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President Obama delivers his 2011 State of the Union address
The Obama administration formally stepped up its response on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine Thursday morning, with targeted visa restrictions and sanctions. A statement from the press secretary explains:
... today the State Department is putting in place visa restrictions on a number of officials and individuals, reflecting a policy decision to deny visas to those responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. This new step stands in addition to the policy already implemented to deny visas to those involved in human rights abuses related to political oppression in Ukraine.

In addition, the President has signed an Executive Order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine; or purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization from the Ukrainian government in Kyiv. This E.O. is a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate.

This means that the people deemed responsible for the threats to Ukraine's sovereignty or for human rights abuses could find their assets frozen and Americans barred from doing business with them, in addition to the visa restrictions. The strategy, apparently, is to build pressure on people who can in turn build pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

7:19 AM PT: Read the full White House press secretary's statement on Ukraine.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A prudent step, above and beyond the call of duty (10+ / 0-)

    required by the Budapest Memo.

  •  OK, but does that cover anybody whose initials are (0+ / 0-)

    not V.P.?

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:00:42 AM PST

  •  Do these sanctions apply to (5+ / 0-)

    John Kerry and John McCain, for example?

    The 99% are watching.

    by unclejohn on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:01:05 AM PST

  •  Now how will I (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unclejohn

    do business with the state department?

    In addition, the President has signed an Executive Order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine;
    I really do not think some visa restrictions will keep Putin from doing what he wishes, but I guess when presented with very few options.. you use what you can.

    If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

    by LieparDestin on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:03:03 AM PST

    •  You undermined the democratic process in Ukraine? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm just fine with the State Department not doing business with you, if that's the case.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:10:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think LieperDestin was referring to (0+ / 0-)

        the State Department's heroic undermining in Ukraine:

        The US Ambassador and John McCain were seen early on in the streets, rioting against the democratically elected government.

        Perhaps, the State Department's own National Endowment for Democracy was also on his mind. They are the folks who brought us all the Technicolor revolutions in Eastern Europe. Ukraine's was Orange the first time. NED's latest effort remains colorless.

        Maybe the billion dollars that has just been funneled to the coup government also had a place in his thoughts.

        A billion dollars would buy a lot of food stamps.

        The 99% are watching.

        by unclejohn on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:24:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The EU is also meeting today at the (5+ / 0-)

    PM level to discuss the crisis and coordinate their response.  Hopefully, their decisions will dovetail with these actions.

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:03:08 AM PST

  •  every update is Live, from guardian-uk: (8+ / 0-)

    including links, tweets, pics and more.

    Further to the news mentioned below about OSCE observers being stopped by armed men as they attempted to enter Ukraine, Reuters now say this has been confirmed by the Polish defence minister, Tomasz Siemoniak.

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:03:19 AM PST

  •  Sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wolf10, unclejohn, Peacen1k

    Funny how far up on a high horse we can climb.  The sovereignty of Iraq, the territorial integrity of Serbia, the human rights of El Salvador on the other hand...Have we tried a single torturer above the grade of E-4 yet?

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:07:11 AM PST

    •  It's never too long before the proputins show (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      merrywidow, TomP, joe from Lowell, dpinzow

      http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/

      by DAISHI on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:19:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because dismissing arguments with slurs instead (0+ / 0-)

        of addressing the facts is the essence of "democratic debate" in the USA nowdays.  

        Our ruling oligarchs like it that way.   Divide and conquer.

      •  Now, now, be fair. It's more polite to call them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dpinzow

        "anti-anti-Russian imperialists."

        It's not so much that they're pro-Putin, exactly, but that you can't make an omelette without breaking a few Ukrainian eggs.

        What's democracy and human rights in Ukraine, compared to the opportunity to show off what an awesome anti-American you are on the internet?

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:12:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So what is provoking a nuclear war --turning (0+ / 0-)

          150 US cities and 70 percent of its citizens into ashes -- all for the sake of trivial business interests supposed to be?
          Pro-American?  

          US stealth fighters in the Ukraine would be close enough to destroy Russia's nuclear defenses --her ICBMs -- in a single blow with no warning.  

          Why are the people bleating about "democracy" not asking why our government is taking such risks for a bankrupt country 4500 miles away?

          And why are those same people so prone to avert their eyes when Occupy protesters in THIS country get their heads beaten.

          Excuse me -- not totally avert their eyes.   Make a few token , limpwristed protests to uphold the proud tradition of Third Way hypocrisy.

          •  What are you, Dick Cheney? (0+ / 0-)

            You're threatening us with mushroom clouds if you don't get your way?

            Thanks for the heads up that you're a loon.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:36:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks. Your comment makes my point better (0+ / 0-)

              than I could have on my own.

              Anyone who was actually "pro-American" would have looked at this from the viewpoint of national interest:
              a) Russia has 308 ICBMs
              b) WHAT threats does having NATO and the US on her border --less than 250 miles from some of her ICBM sites --pose to her existence?
              c) If her ICBMS are taken out, what choice does she have between a veiled enslavement or being nuked into ashes because she no longer has a deterrent
              d) What, therefore, might be some of her actions?  How did the US react during the Cuban missile crisis?
              e) How would some of those Russian reactions affect the American people.
              f) WHAT is there in the Ukraine --4500 miles away -- that justifies taking these risks?  HOW is this whole affair --triggered by US funded NGOSs -- in the best interest of America?
              g) Why falsely proclaim that the US government  promotes freedom and democracy -- when the experience of the American people for at least the last  14 years show that is a baldfaced lie?  

              When 1% of our population gets 19% of the income?  

              When blacks voted Democratic  in overwhelming numbers in 2008 --gave the Democrats the White House and huge majorities in both houses of Congress -- and were repaid with 5 years of unemployment averaging 15%?  

               While executives at Goldman Sachs divided up $Billions in bonuses handed to them out the backdoor of the Treasury via the AIG bailout.

              •  Keep shouting "Nukes nukes" over and over, Dick. (0+ / 0-)

                Maybe your clever plan to drive down out collective IQ will work well enough for your generic, laminated-index-card talking points to appear something other than irrelevant and ridiculous.

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 10:47:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I provide facts --you provide incoherent invective (0+ / 0-)

                  Again, you make my point better than I can.   You shout about "anti-Americans" but can not lift a single finger to examine US interests --or the facts -- honestly.  

                  You probably would be defending the invasion of Iraq if it had been your favorite politican's idea.  Loyalty to your "team"-- not to your fellow countrymen who may die in battle if this thing escalates.   Which shows just how sincere that "anti-American" slur was.

                  And I really don't see how someone could drive the "collective IQ" of advocates for Ukrainian manipulation any lower than it already is.   As I explained above.
                  Again, why are we doing this?

      •  You don't have to be pro-Putin to (0+ / 0-)

        be against imperialist aggression.

        The 99% are watching.

        by unclejohn on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:26:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's only logical (14+ / 0-)

      The US has done bad things and will do bad things in the future. Therefore it's fine if Russia also does bad things. Q.E.D.

      How about we oppose and protest our own country's bad actions and other country's bad actions. And support the US when it does try to do the right thing.

      The Empire never ended.

      by thejeff on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:28:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "How about we oppose and protest our own country's (0+ / 0-)

        bad actions "

        Good luck with that.   Ask Occupy how long those Kiev Protesters would last if they showed up on the National Mall in Washington.

        •  And therefore, Russia is justified. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabienne, Adam AZ

          That's the implicit part of the argument that I oppose.

          The part where it's all about the US and since we're bad, we should never even try to do anything good.

          Of course, there were Occupy protests on the National Mall, though I'm not sure how long they lasted. They certainly weren't gunned down, though the police did go much to far against many Occupy groups, just not quite that far.
          I think the Kiev Protesters would have been much better off in DC. Of course, they would just have been marginalized and not wound up overthrowing the government, so better treatment and less effect. Of course our government isn't as corrupt as the one they were protesting. Note: "isn't as corrupt", not "isn't corrupt".

          The Empire never ended.

          by thejeff on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:08:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  CIA says you're wrong. Look at Gini coefficient (0+ / 0-)

            (measure of income inequality )

            http://en.wikipedia.org/..._(2013).svg  

            Do you really think our Rich dump $4 Billion into Congress every two years to buy freedom and democracy?

            •  Gini isn't a measure of corruption (0+ / 0-)

              There's a correlation, but income inequality is not the same as corruption.

              Nor does that have anything to do with whether Russia's actions in the Crimea are justified. Again your argument remains: America's bad, therefore...

              The Empire never ended.

              by thejeff on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 11:48:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  " income inequality is not the same as corruption" (0+ / 0-)

                blink.  Did Scotty teleport me over to Red State?

                •  Ummm.. No (0+ / 0-)

                  As I said, there's a correlation, but it's not the same thing.

                  Why do you think it's the same thing? What do you mean by corruption, other then inequality?
                  Generally it's considered to be things like bribery, which our campaign finance system could be considered an example of, but in more highly corrupt countries it reached every aspect of life. Every interaction with officials at any level involves bribery. Open a business: pay bribes for licenses. Don't forget to pay off the local cops. Need to renew your driver's license, a little bribe can make that happen.

                  I'm not saying the US is squeaky clean by any means and much of our corruption has been rarified and legalizd, which complicates things. OTOH, we still have a press that will report on these things and we occasionally take down high level officials (Senators, governors) and not just losers in political struggles.

                  But again, that still doesn't say anything about whether it's bad for Russia to be invading Crimea. Your base argument remains The US is bad, so ignore Russia. And you're not interesting in anything else.

                  The Empire never ended.

                  by thejeff on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 06:15:10 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  What else would you have the US ignore (5+ / 0-)

      because we are guilty of it in the past or even now? Slavery? Atomic weapons? Denying votiing rights to all but white male landowners? Discrimination against minorities/women/LGBT? Butchering native people for their land? Carbon emissions?

      By all means, let's just stand by and let the world go to hell.

      Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

      by bear83 on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:27:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Works for me. We are $17 trillion in debt, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya, unclejohn

        the baby boomers are entering retirement with a $40 Trillion shortfall in Social Security/Medicare and we have 25 million people out of work.

        So what is there in a bankrupt country 4500 miles away that justifies provoking another Cold War on Putin's doorstep?

        And why are the two-faced, lying News Media in this glorious , freedom-loving democratic country going out of their way to ensure the Herd does NOT look at that question?

      •  Stand by??? (0+ / 0-)

        Considering our past and current world-going-to-hell actions, can you really say that with a straight face?

        Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

        by InAntalya on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:35:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  How are Vicky Nuland, USAID, Freedom House and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unclejohn

    National  Endowment for Democracy employees going to get back home to the USA with this visa freeze?

    " authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine; or purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization from the Ukrainian government in Kyiv"

    •  Any sovereign country can throw those US State (4+ / 0-)

      Dept programs out whenever they want. Ecuador did it just a few months ago around December.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:07:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes --and what happens to that $5 Billion if they (0+ / 0-)

        do?  "Employment at Will" applies as much to foreign assets as it does to US citizens.

        •  The $5 bills dopey Nuland referenced is the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Adam AZ

          cumulative total of assistance given to Ukraine since 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed.

          It's spent on all sorts of things. For example, Ukraine participates with the US in ISAF. They have troops in Afghanistan. The US picks up the cost and counts it as aid.
          (fuktup huh?) The US also provides financing for military equipment if Ukraine wants to buy any lovely Abrams tanks but cant afford them. The financing counts as aid. Who knows, one day they'll be eligible to purchase drones too. Sooner than you think.

          The aid doesn't all translate into Americans on the ground in Ukraine. Some obviously would. A chunk goes to health care. Ukraine has a low life expectancy, high infant mortality, relatively high rate of HIV infection.

          I don't think Americans have a clear idea what a mess the country is.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 08:45:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The US influence is not really concealed (0+ / 0-)

            See http://www.ned.org/...

            Reminds me of that Democracy for America course I went to.  

            You know --where we learn how to give the voters an objective, even-handed description of where the two candidates stand on the issues so that the voters can make their own independent decision based on what is in their best interests.

          •  Dennis Kucinich re US involvment (0+ / 0-)

            https://www.youtube.com/...

            As usual , Bill O'Reilly shuts down the discussion when the facts start being cited.

          •  You do have a valid point --the American People (0+ / 0-)

            have NO idea where that $5 Billion went and for what it was used.  

            But we do know --based on memoirs -- that CIA case officers used to be trained in subversion and propaganda (their words) and that they no longer are because the job has been handed over to the Congressionally-Funded Non-Governmental Organizations.  A term Which is an obvious lie in itself (i.e, Non-governmental)

  •  Am I being un-American? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, unclejohn, Crimson Buddha

    The US invaded Iraq, costing as many as 500,000 lives and has waged war in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen for years, costing additional thousands of lives.  Those wars have created many thousands of terrorists bent on revenge against America.

    Russia has occupied Crimea without any loss of life. The future of Crimea will be decided by a referendum within the month.

    Am I being un-American if I notice this difference?

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:18:25 AM PST

    •  Un-American in that you are trying to be (0+ / 0-)

      informed, balanced and deliberate, maybe.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:27:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  so overwhelming force occupation (6+ / 0-)

      and a referendum at the point of a gun to take away land from a sovereign country is a Superior way to do these things. Granted.

      So because it is a Superior form of evil, we shouldn't point out it as evil?

      The excuses for Russia on this site are mind-boggling. Can't their actions stand on their own merits without constant comparisons to US actions? We might as well start comparing everything to WW2.

      Well it wasn't as bad as that! And they got  a referendum! What paragons of Freedom those Russians are.

      •  Why don't we ask Smedley Butler, one of our (0+ / 0-)

        most highly decorated soldiers?

        "I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.

        I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916.

        I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

        So how is that freedom and democracy coming in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE?  Iraq?   Our own USA for that matter?

  •  Please tell me Rupert Murdoch is on the list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unclejohn

    and that the EU is going to also use the list AND that it will be added to the No-Fly list.

    re-name it the Oligarch-Plutocrat Prevention Act of 2014.

  •  I'm sure McCain/Graham, et. al are hazing a sad (3+ / 0-)

    No plans to attack Russia so far cue tiny violin

  •  There's nothing like a good Cold War (0+ / 0-)

    to bring Americans, left and right, together in old fashioned hatred of Russia.

  •  personal visa bans are great for many (0+ / 0-)

    I am happy to see travel restrictions applied at a personal level. I've long advocated that we put our business execs and their families on "no fly" lists if we determine that their companies are only "job creators" overseas. If we see tax avoidance at the corporations they run or are on the board, ground them! Ane their families. I assume a "no fly" means no private jets, too, right? I mean. OBL couldn't charter a jet ( back, then)?
    If their company or corporation gets  of Fed bennies, even tax-write-offs, make them benefit the USA!

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