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Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2007, 03:49 PM
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This, my friends, is an *actual* coup.


Thailand coup d'etat as military seizes power

Thailand's military has announced it is taking control of the government and has suspended the constitution.


On Tuesday the army imposed martial law. Talks were then held between the main political factions, but the army announced the coup on Thursday.

Political party leaders, including opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban, were taken away from the talks venue after troops sealed off the area.

Troops have reportedly fired into the air to disperse groups of rival supporters.

The broadcast media have been told to suspend all normal programming.


No vague non sequiturs of cookies or phone calls. No President taking three days to pack up his valuable oil painting collection and then flying away in his own fleet of helicopters. No votes by the legislative body to remove the abdicating president. No immediate scheduling of new elections to replace said abdicating president.

Nope, just a real, live, actual coup d'état. Army comes in, forcibly removes the people in power against their will, suspends the constitution and declares themselves in charge.

Words matter.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu May 22, 2014, 09:54 AM (56 replies)

Wanted: Proof that what happened in Ukraine actually constituted a "western sponsored coup."

(Or even just a coup in general.)

Over the past couple of weeks, a fair handful of people here have insisted that the recent regime change in Ukraine was in fact a "coup." Most of those people have gone further and have claimed western--and even US--interests were the ones who were behind the coup. When I have pressed them for evidence, I have repeatedly heard about State Department official Victoria Nuland handing out cookies to Maidan protesters, about $5 billion in US aid to Ukraine (neglecting to mention that the figure covers a 20 year period), about Nuland discussing who she preferred to be in charge in Ukraine, about a website belonging to current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenuk's organization listing several western partnerships, and a few other tidbits here and there.

While these indeed provide sufficient fodder for the conspiracy minded crowd, none of them--and I mean none of them--thus far actually show that what happened in February 2014 when Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych fled the country and was replaced by an interim government until elections could be held later this month was actually a "coup" under the proper definition of the word.

So the question I posed to these people--and to which any have yet to answer me--is proof that what actually happened in Ukraine was a "coup", and specifically one that was sponsored by the West. If one considers the situation in February 2014, the flash point of the change in power appears to be the moment Yanukovych choose to flee Kyiv on February 21st. So we have to consider under what circumstances did Yanukovych leave that evening? Was he forced out at gun point? Was he kidnapped against his will?

Because if you look at Webster's definition of "Coup d'état", it clearly reads:

: a sudden decisive exercise of force in politics; especially : the violent overthrow or alteration of an existing government by a small group


First of all, no one can claim the Maidan protests were "a small group".

There were hundreds of thousands of them on the square. So whatever motivation those protests may have given Yanukovych to say, "Screw you guys, I'm going home," right then and there the definition of "coup" is inapplicable.

Secondly, one has to consider violence in the change of power. So was Yanukovych kidnapped, thrown in a sack, and taken away that night? Did someone stick a gun to his head and pull him away? The fact of the matter is, video from the Yanukovych residence doesn't seem to support that. In it, you can see members of Yanukovych's entourage casually packing up his valuable possessions and two helicopters flying away without any sort of opposition or sense of immediate urgency.

(The first video is rather long, but Yanukovych himself is seen at 13:45 in the video)

So if a characteristic of "coup" is that they are typically characterized by force, then no, again the situation does not fall into the proper usage of that word.

Who knows, maybe there are facts that I'm missing or that I'm not aware of that are a game changer. Maybe there is something one can point to that show definitively that Yanukovych did not voluntarily leave on his accord and willpower but was kidnapped and removed against his will. And maybe there's some evidence that shows that western agents were the ones doing the kidnapping.

And if someone can actually point me to this evidence, I will be the man and admit that that person is right and I was wrong.

But so far there's been nothing. Nada. Nilch.

(And the mere repetition of the word "coup" as it relates to what happened in Ukraine is not proof that a coup actually took place, contrary to what some might thing.)

So if I'm wrong, show me I'm wrong with real evidence from a reputable source (please, no Alex Jones type stuff). I'm waiting.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Wed May 14, 2014, 10:08 AM (138 replies)

Cognitive Dissonance is Cognitivey: Ukraine Edition (Stalin, Bandera, Maidan and Russian separatism)

Ever since the height of the Euromaidan protests, skeptics and opponents of that movement and the interim Ukrainian government that resulted from that movement have feverishly attempted to paint supporters as "ultranationalists", "fascists" and even "neo-Nazi", with the argument for the latter category dating back to historical events from World War II.

The main basis for such claims lies in the fact that a couple of ultranationalist parties--Svoboda and Right Sector--were participants in the Euromaidan protests, and Svoboda is a minority party within the governing coalition and has three of its members currently sitting in the 21-seat Ukrainian cabinet. Despite the clear minority status of these organizations, opponents of the interim government have clearly attempted to paint Svoboda and Right Sector the face of the events in Ukraine this year, from the Euromaidan protests that ultimately resulted in former President Victor Yanukovych leaving the country and a new interim government taking control until scheduled elections at the end of this month, to the annexation of the Crimean territory by Russia after a questionable plebiscite, to the Ukrainian military's crackdown on armed pro-Russian militants in the Eastern portion of the country, to deadly riots in cities such as Odessa.

One of the most repeated talking points of those taking the "fascist"/"neo-Nazi" position is the fact that there has been the use of the image of controversial World War II-era political figure Stepan Bandera, mainly by those in the far-right parties like Svoboda and Right Sector. And there is no doubt that Bandera is a highly polarizing figure. Proponents paint him as someone who was first and foremost a Ukrainian nationalist who antagonized and irritated both the Soviets and Nazi Germans alike. On the other hand, opponents believe Bandara was in part complicit for Nazi atrocities committed on Ukrainian soil. Whether or not Bandera was personally responsible for brutal ethnic violence between Ukrainians and Poles during World War II is still a highly charged topic of debate by those in the region. Despite the unsettled view on Bandera's ultimate legacy, there is no doubt he is a lightning rod and extremely divisive figure.

That all being said, for all those critics of Maidan and the interim government who have expressed such righteous indignation over the use of Bandera's visage and other items perceived to be "fascist" or "neo-Nazi", there is a complete silence towards opponents of the interim government who have chosen to glorify symbols of the defunct Soviet Union and Soviet figures such as Lenin and even Stalin. It is high time that such cognitive dissonance be addressed.

Let us be blunt: the Soviet Union was a horrifically brutal, authoritarian, oppressive and imperialistic bastard of a nation pretty much from its inception. There was nothing ever good about it. I understand that for some western adherents to Marxist economic theory, there is a hesitancy to criticize the Soviet Union because it claimed to be a socialist, communist and Marxist society.(I myself have nothing against Marxist economic theory in general; while I'm not a subscriber myself, I do value its ability to identify very real problems of economic disparities and exploitation of the working class.)

But let's not kid ourselves: in the end, the Soviet Union was never really about Marxism, Communism or Socialism. It was really nothing more than an attempt to reboot the rapidly dying Russian Empire and desperately hold onto land seized by Moscow over the centuries. The divine right of the Tsar was no longer cutting it; those in power in Moscow needed a new populist vehicle to use as wrapping paper over the same old package of shit that was Russian Imperialism, and communism fit the bill perfectly. And the new Soviet bosses were just as brutal as the old Tsarist ones: severely restricting basic civil liberties and persecuting, deporting and murdering millions of its own people.

That is why people should be shocked and highly disturbed when they see pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine flying the Hammer and Sickle and parading around pictures of Josef Stalin, one of the most brutal despots ever to hold power in any nation. The gut reaction that many Ukrainians have to the Hammer and Sickle is very similar to how African-Americans view the Confederate Battle Flag. It is a symbol of oppression. Soviet police wearing Hammer and Sickle pins routinely harassed both my grandmother and grandfather until it caused them to flee their homeland in fear of their lives. My aunts and uncles were herded onto trains under the Soviet flag and shipped off to Siberia. And Stalin himself is held responsible for enacting pure terror on the Ukrainian people, including manufacturing a famine that killed millions.

And yet those who express outrage at the ultranationalists who parade around with pictures of Bandera are woefully silent when people to which they lend moral support fly the Hammer and Sickle, march with large pictures of Stalin, and decry the removal of statutes and monuments of Soviet and Russian historical figures. This cognitive dissonance is glaring, the hypocrisy ever so apparent.

There is no doubt that Ukraine during the 1930s and 1940s was a brutal, barbaric place where atrocities from all sides abounded. In a very sad way, this was not unexpected. When you have both Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin--the two most brutal and horrific men of modern times--fighting over the same patch of land, bloodshed and pure madness were pretty much an inevitable result. The bigger question today, however, is why people from all sides insist on glorifying such a horrible era of human history.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Mon May 12, 2014, 11:05 AM (3 replies)

You have to understand the President has an extremely fine line to walk regarding Russia.

On the one hand, knowing the nuclear armament of his adversary, he cannot use language that is too militaristic or hawkish unless he actually wants to back up his words with actions. Which could very well be catastrophic.

On the other hand, he knows he cannot appear to be too weak in the face of clear aggression and blatant violation of neighboring countries' sovereignty, actions which knowingly violate prior treaties to which both the US and Russia are a party.

Of course in the latter argument, it ultimately begs the whole "But....Iraq!" argument. Which appears to be a logical question on its face but puts the President in one hell of a conundrum given the fine line he has to walk. And you do have to understand while we here stateside are able to differentiate between the United States under Bush and the United States under Obama, that nuance loses a bit of its luster beyond our borders. So we will forever be stuck with the albatross of the prior administration's misdeeds around our neck, no matter how much we wish to shake it loose.

And so, yes, like that embarrassing family member for which we feel obligated to make excuses strictly out of a shared last name, our President is forced into the unenviable position of picking out the ever-so-slight silver linings of US debacles past just so he can remain balanced on the dental floss thin tightrope he needs to walk when it comes to Russia's actions towards Ukraine.

As many of you might be aware, over the past couple of weeks I have been very vocal and outspoken as it relates to what has been going on in Ukraine and Russia's actions towards that country (admittedly in part due to my own Ukrainian heritage). I also understand fully that in terms of a US response, military intervention simply is not an option but a forceful non-military approach is essential.

The President has had to walk that tightrope between aggression and complacency and my personal opinion is that he has done so remarkably well. I am not going to rake him over the coals making minor distinctions between our own prior misdeeds (to which he had no control over) and Russia's current misdeeds.

Nor am I going to claim he lacks the moral authority to hold Moscow to task. To the contrary, it is most imperative that the entire world hold Russia to task, no matter our sordid pasts.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Thu Mar 27, 2014, 12:22 PM (55 replies)

It was all a coup!

So Yanukovych gets democratically elected in 2010, and in the next four years he does nothing that would warrant mass protests from the Ukrainian people. Because corruption happens everywhere, so just deal with it, okay?

Then a bunch of neo-nazi ultra-nationalists go into Kiev and throw rocks and sticks and bottles and shit, probably because the US or EU or somebody paid them to do so. Because if you want to enact regime change to get your guy into power, paying lots and lots of people money to protest is the most efficient and effective way to do so.

Then the all-powerful failed US Presidential candidate and chronic mumbler John McCain comes in on McCain Force One and stands on a stage, looking slightly constipated. And Victoria Nuland passes out sandwiches, or maybe donuts (pampushky as they are known locally).

Then the neo-Nazi ultra-nationalists go back to throwing rocks and sticks and bottles and shit.

Then some of the neo-Nazi ultranationalists get shot by snipers, but really, they were probably just shooting themselves, so whateves.

Then someone waves a magic wand, God comes out of the machine, and Yanukoyvch is no longer the Ukrainian president and Svoboda is now in charge. Pretty much permanently, because it's not like they've scheduled elections in the upcoming months.

And clearly it's Svoboda who the US/UK/EU/CIA/IMF/NATO wants in charge, because when you think people who outside foreign powers think are the easiest to have their bidding done on their behalf, it's domestic ultranationalists.

Oh, and did I mention that it's the ultranationalist neo-nazis who are now in charge of Ukraine, and not an interim government lead by moderate centrists? Because that's what it is.

Oh, and Russia invades Crimea with its very special force of Not Russian Russian Troops, but that's okay. Not that we like Putin or anything, but back in the day Russia controlled Crimea for its very special Russification/Expelling the Tatars project, so really it's not like it's foreign soil for them. Plus, Ukraine outlawed the speaking of Russian in Ukraine, so there's that, too.

Plus we as Americans are morally prohibited from criticizing Russia's actions because our last idiot of a President also invaded a foreign country on pretextual purposes. And once that is done, there is no way for us to reflect on our past errors and take a different approach from that point forward.

Obviously. Duh.
Posted by Tommy_Carcetti | Fri Mar 7, 2014, 10:36 AM (31 replies)
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