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About choox

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  1. http://www.dezeen.com/2015/09/11/student-style-accommodation-adults-next-market-london-uk-naomi-cleaver/ Speechless. The comments are fun though.
  2. Nobody seems to have pointed out yet that council houses don't actually belong to central government. So how is this actually going to work? Central government passes a law forcing councils to give away substantial assets earning them an income? Given that most councils presumably use this income to, you know, provide services, I can only assume their response will be either to cut services or put up council tax. Also, these new outright owners with suddenly no housing costs (other than maintenance) will presumably be able to out-compete us poor sobs who have never had a council house and have to pay rent or a mortgage, so it should put downward pressure on wages. Yay! more tax and lower wages. What a good policy!
  3. On the contrary, if you read my posts up thread you'll see I have no problem admitting Western governments have committed atrocities. I condemn all military adventurism - Iraq and Afghanistan have been disasters for the West and it would have been much better if they hadn't happened. I do not understand why so many people seem to think that it if one is opposed to Western military adventurism one must support Putin's or vice versa. Let's be clear, the world would be a much better place if everybody stopped invading other countries and started trading peacefully with their neighbours. That does not mean that because our government did many bad things, we should sit supinely by and let other governments do bad things without protesting.
  4. So what's your proposal? Ignore the nasty man and hope he goes away?
  5. In any case, copydude is Russian and either completely taken in by Putin's propaganda or paid to trot it out, at a guess. I think he used to be based in Cypress, but it seems he's now moved to Donetsk to fight the noble fight of taking destablising another country in furtherance of Putin's imperial ambitions. Either way, he's going on ignore from me. There'll be no sense coming from that direction, and no possibility of convincing him either.
  6. Most of this I agree with. Regarding sanctions, it is important to remember that we have limited options in reminding Russian leaders that there are consequences to military adventurism such that they think twice before continuing along that path. The sanctions we have imposed so far are quite tightly targetted only on Russia's leaders and those directly implicated in the conflict. Russia itself has banned the import of foodstuffs from the EU which is doing far more to hurt the Russian people than anything the West has done. So no, sanctions do not yet seem to have been effective, but those we have imposed have not done a great deal yet to hurt the general populace of Russia either. Nonetheless, they are still preferable to the alternatives which are either doing nothing with all the moral hazard that entails, or engaging militarily which could be catastrophic.
  7. If you really believe the Ukrainian government is engaged in ethnic cleansing it is clearly you who is talking through your hat. People are fleeing the violence and many have gone to Russia because that is what was possible, or because they have relatives there. If the Ukrainian government were engaged in ethnic cleansing you would see the ethnic Russian minorities elsewhere in Ukraine being cleansed and no such thing is happening. However, I was not discounting the scale of the disaster, rather pointing out that the number of refugees going west or east was not relevant to the point that it is untrue that 'half of Ukraine is rising up against its government'.
  8. I am not in any way advocating war against Russia. It is a tragedy that Russia is choosing aggression rather than peace. I would much rather that Russia respected Ukraine's right to self-determination and traded peacefully with the West. There's no reason with the right governance, that Russia could not be like a huge Norway. Instead it is choosing to become more like a huge North Korea. For me this is a personal tragedy as I have family in Ukraine. However, strategically for the West it is important to find a way to turn Russia away from its current course (preferably using peaceful means) to safeguard our own security and prosperity. I mentioned before that it is current Russian policy to 'establish a space from Lisbon to Vladivostok' that can be read in a sinister or less sinister way depending on your inclinations. I don't think its currently credible that Russia could acheive that militarily, but it is acting in a very beligerent manner, not just in Ukraine, but in Georgia and Azerbaijan, in the Arctic, the Baltic, in the English channel, in the sea of Japan and even off the coast of Australia. We should not be seeking to provoke Russia into a wider conflict, but equally we cannot afford to let Russia think it can take what it wants from other countries with no consequences. As far as the UK is concerned, we made a promise to the Ukrainian people in 1994 that we would act as guarantors of their territorial integrity. Obviously we did not expect Russia to call our bluff. Many Ukrainians are making heroic sacrifices to defend their country and the least we can do is act honourably towards them in relation to our promise and try to find a solution to the problem, that involves as few deaths as possible.
  9. Well I think those numbers come from Russia itself, the reliability of which should be doubted (Russian media showed queues of Ukrainians at the Polih border and passed it off as Ukrainians queuing to get into Russia, for instance). However, that is immaterial. The point was, Bloo Loo's contention that 'half of Ukraine is rising up against its government' is patently false.
  10. Comparing Putin to Jimmy Saville is interesting. I am no expert on the evidence against Jimmy Saville, but my understanding is that there is a vast quantity of credible evidence. Exactly the same is true of the evidence showing Russia's direct involvement in easternn Ukraine. Nobody has the time to prove it to you if you can't be bothered to look with an open mind, but most of the weaponry, kit and even rations in use by the 'militants' are Russian issue and not of a kind in common use by the Ukrainian military - anyone who takes the time to look into the variants of tanks shown trundling through eastern Ukraine on countless videos would find that they can only be from Russian arsenals. Many Russian servicemen have been posting about their activities with photos on VKontakte the Russian equivalent of facebook. If you can't be bothered to look, fine. But don't just spread lies out of ignorance. I understand that I have paid more attention than most - I have relatives supporting both sides of the conflict and have access to local Ukrainian and Russian media as well as UK media, but it really isn't hard to find out the truth if you are minded to look and not just believe everything official Russian sources tell you.
  11. You do not seem to take facts very seriously in your arguments. In the two eastern provinces taken by the 'separatists' much less than 50% were ethnically Russian, and of course most of the population simply wanted to get on with their lives. Most of those have fled - a majority have fled west to the relative security of western Ukraine (obviously they were happy to remain Ukrainian) while a substantial minority have fled to Russia, probably partly because they had family there, that is where their sympathies lay, or because fleeing that way did not involve crossing the front line. The remaining fighters comprise a few hundred die hard local Ukrainians, some of them with grievances, or ex Soviet military, a large number of mercenaries, many from Chechniya, probably funded through the Russian secret service, or from Yanukovich's looted millions, and of course, thousands and thousands of active Russian servicemen - some of whom 'got lost' or 'went on vacation' (with their tanks!) according to official Russian statements. So in fact only a very tiny minority of Ukrainians are rising up against their government - the vast majority of those fighting against the Ukrainian military (and the great number of volunteer battalions) are foreigners paid to be there in various ways by Putin's Russia.
  12. Well it's true that sanctions haven't changed Russia's course yet. The alternatives available to us were either to look the other way and simply ignore the invasion (this would surely encourage further bad behaviour by the Russians, or don't you care about global security?), retaliate militarily (something you evidently deplore) or hope that sanctions would eventually persuade Russia to change course. For better or worse we have chosen the middle way. Ukraine made no moves to deprive Russia of its port or military stationed in Crimea, those bases were leased under long-standing agreements and there's no reason to think the new government would not have honoured those agreements, unless you believe the hyperbolic Russian propaganda that the new government were murderous neo-nazis (fewer far right votes were cast in Ukraine than most western democracies). I'm not sure why there has not yet been a report on MH17, but I suspect it is because the investigation is not yet complete, having been hindered by poor access to the site (largely because it is under control of the gangster 'regime' currently running a small part of the east of Ukraine). I understand that in the last couple of days some preliminary results relating to shrapnel in the recovered bodies was released, but I m not aware of the details. Regarding the example set by our own governments, I started by saying this was deplorable. However, two wrongs do not make a right, as citizens we can condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine without having to support torture by Western governments. Far too many in the West think that because they do not trust their own governments, and Putin condemns their government too, they should support Putin. Doing that is to play into Putin's hand - being a 'useful idiot'.
  13. Yes. The Budapest Memorandum is interesting. All those supporting Russia's actions would do well to remember that if Russia had not guaranteed Ukraine's territorial integrity 20 years ago (along with the UK and US), Ukraine would still be the world's third largest nuclear power. It is a very clear betrayal that Russia has gone back on its word, and the UK and US are now obligated to act under international law. Interesting that Angela Merkel is bringing this up (Germany is not a signatory of the Budapest Memorandum). I suspect the EU would struggle somewhat to maintain unity were the UK and US to properly fulfill their obligations under international law, not least because Putin has been funding far right anti-EU parties for some time now (for instance the National Front in France and Jobbik in Hungary) and these parties (with others such as UKIP who are at least sympathetic to Putin if not actually funded by him) are increasingly influential both in national politics (Hungary is increasingly pro-Putin) and in the European Parliament. Dividing Europe against itself is part of Putin's long term strategy, as part of his stated policy aim to 'establsh a single space from Vladivostok to Lisbon'...
  14. Which bit do you not believe, that Russia took sovereign territory, that it had no justification, or that they killed thousands? Or is it that you think a sanctions regime is not mild in comparison to invasion of a neighbouring soverign state?
  15. Nobody should seriously want Russia to collapse. Even the current despotism in Russia is probably preferable to the chaos that might follow a complete collapse. Our response to Russia has been very mild - they have taken sovereign territory with no justification other than they wanted to, and killed thousands. We have instigated targeted sanctions e.g. preventing travel for those directly involved in the acts actually against international law. Most of the suffering of the populace in Russia (and I don't believe there really has been much, yet) is self-inflicted. As to interference, the protests in November last year in Maidan were originally spontaneous and peaceful student protests against a U-turn by the government in signing a simple trade deal with the EU - there was no demand for a change to Ukraine's non-aligned status, no demand for a change to its political relationship with the EU or NATO, simply a demand that the government do what it said it would do - sign a trade deal that might make a few goods cheaper. The stupidity of the government in cracking down on that peaceful protest is what kicked this whole thing off. It may be that the EU and the US are seeking to capitalise on the situation to further their own ends, but in the end, Yanukovych fled and his cabinet resigned, the sitting parliament appointed an interim government as per the constitution, and they called elections, both presidential and parliamentary as soon as plausibly possible. The current government is the result of those elections, which by all international standards were reasonably fair. Much of the machinery of the Ukrainian state was and is corrupt (not paid off by the west, just seeking local enrichment through bribery), and the new government is trying to deal with that issue but it will take years. They have appointed some foreign officials, and that is controversial within Ukraine, but it is mostly in areas where dealing with corruption would be difficult otherwise as the whole apparatus is infected (the traffic police is an example). The suggestion that the whole change of government was a CIA inspired coup is nothing but a conspiracy theory inspired by Russian propaganda. The idea that the attempt to improve trade, support demcracy and help eradicate corruption in collaboration with local authorities undertaken by the West is equivalent to the covert invasion, annexation, gangsterism, mass murder, and torture supported by the Russians would be laughable, were it not tragic.
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