Blog Swatting Followed by #Truth from Pat Buchanan

by lizard

At Intelligent Discontent, in a post titled Updated facts about the Crimea, the Polish Wolf claims I’m shouting about unrelated issues regarding Ukraine because I’ve lost on two main points:

1) Ukraine will unarguably be better off in the EU

2) Russia’s actions are illegal and unprecedented, going far beyond even what occurred in Kosovo or South Ossetia.

I do admire PW’s ability to cast Russia’s behavior as “unprecedented” and argue Ukraine is better off in the EU. I’m going to try and summarize some of the key points in the exchanges of the last few days.

In an attempt to probe PW’s resolve in depicting Russian aggression as INVASIONS!, I asked him a simple question (more than once before he answered) about the 2008 armed conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia. Who initiated the violence? To answer my own question, I used wikipedia (and not some pinko rag like Counterpunch):

During the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, Georgia launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia, in an attempt to reclaim the territory.[54] Georgia claimed that it was responding to attacks on its peacekeepers and villages in South Ossetia, and that Russia was moving non-peacekeeping units into the country. However an OSCE monitoring group in Tskhinvali did not record outgoing artillery fire from the South Ossetian side in the hours before the start of Georgian bombardment.[10][55] Two British OSCE observers reported hearing only occasional small-arms fire, but no shelling. According to Der Spiegel, NATO officials attested that minor skirmishes had taken place, but nothing that amounted to a provocation.[56] The Georgian attack caused casualties among Russian peacekeepers, who resisted the assault along with Ossetian militia. Georgia successfully captured most of Tskhinvali within hours. Russia reacted by deploying units of the Russian 58th Army and Russian Airborne Troops into South Ossetia one day later, and launched airstrikes against Georgian forces in South Ossetia and military and logistical targets in Georgia proper. Russia claimed these actions were a necessary humanitarian intervention and peace enforcement.

For more reading on this subject, this New York Times article looks at cables released by Wikileaks to better understand how Georgia was able to fool the Bush administration about the nature of the conflict.

Despite the reality of an unprovoked attack launched by American-trained Georgian forces, PW has this to say:

South Ossetia was not a country. It was recognized as part of Georgia, and is still by every nation except Russia and Abkhazia. In ‘attacking’ South Ossetia, Georgia was exercising its sovereign right to defend its territory. It’s no different than Russia ‘invading’ Chechnya, which they claim to have had every right to do. Therefore, what occurred in Georgia was absolutely in invasion. It was not unprovoked, and I never claimed it was, but it was most certainly an invasion, while Georgia’s action were entirely legal.

Moreover, Russia’s response was entirely out of keeping with the provocation – Russia gave Georgia no time to withdraw and entered into no negotiations before initiating hostilities, and acted entirely unilaterally.

To make sure I understood PW, I asked specifically if he thought Georgie was justified in shelling and killing people. This is his response:

Legally, yes. Ethically? I’m not there – I couldn’t tell you if South Ossetian grievances are valid or not. Given that Russia had already undertaken military action against Chechnya using the same arguments, I can tell you with certainty that Russia was not justified in their response.

It’s of course much messier than that. I will again stick with wikipedia:

A European Union investigation concluded that Georgia had started the “unjustified” war, but that this was a “mere culmination of a series of provocations”. It also concluded that Russia did have the right to intervene in cases of attacks against Russian peacekeepers, but that the further Russian advance into “Georgia proper” had been disproportionate. The commission found that all parties involved in the conflict had violated international law.

The reason I pushed this point is because it shows, from my perspective, the pretzel logic of a western apologist trying to justify one form of state violence as legally justifiable (Georgia’s) while casting the response as disproportionate and illegal (Russia’s). In order to depict Russia’s response as a disproportionate invasion, the historical provocations leading up to this point must be ignored. More on that at the end of this post.

Going back to the first point, PW bases his assertion that Ukraine will be “unarguably better in the EU” on the fact that the top 6 recipients of loans from western financial institutions, like the World Bank and the IMF, have seen improvements according to the Human Development Index (wikipedia).

After a tedious back and forth on this particular (where I suggest he read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine), PW says this:

I’m not in the business of defending every action the World Bank takes. And I’ve read part of the shock doctrine, I believe – is there a section on Bolivian water rights? My point is that if these flaws were systemic and intentional, one would expect them to have some statistically noticeable effect on the quality of life in the countries who have taken the largest loans from the World Bank…But leaders, even those who profess hatred of the neo-liberal system, continue to ask for loans (think Kirchner). Why? Because they know that restrictive loans still lead to a better living standard, and thus more votes, than no loans at all.

An accompanying sentiment to this statement is this little bit from a response PW makes to JC:

Yes, every country looks out for its own citizens first, and so every country ought to try to maximize its HDI.

I’m assuming by “every country” PW doesn’t mean countries like Libya, Syria, Ukraine or even Russia.

In response, I try to summarize my biased perception on global events with this:

loans create debt and debt becomes leverage to coerce structural adjustment, or austerity. that’s not a flaw, it’s a feature.

of course there is economic development happening, and money going into poor countries has clearly led to some improvements in the measures you’re so fond of citing.

but where you see altruism, I see control. and where you say every country looks out for its own citizens first I say it’s a geopolitical chess game played by global elites and “citizens” are expendable.

If you’ve made it this far in the post, I hope it wasn’t as tedious to read as it was to write. Beyond the quibbling, PW and myself have conflicting world views, and that’s ok.

We should probably both be thankful that we are privileged enough to be able to articulate opposing viewpoints in a country trying to keep up the charade of being that shining city built on rocks stronger than oceans.

We should also be thankful the conflicts beyond our screens and keyboards, largely financed by our tax-dollars and with varying degrees of body-counts, don’t directly threaten our lives and our families.

If only that were true.

Speaking of truth, it can sometimes come from unlikely sources, like Pat Buchanan. After a comment quoting Buchanan, I poked around and found a pretty good take on the situation we’re in with Russia. It was written in 1998, and I’ll quote it in full below the fold.



Seven years ago, the romance of the age was between America and a Russia newly liberated from Leninism. Ronald Reagan was being toasted even in Moscow as having been right all along about the “evil empire.” Brave Boris Yeltsin stood atop a Russian tank to defy unreconstructed Communists seeking to re-establish the old regime.

How far away that all seems.

Today, Yeltsin blusters that U.S. strikes on Iraq could ignite a “world war,” as Moscow’s defense minister berates William Cohen. Russia ships missile technology to Tehran, sides with Saddam in the Persian Gulf, and establishes a “strategic partnership” with China.

The rise of anti-Americanism in Russia is a strategic disaster that may yet lead to an open breach, financial collapse and Yeltsin’s replacement by an anti-Western nationalist. For this state of affairs, however, Russians alone are not culpable. Much of the blame rests with a haughty U.S. foreign-policy elite that has done its level best to rub Russia’s nose in its Cold War defeat — as it thumped its chest and trumpeted America’s claim to be the “world’s only superpower.”

Consider the unprecedented opportunity America had in 1991.

Moscow had allowed its European empire to collapse, it had withdrawn the Red Army and let Germany be reunited, it had freed the Baltic republics and Ukraine, and it had allowed the U.S.S.R. to dissolve into a dozen nations. Having overthrown communism, it held out a hand to America. Every goal of U.S. policy had been attained.

At that point in history, Russia and America were no longer enemies but natural allies. Nowhere did the vital interests of one impinge on the vital interests of the other.

Yet, instead of behaving toward a defeated Russia as we did toward Germany and Japan after World War II, bringing them into the Western camp, some Americans began to treat Russia as a dangerous delinquent and probable recidivist to be corralled and contained in the tight little box in which history had placed her.

In the last year, U.S. Marines have conducted exercises in the Crimea, U.S. paratroops have practiced jumping in Kazakhstan, and the United States has begun pushing NATO up to the borders of Russia, while American strategists sought to cut Russia out of the oil and gas trade of the Caspian. The attitude seemed to be: If the Russians don’t like it, tough — what can they do about it?

Russians have reacted as Americans would have reacted, had the Confederacy won its independence and British warships arrived in Charleston and Redcoats in Virginia. And they have responded to our assurances that NATO’s expansion is not directed against them as we would have to assurances that a London-Richmond alliance was not a British plot to contain a divided, diminished United States.

NATO’s expansion to Warsaw, Prague and Budapest may be a fait accompli, and future expansion to Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Austria, Slovakia and Macedonia inevitable, given our present hubris. But, as George Kennan writes, history may call this the greatest blunder of the post-Cold War era.

Americans had best wake up and look at Europe — as Kaiser Wilhelm’s minister reported back on the eve of World War I, after a visit to their Vienna partner, “Sire, we are allied to a corpse.” Our NATO allies have all slashed their force levels, and their populations are dwindling. They are more dependencies than allies and are so behaving, choosing when, whether and where to support the imperial protectress. Can anyone believe that France and Italy, neither of which supports us in the Gulf, would declare war on a nuclear-armed Russia to defend Estonia?

Given the present balance of power, Russia can only seethe and plot with our enemies behind our back, as we hand out NATO membership cards to nations lately in her sphere of influence or even part of her empire. But the present balance will not forever endure.

One day, America’s hegemony in the Baltic or the Balkans will be challenged. On that day, when our new NATO allies invoke our guarantees, we will find that a new generation of Americans will not send its sons to fight, simply because this one promised it would.

The NATO expansionists have won the day on Capitol Hill, but they have guaranteed a series of crises in the new century that will mean either war or humiliation for the United States.

Americans might ask themselves: Why at the peak of our global pre-eminence do we seem so universally resented? Is it perhaps because the Old Republic is behaving like an arrogant empire?

  1. Still lyin’ it up, I see. The EU indeed declared that Georgia ought not have entered South Ossetia – but how exactly does that differ from the Russia invasion of Grozny? The situation, indeed the location, is almost exactly the same. You continue to act as though Russia crossing order into non-disputed territories of Georgia is no big deal, indeed mock the idea of calling it an invasion. But it was exactly that, an unwarranted invasion of Georgian territory.

    Also, you are straight lying, LYING, that I invoke the world bank to argue that Ukraine is better of in the EU. I brought up the six countries that received the most world bank loans because you claimed the world bank did ‘the opposite’ of reducing poverty (before admitting that the world bank in fact reduces poverty. Brilliant tactical move there, lizard). I compared Ukraine directly to Poland B, which it was most economically and culturally similar prior to Polish acceptance into the EU, and to Lithuania, which was part of the same country as Ukraine until 1991. I also compare Ukraine to Romania and Bulgaria, which were substantially POORER than Ukraine in 1991 but are now far wealthier.

    And actually, my ENTIRE POINT was that countries like ” Libya, Syria, Ukraine or even Russia.” should work to maximize their own human development. In the case of Ukraine, I’ve provided compelling evidence, on numerous occasions, that they can best maximize their human development by aligning with the EU as quickly as possible.

    As to Pat Buchanan, well, he’s an idiot, and you’re not saying much for yourself quoting him. “America’s hegemony in the Baltic or the Balkans will be challenged.”

    Guess what? That hasn’t happened since NATO expanded into those regions. Since 2004, when NATO included the Baltic states and Romania and Bulgaria, neither the Balkans nor the Baltic have experienced warfare. Indeed, the ONLY areas where Russia continues to challenge the sovereignty of its neighbors are those that NATO has not yet expanded into – Georgia and Ukraine.

    • lizard19

      entering the EU sphere means accepting the neoliberal economic model for Ukraine. pardon me if I assumed your passionate defense of the World Bank was an extension of your assertion Ukraine would be better off in the western sphere.

      and I’m not saying Russia’s reaction to Georgia’s unprovoked attack on South Ossetia is no big deal. I’m saying Russia’s reaction is understandable when you look at how the US has pushed NATO east despite assurances given to Gorbachev that that wouldn’t happen.

      you can call Buchanan an idiot if that makes you feel better, but I think his words are prescient. there was an opportunity after the collapse of the Soviet Union to have a more peaceful world, but the US blew up that opportunity. a more belligerent, expansionist Russia is a direct consequence.

      the US has no credibility when it comes to human rights and international law, considering the death and terror we’ve been spreading across the globe for the past decade. of course it’s hard to see that when you’re blinded by American exceptionlism.

      • “entering the EU sphere means accepting the neoliberal economic model for Ukraine”

        I don’t know what you mean by neoliberal, because in your lexicon its a meaningless word. But it’s generally associated with unfettered capitalism and the accompanying inequality. It might be relevant here to point that there are exactly 0 countries currently in the EU with higher inequality than Russia, and 4 of the 5 most equal countries are in the EU.

        “and I’m not saying Russia’s reaction to Georgia’s unprovoked attack on South Ossetia is no big deal. ”

        “PW’s resolve in depicting Russian aggression as INVASIONS!”

        No, you just put it in ironic all caps and deny my accurate characterization of what happened as an invasion.

        “you can call Buchanan an idiot if that makes you feel better, but I think his words are prescient.”

        You can call him prescient if that makes you feel better, but that won’t make it true. He predicted that Russia would challenge our hegemony in the Baltic or Balkans if we expanded there, when in fact our expansion into those regions has had the opposite effect there; Russian expansionism came to a halt everywhere except the countries NATO failed to guarantee.

        But the bigger error he makes is assuming that Russia is imperialistic in reaction to outside forces. Foreign policy is largely determined by geography and national interest, and those did not change substantially after 1991. The US could gamble that Russia had somehow changed 250 years of expansionist policy overnight, but we were gambling with the lives and freedom of millions of people. Or, we could secure their sovereignty and prosperity. The fact that Russia opposed the expansion of a mutual defense organization (that they were invited to cooperate with) is pretty strong evidence that they had no intention of changing their policy dramatically.

        • JC

          “The US could gamble that Russia had somehow changed 250 years of expansionist policy overnight, but we were gambling with the lives and freedom of millions of people. Or, we could secure their sovereignty and prosperity.”

          More moral relativism aka “american exceptionalism.” This is why we will never agree on most of american expansionist foreign policy. You think we are a morally superior country to the Russians, therefore our actions can only produce good, even if we have to commit some less morally offensive actions — like destabilizing Ukraine (or Venezuela) and engineering illegal coups — in order to create the opportunity to advance our hegemony.

          And quit playing patsy with the term “neoliberal,” you know what it means.

          • I don’t think I do know what neo-liberal means, if it is some secret requirement for EU membership. Sweden does not meet what I thought was the definition of neoliberal.

            Also, I don’t believe the US is morally correct. I observe, accurately, that the expansion of the EU and NATO has brought prosperity and stability, respectively, to previously poor and authoritarian parts of Europe, from Portugal to Poland. I oppose supporting violence in Ukraine, but what became a forceful takeover was preceded by months of peaceful demonstration, following a stupid decision made by a parliament illegitimately elected.

            And, most importantly, who are you?

            • JC

              Moral relativism isn’t about being “correct.” It’s about thinking we’re better than our adversary (Russia), which allows us to overlook our misdeeds (all of our illegal activities under international law). Therefore it is ok for us to commit violations of international law, human rights, and national sovereignty, because we think we can make things better in another country.

              And “months of peaceful demonstrations?” In what parallel universe have you been living? Get your head out of the mainstream press and see what is really happening in the world. Here, go look at this photo gallery of the so-called “peaceful demonstration” a month before Yanukovych’s ouster, and come back here and rephrase what you just said.

              • Pop quiz JC – when did the demonstrations begin? A month before Yanukovych’s ouster? No. They began last year. Only after months of demonstrations, and an extensive list of casualties, did the images you’re referring to start to become common. That’s why I said what I said – the beginning of the movement was peaceful, and I certainly can’t oppose our government helping to fund or organize that. Only in the last stage did the protests become violent, and that, I’ve said repeatedly, was too far and put the lives of too many at risk. (I said that before the invasion of Crimea, I think before even the overthrow of Yanukovych).

              • Oh, and I forgot to ask – who are you?

            • Craig Moore

              Matthew, so you live in the SF area these days? At which university are you seeking your masters degree?

              • I’m actually working full time, not seeking my master’s until my wife gets hers – one tuition bill is doable, two are a bit much!

              • Notice how I don’t flip out on Craig – he’s using his actual name. What line of work are you in, Craig? Your name is common enough that I can’t be sure from Google. (See? Humans. Talking. Craig and I agree on very few things, but we rarely insult each other outright, even when things get testy.)

              • Craig Moore

                PW, I don’t collect a paycheck these days. I live an unremarkable life so you won’t find me on the web, facebook, instagram, or twitter.

                As to our relationship, you have never disrespected me, therefore, I never felt the urge to do the same. However, Don and I don’t share mutual respect… and it shows at times. BTW, good luck to you and your wife in your new life in SF area. One of my favorite places. I’ve played golf at the O Club a couple of times in my younger days. Sonoma is amazing. Love the wineries.

  2. Well said Polish Wolf!

    The European Union does seem to provide more incentives for countries to develop their economies, education and labor force.

    On another related topic, I wonder, for instance, how many queer ethnic Russians living in the Ukraine feel about having Crimea possibly taken from a country that is far more respectful of humane rights than Russia. For respect for human lives is one of main conditions to enter the European Union and it seems relevant to think of this matter when a region is illegally invaded by another nation.
    For someone who claims itself an anti-imperialist, you are certainly condoning to some hegemonic moves from a country whose president doesn’t need ay kind of help from the foreign media to make him look like a fool.
    sorry, maybe this was too “pretzelish”, I was referring to Putin.

    And JC and Lizard, stalking people on facebook? It seems to me that you are using quite a few covert and destabilizing strategies to make your points more valid.

    • lizard19

      the EU needs to work on its own struggle with human rights:

      “Judging from the soaring rhetoric on the Arab Spring in 2011, human rights would seem to be a central concern of the EU,” said Benjamin Ward, deputy Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The sad truth is that European Union governments too often set aside rights at home when they prove inconvenient, especially those of vulnerable minorities and migrants, and brush aside criticism of abuse.”

      In its 676-page report, Human Rights Watch assessed progress on human rights during the past year in more than 90 countries, including popular uprisings in the Arab world that few would have imagined.

      While the idea of a human rights crisis in Europe may seem far-fetched, a closer examination reveals deeply worrying trends, Human Rights Watch said. Four developments stand out: the erosion of rights under counterterrorism policy; growing intolerance and abusive policies toward minorities and migrants; the rise of populist extremist parties and their influence on mainstream politics; and the declining effectiveness of the institutions and tools that protect human rights.

      anyway, I’m sure the neo-Nazis in power in Ukraine are going to be great stewards of human rights.

    • lizard19

      also, it’s sorta ironic to have a family member commenting under a pseudonym assert JC is using “covert and destabilizing strategies” to enhance the validity of his point.

      • oh, silly me!
        I totally missed the memo in this web blog that states: No family member has the right to share his or her opinion when another family member is participating at a given discussion.

        (sigh) so much for my freedom of expression and capacity to think and form an opinion.

        • JC

          I see the irony is lost on you and mistaken for censorship. You must have been studying at the Don Pogreba school of blogging.

          As to PW, why don’t you ask him and Don how many times Intelligent Discontent has clipped facebook posts out and reposted them on their blog to make a point.

          You’re doing nothing but crying crocodile tears here, LL. Yes, quite silly… (sigh)

          • Irony cannot be lost if there was never any to begin with. We both use our names in our email addresses, so we’re not being particularly sneaky here.

            I have no idea how many times ID has clipped facebook posts; But I can tell you 1) I never have 2) Don does it under his actual name, so anyone offended is welcome to similarly peruse his facebook, 3) they are all people who have made themselves public figures

            4) AND most importantly, who are you, JC?

      • Are you comparing the human rights situation in Europe to Russia by citing only the report about Europe? Because that would be shoddy, shoddy scholarship. Would you like to make the case that in any of those categories (anti-terrorism abuses, treatment of minorities, rise of extremist parties, and the declining effectiveness of human rights institutions), Russia has a better record that Europe? You know that this isn’t true. It’s more distracting nonsense. In every index of human rights, Russia is far worse. For obvious reasons, HRW doesn’t rank countries, but some organizations do, and they all agree that European citizens enjoy more rights than Russian ones.

        • JC

          Again, more moral relativism… Leading you to believe that the ends justify the means. Russia can do no good in Ukraine because they are a bad country, and therefore because we’re better than them, whatever we do is ok.

        • I don’t think you understand moral relativism, either. Russia will likely do no good in Ukraine, because they have done little good in their own country, in Kazakhstan, or in Belarus. Europe has done loads of good in Iberia and Central Europe, so it stands to reason that they will do good by Ukraine as well. That’s not moral relativism, that’s empirical reasoning.

          As to the means – here you’re also mistaken. The means Russia has used to control Ukraine are far more aggressive and intrusive than those used by the West, and those being used currently are illegal and in violation of Russia’s explicit obligations.

          • JC

            You are blind to the covert and imperial means by which our country destabilizes and subverts sovereign nations. It is impossible to have a coherent debate with you.

            Go read on the history of moral relevance and moral equivalence in foreign policy and politics, then come back and have a real discussion. You come from a viewpoint blinded by the propaganda our nation puts out, and our mainstream media parrots. You haven’t an iota of ability to look critically at the actions of our country in its drive to assert hegemony on the former soviet empire (including Russia). And if you don’t think we’re trying to manipulate Russia, then you haven’t looked at the history of NED in that country.

            • That’s not an answer to anything I’ve said; it’s an admission of defeat. You’re falling back on “the US lies! And is bad!” to reply to statistical evidence that the EU has provided incredible benefits to its poorest members. That’s not American propaganda – that’s backed up by any statistical database in the world, and it’s improvement I’ve seen personally.

              Is it just US propaganda that Russia has called for a referendum that could violate the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, or is it US propaganda that Russia promised not to do exactly that in 1994 and 1997? Those are ascertainable facts. As to Russia’s repeated efforts to manipulate Ukraine economically, that I didn’t get from US propaganda, but from conversations with Ukrainians living near the border with Russia. I’m not the one being duped here, JC.

              • JC

                What “incredible benefits” has the EU brought to Greece through austerity? And the prospect of austerity in Ukraine will be met with huge protest once the plan becomes apparent and foisted upon the Ukrainian people. And it appears that the looting of gold reserves by the U.S. may have already begun.

                And your stating that “Russia called for a referendum” is just your buying into western propaganda. The Crimean Parliament called the referendum. You are just buying into U.S. propaganda as promoted by SoS John Kerry. He is playing the part of Colin Powell’s runup to the U.S.’s illegal invasion of Iraq by pimping out a bunch of lies to the international community. But people like you are naive enough to take it at face value.

                And how about our and/or the EU/IMF/WB attempts to manipulate Ukraine’s economy? Again that moral relativism thing: Russia bad, so it’s economic manipulation bad. US/EU good, so their economic manipulation good.

                Again, foreign policy dictated by some human rights or poverty index is going to be fraught with peril. Why not just drop a few nukes on Moscow and Beijing and impose our beneficent imperial leadership on the world?

              • “What “incredible benefits” has the EU brought to Greece ”

                Oh this is delightful. Forgive me, I’m about to get condescending here. Look at essentially figures for the Greek economy in 1981, when they joined the EEC. GDP per capita PPP has more than doubled, EVEN taking into account the fall from the most recent years. And Greece is by far the worst case scenario.

                “And your stating that “Russia called for a referendum” is just your buying into western propaganda. The Crimean Parliament called the referendum. ”

                Fair enough – Russia may not have called for the referendum. I suppose we can believe that the mysterious men with Russian weapons who currently control Crimea (in addition to thousands of uniformed Russian troops) are not actually from Russia. But Putin is still defending a referendum he has a legal obligation to oppose:


                “Again, foreign policy dictated by some human rights or poverty index is going to be fraught with peril.”

                But foreign policy dictated by some notion of national sovereignty that no country actually subscribes to is totally free of moral hazard. Just ask 1935.

              • off topic comment deleted — ps, any and all attempts to unmask the anonymous identities of writers here, or calls for them to unmask their own anonymity will be deleted

              • Classy move, JC – ask for me to comment under my real name and then decide that you won’t use yours. I like the use of the term ‘unmask’, though – you really think you are a super hero, don’t you? Some kind of caped crusader, allying with Putin to free the world from imperialism!

  3. steve kelly

    The NATO-Gladio/IMF operation in Ukraine is hard for U.S. neoliberals to get their heads around.

    Thanks Lizard for keeping the light on.

  4. troutsky

    The enemy of your enemy might still be your enemy.

  5. JC

    PW above:

    “Irony cannot be lost if there was never any to begin with. We both use our names in our email addresses, so we’re not being particularly sneaky here.

    I have no idea how many times ID has clipped facebook posts; But I can tell you 1) I never have 2) Don does it under his actual name, so anyone offended is welcome to similarly peruse his facebook, 3) they are all people who have made themselves public figures

    4) AND most importantly, who are you, JC?”

    PW, Lizard in the comment leading the thread above: “also, it’s sorta ironic…”

    You might want to read the thread before you leap to (incorrect) conclusions.

    As to your other points, if you would have enough prescience to understand the doctrine of public vs. private persons (read Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc i.e.), particularly when, in our instance, several people engage in public debates (and a blog is a public debate) about controversial issues of public interest (and I daresay U.S. policy in Ukraine and elsewhere is controversial), they elevate themselves to public personas for those limited issues.

    That you and I and lizard chose to post under pseudonyms (and all your posts ad ID are signed with a pseudonym), in no way changes our activities as private vs. public figures. We all are public figures here to the degree that we elevate ourselves into a public debate over controversial issues.

    And finally, you have no right to demand that I accede my anonymity just because you don’t like criticism. If anything, your and Don’s absolute obsession over denying people their right to anonymity is incredibly authoritarian of you. I’ll just defer to a much more cogent discussion about online anonymity by the EFF than I’m willing to give here.

    In any case, your (and Don’s) demands for anonymous authors to disclose their identities just reveals how far you two have strayed from the traditions that (anonymously) built this country.

    I previously have been victimized by our government for the content of my non-anonymous public speech. That I choose to remain anonymous and avoid victimization by our government and my community is not just my choice, it is my right. Though I don’t expect moral relativists like you and Don to ever respect that. Grow up, and grow a pair.

    • No, JC, you don’t understand irony. It would be ironic if LL had used a different email to seem like a different or unidentifiable person when commenting. But as it is, there is no irony – you can certainly go stalk another facebook of another commenter. I guess the real irony is that anyone uses their real name when they know you consider them public figures and have no qualms about posting things from their facebook online.

      “Put your real name on your comments here at 4&20, and I might consider doing the same at ID”

      So this was a lie, then, I take it? I write under a nome de plume, but it is not one that hides my identity – I maintain the same, rather silly, screen name that I used when I was a minor so that everything I’ve written is transparent and traceable. That way, if I make a ridiculous prediction or stake an ignorant position, I can’t run away from it.

      Don and I don’t demand that you be open with your name, or refrain from personal attacks. We demand one or the other. Because I have no idea who ‘JC’ is, I cannot verify anything you tell me or find out any information you choose not to disclose. That means in an argument involving personal attacks, we are far more vulnerable that you are. If you’re not open with your identity, you don’t get to take your criticism to a personal level.

      Even if you decide that I am a public figure, your argument is nonsense. You used the fact that I am open with my identity, an openness which you have repeatedly requested, to creepily stalk me on Facebook. Do you not see how if you are not willing to even disclose your real name, you ought not go tracking down what I write under mine? Are you actually that dense?

      • JC

        FWIW, PW, you are just attempting to derail this post with your screed about anonymity. You’ll never win this battle here.

        As to you calling me a liar, I’d expect no less from you. Don knows who I am (we have had email conversations about this where I have revealed my identity to him). And he has banned me from your site. If Don were to send me an email inviting me to post given that I’d use my real name, I’d “consider doing the same at ID.” As it is, I have attempted to comment at ID recently, and all my comments have been denied.

        As to the rest of your gibberish, again grow up. You’re a big boy now, even if your wife has to come and watch your back.

      • I’m not trying to win you over, JC. But I will point out how creepy you are. Repeatedly. Until you admit that you crossed a line abusing the fact that only you are allowed to be anonymous on your own blog.

        I didn’t ask my wife to join our conversation – but she also 1) found it creepy that you were on my facebook and 2) as a direct beneficiary of the EU’s efforts to develop its poorest members, decided to set the record straight on your maligning of that organization. But of course its all just neo-liberal propaganda, the lived experience of people actually there be damned!

        • JC

          No PW, I have never asserted that I am the only one to be anonymous on this blog. And I have never censored anyone for being anonymous, unlike “Intelligent” Discontent regularly does, and does to me. The fact you find me “creepy” doesn’t bother me in the least. Crocodile tears.

          As to your assertions regarding the popularity of the effects of austerity among individuals in the EU, I think you might find yourself in the minority. Go look at this series of photos of protests in Greece over EU imposed austerity. Maybe you’d rather read about it?

          In any case, I’m sure you’ll find some snippet of positive to justify your world view that EU austerity is good policy. I just don’t think you’ll find many people who have been negatively affected by it will agree with you.

          • JC –

            Of course Greeks don’t like austerity. But Greece still has a budget deficit. They are upset about having less of one than they used to, but the alternative, and the fact that they would have to face if they weren’t in the EU, would be an even harsher austerity as the government was forced to immediately balance the budget.

  6. lizard19

    let’s agree to disagree, everyone.

  7. Big Swede

    I view this whole Ukraine dilemma a huge purposeful distraction.

    Look thousands of miles to the east and avoid what’s happening here. Been away from the ‘puter for a couple days in the mountains and when I came back I find Goldman’s piece lining up with mine.

    “There isn’t going to be a war over Ukraine. There isn’t even going to be a crisis over Ukraine. We will perform our ritual war-dance and excoriate the Evil Emperor, and the result would be the same if we had sung “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” on a road trip to Kalamazoo. Worry about something really scary, like Iran.

    Ukraine isn’t a country: it’s a Frankenstein monster composed of pieces of dead empires, stitched together by Stalin. It has never had a government in the Western sense of the term after the collapse of the Soviet Union gave it independence, just the equivalent of the family offices for one predatory oligarch after another–including the “Gas Princess,” Yulia Tymoshenko. It has a per capital income of $3,300 per year, about the same as Egypt and Syria, and less than a tenth of the European average. The whole market capitalization of its stock exchange is worth less than the Disney Company. It’s a basket case that claims to need $35 billion to survive the next two years. Money talks and bullshit walks. Who wants to ask the American taxpayer for $35 billion for Ukraine, one of the most corrupt economies on earth? How about $5 billion? Secretary of State Kerry is talking about $1 billion in loan guarantees, and the Europeans are talking a similar amount. That’s not diplomacy. It’s a clown show.” Goldman,PJ Media

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