David Jolly just beat Democrat Alex Sink in FL13′s special congressional election.
Sink was considered something of a rising star for the Donks, and Jolly had hardly been considered at all.
The law might hit part-time Wisconsin schoolteachers hard:
School districts have a choice of laying off or reducing the hours of teachers, aides and substitutes that work more than 30 hours but less than 40 a week, or offering the same health care coverage at the same cost as they do full-time staff.
In March 2013, Mike Nault, human resources director at the Oshkosh School District, offered part-time teachers in the district an ultimatum.
“If you want health insurance July 1, 2014,” Nault told them, “then you need to look for full-time work with us.”
A postponement gave the district a temporary reprieve, Nault told Wisconsin Reporter. “Then I thought ‘OK we’re not going to change anything for a year.’”
With the changes and delays, the Oshkosh district, the 11th largest in the state, may be able to keep the status quo for another year, Nault said. There are still “too many variables” to know what will happen in 2016.
That Means It’s Working™.
More seriously, at this point you shouldn’t be at all surprised if the Wiggleroom Administration begins illegally delaying more and more provisions — past 2015 and into 2017, conveniently after Queen Hillary’s coronation.
But at some point, doesn’t the law have to come into effect?
Japan has decided, for the first time ever, to establish a force of marines similar to the U.S. Marine Corps. Apparently American marines will help train the new Japanese force, currently planned as a brigade of some 3,000 troops. American marines have been teaching Japanese infantry how to undertake amphibious operations for some time but these army troops were not considered marines. The new plan is to establish an elite force of Japanese marines to deal with Chinese threats to Japanese territory. Japan is aware that neighboring South Korea created a Marine Corps in the 1950s, mainly because American marines were involved in protecting South Korea during the Korean War (1950-53) and the Koreans were impressed by the American marines. The South Korean marines turned out to be very good and the Japanese will have to hustle to be competitive.
I’m sure the Japanese will do just that — and the Chinese have nobody to blame but themselves for this development.
There’s a phrase we’ll probably be seeing more of over the next few weeks, months, and years. WSJ has the latest story:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has apparently rejected a U.S. proposal to resolve the dispute over Ukraine that had been put forward by Secretary of State John Kerry over the past week, according to senior Russian and U.S. officials.
Mr. Putin’s decision led Mr. Kerry to put off a Russian invitation to meet Mr. Putin in Russia, as early as the beginning of this week in Sochi, to discuss the Ukraine crisis, according to these officials.
Notice the swastika in the poster above? That’s part of Putin’s propaganda campaign, in which Moscow claims that Ukraine is being run by nationalists with Nazi inclinations to murder Russians. Is it true? Of course not — but it can be portrayed as true in Russia (and in Crimea) for long enough to get Putin what he wants.
While Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom and Secretary of State John Kerry give stern lectures about Putin’s Neanderthal 19th Century behavior, the Russian strongman redefines warfare for the 21st Century.
Danny Vinik for The New Republic:
Republicans like to promise things they can’t deliver, like huge tax cuts that pay for themselves or health reform plans that don’t disrupt the existing system. And that’s made life difficult for Democrats trying to propose initiatives that, in order to accomplish real goals, come with real costs. But lately Republican delusions about policy have hobbled somebody else: Members of their own party trying to show that, yes, the GOP can govern responsibly.
You should read the rest of Vinik’s report just as soon as Democrats fully implement their healthcare “reform” law — on time and on budget.
Another day, another fail, another union turns against ♡bamaCare!!!:
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 is pushing about a dozen of its employers to contribute more money to its health insurance fund to cover rising Obamacare costs. Currently, employers pay 100% of the premiums.
Union workers picketed outside the Stratosphere over the weekend, ahead of a March 20 vote that would give the union the right to call a strike.
At issue are Obamacare fees and mandates that have greatly increased the health insurance fund’s expenses in recent years. What’s angering the local, along with many unions nationwide, is that the fund doesn’t qualify for federal subsidies to cover low-income workers that for-profit insurers do. The union fund wants these subsidies to help offset the added costs.
Those subsidies, which go directly to insurers, help lower-income Americans purchase insurance on the individual market through state and federal exchanges. But since union plans are considered employer-sponsored plans, there is no federal money to subsidize its members.
You’d think Professor Wiggleroom would wave his magic waiver wand, but as I said yesterday, private sector unions no longer hold enough clout to wag the Democrat dog.
Jonathan Martin reports from CPAC:
It was difficult to miss Ian Jacobson at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Known as Rooster, he was 33, with an ample beard, earrings and a towering orange-and-aqua spiked Mohawk haircut. But he also sported a pinstriped suit, French cuffs and a natty contrast collar.
Mr. Jacobson’s sartorial contradictions matched those of his politics: He is among the young Republicans who are pro-free market on fiscal issues and libertarian on social ones. While his views represent a potential growth wing for a party that is losing among other demographic groups, they also show an emerging tension with the older social conservatives at the core of the party’s base.
“I want us to return to our roots,” Mr. Jacobson said while attending the conference over the weekend. A self-described “libertarian-leaning Republican” from San Antonio, he sketched out his ideal political party as one that freed individuals to chart their own course in their personal and professional lives.
The story notes that even GOP presidential hopefuls at the convention “largely avoided divisive social issues or mentioned them only to praise their party’s big-tent tolerance.”
Even the old guard might be starting to learn.
Yahoo has a nice primer on ♡bamaCare!!!’s penalties for failure to obtain insurance, or pay the insurance “tax” or whatever the hell it is. But the penalties, while increasingly harsh, might not be all they’re cracked up to be:
The point of such penalties isn’t to punish people or raise revenue for the government but to provide an increasingly strong incentive to sign up for insurance, from any source. ACA enrollees can qualify for federal subsidies that will reduce the cost of coverage up to income levels of about $47,000 for an individual and $95,000 for a family of four. At some point, the cost of coverage could be cheaper than the penalty for some people, which in theory ought to make enrolling a no-brainer.
There’s one wild card, though: It’s still not clear how the government will collect penalty fees, or how aggressively it will enforce them. About 80% of people who file a tax return get a refund, and the Internal Revenue Service will be allowed to deduct the amount of penalties owed from those refunds. But that could create an undesirable cat-and-mouse game in which taxpayers deliberately underpay each year, making it harder for the government to collect not just ACA penalty fees but basic taxes. So the IRS may be reluctant to hack into refunds. And there’s no other clear-cut way for the government to garnish wages or take other aggressive steps to collect fees.
Simple lawfulness isn’t much of an impediment for the IRS these days, which is why it’s so vital for the GOP to take the Senate this fall if we’re to have any hope of reining in the rogue agency.
A smart GOP (cough, cough) could have a field day sending taxpayer-friendly IRS reform bills for Professor Wiggleroom to veto.
Have this with your coffee:
At some point over the next few years, the rate of money flow and inflation will start to catch up to each other, eventually sending the economy into a recession, according to a new analysis from banking analyst Dick Bove.
The good news in Bove’s forecast is that the day of reckoning is probably four years away.
The bad news is that a 7 percent rate in the 10-year note looms out there, something that would put a severe crimp in the current debt-happy economy.
I’ll say it again. The only reason we get a four-year window is the weight of the Wiggleroom Administration on the private sector has squeezed all the life out of it. There’s no velocity of money when people are hunkered down, expecting the worst.
And so here it comes.
Analysts Molly K. McKew and Gregory A. Maniatis for WaPo:
Putin is no longer bound by the constraints of nation-state warfare. Years of confrontations with separatists, militants, terrorists and stateless actors influenced his thinking. In Crimea, Putin debuted a pop-up war — nimble and covert — that is likely to be the design of the future.
First, the hidden army appeared out of nowhere. Soldiers-of-no-nation were outfitted for troublemaking and street-fighting. These troops, denied by Putin, are also seemingly unconstrained by the laws, rules and conventions governing warfare — Putin’s biggest brush-off yet to international order. They are Putin’s hybrid of soldiers and terrorists: hidden faces, hidden command-and-control, hidden orders, but undoubtedly activated to achieve state objectives. The lack of an identified leader gums up the international community’s response: There is no general with whom to negotiate a cease-fire or surrender; if violence erupts, there is potentially no way to end it short of stopping each gunman.
These irregular forces are also a psychological menace for the local population and Ukrainians nationwide, who don’t know where else the hidden army awaits.
The second component of Putin’s 21st-century warfare is cyber. Calling it propaganda diminishes the insidious and poisonous nature of this information battle.
Two decades ago or more, James Dunnigan and Austin Bay wrote about our future of fighting “little wars” against non-traditional (and possibly non-state) actors. They couldn’t have been more correct in their assessments.
What Putin has done is quite remarkable. He’s taken the little war concepts traditionally used by small nations, rebels, or terror groups, and adapted them for use by a large nation-state.
These tactics act as a force multiplier, especially since the cyber actions and the semi-demi-guerrilla army require less force — and less logistical strain — than a conventional war does. Added to the mix what the authors describe as Putin’s talent for “using financial markets as a polemical tool” to keep himself enriched and in power.
Combatting this multi-layered and asymmetrical warfare, scaled up to continental size, is going to require a much more nimble White House, State Department, and Pentagon than we currently enjoy.
Here’s the latest in FL13′s special congressional election:
With more than 119,000 ballots cast early or in the mail, the GOP holds a returned-ballot advantage of 4.06% — thereby reaching the magic number some observers believe the Republicans must be at by Election Day in order for them to win the seat.
According to the latest data — and this data reflects some cancelling out that does not show up in Pinellas Supervisor of Elections’ raw numbers – 48,123 ballots from Republican voters have been returned as of Friday, while Democrats have turned in 43,526. Third-party or NPA voters have cast 21,503 ballots.
119,000 early ballots seems like a lot for an off-year special election, doesn’t it?
David Jolly has a real chance to win this, but he and his team should be ready to pounce on any signs of irregularities — which is the nice way of saying “the Democrats will steal this election if they can.”
Megan McArdle looked at the people who are actually buying insurance on the new exchanges and concludes:
The positive way to look at this is to note that the number of uninsured people who had purchased insurance increased dramatically by February:
The negative way to look at this is to note that, even so, the majority of activity in the market comes from the previously insured, who are mostly replacing prior coverage.
Or we could conclude that ♡bamaCare!!! causes people to lose their coverage, then takes credit for selling them new, and often worse coverage. Megan adds:
Worse, the number of previously insured people who had not enrolled in a qualified health plan by the end of February was almost twice the number of previously uninsured people who had. That’s the opposite of the effect this law was supposed to have.
And that’s still looking at the law in isolation, without taking into account it’s external unintended consequences on the labor market and economic growth.
That Means It’s Working™.
Found a knee-slapping satirical interview from Thomas Frank with Adolph Reed at Salon. Frank’s questions are in bold:
Maybe the whole project of economic restructuring should be called into question.
And the funny thing about it when you think about it, Tom, is that if you’re concerned with the conditions of black Americans, most black people are working people. One might say even disproportionately. And what improves the condition of the working class is going to improve the condition of more black people than the disparity focus would. That’s not to say it’s either/or. But the fact is we’ve largely dropped the one in favor of the other. You can see the same thing in the women’s movement. I made this point in the article. It wasn’t that long ago when the political agenda of the women’s movement included stuff like comparable worth and universal child and elder care. And right now, attention to that stuff is shriveled. The defense of reproductive rights is a constant, of course. But the political-economic program that gets touted by the women’s movement is directed toward the glass ceiling and the first woman president. Stuff like that.
I was thinking of Sheryl Sandberg.
Right. She is the Alexandra Kollontai of our moment.
Or the Clara Zetkin. The radical Bolshevik theorist who was also a feminist. I guess I should say that Sandberg is the Alexandra Kollontai of the bourgeoisie at this point.
This isn’t satire, you say? That’s right. This is just how members of the Reality Based Community talk amongst themselves.
Remember how Japanese PM Shinzō Abe was going to be the guy to really, truly, and finally spend his country into prosperity? Well:
Japan just printed its worst current account deficit on record and its worst GDP growth since Abenomics was unveiled – both missing by the proverbial garden mile and both confirming that all is not well in Asia. As for the perpetual hope of a J-curve (or miracle hockey-stick reversal)? There won’t be one!
Tyler Durden has the whole story, accompanied by some Doom & Gloom-worthy charts.
Deregulate. Simplify the tax code. Protect the value of your currency. Those three steps are all it takes to achieve prosperity, but as Glenn Reynolds like to say, politicians don’t like them because they provide too few opportunities for graft.
CFR’s Gayle Tzemach Lemmon spoke with retired diplomat Ronald Neumann about Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom’s “foreign policy reality check.” Here’s the damning bit:
Neumann describes a National Security Council that controls the policy process far more than it makes decisions about it. In Syria, Afghanistan and other hotspots, the administration’s choices range from lousy to awful, a reality that has resulted in a sustained lack of decision-making.
“They recognize a series of choices, they don’t like any of them, they don’t know what to do about it and then they default into endless talking about small stuff,” Neumann said. “I think it is much more a function of a president, at the end of the day, not giving clear strategic guidance because he doesn’t like the options, rather than he doesn’t understand them.”
As the father of two small boys, I sometimes encounter this behavior right here at home. Confronted with an unwelcome decision (“make your bed before breakfast”) they will choose to do nothing until until the stakes become more dire (“make your bed or no Froot Loops for breakfast”) as the situation escalates (“make your bed or no Froot Loops for a week”). The hope is that the situation will go away — that I’ll forget about the bed or cave in and let them have the Froot Loops anyway.
But foreign leaders don’t back down in the face of hemming and hawing. And as a parent I won’t back down either. Partly, that’s just good, consistent parenting. But it’s also because I can’t stand the idea of my boys growing up to become anything like Professor Wiggleroom.
Chrysler has ordered students of a small community college in Olympia, Wash., to destroy a Dodge Viper GTS Coupe. And it’s not just any Viper GTS coupe, either — it’s the fourth Viper model off the production line that’s been sitting for the past seven years at South Puget Sound Community College.
The pre-production car was donated, along with 92 other Vipers, by Chrysler to technical schools nationwide that offer automotive programs. The problem is, according to professor Norm Chapman, that despite the fact that these Vipers were educational tools that were never meant to see the open road, a couple of them “got loose.” And predictably enough for a car with a 8.0-liter V10 underhood and no traction control or ABS to speak of, they were involved in accidents. So now, to mitigate lawsuits, the mint condition example you see before you with VIN number four is going bye-bye.
This particular Viper, while appearing to be a stock GTS coupe, is a prototype from 1992. It has a 600-horsepower V10 engine, a 2,200-pound fiberglass body with a “makeshift hard-top,” according to the Tacoma News Tribune. When the GTS debuted in 1996, it came with a 450-horsepower V10 and more conventional body construction with a heavier curb weight.
This kind of order isn’t uncommon for vehicles never built to be street legal. And do you really want to drive a 600-HP car with a “makeshift” top?
OK, yeah, dumb question.
The amount of debt globally has soared more than 40 percent to $100 trillion since the first signs of the financial crisis as governments borrowed to pull their economies out of recession and companies took advantage of record low interest rates, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
The $30 trillion increase from $70 trillion between mid-2007 and mid-2013 compares with a $3.86 trillion decline in the value of equities to $53.8 trillion in the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The jump in debt as measured by the Basel, Switzerland-based BIS in its quarterly review is almost twice the U.S.’s gross domestic product.
Obviously we failed to spend enough money.
Here’s the transcript from BizPacReview:
“I was a bit troubled today by the tone of the president,” he began, speaking at the Republican Governors Association Feb. 24.
Perry was describing a meeting at the White House earlier that day between several governors and President Obama.
“When you have governors, and we all compete against each other — we are the laboratories of innovation — and for the President of the United States to look Democrat and Republican governors in the eye and say, ‘I do not trust you to make decisions in your state about issues of education, about transportation infrastructure,’ — and that is really troubling,” he said.
Perry expressed his own fears regarding Environmental Protection Agency restrictions choking off America’s energy production and a possible reduction in his state’s national guard.
“As a matter of fact, he [Obama] said at that meeting, he said, ‘If I hear any of you pushing back, making statements about Washington spends too much money, you’ll hear from me,” he said, adding, “I’m highly offended by that.”
After his comically disastrous presidential campaign in 2012, Perry needed to get serious and stopping running for, as I described it then, “Governor of America.” He’s since switched to wearing glasses and added something of a wonky streak to his persona.
The focus is on Rand Paul and Chris Christie and a few others, but don’t yet count Perry out for 2016.
Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the day the stock market hit its lowest point during the financial crisis and Great Recession.
The fact that the rally is about to turn five has some investors wondering if stocks can keep going much higher.
But previous bull markets, which are broadly defined as a period where the S&P 500 gains 20% or more without a decline of 20% in between, have gone on longer than the current one.
As of this week, this bull market ranks as the sixth longest since 1928 — just behind the bull market from 1982 to 1987, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
If the S&P 500 hits a new high any time after March 22, this bull market would become the fifth longest. Assuming it continues to rally through Memorial Day, the current run would be longer than the bull market from 2002 to 2007, when the housing bubble inflated.
The last bubble was propped up by easy money propping up easy lending propping up housing propping up consumer spending, and it was a global financial disaster when it popped.
But we’ve learned so much since then, that now we have easy money propping up easy Wall Street returns propping up spending by the rich.
Surely, a structure built on that firm foundation could never collapse.
And it’s a doosey, too:
A national union that represents 300,000 low-wage hospitality workers charges in a new report that Obamacare will slam wages, cut hours, limit access to health insurance and worsen the very “income equality” President Obama says he is campaigning to fix.
Unite Here warned that due to Obamacare’s much higher costs for health insurance than what union workers currently pay, the result will be a pay cut of up to $5 an hour. “If employers follow the incentives in the law, they will push families onto the exchanges to buy coverage. This will force low-wage service industry employees to spend $2.00, $3.00 or even $5.00 an hour of their pay to buy similar coverage,” said the union in a new report.
“Only in Washington could asking the bottom of the middle class to finance health care for the poorest families be seen as reducing inequality,” said the report from Unite Here. “Without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage,” said the report, titled, “The Irony of Obamacare: Making Inequality Worse.”
I feel for these people, I really do — even if by and large they probably voted for Professor Wiggleroom (twice) and probably support ♡bamaCare!!! “in theory” because of its “noble intentions” to stamp out the unnecessary use of “scare quotes.”
But what are they going to do about? Having used its political clout to make itself economically untenable, private sector labor unions now lack the political clout to get their old Democrat buddies to steer enough goodies their way. Public sector unions are where the action is now, and they might just be the most squeakiest wheel in the Democrat-Government Complex.
This young lady has what might be the least salable skill ever, but it’s fascinating to hear.
Last week’s selection of Elton John’s “Bennie And The Jets” generated a lot of smart comments, especially one about John and his songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin. And that got me to wonder — what happened to songwriting?
Because it’s grown to mostly suck.
That’s not to say popular music was once always great. I’ll refer you to Exhibit A, 1952′s “(How Much Is) That Doggy In The Window?” as evidence that bad songs have always been with us. And there are still some fine popular songs being recorded today, I’m sure. Although I can’t think of one which has actually made the charts.
Time was though, that American popular music defined the grown-up listening experience, but then Rock’n'Roll came along and changed all that. Rock is essentially adolescent — and I say that as a compliment and not a complaint. It’s permanent (although not exclusive) adolescence is its essential charm. The problem is that popular music followed it down that same path, leaving precious little for the grownups to listen to when we want something a little more grown up.
So what does this have to do with the death of — or at least dearth of — great songwriting?
The American Songbook was filled with popular music written by professional songwriters, who sold their wares to professional vocalists, who performed with professional bands, with arrangements by professional arrangers. That’s a classic Smithian division of labor, and the results were frequently stunning and timeless. It’s also a tough field to break into.
Rock is much more democratic, too. You didn’t need those big orchestras and all those professional writers and arrangers and such. You just needed four or five guys, some inexpensive instruments, and a place to practice. So that’s where the new music started coming from as the old talent aged and the young Baby Boomers wanted something new.
The singer-songwriters were the next nail in the coffin, however — and I say this as a huge fan of the genre.
Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Janis Ian — I could go on, just plucking singer-songwriter names out of my iTunes library at random. They have written and performed great songs. By and large however, the singer-songwriter writes a different style of song than your average Rogers & Hart or Cole Porter. The professional songwriters of old wrote music to sell to vocalists. So they tried their best to write timeless and adaptable songs. The singer-songwriter writes much more personal material, almost exclusively for themselves to perform. You can cover Dylan, but people will always compare you to the original Dylan. But anyone from Sinatra to Brian Setzer can sing a selection from the Great American Songbook and make it completely their own.
Later came the music video, and the rise of the studio producer and the singer-dancer-who-can’t-much-sing. And that was the final nail. Ah, well — it was good while it lasted.
For what it’s worth, I loved all those late ’70s/early ’80s videos, too. The songs might not have been timeless or adaptable, but they were sure a whole lot of fun. So I’m not being a Grumpy Old Man about all these changes. You can’t roll back the clock, or even achieve stasis in popular music, any more than you can in any other form of commerce.
Which brings us to John & Taupin. These two men are so talented and in so many different kinds of music, that I believe they would have thrived artistically and commercially during any musical era. Tonight’s pick, “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” could easily have turned out maudlin or saccharine. Instead they wrote a timeless ballad to a situation relatable to any grownup, anywhere.
That’s some fine songwriting right there, so I’m sorry if I alarmed you with exaggerated reports of its death.
Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who is locked in a tight battle with Republican Terri Lynn Land, has replaced his campaign manager.
Paul Tencher, who ran now-Sen. Joe Donnelly’s winning campaign for the Democrats in Indiana last cycle, will take over as the head of Peters’s campaign operation. Tencher will replace Julie Petrick, who is stepping aside for personal reasons, Peters said in a statement.
Those personal reasons might have something to do with what Politico later describes as “a fairly lackluster few months” for the Peters campaign. Land has had her campaign braced by a couple of timely anti-♡bamaCare!!! ads being run by those dastardly Koch Brothers.
The GOP got a boost here in Colorado last week when Cory Gardner dropped into the Senate race while the hapless Ken Buck dropped out. But Mississippi Democrats got a boost of their own. The Hill has that story:
[Democrats'] shining hope is that Republicans have been in that position before and squandered their chances with poor candidates and intra-party fights.
Developments like Friday’s in Mississippi, where Democrats recruited former Rep. Travis Childers into the contest, are exactly what Republicans don’t need. The fact that the one-term congressman was wooed into a long-shot contest shows Republicans still haven’t solved their primary problem.
Childers is Democrats’ insurance policy, the same way Joe Donnelly was in Indiana and even Chris Coons was, to a lesser degree, in Delaware in 2010 — and now both are in the Senate. But in the heart of Dixie, Democrats can’t win without a pro-gun, anti-abortion, conservative Democrat like Childers who voted against the Affordable Care Act.
I’m not sure anyone had Mississippi in play, but Childers could certainly put it there.
The Democrats are playing defense, so almost any widening of the playing field is bound to hurt them. Mississippi would be an exception to that rule.
ObamaCare isn’t achieving its primary goal of extending coverage to the uninsured, according to a new study.
The survey released Thursday by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm found that only 27 percent of people who have selected a plan on the new exchanges didn’t previously have coverage.
The Obama administration says 4 million people have selected a plan since the exchanges launched on Oct. 1, but has not said how many of them already had an insurance plan.
At a healthcare industry conference on Thursday, Gary Cohen, a top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said it’s not something the administration has the ability to track.
“That’s not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way,” Cohen said, according to The National Journal.
But what about the fierce moral urgency of covering 47 million Uninsurred-Americans who were dying of lethal conservatism?
I know, I know — I’ve asked that question before, and you already know the answer: ♡bamaCare!!! was never about them; it was about centralizing money and power in Washington. The uninsured will do what they’ve always done, and as it turns out, mostly chosen to have done. They’ll pay cash for their minor needs and go to the E/R for their major needs, if any.
It’s the rest of us who will be stuck with higher prices for poorer service and all the attendant increases in taxes and bureaucracy. Not to mention the exploding deficits.
This, by the way, is what Michelle Obama calls “God’s work.”
Makes you wonder who or what the hell it is she worships.
It’s the thug’s version of legal niceties:
“We will respect the historic choice of the people of Crimea,” said State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin at a meeting with the Crimean delegation and top Russian lawmakers.
“We support the free and democratic choice of the population of Crimea,” he added in comments broadcast on state television.
Naryshkin said the move was linked to the need to ensure the “rights and freedom of citizens and simply protect human life” in Crimea, amid Ukraine’s turmoil after the fall of president Viktor Yanukovych.
Masked Russian troops on the trouble peninsula are there to make sure the vote goes off without any unexpected hitches.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro went on CNN to issue a heartfelt non-apology for all the oppression and killing and whatnot:
Think about what the U.S. government would do if a political group laid out a road map for overthrowing President Barack Obama, Maduro said in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
“What would happen in the United States if a group said they were going to start something in the United States so that President Obama leaves, resigns, to change the constitutional government of the United States?” Maduro said, according to a CNN translation of his remarks. “Surely, the state would react, would use all the force that the law gives it to re-establish order and to put those who are against the Constitution where they belong.”
I’m starting to not disbelieve him on that last point.