Notice” regarding the $79,000 debt is addressed to Elizabeth T. Fey at a Manhattan address that, records show, has been the headquarters for the former “Saturday Night Live” star’s production company, Little Stranger Inc..

The March 20 judgment is in Fey’s name, not that of her company, which produced “30 Rock,” the NBC comedy starring Fey and Alec Baldwin, and is developing other TV and film projects.

Court records do not detail how state officials arrived at the $79,000 figure, though it represents “Awards and Penalties” levied against Fey for her “having defaulted in payment thereof.” In a court affirmation, a state lawyer noted that, “Appeals before the Board have been exhausted….”

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/Tina-Fey-workers-comp-judgment-675432

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Pics at the link

Families flee Disneyland, cars flip and stores wrecked as 5.3 quake shakes downtown Los Angeles followed by TWENTY aftershocks

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2592158/Customers-flee-Disneyland-5-3-earthquake-shakes-downtown-Los-Angeles-followed-TWENTY-aftershocks.html#ixzz2xLhcVcry

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:10 AM

“The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 5.3, was very shallow, only 1.2 miles deep, according to the USGS.

It was felt across four counties, as far east as Palm Springs and north as Ventura County.
In Brea, police reported the earthquake triggered a landslide in Carbon Canyon that caused a car to overturn. Only minor injuries in the incident were reported, according to NBC 4.

‘The Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments have conducted an assessment and report no damage in the city,’ Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
‘Just about everything in the city that could go wrong is going wrong,’ the La Habra Police Department said as officers dealt with water main breaks, power outages and evacuations.
Con Edison also reported that approximately 2,000 customers were without power across Southern California.

Fullerton resident Daniel Taylor told the station everything fell down in his home.

‘My 100-gallon fish tank went down. Water damage everywhere from the tank. My water pipes under my sink cracked,’ he said.
One viewer in Walnut said the power went out for 10 minutes.
‘The whole room was shaking. My bed was rolling for longer than most I’ve felt,’ said another.
The L.A. Fire Department responded by going into emergency mode and looking for any signs of damage or injury.

Stores and restaurant managers across the region said they experienced breaking glasses and bottles as their businesses were shaken.

‘Here in La Habra it was a fast, hard, shallow jolt,’ wrote Cyndi Turner on Facebook, KTLA reported.
In a press conference Friday night, seismologist Lucy Jones from the U.S. Geological Survey said that every California earthquake had a 5 per cent chance of being followed by a larger one in the next three days, just as this quake was preceded by a 3.6 earthquake about an hour earlier in the city of La Habra.

However she noted that every hour after the earthquake the odds of another tremor dropped.

Jones said people on the city’s east side reported the strongest reaction.
She also urged people concerned about another quake to make sure they had nothing heavy or made of glass suspended above their beds, to secure bookshelves, and to put anything they considered precious in a safe place….”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2592158/Customers-flee-Disneyland-5-3-earthquake-shakes-downtown-Los-Angeles-followed-TWENTY-aftershocks.html#ixzz2xLicBWnz
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:14 AM

Sarah Palin is laughing whilst sipping a cup of joe on her porch….

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:05 AM

Speaking of Sarah Palin, remember earlier in the week when Allahpundit posted a thread titled: “Palin on Hillary: I’d like to see more women run for higher office”?

I came across this earlier this morning.

“SARAH PALIN: If Hillary Clinton runs in 2016, she’ll have MUCH to answer for regarding the Benghazi cover-ups”

On Insider today, Sarah Palin said that Chris Christie took the bull by the horns after the bridge scandal came to light and fired people right up front, noting that when you try and cover something up it always bites you in the butt. But she said Christie’s issues are small school compared to what others have done, referring to Hillary Clinton and Benghazi. When asked about Clinton running for president, she said:

“I think Hillary Clinton, she’s going to have so much to answer to when it comes to her position, especially as Secretary of State. The cover-ups there when innocent Americans, their lives were lost in a blundered bureaucratic mission.”

She also had a couple of comments about Tina Fey in that video.

Flora Duh on March 29, 2014 at 7:29 AM

I thought this earthquake happened at night. What were people doing at Disneyland anyway? If a 5 point caused that much damage they have been letting things go to pot there.

During the earthquake in 71 a friend had a fish tank with guppies. You know how small guppies are. She said they were scrambling in the dark trying to pick up guppies while packing for evacuation because the dam was going to break.

It was 6.5.

crankyoldlady on March 29, 2014 at 7:42 AM

This is where Putin dots the i in idiot on Obamas leadership tombstone.

He knows the feckless, progressive nitwit needs something to bring home and Putin can name his price.

Lonetown on March 29, 2014 at 7:44 AM

Happy Saturday, Patriots! And, Trolls.

Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.

- Ronald Reagan

My take: Is Obamacare on Its “Deathbed”?

kingsjester on March 29, 2014 at 7:47 AM

My take: Is Obamacare on Its “Deathbed”?

kingsjester on March 29, 2014 at 7:47 AM

I’d like to think it is but I emailed my “representatives” that if they are waiting for that to happen they are making a mistake. The longer you let something like this go on the more entrenched it becomes and the harder it is to get rid of when you have to and we will have to.

crankyoldlady on March 29, 2014 at 7:52 AM

I thought this earthquake happened at night. What were people doing at Disneyland anyway? If a 5 point caused that much damage they have been letting things go to pot there.

During the earthquake in 71 a friend had a fish tank with guppies. You know how small guppies are. She said they were scrambling in the dark trying to pick up guppies while packing for evacuation because the dam was going to break.

It was 6.5.

crankyoldlady on March 29, 2014 at 7:42 AM

We went to Disneyland almost 20 years ago and we stayed until 10:30 pm cause back then they had a light parade and my 5 year old wanted to see it.

5 is a great age to go to Disneyland.

Took the pacific coast highway from San Francisco to LA….Beautiful way to see coastal California.

Sad to see how liberal policies have wrecked the economy of that state.

God Bless Texas.

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Sad to see how liberal policies have wrecked the economy of that state.

God Bless Texas.

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:53 AM

I went to Disneyland way back when with a friend. It is better for little kids. I was more interested in the animatronic things they had. In the late 60′s LA was doing well. They had a mayor who was all about attracting business and there were lots of people like me who were new. Everybody you met on the street had just moved there. It was a great time.

crankyoldlady on March 29, 2014 at 8:01 AM

Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.

- Ronald Reagan

kingsjester on March 29, 2014 at 7:47 AM

We are now at the point where having largely accomplished the above, government now seeks to protect itself from us.

To see what that looks like, look at any major American city run by progressives. Notably Washington, D.C.

clear ether

eon

eon on March 29, 2014 at 8:39 AM

We are now at the point where having largely accomplished the above, government now seeks to protect itself from us.

To see what that looks like, look at any major American city run by progressives. Notably Washington, D.C.

clear ether

eon

eon on March 29, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Or Europe.

It’s interesting to see the progressives start to scramble as they realize the ramifications of their decades long culture war on traditional western Judeo-Christian values….

Both Japan and Russia are offering incentives to couples to procreate….

Great essay at PJ media. Excerpt:

“Flash-forward 45 years from the days of The Population Bomb and its media aftermath, and it’s come to this: “Video: ‘Do It for Denmark’ reveals demographic trap for Western nations,” as spotted by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

The video hints at the problem in Western nations, which is not so much the lack of babies as it is the growing number of older adults in systems with extensive social-support systems. The ad itself doesn’t even bother to make its pitch on the basis of boosting Danish culture as much as it does a self-serving plea for more future workers to support the expanding number of pensioners. Instead, it features an attractive woman in various (but work-safe) states of undress as the enticement to win some free diapers and to be able to claim that “you did your duty.”

While the entire concept is amusing, it’s also astonishingly utilitarian in both substance and presentation. Is the only value of children in Denmark (and other similarly situated countries) their contribution to the pensions of others? Given the widespread acceptance of abortion in the West, perhaps we should not be surprised by this, but it’s still a rather grim and constricted view of the value of life and the blessings of family.

The “kill ‘em all, let Gaia sort out it” arguments of Ehrlich and his disciples, who include Al Gore and John Holdren, now Mr. Obama’s Dr. Strangelove-esque “science” “czar,” were entirely utilitarian — and entirely eco-fascist as well, to borrow from the title of James Delingpole’s recent book. So it’s not all surprising that their successors today also argue from a similarly utilitarian worldview, even as they swing — so to speak — in the entirely opposite direction:

video at link

Or to put it another way, “Since 1945, a multiplicity of government interventions – state pensions, subsidised higher education, higher taxes to pay for everything – has so ruptured traditional patterns of inter-generational solidarity that in Europe a child is now an optional lifestyle accessory.” In other words, as Mark Steyn warned in 2006, whether it’s Europe or America, “It’s the Demography, Stupid.” Steyn added that, “By 2050, Estonia’s population will have fallen by 52 per cent, Bulgaria’s by 36 per cent, Italy’s by 22 per cent. The hyper-rationalism of post-Christian Europe turns out to be wholly irrational: what’s the point of creating a secular utopia if it’s only for one generation?…”

http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2014/03/27/its-still-the-demography-stupid-4/

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 8:56 AM

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 8:56 AM

Good article. Incidentally and in context, I have the entire Gerry Anderson UFO series on DVD.

If you ever wondered why Gay Ellis (Gabrielle Drake) and Joan Harrington (Antonia Ellis) disappeared halfway through the run, they both got married… and got pregnant. BTW, that was also why Vallie Kemp played Vulnavia in the second Dr. Phibes movie with Vincent Price; Virginia North, the original Vulnavia in the first film, was four months along when they started shooting.

Imagine that happening today. There’s probably some clause in the contracts that calls for beheading if it happens.

Hell, in Europe today, there’s probably a movement to “deal with” any woman of child-bearing age who actually does it. ZPG, Ehrlich, “Green”, and all that, as Driscoll relates.

Civilizations rarely die due to being “murdered” by other polities. Generally, they commit suicide. Usually at the behest of their own “enlightened elite’”, who either decide that they no longer need said civilization, or that they are in pursuit of a “higher morality”. So who cares if everyone else must be “sacrificed” to achieve their personal Apotheosis? They’re “superior”- they’re entitled.

By the time the barbarians are inside the gates, all they’re really doing is administering the coup de grace’ to a dying, suffering animal.

I think Heinlein found that prospect…displeasing. See The Number of the Beast, specifically Chapter 38, reference the bit about what they did with the lawyers.

(No offense meant, Sophie.)

clear ether

eon

eon on March 29, 2014 at 10:07 AM

This is a test.

Testing the blockquote

bluefox on March 29, 2014 at 12:25 PM

God Bless Texas.

workingclass artist on March 29, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Always!!

bluefox on March 29, 2014 at 12:28 PM

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