Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

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Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues
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By Robert Bernstein

February 24 marked the one year anniversary of the start of Putin's brutal invasion and war against the people of Ukraine. Santa Barbara had multiple events for the occasion. I briefly attended the February 25 event at the Courthouse, after my morning visit to the snow. I left when it began to rain fairly hard and I needed to get to another commitment. Here are my photos.

When I arrived, Tatyana Taruta was speaking about the situation in Ukraine.

The crowd was very attentive and concerned.

A number of elected officials were present. Notably, Congress member Adam Schiff spoke about what the US was doing to support the people of Ukraine militarily and with humanitarian supplies.

Here is my video of his complete speech.

He emphasized that the people of Ukraine are not just fighting for their freedom, but for the freedom of Europe and, ultimately, the entire world. They are paying a very high price in terms of civilians and soldiers being killed as well as the destruction of much of their housing and power systems in the middle of winter. The US and Europe are just giving them a hand.

Following his speech, Supervisor Das Williams introduced our new District Attorney John Savrnoch. Here is my video of his entire speech.

Dasha Lobko is from Ukraine and attends UC Santa Barbara. She kindly posed with the famed long-time UCSB Arts and Lectures events organizer Roman Baratiak, who is also of Ukrainian ancestry. Full disclosure, so am I. My father's grandfather Jacob came from Ukraine to New York all alone at age 16. When I learned a year ago that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was also a Russian-speaking Jew, I realized we may even be related.

My friend Wesley Roe wanted to emphasize that peace has to be the goal for Ukraine.

Some of my other friends skipped this rally and instead held a rally at the office of Congress member Salud Carbajal emphasizing the need for negotiations and a reduction in the flow of weapons.

For my entire life I have pushed for an end to US meddling in other countries and a reduction in the military budget. But each time an intervention was on the horizon I looked at the facts on their merit.

I watched the US send troops to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, killing millions of innocent people. In Cambodia, the US even supported the mass murderer Pol Pot, until the Vietnamese military stopped him. How often the US seemed to be on the wrong side.

I watched the US send weapons and support to death squads in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala. The US sent military support to Indonesia as it brutally murdered hundreds of thousands of utterly innocent civilians in the nation of East Timor.

I watched the US support Muslim terrorists in Afghanistan, which not only destroyed that country, but led to the spread of Muslim terrorism, including 9/11. The US twice invaded Iraq. The result being a strengthening of the Islamist government in Iran. Not to mention that the US overthrew the democratically elected liberal government of Iran in the 1950s, installing the hated Shah. Leading to the inevitable takeover by the brutal Islamists still in power.

The list goes on in Angola and elsewhere in Africa. The pattern is so solid that one can be forgiven for just saying NO to any US intervention or supply of weapons.

But I see the case of Ukraine as more like the case of the start of World War II. After the utterly pointless loss of tens of millions in World War I, most Americans wanted nothing to do with intervention in Europe. Totally understandable, but the result was horrific.

The US did nothing as fascism rose in Spain. The US could have helped the Republican elected government of Spain hold power, but it just let Franco fight his revolution and take over. The rise of the fascists in Italy and the Nazis in Germany also brought no action from the US. It took a direct attack on the US base at Pearl Harbor for the US to take action.

In my ideal world, there would be an international government that would have the power to rein in brutal dictators. The UN was created after World War II with that intention. But it is held hostage to the Security Council, where the worst violators get to veto any action. At times, that has been the US. More often, it is China or Russia.

I watched this short but valuable debate on Democracy Now about the situation in Ukraine.

It was between CODEPINK leader Medea Benjamin and former Senator Bernie Sanders policy advisor Matt Duss. Both make important points worth listening to, in my view. Medea Benjamin makes the case for prioritizing peace and negotiation.

But, in the end, I side with the points made by Matt Duss. The only way to have meaningful negotiation is from a position of strength. If not for continued US support, Ukraine would have been overrun. The dictators of the world need to know that the world will fight back to contain them, if not defeat them. For the first time in my life, I am proud that the US is arming people who are fighting for their right to be free.

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ZeroHawk Mar 31, 2023 08:24 AM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

ive been there twice and volunteered as a defender, aligned with the Georgian National Legion in Ukraine. Returning soon for a third...

ZeroHawk Mar 31, 2023 08:18 AM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

surfacing to chime in here. I see a lot of really messed up comment, of course by the usual suspects (VOR). I will simply say this. I have been there twice and defended as a volunteer. I've trained people, dogs, myself. I've participated in combat missions (with no prior experience), i've saved people, i've not saved people (think about it....), i've been shot at and shot back. I've seen ukrainian friends obliterated by russians. i've seen dead kids and women. i saw terrible, awful things committed by the orcs. None of you know how it is until you are there and see the suffering, the conditions, the fear and paranoia, the heartache, the pain, the misery and sorrow. Have you? IDGAF what VOR or some of you think about the war and Putin. He's a murderous thug, nothing less. There is no justification for what he's done. This is a land grab under the guise of fear of NATO expansion. Nato isn't going to expand into Russia, nor are they going to ignore applications of Russias neighbors to join when Russia is back to their usual game of killing and land grabs. This started in the 90s with Chechnya, then Georgia and South Ossentia, now 2014 and Ukraine, now 2023 and Ukraine, but we're supposed to stand by and allow Russia to invade and capture a huge European nation? I think not and if you think so, you're on the wrong side, flat out.

Voice of Reason Mar 31, 2023 01:39 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

sacjon Mar 31, 2023 11:17 AM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

sacjon Mar 31, 2023 10:25 AM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Glad you acknowledge the 4 years of that "last decade" where we basically made "friends" with "murderous thugs" and dictators, writing them love letters and what not.

Can you explain exactly what policies "emboldened" Putin?

Voice of Reason Mar 31, 2023 09:57 AM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

It is not messed up to critcize how our own foreign policies over the past decade have only embolden murderous thugs like Putin rather than discouraged, it's not messed up to have an anti-war position, it's not messed up to express caution (unlike Iraq and the WMD's) as we continue to escalate this foreign conflict closer to WWIII, and its certainly possible to hold these positions while also being opposed to Putin's actions.

dukemunson Mar 15, 2023 03:08 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Slava Ukraine. We should have helped them shut down the airspace of Ukraine a long time ago. Biden was slow to act on Ukraine and now some on the far right and far left are starting to more loudly question our support of Ukraine. Putin must be stopped in Ukraine and Moldova. That must include any/all missile and air defense systems.

Basicinfo805 Mar 11, 2023 02:35 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

GT and Sac, reading through these threads you should be ashamed. A bunch of name calling, is that your version of input and debate? Hashtag, especially bitter!

ChillinGrillin Mar 11, 2023 04:34 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Pretty rich having any conservative tell people they should be ashamed. 7 years and counting of dumpster juice trying to pass itself off as politics.

sacjon Mar 11, 2023 03:56 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Name calling? Awwwww. But also, where? Where here did I call anyone anything other than saying VOICE is disgusting for comparing covid rules and what a few people on a comment board said to what actually happened to "his" ancestors 90 years ago in Europe. Oh.... and calling bigots, "bigots."

Listen, man. Sometimes, the insults (SBLOCAL), lies (VOICE), ableism (SBSTONER), abject hatred (COASTWATCH), homophobia (KKSYV, VOICE, SBSTONER, et al), get to be too much. Sorry if I made any rude comments that hurt your feelings, but a man can take only so much.

And please, spare us the feigned concern. You said people who were upset about the banning of Pride flags were "butt hurt" and should "STFU" so give it a rest about the "name calling." Seriously man, seriously?

snicker Mar 11, 2023 03:40 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

This from the guy who took to task Jerry Roberts, who had cancer twice and a splenectomy and is immunocompromised, for wearing a mask--Basic ass-sumed that Jerry was alone, which he wasn't. That is the only thing worth knowing about Basic, and the only response worth making to him, ever.

Humanitarian2003 Mar 10, 2023 12:18 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

As a humanitarian working in Afghanistan, I sincerely hope that our country will support Ukraine until the demands of Ukraine are met and the invaders have been pushed completely out of the country, restoring all of their damage and creating a political initiative within Russia for administration change.
Slava Ukraini.

sbdude Mar 10, 2023 08:26 AM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Putin's stated aim is to rebuild the Soviet Union. If he is successful in Ukraine his next targets will likely be the Baltics, NATO countries all. The US will then send troops to fight directly against the Soviet Union, a scary prospect.

Avoiding this scenario is why we are spending billions to arm Ukraine.

a-1678424565 Mar 09, 2023 09:02 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Normally, YouTube is a source of loathsome garbage that people like VOR and CW feed on.

Here, however, is a PBS Frontline interview which contains some prescient insights into the whole issue with regards to the actions of Putin and his fascist, imperialist vision of Greater Russia:

snicker Mar 11, 2023 03:47 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

"YouTube isn't a great experience without a subscription ($11.99) to avoid ads."

I mostly watch Youtube on the Vivaldi browser with ad blocking enabled. There are also other options:

snicker Mar 11, 2023 03:35 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

"that doesn't change the fact that the bulk of the content that exists is dreck"

Repeating this silly claim doesn't make it a fact. Eastbeach nails it at 1:37 ... again, it's your choice whether you seek out and watch the dreck or you watch good content, of which there is more than enough for a lifetime's supply. So hey, you be you. My last comment on this subject.

EastBeach Mar 11, 2023 02:16 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

I should add ... YouTube isn't a great experience without a subscription ($11.99) to avoid ads. Some channels we like watching for Ukraine info include BBC, Sky News, Deutsche Welle, France24, Radio Free Europe. DW has been great to understand Germany's seeming reluctance to pour on the aide.

The helmet-cam & drone footage plus satellite images uploaded to YouTube have made Russia's invasion the first major war to be so well documented by participants. And the various "Russian on the Street" channels like 1420 have also been interesting to see their perceptions on the "Special Operation", sanctions, loss of McDonalds/Starbucks, mobilization, "the collective west", etc.

Aside from Ukraine, tons of videos including live concerts (Tears for Fears at the County Bowl!), history, geography, politics, astronomy, cooking, sports, home & auto repair, personal finance, etc. You name it, it's on YouTube. One of our favorites is the Ted-Ed videos - all kinds of knowledge in bite-sized chunks. Example:

a-1678571463 Mar 11, 2023 01:51 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Yes, you can tailor (to some extent) what gets suggested to you by YouTube. However, that doesn't change the fact that the bulk of the content that exists is dreck, and it is the fodder of idiots and extremists.

EastBeach Mar 11, 2023 01:37 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

MAR 09, 2023 09:02 PM - The video/interview you cite was part of PBS Frontline's episode "Putin and the Presidents" which I found really informative. For those interested, that episode and all the full-length interviews excerpted in the production can be found on YouTube and on the PBS site:

I thought an interview providing good insight into the way Putin is likely thinking was the one with Russia expert Julia Ioffe (she is no armchair analyst, blunt yet thoughtful, speaks Russian, and has lived in and reported from Russia):

p.s. Youtube is actually a great source of information/entertainment once you figure out the key is to subscribe to channels you like/trust and to use the like/dislike buttons. This steers the algorithm. If one watches quality, you'll get quality suggestions. If trash, well then ...

snicker Mar 10, 2023 03:46 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Perhaps the problem is what 1:41pm chooses to watch on Youtube and what its algorithm therefore presents to them. My subscriptions are such things as

If you choose to live in a cesspool, that's on you.

snicker Mar 10, 2023 03:32 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

It's a fact that Youtube is not "primarily" a cesspool--that assertion is ignorant and dishonest.

a-1678484482 Mar 10, 2023 01:41 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Just because there are occasional useful and informative YouTube submissions does not negate the fact that YouTube is primarily a cesspool.

snicker Mar 09, 2023 11:06 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

11:02pm Possibly, but your 9:02 comment was about Youtube, not cites of Youtube on Edhat. Perhaps you meant to reference the latter, but you didn't ... the 9:02pm statement as written is false. End of story, over and out, not worth further debate.

a-1678431749 Mar 09, 2023 11:02 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Most of the cites of YouTube on Edhat are of the vile variety, so my comment stands, too.

snicker Mar 09, 2023 10:59 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

The 9:02pm claim was about Youtube, saying that "normally" it is a source of bad stuff, which is a mischaracterization. The 10:31pm claim is about people and their reaction to the content of what bad stuff there is. These are wildly different claims, about very different things--the 10:31pm claim is true, but not the 9:02pm claim. My comment stands.

a-1678429891 Mar 09, 2023 10:31 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Yet all too many people have no critical thinking skills, and believe what they see in the vile stuff, having no idea about how to determine sources that are credible.

snicker Mar 09, 2023 10:26 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Youtube has a wide variety of content. I watch chess, science, math, philosophy, product review, bike repair, music, standup comedy, and cooking videos, among other things. Of course there's also vile stuff, but characterizing Youtube that way is sort of like categorizing lightwaves that way.

GeneralTree Mar 09, 2023 07:03 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Far right repuglicans support Putin because he is an authoritarian white Christian nationalist. Far right repuglicans do not support Xi and the People's Republic because....

sacjon Mar 10, 2023 03:29 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Funny, there was nary a word or objection, rather support for those who compared mask mandates to 1930s Germany over the last few years. I would have thought you would be as outraged as I was. Nope, nothing but argument when I condemned those who made the simple minded comparison.

Voice of Reason Mar 10, 2023 09:22 AM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

That kool-aid must be good GT. "Everything I don't like is far-right-extremist-bigotted-MAGA -loving-Putin-supporter"

liberty Mar 09, 2023 04:25 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

It is terrible what is happening to the Ukrainian people. But a lot of people read further into this, and the extent of the US Government's involvement of into escalating this situation. The military industrial complex is still very strong. Not a lot of calls for peace or compromise. Going head to head with Russia and now China has and will continue to lead to a lot of suffering, and possibly a larger scale conflict. Think deeper on the issue and if you or your kids had to be drafted to go into a larger war one day. War is not good for anyone. Would like to have seen more calls and strategic positioning for peace. Not what has happened today, which is the worst case scenario.

Alexblue Mar 10, 2023 02:13 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Liberty, yeah, give the bad man what he wants and he will stop.

That always works out great.

a-1678479474 Mar 10, 2023 12:17 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

It makes sense tho fight to the death against those who will only enslave you. There have been plenty of calls for peace. Ruzzia responds but targeting civilians, trafficking children, and ignoring the Geneva convention. They don't need to be enabled. They are a failed and vicious state.

sbrobert Mar 09, 2023 04:16 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Please do watch that Democracy Now debate at

This is the most thoughtful debate I have seen on how to achieve peace and justice for the people of Ukraine. The actual debate starts about two minutes into the video.

My favorite sign at the rally was "Iranians Stand With Ukrainians". People who are oppressed and/or under attack need to feel solidarity with each other and know that in the long run justice and freedom will prevail.

RED CREEK and others thank you for the kind words of support. We are fortunate to have this forum.

Regarding Congress member Schiff, I will add that he is one of three major Democratic candidates running for the US Senate seat being vacated by Senator Feinstein. The other two candidates are Congress member Barbara Lee and Congress member Katie Porter.

EastBeach Mar 11, 2023 03:59 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Thanks for your usual "man about town" photos/videos Robert. My rainy-day homework assignment was to watch the video you cited. I've listened to Amy Goodman on the radio but not watched via podcast.

IMO, Matt Duss had a much more realistic assessment than Medea Benjamin. To consider Putin, Xi Jinping, and Erdogan rational players in this war who can help negotiate a just peace is wishful thinking and naive.

If Russia had ruthlessly invaded the U.S. for no good reason and murdered countless civilians, I wonder if Benjamin would be thinking the same way. But since Russia invaded Ukraine and not the US, I think she needs to realize sometimes the world gets really nasty and pacifism only allows the aggressor a victory and comfort for those on the sidelines like Benjamin.

Disclaimer - Ukraine is a complicated situation for those not in Ukraine (and for those in Ukraine, it is a matter of survival and protecting their country). There are so many considerations to superimpose it's not possible to succinctly summarize here. But I do agree with the last paragraph of your post.

a-1678420550 Mar 09, 2023 07:55 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Robert, the senate race is a whole 'nother can of worms! I don't like to see those 3 running against each other; it will be a difficult decision.

SBsurferlife Mar 09, 2023 03:26 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

Ed, can you make a separate page for VOR to spew his nonsense whenever he wants and anyone who wishes to engage with him can, but only that one page? And all other pages clear from his antagonism?
A longtime reader and fan

GeneralTree Mar 09, 2023 07:00 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

SBSURFERLIFE - VOR already has his own section - you can usually find him in the deleted comments section.

sacjon Mar 09, 2023 06:02 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

SBSURFERLIFE - that is a fantastic idea. I might drop by once and while to make sure he's not lying too much, but would otherwise love to be free of his constant trolling and deflection. At least CHIP and others with whom I disagree are able to acknowledge corrections and refrain from non-stop deflection and gaslighting when called out for being wrong. I always enjoy a spirited debate/discussion/even argument, but the bang my head against the wall style back and forths are just too much. I feel bad for those who end up reading them!

bicyclist Mar 09, 2023 04:08 PM
Ukraine Rally Raises Big Issues

The CMaR Column - Starring ->.... "Starring is an adjective that's used when someone's at the center of things, like a concert starring a famous cellist. The Greek word aster became the English word star, which was first used to mean "to be featured in a play" in the 1820s".
Works for me!


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