Affairs Foreign and Domestic

Sorry about the lack of video podcast last night 03/05/14 –  technical glitch.  Should be okay now!

What is to become of the Ukraine, Truthseekers? And how much should we be involved?  John Kerry has already handed over $1 billion in support and technical assistance, is that sufficient to quell the crisis?  The LA Times reports:

The Republican-controlled House approved up to $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine on Thursday, backing President Obama‘s request to help the new government.

The aid package sailed through the House on a robust bipartisan vote of 385-23, even as Republicans in Congress have voiced criticism of Obama’s foreign policy leadership.

The measure won support from many fiscal conservatives who typically resist such spending bills because the funding will come from a State Department loan program that has already been allocated. Still, all 23 no votes came from Republicans, among them budget hard-liners.

“The best thing that we can do is work with the administration, strengthen their hand to deal with what is a very difficult situation,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who again called Russian President Vladimir Putin “a thug.

Isn’t it amazing how quickly and generously our do-nothing Neocons in Congress can act when it involves a foreign nation.  Why can’t they be so spry with domestic spending bills that would help Americans?  Like education, health care, infrastructure or occupational programs?  But I digress . . .

In addition to handing over wads of sweaty cash, the US has also imposed tough sanctions on Russia, demanding an immediate end to military action in the Ukraine, as the NY Times reports:

The United States escalated its response to Russia’s military and economic threats to Ukraine on Thursday, announcing it has imposed visa bans on officials and others deemed responsible for actions that have undermined Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The new sanctions, promulgated by the Obama administration, carried the threat of further steps. The announcement came as the European Union took its first steps toward punitive measures and as Secretary of State John Kerry met for a second day with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, on ways to defuse the Ukraine crisis, one of the most serious East-West confrontations since the Cold War.

Russian officials reacted angrily and suggested that Russia would reciprocate with its own anti-American sanctions. “The U.S. has the right, and we have the right to respond to it,” Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s human rights commissioner and a former ambassador to the United States, was quoted by Russia’s Interfax news agency as saying. “But all that is, of course, not making me happy.”

Russia’s not happy.  That can’t be good.  We’re headed to another Cold War, Truthseekers.  We can only hope nobody decides its time to break out the ballistic missiles.
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