Patterico's Pontifications

3/25/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:37 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Like many of you, it’s just been gutting to see so many Ukrainian children caught up in Putin’s war. Yet in the turmoil, there are some positive reports. Hundreds of orphans – the youngest just 35 days old – were evacuated from a Jewish orphanage in Odessa, another group of 54 evacuated orphans have just arrived in the UK, and it has been reported that “a team of US military veterans is helping to organise safe passage for the estimated 200,000 children in Ukraine’s orphanages and foster homes”. God bless the courageous people working around the clock to get these children out of harm’s way. CNBC has a list of the top charities helping the Ukrainian people. Charity Navigator is a handy tool to use to research any charities you are considering. I’ve relied on their help for years and have never been steered wrong.

I just saw this:

I ran the original post through a translator and it said:

In the fall of 2021, the Children’s Rehabilitation Center was opened in Mariupol after reconstruction. We built this modern medical facility together with the European Investment Bank. A place that was designed to save children’s lives, destroyed by those who decided to forcibly “liberate” us. Obviously, to liberate from peace, from development, from such modern rehabilitation centers. Free from the very right to life.

For the occupiers there is no limit to cynicism, there is no limit to cruelty. They don’t care who is in their sights – people, houses, kindergartens, hospitals or the Drama Theater [Ed. 300 killed in Russian bombing].

And while the enemy indifferently destroys Mariupol, the entire civilized world must show the highest degree of consolidation to stop evil. After all, evil never stops itself. And if it is not stopped in Ukraine now, it will come to every European home.

There is so much happening out there now that it’s hard for me to keep up. Consider the following news items mini-appetizers to follow up on if you find them tasty. Here we go!

First news item

Oh dear, Ginni Thomas appears to be bonkers:

In the fall of 2020, after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the presidential election, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeatedly urged White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to attempt to overturn the election results, according to text messages obtained by congressional investigators.

“Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!” Thomas wrote to Meadows on Nov. 10 after the election was officially called for Biden. “You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

And, as a reminder:

In January, the court declined to block the Jan. 6 committee from obtaining Trump White House records over the objection of only one justice: Clarence Thomas.

“There were some eyebrows raised when Justice Thomas was that lone vote,” said Kate Shaw, ABC News Supreme Court analyst and Cardozo Law professor. “But he did not explain himself, so we don’t actually know why he wished to take up the case.”

Steve Vladeck informs us that there are rules in place about justices avoiding conflicts of interest:

Also, Justice Thomas has now been released from the hospital.

Second news item

Sen. Joe Manchin says he’s a yes vote on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson:

“After meeting with her, considering her record, and closely monitoring her testimony and questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, I have determined I intend to vote for her nomination to serve on the Supreme Court,” Manchin said in a statement.

Manchin added that Jackson’s “wide array of experiences” in the judicial system provide her with a unique perspective she will bring to the court.

“I am confident Judge Jackson is supremely qualified and has the disposition necessary to serve as our nation’s next Supreme Court Justice,” he wrote.

Third news item

On the non-diversity of diversity:

Similar to the reduction in the types of ideas that are acceptable to teach, the pedagogical techniques that educators are permitted to utilize are becoming less diverse. Educators who don’t adjust their content and assessment strategies to fit with the inclusivity agenda risk pushback from students and their institutions. Because continued employment is increasingly tied to student evaluations, which assess satisfaction rather than learning, those who seek to challenge students to grow rather than stagnate are forced to adjust their practice or leave the university.

Contrary to its intended aims, the inclusivity agenda works to disadvantage all students. Those who came to the classroom equipped to deal with educational hurdles become bored and disengage as their dissatisfaction with completing simple assignments develops into the realization that they have spent their time at university in vapid pursuits. And those who came to the classroom ill-equipped to mount these hurdles will leave still disadvantaged, gaining none of the experience necessary to develop that which they lacked.

Fourth news item

Putin whines about being Russia being canceled, points to J.K.Rowling’s experience:

There is also a campaign against Russian composers including Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninoff, the Russian president added in a bizarre rant during a televised meeting with cultural figures.

He appeared to be referring in part to the cancellation of events involving Russian music in some Western countries since his invasion of Ukraine.

“Today they are trying to cancel a whole thousand-year culture – our people,” Mr Putin commented.

“They are banning Russian writers and books.”

Regarding JK Rowling, he said the Harry Potter author was cancelled “just because she didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights”.

However, Rowling wasn’t having it:

It’s really not hard to puzzle out Putin’s current strategery:

Putin is desperate for western allies. So here he is trying to woo American right-wingers by imposing a familiar culture-war template on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. If the people leading the charge against Russia are the same people who hate J.K. Rowling for believing that women and trans women are different, doesn’t that tell you whom you should be rooting for in this war?

By which he means “the side that’s bombing Ukrainian children around the clock.”

Fifth news item

NYC Mayor Eric Adams exempts select groups from vaccine mandate:

Mayor Eric Adams exempted the city’s athletes and performers from the Big Apple’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Thursday following weeks of pressure after it kept Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving from playing in home games — and was expected to block some baseball players from taking the field next month.

…Adams said Thursday that he has signed the order. The exemption was effective immediately.

“Being healthy is not just about being physically healthy, but being economically healthy,” he said.

Adams also prefaced his announcement by saying: “I’m going to make some tough choices. People are not going to agree with some of them. I must move this city forward.

“Generals lead from the front. I was not elected to be fearful, but to be fearless.”

Reactions:

Among those who blasted Adams’s decision was the city’s next-highest elected official, fellow Democrat and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams of Queens, who voiced “serious concerns” over what she called “a step away from following sensible, public health-driven policies that prioritize equity.”

“I’m worried about the increasingly ambiguous messages that are being sent to New Yorkers about public health during this continuing pandemic,” the council speaker said.

“This exemption sends the wrong message that higher-paid workers and celebrities are being valued as more important than our devoted civil servants, which I reject.”

Mayor Adams is facing considerable backlash from various worker groups:

But unions representing other workers, including police officers, firefighters and teachers, are accusing the mayor of a double standard. And in some cases they are threatening legal action.

Adams says he made the decision to help the economy.

“By putting our home teams on equal playing field, we increase their chances of winning and then has a real impact on our city. This is just not fans in the stands but it is people in the stores.”

The mayor is now under fire from virtually every major municipal union.

Unions representing teachers, police, correction officers, EMTs and paramedics want the exemptions extended to city workers.

They’re also calling for fired workers to be called back or compensated for their lost wage.

Sixth news item

Good news:

U.S. defense officials told reporters this week that the Pentagon assesses that Russia has launched more than 1,100 missiles of all kinds since the war began. The U.S. officials have so far not said how many of those hit their targets and how many failed to do so.

Citing U.S. intelligence, three U.S. officials said the United States estimated that Russia’s failure rate varied day-to-day, depended on the type of missile being launched, and could sometimes exceed 50%. Two of them said it reached as high as 60%.

One of the officials said the intelligence showed that Russia’s air-launched cruise missiles had a failure rate in the 20% to 60% range, depending on the day.

More good news:

Russia had lost 530 tanks as of March 24, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including some that were captured by Ukrainian forces.

The ministry also said that more than 15,800 Russian military personnel have been killed since the beginning of the conflict.

Forbes, citing Oryx, a military website that monitors open-source information on social media to work out losses of military equipment during the war, on Friday said that Ukraine has lost at least 74 tanks since Russia started the war on February 24, but it had captured at least 118 Russian tanks. This means that Ukraine has more tanks than it did at the start of the conflict.

Of the 74 lost tanks Ukraine has lost, Russia has captured at least 38, according to Oryx.

Seventh news item

Russian colonel killed by his own forces:

A Russian brigade commander has been killed by his own forces in another indication of boiling discontent among Russian forces deployed in and around Ukraine, Western officials said.

The colonel, commander of the 37th Motor Rifle Brigade, was run over by an armored vehicle and suffered grave injuries to both legs.

“The brigade commander was killed by his own troops, we believe, as a consequence of the scale of losses that have been taken by his brigade,” one official said. “We believe that he was killed by his own troops deliberately. We believe that he was run over by his own troops.”

Eighth news item

Oh boo-hoo, cry me a river:

A sanctioned Russian oligarch has said he’s struggling to pay bills and isn’t sure if he’ll be able to employ a cleaner or driver.

In an interview with the Financial Times published Friday, Petr Aven, whose wealth is estimated by Bloomberg to be around $5.6 billion, said: “We don’t understand how to survive.”

In the interview, Aven also asked the question: “Will I be allowed to have a cleaner, or a driver?” and added: “I don’t drive a car… maybe my stepdaughter will drive.”

Aven was sanctioned by the EU on February 28 and described as “one of Vladimir Putin’s closest oligarchs.” He was also sanctioned by the UK on March 15 because of his complicity in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said at the time.

MISCELLANEOUS
Screenshot 2022-03-25 at 2.22.10 PM

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

329 Responses to “Weekend Open Thread”

  1. Happy Friday!

    Dana (5395f9)

  2. The official American death toll from COVID has passed 1 million. (1.1 million in “excess deaths”.) A failure that large has many parents. The experience of some other advanced nations shows how much better we could have done, if we had had better leadership, and we had cooperated more.

    If we had done as well as, for example, Germany, our death toll would be about half as large. Similarly, if all our states had done as well as, for example, Utah, again our losses would be about half as large.

    If you want to get a basic understanding of what worked for us, and what didn’t, look at the death graphs for the individual states. Especially recently. (If you prefer to continue “tribal” warfare, don’t look at that data. Or any other data.)

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  3. The official American death toll from COVID has passed 1 million. (1.1 million by “excess death” estimates.) If we had done as well as some other advanced nations, for example, Germany, that death toll would be about half as large. Or, if we had done as well as the state of Utah.

    A disaster that immense has many parents, but the broad pattern is clear. We could have done better if we had the followed the Golden Rule and cooperated more — and if we had had better leadership.

    (Dana – My apologies for leaving out the links, but I just had a comment with the links swallowed, and this is the second or third time that has happened to me when commenting about COVID. And I think the subject is important.)

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  4. This, in contrast, is good news:

    The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits dropped to a 52-1/2-year low last week, while unemployment rolls continued to shrink, pointing to rapidly diminishing labor market slack that will keep boosting wage inflation.

    It is even better news when you recall that our population has grown a bit in the last 52 years.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  5. Russia had lost 530 tanks as of March 24, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including some that were captured by Ukrainian forces.

    The ministry also said that more than 15,800 Russian military personnel have been killed since the beginning of the conflict.

    I was listening to a podcast today in which these numbers were discussed, and the guests — all of whom are rooting for Ukraine, it should be noted — think these numbers are likely grossly inflated, especially the 15,000+ Russian dead. I get that the Ukrainian leadership might want to put out a little bit of over-hyped propaganda in order to buck up the spirits of their fellow citizens, but it’s probably best that the rest of us take it with a grain of salt.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  6. COVID, plus long-term trends, produced this first-time result:

    Almost three-quarters of all U.S. counties reported more deaths than births last year, a development largely caused by the pandemic, which contributed to a dramatic slowing in the nation’s overall population growth, according to data released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

    Low fertility rates, which have persisted since the end of the Great Recession, and the nation’s continuing demographic shift toward an older population also combined to create the smallest population increase in 100 years, said Kenneth M. Johnson, a sociology professor and demographer at the University of New Hampshire. He said he expected the data to show a natural decrease but was surprised at its scale. Natural decrease occurs when a population records more deaths than births.

    “I think one of the most important findings is the fact that almost 2,300 counties had more deaths than births in them. That’s unheard of in American history,” Johnson said.

    Further on in the article, you will learn that there was substantial internal migration, with people moving, net, out of large cities. For example, “Los Angeles County lost 179,757 people in net domestic migration,” . . . .

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  7. JVW – At this site, they claim to be documenting equipment losses for both sides, with actual photographs and videos. (And you can look at the photos and videos yourself.)

    Assuming that compilation is roughly accurate, an expert on Russian military equipment should be able to make rough estimates of personnel losses. You could assume, for example, that, when an occupied tank is destroyed, all the men in it die.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  8. James Webb Space Telescope’s 1st science targets remain super secret as observatory settles in

    ‘In the first year of its scientific operations, the James Webb Space Telescope will study small galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, look for the oldest stars in the universe or peer inside mysterious remnants of an exploded star. Its very first science targets, however, remain top secret… “Yes, the targets have been chosen for the super-secret first images that will be released,” Jane Rigby, the James Webb Space Telescope operations project scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland said during a news conference held on March 16… “We will be seeing back in time, to understand how galaxies like our own Milky Way formed, and then evolved over 13.7 billion years of cosmic time,” she said, adding that the $10 billion Webb observatory will also study exoplanets, planets orbiting other stars than our sun, and analyze their atmospheres.’

    https://www.space.com/james-webb-space-telescope-first-science-observations-secret?msclkid=a0e06a93ac8e11ecb268beca59b30e33

    Why?

    TAXPAYERS spent $10 billion on it.

    Expecting somebody to blink back? What do the bureaucrats NOT want you to know? That religion has really been a farcical hoax all along? That the Big Bang was a firecracker set off by the Devil under the Lord’s hammock? That God Almighty really is a 16 year old geek w/Cheetos-stained fingers manipulating us all in a grand computer game called ‘The Universe’ he and his pals are playing? That we all live on a fragment of a dust bunny under ETs bed? Why the secrecy? It’s the first question the people paying for it deserve answered.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  9. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/manhattan-da-bragg-suspended-trump-investigation-indefinitely-stopped-pursuing-charges

    Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the rending of garments begin in earnest.

    NJRob (e2c64f)

  10. https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/03/the-okeefe-project-not-all-is-well.php

    Our government is unwell. Leftists abuse power and must be forcibly restrained.

    NJRob (e2c64f)

  11. Jim Miller,

    I found your Covid comment with links in the spam folder. Why it was there, I have no clue. I fished it out and it’s now published at #2. Do you want me to remove #3 or just leave it?

    Dana (5395f9)

  12. JVW – At this site, they claim to be documenting equipment losses for both sides, with actual photographs and videos. (And you can look at the photos and videos yourself.)

    My 6th news item which discusses casualties/equipment losses was from Newsweek, which linked the findings from Oryx (which Jim Miller linked to above).

    Dana (5395f9)

  13. Dana – Thanks much for your help. Apparently it is something systematic, because it has happened before. Something about Worldometers? (It is not the best site for such data, but it does have nice, easy-to-read tables. Which is important.)

    (Do whatever you like with #3.)

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  14. Here’s one tale of a Mariupol refugee and her two kids.

    🧵As my partner and I were walking through Lviv just now, we saw a mother with 2 kids that was visibly struggling with luggage. We went to help them. They told us they just escaped #Mariupol💔👇🏼

    “It’s hell on Earth,” the mother said. They WALKED from sieged Mariupol to Berdiansk, a city under occupation. They were then picked up by volunteers who put them on a train to Lviv. All they had with them was a little carry on, a bag, and a few backpacks. The kids kept a toy.

    Her 12-year-old daughter Vasilisa was exhausted and struggled to speak clearly, but was still chatty and wanted company. I told her I was a journalist. She said she wants to be a lawyer, and I promised her she will absolutely become one.

    Google Maps tells me they walked 52 miles from Mariupol to Berdyansk. Multiple her story by tens of thousands and it gives a picture of how Putin massively disrupted lives in just one city.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  15. Ginni Thomas: I really don’t get it. I guess there is more than one Trump Derangement Syndrome, but how anyone could put this VERY flawed man on such a pedestal is beyond me. She has to be brighter than that. She just has to be.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  16. Seventh News Item…

    Every army has a Douglas Neidermeyer. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  17. For Mayor Adams, courtesy of The Wire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjzqO6UOPFQ

    Kevin M (38e250)

  18. How the pandemic and remote learning has destroyed education: Children are still performing worse at EVERY level in math and reading than they were before start of COVID, data from 7.3m tests across US reveals

    Children at every grade level are still performing worse in math and reading than they were before start of COVID, data from 7.3 million standardized tests across the US reveals.

    The study, released this week by standardized test provider Renaissance Learning Inc., revealed that a return to in-person learning in the latter half of the last school year has seen standardized test scores improve across the county.

    However, students are still lagging well behind pre-pandemic levels.

    The firm analyzed reading scores for 4.4 million students from kindergarten to 12th grade in all 50 states, as well as 2.9 million students’ math marks during the 2020 and 2021 school years.

    It found student performance during the second year of the pandemic was markedly worse than the first year, with each state seeing marked declines in 2021, suggesting remote learning has had a lasting – and negative – impact on student achievement.

    but it won’t matter to the covid nannies

    JF (e1156d)

  19. Zelenskyy praises allies and thanks them for their help, except for Orban. Zelenskyy laid into Orban.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  20. Dana- Photo question!

    Beautiful pix; but scale is hard to discern. Did you scarf up those nice pieces of driftwood– or are they much larger than the pix reveals?

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  21. Paul @ 14,

    Thanks for sharing that story.

    Dana (99b28a)

  22. Zelenskyy laid into Orban.

    Orban is supporting Putin.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  23. hunter biden ginni thomas isn’t part of the administration

    good thing i didn’t vote for hunter biden ginni thomas

    JF (e1156d)

  24. In January, the court declined to block the Jan. 6 committee from obtaining Trump White House records over the objection of only one justice: Clarence Thomas.

    Ginni’s still got it! And after 35 years of marriage, too!

    nk (1d9030)

  25. Before now, all I knew of Ginnie Thomas was a glimpse with her husband during his confirmation. Maybe you all knew more about her than I did?

    nk (1d9030)

  26. The woman judge was asked how many feet in a yard? She said she didn’t know, she wasn’t a podiatrist.

    mg (8cbc69)

  27. For something lighter, here are some thoughts from the Barbie wars from Amy Dickinson:

    Dear Amy: When I was growing up, I loved my Barbies. I lined them up and we played school. I taught them what I learned in class. I helped them solve little-girl problems. For a child there is much more to a Barbie than the way she looks.

    This mom should relax and allow her child’s imagination to take over.

    — Barbie Fan

    Fan: I agree. In my experience as a parent, the worst thing about Barbies was trying to get their shoes to stay on those tiny pointy feet.

    Lighter if you are a guy, that is. Years ago, I dated two single mothers, each with a daughter who demanded a Barbie at Christmas. The two daughters were quite different in age (5 and 12, as I recall) and personality, and the mothers were quite different.

    But what happened in each household was the same. The mothers bought the Barbie — and bought a truck to balance it out. The daughters opened the box with the truck and said something like “Oh mother”, opened the package with the Barbie, and looked pleased. They seemed to be thinking something like: If I are clear and firm with my mother, she will do the right thing.

    Me? I kept my mouth completely shut, both times.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  28. The Barbie encounters were years, and thousands of miles, apart. (“I am”, of course, not “I are”.)

    I am not the best pruf reder in the wirld.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  29. The Baseless ‘Recusal’ Attack on Clarence Thomas

    D.C. Circuit Judge Nina Pillard, for example, voted not to rehear a case rejecting President Trump’s refusal to produce his tax returns in response to a congressional subpoena. That was exactly what her husband, the ACLU’s litigation director, advocated in an article reviewing the lower court decision.

    Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a liberal icon, participated in a case even after his wife—the chief of an ACLU chapter—commented on the lower court opinion. Her ACLU chapter even submitted a brief to the district court. Reinhardt defended his decision not to recuse, writing his wife’s “views are hers, not mine, and I do not in any way condition my opinions on the positions she takes regarding any issues.” Ethics experts defended Reinhardt’s decision, noting that “Judge Reinhardt is not presumed to be the reservoir and carrier of his wife’s beliefs…. A contrary outcome would deem a judge’s spouse unable to hold most any position of advocacy, creating what amounts to a marriage penalty.”

    Consistent with the Court’s policy, even though Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s husband, Marty Ginsburg, practiced law at a firm that represented parties before the Supreme Court, Justice Ginsburg never recused herself. Law professor Jane Ginsburg, the Justice’s daughter, wrote an article about a case pending before the Supreme Court. The petitioner cited Jane’s article in its brief, and Justice Ginsburg voted for the result advocated by her daughter.

    steve vladeck must’ve been all over this at the time

    JF (e1156d)

  30. #14 Paul, that is a wonderful story. It occurs to me that the walking distance they covered may have been greater than the Google distance, which would make their trek even more impressive.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  31. Hey, mg, do you know the difference between a hippo and a Zippo?
    One’s heavy, the other’s a little lighter.

    nk (1d9030)

  32. #19 – In the past, Hungary made claims to part of western Ukraine. (I don’t know if Orban has said anything about that since he took control of Hungary.)

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  33. And another one pleads guilty:

    Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani who was previously convicted on campaign finance charges, pleaded guilty Friday to a wire fraud conspiracy charge that resulted from his work at a startup insurance company he co-founded.

    It’s almost as if there’s a pattern.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  34. Minsk…and both Buda and Pesth just to be sure!

    urbanleftbehind (c6f17b)

  35. The Ginni Thomas news and the KBJ first day in robe pimp slap of Clarence Thomas calls for a In Living Color reunion (Kelly Coffield is probably dead on ringer these days for Ginni).

    urbanleftbehind (c6f17b)

  36. Unfortunately I can’t tell you if what JF’s linked article says it says is true or not (I can tell you the headline is ridiculous, but it’s a tabloid, so par for the course). It might be or it might not be, but the metric they use is bad and they don’t compare the things they would need to compare in order for us to actually tell. The real reality is that we don’t have the data yet.

    One of the things they did that makes it so that their conclusions may or may not be accurate is that their metric is not a good metric to use. The metric they are using is something called the STAR test, which they call a standardized test, but it isn’t one in the way you think of a standardized test. The STAR test is casual, it isn’t given in a testing environment and it isn’t given in a standard window, and it isn’t aligned with the curriculum, so sometimes it’s given in August and sometimes in November and that doesn’t just vary from school to school, but from also year to year and sometimes even from classroom to classroom. It also isn’t a test actually aligned with the curriculum, so with distance learning some things from the actual curriculum may have been more emphasized that some things the STAR test looks at that aren’t curriculum aligned. Anyway, it isn’t a great metric.

    Secondly, they only compared two different (abnormal) years. There are going to be some variations from year to year, it’s expected. A ten year comparison would have been good, a five year adequate, a three year with 2 of them being normal years probably vaguely passable, but only 2 years, both of which were weird themselves AND both of which came after a weird spring semester, is not an adequate comparison in any way.

    Third, they don’t make any separations of which states did or did not shut school entirely, go to online learning only, had online and in person hybrid, had hybrid only, or had a regular year. If you don’t do that, you can’t tell us if it was the schools going to different delivery methods that was the problem or if it was general societal issues or if some deliver methods had more/less effect. Frex Texas is one of the states with reductions for both math and English while being one of the states that had the shortest school shutdowns whereas IL had hardly any differences and had longer school shut downs.

    Fourth, one of the things they used to pin their argument was the kindergartners in fall 2020 scored higher on the test than kindergartners in fall 2021. Kindergartners wouldn’t have been effected directly by having the schools closed the year before because they wouldn’t necessarily have been in school the year before because there is no universal district preschool, so if something was effecting them, it is far less likely that it was school closures or delivery method changes.

    If you want real information on this issue, you will need to wait until august, when this year’s actual standardized test scores are in and a comparison is made with the standardized test scores from at least spring 2019 and 2018 at minimum. At that point we will be able to see some preliminary data on any single year differences. To tell if there are long term effects we will need scores from 3 to 5 years out (assuming the standardized tests and/or common core curriculum don’t change by then making all comparisons invalid, which is always a possibility since I think our average life of math standards and curriculum is 5 yrs or less and we’ve been on common core for a while now).

    Anyway, sorry for the lengthy bit of shop talk regarding educational testing and statistics, but here it is.

    Nic (896fdf)

  37. (sorry, I should have said JF’s linked article on education)

    Nic (896fdf)

  38. I have the picture of Clarence Thomas talking to the other justices on that Trump case, saying “I know this is going to be strange, but I’ll never have peace at home if I don’t vote no.” And Roberts saying, “Yeah, I get it. It was the same with me on that Obamacare case.”

    Kevin M (38e250)

  39. So, if Russia pulls its forces back from Kiev and tries instead to hold its corridor to Crimea, does that mean that Ukraine can also reposition their forces to throw the Russians out of the south and east? Or is it just a feint, to allow Belarus forces to invade the north and west?

    Kevin M (38e250)

  40. Would we have known any of this if Judge Jackson’s recusal from the Harvard case had not been in the news? It’s a rhetorical question.

    No, we would not have. Not anymore than The Lancet would have published a Y-chromosome comparison of Thomas Jefferson’s nephews’ descendants (he had no sons) and of Sally Hemmings’s putative descendants if Bill Clinton were not being impeached for the Lewinsky thing at the time.

    The “press”. Phooey!

    nk (1d9030)

  41. I said from the very first that it was a Tartar raid. That they would ride in, loot, pillage, rape, and burn, and then be driven back by the Cossacks with whatever they could carry off.

    nk (1d9030)

  42. Ukraine ‘disappointed’ in NATO, as Biden visits U.S. troops in Poland

    ‘… But inside Ukraine, where Russia’s brutal onslaught continued, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky said officials were “very disappointed” in the outcome of the series of summits Wednesday among NATO and European Union leaders in Brussels that brought Biden to Europe. “We expected more bravery. We expected some bold decisions,” Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, told the Washington-based Atlantic Council via live video Friday.’ source-WAPO.com

    Disappointed????

    MEMO to Andriy Yermak:

    Bite the multi-national hands pretzel-politicking, trying to help and feed you and the U.S. taxpayers footing the bill for the freebees handed you much, Yermak?

    America alone just gave you billions in free aid- and is burdening states by letting 100,000 of your countrymen into the USA.

    Listen, punk, WE, the WEST, NATO, POTUS and MI6 expected YOU and your comedian boss to heed the intel warnings given you for months to get ready and an invasion was ‘imminent.’ Thanks for making it easier to decide to help American citizens, veterans and such sleeping on our city streets first and bump your Ukrainian ass to the bottom of the handout list.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  43. A native Ukrainian has a word on Russian morale.

    A thread on morale in the Russian forces, and the impact on the forces of a culture of dedovshchina, which is an extreme form of hazing that new conscripts in the Russian forces are subjected to.

    There have been many reports of defections from Russian side, but also of Russian-on-Russian attacks, such as alleged killing of brigade commander Yakov Ryazantsev, who reportedly died after being run over by an armored vehicle driven by his own troops.

    Now, I’m not saying the one and only reason Ryazantsev was likely killed by his own forces was because of dedovshchina (which, literally translated, means something akin to “the reign of the grandfathers”.) But I do think this could well be a major contributing factor.

    Dedovshchina has been widespread in Russian forces since the Soviet period. What is it? It’s the most brutal form of hazing you can imagine. Simply put, it’s the torture of junior members of the armed forces by those above them on the food chain.

    I’ve heard stories about it first hand from family and friends who have been conscripted. Conscripts are raped, beaten, suffer sleep deprivation, are forced to lick floors and toilets, to eat excrement, to torture others.
    […]
    Now here’s the thing. We know Russia is using conscripts to fight its war against Ukraine. Most estimates indicate that approximately 25 percent of the Russian military is made up of conscripts.

    There are all the obvious reasons why using conscripts in a hot war is a bad idea. They don’t have much training, they have little technical expertise. They’re basically kids – born in the 2000s.

    But now add to all that, the fact that these kids have been brutalised by their superiors. They have been deployed to Ukraine with expired and insufficient rations, and are being asked to sacrifice their lives for people who have literally tortured them.

    Research indicates the most important factor in motivating armed forces is the bonds formed between members of a squad. There are other elements (ideology, patriotism, self-preservation), but the bond is the No. 1 motivator.

    But in Russian forces, the bond is, to put it mildly, f–ked. You have young conscripts who have been tortured by their so-called brothers in arms. They have been brutalised, and then told to go fight alongside the people who have brutalised them.

    In one of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s speeches on social media, he addressed Russian conscripts directly, saying: “If you surrender to our forces, we will treat you the way people ought to be treated … The way you were not treated in your army.”

    That’s super smart. Because Zalenskyy knows exactly what he’s talking about. He knows what these kids have been through at the hands of their so-called superiors.

    Now, consider this scenario: A quarter of your forces have been tortured by a whole bunch of other members of your forces. Now all these people are deployed into a hot war, with guns. How can any of these people trust one another to have each other’s backs?

    If you’re one of the conscripts who has recently been beaten or raped or both by someone you’re fighting alongside – do you really want to die for them? Or might your finger slip on the trigger? Might you accidentally run over them?

    The only surprise, perhaps, is that not more conscripts have done a little payback on their superiors.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  44. Shoigu isn’t the only senior defense official who’s out of public view.

    Not only has Shoigu disappeared from the public space, but also other key security officials – Zolotov, Bortnikov, and Kostyukov.

    There is also chatter on Kostyokov that is completely unverified but I want to document. The chatter is that Putin ordered him to be killed. Again this is unverified and shouldn’t be spread. Just documenting in case he does die.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  45. @43,

    1. Congrats on your new gig as spokesman for the WEST, NATO, POTUS and MI6.

    2. Where ever did you get the idea Zelensky ignored the intel warnings? From the propaganda he delivered for his enemies’ consumption? If you seriously think Ukraine didn’t prepare for the invasion, that it just rolled out of bed and kicked Putin’s @ss on good looks alone… well… what’s a polite word for delusional?

    lurker (cd7cd4)

  46. Zelenskyy laid into Orban.

    Orban is supporting Putin.

    That’s absolute bullstuff, Kevin M. I’ll have a post on this tomorrow, but to address what Zelenskyy said about Orban, yeah, he’s angry that Hungary is trying to walk a thin line between supporting NATO’s objectives and not antagonizing a big country upon whose fuel exports they are dependent, and sure, Hungary and Ukraine have some traditional conflicts (more about that in my post). But Hungary is taking in refugees and Orban has openly criticized Putin and Russia. Yet it’s undeniable that Hungary is dependent upon Russian trade to a degree which Germany and France simply are not, exporting nearly twice as much in dollar value to Russia as to Ukraine and importing more than four times as much from Russia as from Ukraine. Expecting them to get out in front of the United States, Britain, Germany, France, and other major Western countries on the anti-Russia train is utterly crazy. Again, more on that tomorrow.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  47. Thanks for the preview JVW. Looking forward to reading more tomorrow.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  48. @46. Where ever did you get the idea Zelensky ignored the intel warnings?

    His own damn mouth for starters:

    We don’t have a Titanic here’: Ukraine plays down threat of Russian invasion

    Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has talked down the threat of an imminent Russian invasion and said the UK and US are wrong to pull out non-essential diplomatic staff from Kyiv, adding: “We don’t have a Titanic here.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/28/ukraine-plays-down-threat-of-russian-invasion-volodymyr-zelenskiy?msclkid=34af1f78a8a411ec8248012a3b9675ae

    “Iceberg, right ahead!” – Lookout Frederick Fleet [Scott Anderson] ‘Titanic’ 1997

    Worse still, in the days before the invasion when he was told repeatedly it was ‘imminent’ by multiple intgel cources and POTUS himself, the jokster was cracking wise with poor jokes and encouraging his people to go to cafes, clubs and eateries as if nothing was going to occur. Get with the program. Ukraine is in a corruption league w/Putin’s Russia. The ex-comedian and the former film producer got quite an act going begging for help and $ with one hand and then wagging a scolding middle finger at the very same nations trying to bend over backwards to help w/t other.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  49. @47. Hell, JVW, “It’s World War III Z’s” shtick. “Nobody’s doing enough; the world must do more or it’s the end of everything!”

    Then he pushes a backdoor deal via POTUS to exempt Oligarch Roman Abramovich from the very hard ass sanctions needed w/some bogus drivel that he might help cut a peace deal– the very scum the West are trying to put the screws to just to save his country’s butt. Then he turns around and cries, ‘never surrender, never give in.’ First he wants into NATO; then not- then they don’t do enough but give us more freebees anyway; then EVERYBODY must do more; then says he’ll talk to Putin- -a KGBer who won’t punch down to a stand-up comic. The guy’s flailing all over the map– but Rowan Atkinson is better at it; tries to woo Congress w/a sophomoric pitch using PH and 9/11; does the same HoC act using the Battle of Britain then the Knesset using the Holocaust. Two drink minimum shows. He could revive Jerry Lewis’ Labor Day MD telethon w/that act.

    Smarter, savvy, experienced people are trying to contain the out of control fire via every channel; public, private and back- for their own national purposes to be sure- but to help save some part of his own country as well and return stability to the region, get him as much help as they politically can w/o fanning the flames. Yet even with the glowing embers of Crimea around him, intel from multiples sources- w/satellite pix in hand serving as a fire alarm of things to come, he blew off the warnings. Now he’s begging for things he can’t have while pissed about what nations are trying to give him as best they can. An engineer on the nuts and bolts of a peace train he is not. That’s why comics hire agents to cut the deals.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  50. DCSCA, please rethink your position; I am persuaded that lurker is right about Z’s clever deception. The diagnosis fits.

    felipe (484255)

  51. Christine Emba tells us that there is a new “radical” idea among young folks: monogamy.

    What is “radical monogamy”?

    Vice recently posed that question to headline an article on the “new type of relationship style in town” — a lifestyle piece bolstered by interviews with proud adherents of this cutting-edge form of coupling up.

    Yes, that’s funny, but I join Emba in wishing them good luck.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  52. #37 Nic – Thanks for clearing that up.

    I wonder what the effects on education will be for those millions of children who lost caregivers.

    An estimated 5.2 million children worldwide have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19.

    The tally covers the beginning of the pandemic through October 2021, during which there were about 5 million deaths globally from COVID-19. With each reported death, at least one child became orphaned — losing one or both parents — or experienced the loss of a caregiver, such as a grandparent or other adult relative that lived in the home, researchers report online February 24 in the Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

    Losing a parent, a grandparent, other relative, or even a nanny, to COVID can’t be a plus.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  53. felipe – Judging by the results so far, it seems certain, as lurker says, that the Ukraine armed forces were ready for the Russian invasion — so Zelenskyy, regardless of what he said in public, must have seen an attack as likely.

    Keeping forces in position and on alert is not cheap.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  54. well… what’s a polite word for delusional?

    Russophile.

    nk (1d9030)

  55. Conspiracy theory from a Moldovan worker: Over at Political Betting a few days ago, one of the commenters passed on this theory he had gotten from a Moldovan worker in Britain:

    Putin is a CIA plant, installed to destroy Russia. Okay, that’s a crazy idea, but you have to admit that it explains a lot, the damage Putin has done to the Russian economy, his failure on COVID, and finally, this idiotic invasion of Ukraine.

    (in Britain, Albanian taxi drivers are a more common source of such ideas, by the way.)

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  56. Dedovshchina ….
    ….
    Conscripts are raped, beaten, suffer sleep deprivation, are forced to lick floors and toilets, to eat excrement, to torture others.

    A reflection of all Russia. That’s how those people are.

    nk (1d9030)

  57. BTW, that’s a very good article by Christine Emba that Jim Miller linked at 52. Thank you, Jim!

    I am old enough to have seen three generations of little assholes, each inventing life and being all so wise and all-knowing about it, and more than anything else I’m glad that, now, my gray hair is as good as a cloak of invisibility to the twerps.

    nk (1d9030)

  58. Not only taxis…you can’t be a female pop singer in Britain these days unless you’re of the Balkan, Wog, or South Asian extractions.

    urbanleftbehind (c6f17b)

  59. Dedovschina, eh…now every FBS college football program will be trying to sneak a former Russian Army NCO onto their coaching staffs.

    urbanleftbehind (c6f17b)

  60. JVW,

    I prefer “hyperbole.” Hungary’s dependence on Russia is a fact, but it is also due to their choices. Their neighboring countries aren’t so dependent. Further, Orban is refusing to let convoys through his country, and Hungary has blocked ministerial discussions between NATO and Ukraine for the last several years, as Putin would have wanted.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  61. Vlad Putin is a uniter, not a divider.

    Having lunch in #Lviv. Suddenly, the Ukrainian anthem starts playing on the speakers of the shopping center. Everyone gets up, sings the anthem, shouts Slava Ukraini at the end, sits down and goes back to eating. Nice.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  62. What’s interesting about this tweet is that it’s from a Democrat, and he’s right.

    For decades, protesters – many self labeled as progressive – worked to kill both new nuclear energy projects & new real estate development projects

    It’s arguable that those efforts contributed to climate change and an affordable housing crisis

    We need leas NIMBY, more YIMBY!

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  63. Finally, there’s a List of The Canceled, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Included on it are Liz Cheney and Donald Trump, of course. Also canceled is Cliff Mass, my favorite weather guy, for criticizing the rioting during the summer 2020 protests. I also noticed Gina Carano, Roseanne Barr, Chris Matthews, Megyn Kelly, Jordan Peterson, Andrew Sullivan, etc.

    One of the funnier ones was Mark Meechan, who “trained his girlfriend’s pug dog to perform a Hitler salute as a joke.” I’m guessing the girl broke up with him.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  64. you can’t be a female pop singer in Britain these days unless you’re of the Balkan, Wog, or South Asian extractions.

    How do you explain Adele?

    Rip Murdock (b274da)

  65. So here he is trying to woo American right-wingers by imposing a familiar culture-war template on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

    Russia has been courting American conservative Christians for a long time. A leader in the effort has been Konstantin Malofeev, “God’s Oligarch.” His name appears in the recent stories about the leaked emails showing Russia’s involvement in cultivating far-right nationalist or separatist parties in Europe too. One of his themes is:

    “This so-called liberalism, tolerance, and freedom, these are just words, but behind them you can see the totalitarianism.”

    IOW, freedom is slavery. I’ve seen American tradcons & integralists echo this theme, and not just referring to the intolerant left, but attacking classical liberalism as well, and the claiming that freedom of religion is just a camouflage for aggressive “secularism” and coercing people to abandon religion altogether.

    In this view, Putin’s repression of political opposition is excusable when he’s supposedly doing it to defend Christianity and the Russian culture.

    Radegunda (71f977)

  66. (Sen.) Mike Braun walks back comments that interracial marriage ruling should have been left to states

    Sen. Mike Braun said during a media call Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong to legalize interracial marriage decades ago.

    That decision should have been left to individual states, he said.
    ……..
    During the press call earlier Tuesday, Braun was asked about the landmark Loving v. Virginia court case after he explained he thought abortion rights questions should have been left up to the states back when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Mandating abortion access was judicial activism, Braun said, adding that individual states should instead be able to decide how restrictive abortion access should be.

    A reporter then asked if he applied the same reasoning to the Supreme Court’s decision in 1967 that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage under the 14th amendment, which guarantees all citizens equal protection under the law.

    “When it comes to issues, you can’t have it both ways,” Braun said. “When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are going to be rules and proceedings, they’re going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It’s the beauty of the system, and that’s where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves.”

    Braun doubled down when asked to clarify if he would be OK with leaving the decision of whether to allow interracial marriage up to states. After all, states had decided to make interracial marriage illegal.

    “Yes, I think that that’s something that if you’re not wanting the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you’re not going to be able to have your cake and eat it too,” Braun responded. “I think that’s hypocritical.”

    Hours later Braun backtracked in a written statement sent to media.

    “Earlier during a virtual press conference I misunderstood a line of questioning that ended up being about interracial marriage,” Braun said. “Let me be clear on that issue — there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, that is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels and by any states, entities, or individuals.”
    ………..

    Another instance of a politician initially speaking his true opinion and later backtracking when it became politically inconvenient. While the question was hypothetical, all Braun needed to say was that the Supreme Court had ruled on the issue, and the decision had been made.

    Indiana was the first state to make interracial marriage (between whites and blacks only) a felony, and banned such marriages between 1818 and 1965.

    Rip Murdock (b274da)

  67. In the past, Hungary made claims to part of western Ukraine….

    This article says that up until late 2017, Orban had most gone along with EU and NATO positions on Russia, except:

    In May 2014, right after the annexation of Crimea, Orbán demanded autonomy for Hungarians in Transcarpathia (a territory of Ukraine that belonged to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy until the end of the first World War). … In September 2014, just three days after Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller visited Orbán, the Hungarian government temporarily suspended the “reverse flow” gas transfers to Ukraine. And Orbán’s state-owned media often took a strong pro-Russian angle when talking about the Maidan and the crisis in Ukraine.

    In 2017, Orban began actively blocking EU and NATO membership for Ukraine, and taking Russia’s side. A new law about Ukrainian being the main language in schools stirred up Orban’s ire, but there are other reasons too for his pro-Putin stance. I also seem to recall reading something recently about a plan to partition Ukraine between Russia and Hungary.

    Radegunda (71f977)

  68. I said from the very first that it was a Tartar raid. That they would ride in, loot, pillage, rape, and burn, and then be driven back by the Cossacks with whatever they could carry off.

    nk — have you seen the film Il Deserto dei Tartari? The whole thing is about officers & soldiers in a remote outpost waiting for a Tartar attack. It’s very atmospheric, and the cast is outstanding.

    Jacques Perrin was always perfect as the good-hearted naif who gets in over his head, starting with another Zurlini film, La Ragazza con la valigia, where he starred opposite Claudia Cardinale.

    Radegunda (71f977)

  69. Here’s a terrific, mostly wordless scene from La Ragazza con la valigia.

    Radegunda (71f977)

  70. No, Radegunda, I have not, but now I will make a point to.

    nk (1d9030)

  71. @51. No way. Revisit the astonished reporters interviewing shopkeepers, citizens and cluib/bar/cafe patrons there weeks, days– even hours before the invasion asking why they weren’t preparing. The best thing Z can do right now is for he and his staff to stop biting the hands that are trying to feed him help.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  72. I read that article, nk.
    Those people need the experience of a 57 Chevy.

    mg (8cbc69)

  73. well… what’s a polite word for delusional?

    Joementum.

    “Putin knows if I am president of the United States, his days of tyranny and trying to intimidate the United States and those in Eastern Europe are over. I’m going to stand up to him… ” – Joe Biden, 2020

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  74. We should sanction Gerhard Schroder.

    One month after Putin revealed himself as a war criminal, Gerhard Schröder is still chairman of Rosneft, chair of Nord Stream AG & member of the board of directors of Gazprom. @USTreasury, #EU & UK: Sanction him! Schröder is Putin’s foremost agent in Europe.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  75. @54. Pfft. They’ve been “on alert” battling off Putin’s aggression since 2014– or have you forgotten the annexation of U’s Crimea and the fighting in Donbas. Z blowing off the very people trying to help him was foolish- even for a comic.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  76. On Barbie wars:
    I have a younger relative who thought boys’ toys were cooler, and if someone gave her a doll, she would give it away to a friend. Her parents gave her the kind of toys she preferred. She’s in college now, and a normal young lady.

    Funny thing is I also have a distinct recollection from when she was quite young and her dad said she needed to wear sneakers, not sandals to the beach, and she pouted and said “They’re not pretty!!”

    Radegunda (80ab0a)

  77. Independent experts find no foul play in 2020 election (AZ)

    ………
    The report comes after the Arizona Senate and the county agreed in September 2021 that three independent computer security experts would review the county’s routers and answer the Senate’s questions in relation to the 2020 general election. Both parties agreed that former Congressman John Shadegg would act as an impartial “special master” to oversee the process.

    Six months later, the findings, which were released late Wednesday, fall in line with the county’s own independent election audits conducted more than a year ago.
    ………
    Shadegg’s report stated that the team found no evidence that “routers, managed switches, or election devices” connected to the Internet. He and the experts also found no evidence that the county obstructed the audit.
    “The special master and expert panel found no evidence of data deletion, data purging, data overwriting, or other destruction of evidence or obstruction of the audit,” the report stated.
    ……….
    In responding to the Senate’s questions, the computer security experts noted that Maricopa County uses two separate facilities and two separate computer systems to conduct elections, not one “election network.” They said in the report that the Senate’s questions “appeared to have been written based on the assumption” that the county only had one.

    “This utilization of separate systems, which are physically separated and are not electronically connected, either by wire or wirelessly, is a critical factor in answering the Senate’s questions,” the report stated.

    The experts stated that they found no evidence that the elections equipment in the ballot tabulation center connected to the public internet.
    ………
    The ballot tabulation center, the report stated, is only accessible with key card access and is monitored 24/7. It has no electronic connection to the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center, wireless or otherwise.

    “Vote tallies, as they are completed, are loaded on a newly opened USB (thumb drive, Flash drive), under the observation of politically appointed observers, and are then physically taken out of the BTC and loaded on a separate computer for distribution to the press and public,” the report stated, adding that the official canvass is put on a “newly opened USB” and hand-delivered to the Secretary of State’s Office along with chain of custody information.

    The routers in the Office of Enterprise Technology did connect to the public internet; however, the experts noted that the facility only housed registration information and records and plays no part in counting ballots.
    ……….

    Not that this will change anyone’s mind….

    Rip Murdock (b274da)

  78. #58 nk – You’re welcome.

    #68 Rip – One of the stranger aspects of that ban on interracial marriage is that, especially in Virginia, it was supported by people who also claimed, proudly, to be descended from Pocahontas.

    (Fun fact (and new to me): One of her descendants was the astronomer Percival Lowell.)

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  79. “They’re not pretty!!”

    Just remembered that was a different young relative. What’s funny is how clearly I recall her objection many years later, when there’s so much I forget.

    Radegunda (80ab0a)

  80. Not that this will change anyone’s mind….

    The usual reaction to such reports is: “This just shows how deep and vast the conspiracy is!”

    Radegunda (80ab0a)

  81. Here are some pictures to hopefully complement yours, Dana. The baobab is an unusual and big-ass tree.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  82. Donald Trump sues Hillary Clinton and allies over Russia claims
    …….
    The new lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Fort Pierce, Fla., accuses Clinton, her campaign, various campaign aides, former FBI Director James Comey, the Democratic National Committee and others of racketeering conspiracy for allegedly joining in “an unthinkable plot” to falsely accuse Trump of colluding with Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

    “In the run-up to the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton and her cohorts orchestrated an unthinkable plot – one that shocks the conscience and is an affront to this nation’s democracy,” the complaint says. “Acting in concert, the Defendants maliciously conspired to weave a false narrative that their Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, was colluding with a hostile foreign sovereignty.”

    The suit accused the defendants of obstruction of justice and theft of trade secrets, as well as unlawful hacking into Trump’s private communications.

    “The actions taken in furtherance of their scheme—falsifying evidence, deceiving law enforcement, and exploiting access to highly-sensitive data sources—are so outrageous, subversive and incendiary that even the events of Watergate pale in comparison,” the complaint adds.

    The sprawling, 108-page complaint reads like a greatest-hits of Trump’s long-held grievances against the public figures most closely associated with the investigation of his campaign’s ties to Russia in 2016. …….

    The suit appears to seek more than $72 million in damages, which the complaint says is the tally of legal fees and other costs of defending against the alleged untruths. In another court filing in the case, Trump’s attorneys asked for only $21 million.

    Among the defendants in the case is a former State Department official and spokesperson for Clinton, Philippe Reines. The only specific allegations against him in the suit are that he made public statements suggesting that Trump had worked with Russia in 2016 and that he had serious legal woes.
    ………
    Reines responded nonchalantly to the suit Thursday. “I look forward to deposing the plaintiff,” he wrote on Twitter.

    Another defendant in the suit, former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, said through his attorney that the suit was likely wildly inaccurate.

    ………
    This “lawsuit” will probably be dismissed before discovery even begins, but if it makes that far then Trump will be giving depositions to each of the more than a dozen defendants.

    Comedy gold!

    Rip Murdock (b274da)

  83. Automatic tax cuts in Indiana. Mitch Daniels describes one of his policy successes:

    I can’t and don’t pretend to objectivity about the policy, which provides that, when state reserves exceed a specified percentage of the annual budget at the end of a two-year fiscal period, they are automatically returned per capita to the taxpayers, the same amount for every return. I proposed the concept while seeking reelection as governor in 2008, and it was enacted in 2011.
    . . .
    The refund was first triggered in 2012, with millions of Hoosiers receiving $111 each, or $222 on joint returns. For 2021, when the surplus reached 23 percent of the budget, more than 4 million taxpayers will receive — or, better said, retain — a slightly larger per capita amount. If current revenue forecasts are even remotely accurate, a third and still larger refund would occur in 2023.

    The refunds are the same for all taxpayers for two reasons. It is administratively simple, so that the public can readily understand it, and a large bureaucracy can execute it without errors. Secondly, it is progressive, more valuable to people of moderate means than to their wealthier neighbors.

    Daniels writes a column once a month for the Washington Post. I have yet to see one that wasn’t worth reading.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  84. None of Ginni Thomas’ opinions suggest any need for Justice Thomas to recuse from anything at all. So the complaint is that she has wrong opinions? Or something?

    mikeybates (c22064)

  85. Paul, in a lot of places certain communities have everything in the back yard. I remember my area in Los Angles –next door to LAX — being accused of NIMBYism when they didn’t want 5-story apartment buildings in among single-family houses. Wasn’t LAX enough?

    Kevin M (38e250)

  86. Biden calls for regime change in Russia, saying Putin “cannot remain in power”

    Well, it’s pretty clear that Ukraine is not going to be free, or even safe, while Putin is in power. The good news is that if forced out of Ukraine, Putin won’t remain in power.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  87. Paul Montagu @ 83,

    Well, thanks for saying that Beth Moon’s photos of old trees complement my little photo but the truth is, Moon is an amazing photographer who produces some of the most stunning B&W photos I’ve ever seen. Simply exquisite. Her platinum printing grabs detail and light and shadow like nothing else. I’ve been a fan, and always, her work leaves me stunned.

    Oh, and the baobab trees are super cool.

    Dana (5395f9)

  88. None of Ginni Thomas’ opinions suggest any need for Justice Thomas to recuse from anything at all.

    It isn’t simply a matter of what her “opinions” are. It’s that she was actually conspiring with people in the White House and in Congress to try to overturn an election.
    And her husband was the only one of the nine justices on the Court who voted to keep hidden a record that mostly likely included her participation in that effort — and he did not offer any legal rationale for it.

    Radegunda (80ab0a)

  89. Biden gives teleprompter talk oozing Jon Meacham.

    Tells Putin: “Stay off NATO’s lawn!” Calls for Russian regime change as Moscow’s missiles blast Lviv. Lauds Pope John-Paul II, crows over Berlin Wall, Iron Curtain demise while omitting names Bush, Reagan and Thatcher.

    Ice cream for dessert. Jetting home.

    Film at 11.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  90. Great pictures, Paul. Massively broad trees are impressive in a way that surpasses the super-tall ones, because you can really see the immensity.

    Radegunda (80ab0a)

  91. Everyone gets up, sings the anthem, shouts Slava Ukraini at the end, sits down and goes back to eating. Nice.

    Casablanca, La Marseillaise scene.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  92. None of Ginni Thomas’ opinions suggest any need for Justice Thomas to recuse from anything at all. So the complaint is that she has wrong opinions? Or something?

    The point of concern is, Justice Thomas – husband of Ginni Thomas – was the only justice to object to the court refusing to block the Jan. 6 committee from obtaining Trump White House records. That suggests a problem right from the get-go. And law professor Vladek cited the standard for Supreme Court justices:

    Under 28 U.S.C. § 455, a #SCOTUS Justice is required to recuse from a case not just if they know that their spouse has “any … interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome,” but also if their impartiality “might reasonably be questioned.”

    So, while you may wish it were a nothing burger, it is quite possibly a very real something burger. The complaint certainly isn’t that she has the wrong opinion (she does!), but rather she was in some sort of collusion with at least Meadows to overturn the election, and whether Thomas should have recused himself knowing his wife’s views on the election and being privy to her communique with Meadows. Instead of recusing himself, he ended up being the only member of the SC to object to the release of docs to the Jan. 6 committee. That doesn’t seem, at the least, questionable to you?

    Dana (5395f9)

  93. Automatic tax cuts in Indiana. Mitch Daniels describes one of his policy successes:

    Ironically enough, we have the same sort of rule in California. If the budget surplus exceeds a certain percentage of the budget, some of it is required to be returned to taxpayers in the form of a rebate. Naturally the whole point in a progressive left-wing state like California is to be sure that the budget is always so heavily larded up that there is zero chance of a large surplus, except for in years like last year when the federal government just showers the state with Monopoly money.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  94. Sen. Mike Braun said during a media call Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong to legalize interracial marriage decades ago.

    Just having a flashback to his Democrat Party roots.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  95. One of the stranger aspects of that ban on interracial marriage is that, especially in Virginia, it was supported by people who also claimed, proudly, to be descended from Pocahontas.

    Meh. People exploit others when it’s convenient and can provide them with even a remote claim to fame. But it’s easily disposed of when the loss of something more important threatens them. It’s amazing how shallow and empty people are, and the sad desperation that motivates them to try and fill the empitness.

    Dana (5395f9)

  96. Sen. Mike Braun said during a media call Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong to legalize interracial marriage decades ago.

    I may have shared this before, but I asked my dad if he had any qualms or hesitation about marrying a Native American in the mid-1950s. He said “Nope, she was just a really good-looking woman and I married her.

    Dana (5395f9)

  97. Here in New Mexico, it is oil and gas revenue driving a surplus that will likely be returned per capita, although some progressives want it to “exclude the rich” as if there are enough “rich” to change the amounts (or if the rich care about $300).

    Kevin M (38e250)

  98. I just listened to Biden’s speech in Warsaw. He threw this in at the end:

    “For god’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

    The WH is cleaning it up now:

    From a White House official after Biden’s speech: “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”
    11:17 AM · Mar 26, 2022·Twitter Web App

    While it likely wasn’t a prudent comment, and Biden gave Putin a perk by revealing his anger, I’m still glad he said it.

    Dana (5395f9)

  99. @102. From a White House official after Biden’s speech: “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.
    11:17 AM · Mar 26, 2022·Twitter Web App

    Except he was.

    Gaffed it batting for a ‘tear down this wall’ moment.

    Swing and a miss.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  100. Russian state TV discusses invasion plan for seizing Baltic states as Nato sends thousands of troops to eastern Europe
    ……..
    After gaining their independence when the Soviet Union collapsed, all three Baltic states joined Nato and continue to fear Vladimir Putin has designs on destabilising and invading, as he’s done in Ukraine.

    Just such a scenario was outlined on Russian state TV channel Rossiya 1 by Colonel Igor Korotchenko, formerly of the Russian General Staff and air force and currently a reserve officer.
    ……..
    At the beginning “a massive Russian radio-electronic strike is inflicted” as “all Nato radars go blind and see nothing”.

    Drawing on the map with more and more red lines, he then turns to how Russia will overpower its foes.

    “At this time, on the Swedish island Gotland, Russian military planes land, delivering S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, and Bastion coastal anti-ship systems,” he said.

    “They are deployed – and for now no-one knows or sees anything. The West wonders: ‘Why do we see nothing? What happened to our radars?’”
    ………
    Korotchenko goes onto explain the Russians would push out from the enclave of Kaliningrad towards the Suwalki corridor to block access to reinforcements from Poland.

    “The astonished West and Nato will know that Russia declares a no-fly zone of 400km,” he said, as the programme host nods approvingly.

    Korotchenko went on that “that those few special forces troops of Canada, UK, Germany and the USA, in the Baltic” will be “surrounded” by a Russian airborne forces and then “lay down their arms”.

    The scenario ends with the new Baltic states governments pledging allegiance to Moscow while Sweden agrees to perpetual neutrality and a 99 lease on Gotland.

    The programme went out on Russian television as the end of last year but was posted by Ukrainian government advisor Anton Gerashchenko.
    ……….

    Based on their current performance, the Russian military is not ready for prime time. The coordination required for such an operation is clearly lacking in Ukraine.

    Rip Murdock (cc0941)

  101. Posted this on the wrong thread:

    California Dreamin’: Newsom proposes $400 debit cards to offset soaring gas prices for car owners.

    This man and the CA legislature are, if not thieves, idiots.

    It’s a shell game: it won’t actually be “$400″ for gas because w/a 51 cents per gallon state gas tax, that percentage of the $400 immediately returns the gas tax back to the state at purchase. The thing to do is SUSPEND THE GAS TAX COMPLETELY for 12 to 18 months which delivers savings directly based on usage and consumption to the consumer – or until the markets drop the price of oil and the conflict in Europe ends. But no, that would cut out revenue flow to the state.

    Do not move to California. It sucks.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  102. Kremlin TV Descends Into Screaming Match Over Putin’s War Failures

    As Russia’s war against Ukraine enters its second month, the grim picture of destruction and suffering is breaking through on state-controlled television. Before the invasion, military experts predicted a rapid takeover of Russia’s peaceful neighbor in a matter of minutes. Now that the reality is starting to set in, they’re grimly surmising that it will take several decades to subdue freedom-loving Ukraine.
    …….
    The chorus of concerned voices in Russian state media blamed their country’s information war failures on the fact that the Kremlin’s propaganda channels have been banished in Ukraine. State TV pundit Nikolai Starikov proposed: “When we talk about the organizers of the info-war, I’m convinced that their place is on the same bench where Nazi criminals will be tried.” The hosts, who for years agitated for war against Ukraine under false pretenses, nervously looked on without commenting.

    State Duma Deputy Gen. Vladimir Shamanov (on the Russian state program 60 Minutes)—who is the former commander of the Russian Airborne Troops—accused the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky of being a “war criminal” for not surrendering to Russia. Shamanov argued: “He has the right to say, “Stop this war,” lay down the arms and save all the people.” …….

    Political analyst Vitaly Tretyakov concluded: “The situation is serious… We have to admit that there was no psychological breakthrough in our operation, where the opposing side would lose their will to resist… The resistance from the Ukrainian side is neither stopping nor weakening.” Tretyakov pointed out that despite the Russian media’s attempted depictions of Zelensky as a drug addict, he is being perceived by the West as a leader of a country that has been attacked. He also questioned the wisdom of “liberating” Ukrainians who don’t seem to want to be “liberated” and vehemently hate seeing the Russian troops on their territory……….

    Host Olga Skabeeva was visibly rattled by the depressing realities brought to the forefront by Tretyakov’s comments. ……

    ………. Military experts proceeded to hammer additional nails into the coffin of popular delusions about the anticipated outcome of Putin’s war against Ukraine. On Thursday, military expert Igor Korotchenko called for any protests to be stopped by military force and any vocal opponents of the Russian armed forces to be “interned.” ……

    In January, experts on the same show estimated that Russia could overtake the entire neighboring country in a matter of 11 minutes.……..

    Korotchenko surmised, “It’s obvious that the process of denazification of Ukraine will take the minimum of 15-20 years.” He predicted that the Russian troops would have to remain on Ukrainian territory, with the Russian military in charge of the entire country for the foreseeable future: “Whether this will take 15, 20 years or more, time will tell.”

    General Shamanov was even more pessimistic, as he grimly anticipated that it would take the “re-education” of at least two generations of Ukrainians before they would welcome or tolerate Russia’s dominance. ……..
    ……..

    Sad!

    Rip Murdock (cc0941)

  103. Ah:

    U.S. officials confirm what had become readily apparent: Biden’s declaration that Putin should not remain in power was NOT in the prepared text.

    Dana (5395f9)

  104. LEGO isn’t missing a beat on current events.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  105. it would take the “re-education” of at least two generations of Ukrainians before they would welcome or tolerate Russia’s dominance

    Natcons who admire Putin as a defender of traditional culture seem to believe that the Russian nation is just an organic development of “the Russian people” over the centuries — whereas “Western liberalism” is an ideology that’s been imposed on people who don’t want it. I pointed out to one natcon that the development of the Russian nation actually included forcible subjugation of various people-groups and some coercive tactics to enforce a concept of Russianness. He was unwilling to acknowledge it.

    Now we have, plain as day, an example of Russian powers trying to force Russianness, with great violence, upon people who don’t want it. Some natcons have tried to find ways to sanitize and excuse what Russia is doing — or deflect by suggesting that the real problem is U.S. or NATO meddling in Ukraine. Has to be the fault of “liberals,” not Orthodox Russians.

    Radegunda (80ab0a)

  106. (Alabama) U.S. Senate hopeful (Mike) Durant says ‘I don’t think Joe Biden won the election’
    ………
    Durant told “Capitol Journal” host Todd Stacy he did not believe President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and offered several reasons.

    “[T]he bottom line is I don’t think Joe Biden won the election,” he said. “And the reason I don’t think that … changing the rules. When you suddenly make voting by mail easier than showing up in person — I mean, that just begs for fraud. You can’t deny that. That’s why most voters on both sides believe that voter ID is appropriate. You want everyone to be able to vote but they’re supposed to be a legal citizen to vote. And if you can’t identify who is voting or you know that they are the ones who filled out the ballot, how can you possibly argue that is a valid vote?

    “That’s the easiest one,” Durant continued. “In Pennsylvania, they extended the due date. You know, all these things, changing the rules to basically help Joe Biden. Then, the final one that has come out in the last few days is Hunter Biden’s laptop. That came out before the election. People who voted for Joe Biden, the report that I read — 17% said they would have changed their vote if they had thought that that whole story was real. It got buried and now it comes back to light as, ‘Oh, it was real but now the election is over.’

    “So, all of those things together, I think, really cheated us as a nation out of who should be in the office right now and is not, and we’re paying a heavy price for it,” he added.
    ###########

    Related:

    U.S. Senate hopeful Durant felt ‘pretty good’ about Trump meeting

    Rip Murdock (cc0941)

  107. One “organic” development, first in imperial Russia, and then in the Soviet Union, was the growth of the Russian Baptists.

    Naturally, Putin has been persecuting them, following an old tradition in Russia. (Though Stalin did, for a time, try to use them against the Orthodox church.)

    Some, at some time, came to the United States, and so there are a number of Russian Baptist churches in the Seattle area, and probably other places.

    (I would guess that the late and great senator, Henry M. Jackson, helped them move here. It is the kind of thing he would do.)

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  108. Y’all, I’m waiting for someone to watch the scene from La Ragazza con la valigia and say it’s great, because it is. You don’t even have to know any Italian. Perrin basically internalizes a set of emotions and they surface onto his face while he tries to be stoic. It’s masterful.

    His character, Lorenzo, is the younger brother of a cad who seduced Cardinale’s character, named Aida, while he was vacationing in Rimini, and then was driving her to the family mansion in Parma but decided to dump her shortly before getting there. With a suitcase (valigia) but no money to get back to Rimini, she found the mansion in Parma, and Lorenzo wanted to help her out …
    There’s also a scene where Lorenzo plays a record with an aria from the opera “Aida.” It’s a very good film – as are some other Zurlini films, including “Violent Summer” (Estate violenta) and “Indian Summer” (La prima notte di quiete), with Alain Delon.

    Radegunda (80ab0a)

  109. Removing Putin wouldn’t be “regime change” anyway; the existing Russian leadership is all cut from the same cloth.

    “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  110. Those who can sing (and remember the Pirates of Penzance) may enjoy singing this little ditty:

    “I am the very model of a Russian Major General
    My standing in the battlefield is growing quite untenable
    My forces, though equipped and given orders unequivocal
    Did not expect the fight to be remotely this reciprocal

    I used to have a tank brigade but now I have lost several
    My fresh assaults are faltering with battleplans extemporal
    I can’t recover vehicles but farmers in a tractor can
    It’s all becoming rather reminiscent of Afghanistan

    My ordnance is the best but only half my missiles make it there
    I would have thought by now that we would be controllers of the air
    But at the rate the snipers work my time here is ephemeral
    I am the very model of a Russian Major General”

    Source

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  111. The bodies of Russian soldiers are piling up in Ukraine, as Kremlin conceals true toll of war
    ……..
    As the frost melts and ground thaws, the bodies of Russian soldiers strewn across the landscape are becoming a problem.

    In his nightly video address (last) Saturday, Vitaly Kim, the region’s governor, called on local residents to help collect the corpses and put them in bags, as temperatures rise to above freezing. “We’re not beasts, are we?” he implored residents, who have already lost so many of their own in this war.
    ……..
    Referring to them as “orcs”— the evil, monstrous army in J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” — Kim said that the Russians had retreated and left their colleagues’ charred bodies behind on the battlefield. …….

    The governor has called for the bodies to be placed into refrigerators and sent back to Russia for identification through DNA testing. But, a month into the war, it is still unclear how or if the remains of soldiers are being repatriated to Russia, ……
    ……..
    …….. Ukrzaliznytsia, the state-owned Ukrainian Railways, said in a statement on its website that it had provided Ukraine’s armed forces with 20 refrigerated cars for the removal of dead Russian soldiers from several areas, including Odesa. Just 72 hours later, Ukrzaliznytsia’s chairman posted a message on his personal Telegram channel saying that Russia never came to load them. “For the sake of ‘victorious’ propaganda, they are ready to deprive mothers of even the opportunity to bury the bodies,” Oleksandr Kamyshin wrote.
    ………
    A website and Telegram channel established by the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, aimed at Russian families, publishes a steady stream of photos of dead soldiers and captured young men, sometimes alongside their identity cards. The name of the site, 200rf.com, is a grim nod to Gruz-200, or Cargo-200, a military code word that came into use in the 1980s during the war in Afghanistan, used by the Soviets for the bodies of soldiers placed in zinc-lined coffins for transport.
    ………
    “It’s very difficult to identify the dead because normally they don’t have documents with them, normally the commanders take their documents and put them in some boxes. Normally they die in this fire, in shelling. And you cannot identify the metal ‘dog tags,’ where their number is written, it gives us no information about the person,” (said Viktor Andrusiv, an adviser to Ukraine’s internal affairs minister).

    And as March turns to April, and temperatures climb to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the problem is getting worse.
    ……

    Mandatory Monty Python “Bring Out Your Dead” reference.

    Related: How ​​Ukraine swaps living soldiers for dead Russians

    ………
    Inside that pit near the town of Rusaniv east of Kyiv, several Russian soldiers were given an improvised burial courtesy of the local townsfolk, saving their bodies from animals and decomposing in the open.

    A fierce clash with Ukrainian forces defending the capital spelled their quick and bitter end.

    But in a twist of dark irony, the invading army’s dead soldiers will redeem themselves in death — and help save the living.

    Six of them will be exchanged for two Ukrainian soldiers taken as prisoners of war in a rare instance of an unofficial swap between the opposing armies on the battlefield.

    And unlike so many other Russian dead, these were taken from their unmarked grave in the Ukrainian meadows to eventually find a final resting place back in their homeland.
    ……..

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  112. Jim Miller (406a93) — 3/26/2022 @ 2:03 pm

    Excellent!

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  113. U.S. officials confirm what had become readily apparent: Biden’s declaration that Putin should not remain in power was NOT in the prepared text.

    I called it in a comment in my post defending Orban and Hungary:

    It sure isn’t going to be the mind-addled President of the United States who today rather stupidly called for regime change in Russia (his team of liars is going to gaslight us into believing that he didn’t) which is almost certainly causing angina among our allies and will no doubt lead Putin (and Xi) to believe that regime change has been our goal all along.

    Like his predecessor, our current President creates a lot of problems with his undisciplined tongue.

    Rip Murdock: Removing Putin wouldn’t be “regime change” anyway; the existing Russian leadership is all cut from the same cloth.

    Just try selling that concept to the Russians. If there does exist a secret plot by the oligarchs and the military to depose Putin, they have to now wonder if that would be enough to placate the West or if the West really does scheme to install a puppet government. When dealing with a highly paranoid people, it’s best not to feed them any raw meat to make them dive more deeply into their worst fears.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  114. Y’all, I’m waiting for someone to watch the scene from La Ragazza con la valigia and say it’s great, because it is. You don’t even have to know any Italian. Perrin basically internalizes a set of emotions and they surface onto his face while he tries to be stoic. It’s masterful.

    So…I watched it. Twice. No offense, but I can’t say I thought it was great but it does have a certain something. I feel like I’ve seen the same sort of scene done with more atmosphere and finesse. I’ll have to shake up the gray matter to remember exactly where. Maybe it was a Fellini film or something with Marcello Mastroianni in it. But thank you, Radeguna, for the recommendation. I love looking at films I haven’t seen before.

    (P.S. I remember that we had different musical tastes, so I guess we’re consistent!)

    Dana (5395f9)

  115. While it likely wasn’t a prudent comment, and Biden gave Putin a perk by revealing his anger, I’m still glad he said it.

    Mainly because it’s factual. Putin has become a pariah, and it is in Russia’s interest to replace him. Much like replacing Trump was here.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  116. “Biden’s declaration that Putin should not remain in power was NOT in the prepared text”

    Oligarchs tear down this tyrant! OK, maybe Biden trying to create his Gipper moment….or just not appreciating the significance of going off script. The problem obviously is escalation and boxing Putin further into a corner. It just ain’t smart and the DEMs have to recognize that this happens too often. There’s a clear solution for 2024….someone new…someone sharper. Maybe they have to even consider a resignation appeal at some point, though Harris doesn’t exactly inspire confidence as well….and who is warming up in the bullpen?

    However, I pause to play politics with this when rockets are raining down and nuclear bombs are rhetorically in play. Yeah it’s an own goal by Biden…he inadvertently revealed his hole cards, but the sentiment is not exactly unexpected…or narrowly held. Putin understands the gravity of his over-play….the strength of the Ukraine resistance, the incompetence of his own logistics, the brewing dissatisfaction at home, the popularity of Zelensky, the resolve to impose economic sanctions, and the unity of NATO. He put himself in this box….but now come the chess players. Maybe Israel…maybe India…maybe China. Who can diffuse the situation? The challenge is that Putin has also revealed much of his hand…and the oil/natural gas blackmailing will be near impossible to repeat. He’s persona non grata and shrinking before our eyes. Maybe Biden’s loose lips will encourage the next in line….

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  117. Biden approval rating falls to new low: poll

    ‘President Biden’s approval rating dropped to 40 percent this week, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll, an all-time low for the president in that survey.

    The survey showed that Biden had a 54 percent disapproval rating amid high inflation and tensions caused by Moscow’s deadly invasion of Ukraine, according to Reuters.

    Biden’s latest approval ratings mark a 3 point drop from the prior week, and they have been on a steady decline since mid-August when COVID-19 deaths started to increase and the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan.’

    https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/599350-biden-approval-rating-falls-to-new-low-survey?msclkid=c5673301ad5611eca148b8477ee1897c

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  118. Y’all, I’m waiting for someone to watch the scene from La Ragazza con la valigia and say it’s great, because it is.

    Ah, the days when a badly-dressed dumpy old fart like Renato Baldini could swipe a young lovely like Claudia Cardinale from a handsome and stylish young chap like Jacques Perrin. Now those were movies.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  119. Putin understands the gravity of his over-play….the strength of the Ukraine resistance, the incompetence of his own logistics, the brewing dissatisfaction at home, the popularity of Zelensky, the resolve to impose economic sanctions, and the unity of NATO. He put himself in this box….but now come the chess players. Maybe Israel…maybe India…maybe China. Who can diffuse the situation?

    I think you’re pretty much right, AJ_Liberty, but a big problem that Biden’s loose lips caused in this case is that they also no doubt caught the interest of Xi Jinping. I think China would have a great deal to say in terms of forcing Putin out of Russia, and I would imagine that even if he were willing to agree to let it happen, he would extract a great deal of concessions from the West which we probably ought not be making to him.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  120. @123. It’s not chess. Chess players can see the pieces on the board and anticipate the moves available. It’s poker- where how the hidden cards are played is unknown but determines the outcome. But Henry Gondorff has already shown you how to beat Doyle Lonnegan:

    “He cheats.” – Johnny Hooker [Robert Redford] ‘ The Sting’ 1973

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  121. “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” – Joe Biden 3/26/22

    Back at you, Joey: 25th Amendment time.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  122. Putin nicknames (derogatory)

    Critics of Putin use a range of “blended names” for the Russian leader.
    Putler: Putin + Hitler
    Kaputin: Kaput + Putin
    Haputin: Ukrainian khapaty хапати (which means “grab”) + Putin

    Putin, Putin, Haputin
    Banana, fana Kaputin.
    Fie, fie, mo Putler.
    Putin!

    nk (1d9030)

  123. Lest you forget:

    Here’s how TIME described why the [1988 Biden debacle] fallout was so intense:

    The Biden brouhaha illustrates the six deadly requirements for a crippling political scandal.

    1) A Pre-Existing Subtext. “The basic rap against Biden,” explains Democratic Pollster Geoff Garin, “is that he’s a candidate of style, not substance.”
    2) An Awkward Revelation. The Kinnock kleptomania was particularly damaging to Biden since it underscored the prior concerns that he was a shallow vessel for other people’s ideas.
    3) A Maladroit Response. Top Aide Tom Donilon claimed that Biden failed to credit Kinnock because “he didn’t know what he was saying. He was on autopilot.”
    4) The Press Piles On. Once textual fidelity became an issue, reporters found earlier cases in which Biden had failed to give proper citation to Humphrey and Robert Kennedy. By themselves these transgressions would not have been worth noting.
    5) The Discovery of Youthful Folly. During his first months at Syracuse University Law School, in 1965, Biden failed a course because he wrote a paper that used five pages from a published law-review article without quotation marks or a proper footnote. Since Biden was allowed to make up the course, the revelation was front-page news only because it kept the copycat contretemps alive.
    6) An Overwrought Press Conference. With a rambling and disjointed opening statement, Biden failed to reap the benefits of public confession, even though he called himself “stupid” and his actions “a mistake.” Part of the problem is that he contradicted himself by also insisting that it was “ludicrous” to attribute every political idea.
    The “final blow” for the campaign came when Newsweek unearthed C-SPAN footage of Biden rattling off his academic accomplishments, including saying that he graduated in the top half of his law school, when in fact, he ranked 76th out of 85.

    Biden announced he was dropping out of the race on Sept. 24, 1987.

    https://time.com/5636715/biden-1988-presidential-campaign/?msclkid=e56babe6ad6211eca1241e3dd838c927

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  124. @126. Razzputin? 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  125. I read an educated guesstimate today of Russian Deaths in Ukraine. I cannot find the article to link
    I say guesstimate because they were using a Russian Medal count that was really quite ingenious, but somewhat inexact.

    Their premise was based on the fact that currently all Russian soldiers who die in combat get a specific medal.
    They went back to the Crimean Conflict in 2014 and more recently to Syria and checked social media for Russian deaths where this medal was displayed by the families along with its paperwork.
    What they did was track back the serial numbers and concluded the serial number at the start of the recent conflict were around 78000. They then went to current Russian social media and showed the serial numbers are now in the 86000 range.
    They also claim there is 2 week lag in the time it takes to recover a body and ship it home to mother russia, have the funeral post the photos of the medal and award. They claim their method shows approx. 8000 Russians dead plus whatever is in the lag time.

    steveg (e81d76)

  126. Rip Murdock: Removing Putin wouldn’t be “regime change” anyway; the existing Russian leadership is all cut from the same cloth.

    Just try selling that concept to the Russians. …….

    JVW (ee64e4) — 3/26/2022 @ 2:41 pm

    My point was that if the West expects anything different from a Putin replacement, you’ll be sorely disappointed. I’m not interested in selling anything to the Russians.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  127. ‘I’m not interested in selling anything to the Russians.’

    Capitalists surely are:

    ‘McDonald’s arrival in Moscow [1990] was about more than just Big Macs and fries, noted Darra Goldstein, Willcox B. and Harriet M. Adsit professor of Russian, emerita, at Williams College. It was the most prominent example of glasnost in action, Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbechev’s attempt to open up his crumbling country to international relations. “There was a really visible crack in the Iron Curtain,” she said. “It was very symbolic about the changes that were taking place.” About two years later, the Soviet Union would collapse.’

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/03/10/business/mcdonalds-russia-history/index.html?msclkid=512bf70fad7411ec880344c34f25d2fc

    They like to wash it down with Coca-Cola, too.

    “I’ll be back.” – Terminator [Arnold Schwarzenegger] ‘The Terminator’ 1984

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  128. Rip Murdock (cc0941) — 3/26/2022 @ 12:14 pm

    It sounds like some sanity is leaking through. Even the rearguard’s denials admit defeat. Putin is done for; it is the only way that Russia can extricate itself.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  129. (Alabama) U.S. Senate hopeful (Mike) Durant says ‘I don’t think Joe Biden won the election’

    Note that he does NOT say that he thinks the votes were miscounted. Just that the rules were changed to given Biden voters easier access to the polls. As any third world dictator will tell you, if you have to miscount the votes to win, you’re doing it wrong.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  130. steveg (e81d76) — 3/26/2022 @ 6:09 pm

    I read an educated guesstimate today of Russian Deaths in Ukraine. I cannot find the article to link
    I say guesstimate because they were using a Russian Medal count that was really quite ingenious, but somewhat inexact.

    Their premise was based on the fact that currently all Russian soldiers who die in combat get a specific medal.

    This sounds like what you read:

    ………
    ……… (I)n the Russian press, news reports about the dead Russians have been appearing with a lag of a week or even 2-3 weeks. Therefore the mass media are becoming aware of the losses of the first days of the full-scale war only now. In this publication, InformNapalm volunteer intelligence community demonstrates an example of OSINT investigation aiming to verify the casualty data of the Russian Armed Forces. We turn to the Russian “medal count” for helpful information about the body count. Read the details in our investigation.
    ………
    We could trace clear decoration patterns for the Russian military men involved in the war with Ukraine. All those killed receive the Order of Courage posthumously. Sometimes gravely wounded senior officers and individual military officers with spectacular wins, also receive this order – but these are isolated cases. Basically, the Order of Courage is now issued posthumously.
    ……..
    But how do we estimate the number of issued decorations? Some Russian soldiers and journalists post photos of decoration certificates showing the serial numbers of the awards and the day the award order was signed.
    ………
    ……..(A) large number of awards relate to the presidential decree signed on March 3 – this is about a week into the full-scale war against Ukraine. That is, those who died in the first days got on this decorations list. It was on this day that the Russians reported their losses for the first, and so far for the last time.

    The lowest serial number of the posthumous Order of Courage according to the decree of March 3, 2022 which we could find is 78487.

    The highest serial number is 83281.

    The difference between them makes 4794 orders. This is a very rough assessment, because every day we find new numbers, and these figures will most probably be adjusted upwards, increasing the count of the decree of March 3rd. Most of the awards for this day are posthumous, because only the Medal for Courage was issued for non-lethal wounds.

    That is, the number of issued posthumous awards approximately matches the data published by Ukraine on the losses of Russians in the first days of the war.
    ……..
    We proceed from the knowledge that the numbering of the Orders of Courage from the beginning of the full-scale war starts from numbers greater than 78xxx. But as our OSINT studies show, the numbering in the first days of the war has already exceeded 83,000.

    The Order of Courage is also given to civilians, for example, for individual feats in extinguishing fires, or to important artists or scientists, but these cases are very rare. For the most part, this is a typical military award, and the intensity of decorations clearly correlates with the outbreak of hostilities……
    ……..
    ……… Putin’s mass posthumous decoration of March 3 stands out prominently.

    The Ukrainian army will gladly issue an “Order of Courage (posthumously)” to every Russian occupier!

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  131. If Putin is lucky, he can retire to a dacha next to Gorbachev’s. No matter what happens after he “steps down”, he cannot leave Russia or he’ll be arrested.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  132. BTW, has anyone noted the death of “the tank” in all of this?

    Kevin M (38e250)

  133. @136 without infantry support, tanks are sitting ducks in urban environments

    dumb tank doctrine says nothing about the usefulness of tanks

    JF (e1156d)

  134. Spies Will Doom Putin
    …….. Espionage is a predatory business, and there’s blood in the water. Mr. Putin’s self-inflicted damage has done more to turn his own people against him than anything the West could have done.

    ………. If your job is cultivating spies, I suspect that recruiting must be good.

    Russian mystique is gone. Mr. Putin has proved his country is the declining power that the best-informed Russia watchers claimed it was. Fewer pundits will wax poetic over Mr. Putin’s cunning and strategic brilliance. He might have been a capable operations officer during his KGB career, but he clearly missed the classes on self-awareness and counterintelligence. The more he tightens the security screws and covers Russia’s window to the world, the more likely those he depends on will turn against him.

    Resurrecting the Soviet empire, as Mr. Putin wants to do, brings with it the same forces that prompted most of the Warsaw Pact’s best CIA agents to turn against the Kremlin. Agents across the Soviet bloc often shared the same desire: to inflict whatever harm they could. They took up the fight not for money, but to undermine a toxic system that enriched a corrupt elite, wrought suffering and economic stagnation, and occasionally brought the world to the brink.
    ……..
    Mr. Putin has delivered a rival intelligence officer a great gift: a precipitating crisis. The desire to take control over their own destiny amid crisis drives people to spy. Intelligence officers take advantage of that desire to secure an agent’s cooperation through inspiration, trust and means to make a difference. Mr. Putin’s bumbling has provided the crisis, Ukrainian courage the inspiration, and the response of the U.S. and its allies the trust and tools for Russians to strike back.

    ……… Thanks to Mr. Putin’s deplorable behavior, I expect an increase in Russian volunteers who have toyed with the idea of doing something to better Russia’s future and might now be receptive to an encouraging nudge.

    Mr. Putin will use intimidation, violence, repression and bribery to combat counterintelligence risk and will reward blind loyalty from the incompetent and opportunistic sycophants who lord over his system. But these measures will only create incentives for the brave to act—and it takes only a few to make an extraordinary difference.

    He has undermined in weeks what Russia took almost 30 years to achieve. ……

    Only weeks ago, Russians were vacationing in far-off destinations and buying imported cars and other luxury items. Today Russians are lucky if they can get to their own money (what’s left of it after the ruble’s collapse) and keep a job. Soon they may struggle to put food on the table. Weeks ago, the world trembled at Russian power. Mr. Putin is no longer the master chess player; he’s the great and powerful Wizard of Oz hiding behind a curtain.
    ……..
    …….. Mr. Putin may resurrect the Soviet empire, but he will have to contend with a new generation of patriots who will fight for Russia’s freedom and bring about his doom.
    ##########

    Related :

    Want to talk? FBI trolls Russian Embassy for disgruntled would-be spies
    The FBI is trying a novel strategy to recruit Russian-speaking individuals upset about the country’s invasion of Ukraine: aiming social media ads at cellphones located inside or just outside the Russian Embassy in Washington.

    The ads, which appear on Facebook, Twitter and Google, are carefully geographically targeted. A Washington Post reporter standing next to the embassy’s stone walls on Wednesday morning received the ad in their Facebook feed. But the ads did not appear in the feed when the reporter stood on the other side of Wisconsin Avenue NW, in the District’s Glover Park neighborhood.
    ……..
    The unlikely star of the campaign is Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose own words are used to encourage people working in or visiting the embassy to talk to the FBI. The ad quotes Putin at a meeting last month where he publicly chastised his intelligence chief, Sergey Naryshkin, correcting the spy boss’s position on Russian policy toward the separatist eastern regions of Ukraine. Naryshkin, the director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, stammered at the meeting and seemed unsure of what Putin wanted him to say.

    The FBI’s ad quotes Putin saying, in Russian, “speak plainly, Sergey Yevgenyevich” Naryshkin, reminding any SVR officers working at the embassy that Putin humiliated their boss. The FBI then uses Putin’s words to make its own appeal — also in Russian: “Speak plainly … We’re ready to listen.”

    Text running above the ad says: “The information provided to the FBI by the public is the most effective means of combating threats. If you have information that could help the FBI, please contact us.”
    ……….
    There’s little doubt the Russian Embassy staff, including its intelligence officers, are aware of the ads, which feature a link to an FBI website for more information about how to contact agents. Russian intelligence officers will probably have to spend some of their time looking into anyone whose phone visits that website, he said.
    ………..
    Anyone who clicks on the recruitment ad is steered to a webpage of the counterintelligence program of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, where they are encouraged in both Russian and English to come to that office in person if they want to talk.
    ……..
    The Russian Embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    ……..

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  135. Putin had a competent Minister of Defense who tried to modernize the Soviet military, but the gangsters did not like him because he was too conscientious. So Putin fired him and appointed a personal gofer. The one who’s there now. Which resulted in a large portion of the defense budget going to graft and the military largely remaining in Yeltsin-era condition. Or so it is said. Very sad.

    nk (1d9030)

  136. Putin had a competent Minister of Defense who tried to modernize the Soviet military, but the gangsters did not like him because he was too conscientious. So Putin fired him and appointed a personal gofer. The one who’s there now. Which resulted in a large portion of the defense budget going to graft and the military largely remaining in Yeltsin-era condition. Or so it is said. Very sad.

    nk (1d9030) — 3/26/2022 @ 8:11 pm

    I’m not sad at all. If the Russian military had been modernized without the graft, Ukraine (or any other country) really wouldn’t have a chance.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  137. @136 without infantry support, tanks are sitting ducks in urban environments

    A LOT of infantry support. The problem being that these man-portable tank-killers have gotten very good, making short work of modern reactive armor. When the infantry is there to protect the tank, instead of the other way around, maybe mechanized warfare needs to be rethought.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  138. The one-two morale punch of Afghanistan and the collapse of the Evil Empire appears to have been unrecoverable.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  139. Putin Stokes Nuclear Fears With Atomic Weapons Warnings
    ………
    ……… (A)s Mr. Putin’s army has faced fierce resistance from Ukrainian forces strengthened by large infusions of Western weaponry, concerns have grown in Washington and allied capitals that Russia could consider using a so-called tactical nuclear weapon to gain the upper hand on the battlefield.
    ………
    The move would be aimed at crushing Ukraine’s will to fight, turning the tide of the war or signaling that current levels of Western support—including transfers of antitank and air-defense systems—are intolerable, Russian and Western analysts say.
    ……….
    The point of a tactical nuclear strike to end a conventional conflict, based on doctrine known as “escalate to de-escalate,” is to change the rules on the battlefield while shifting the burden of escalation onto your opponent, said Elbridge Colby, co-founder of The Marathon Initiative, a policy initiative focused on great-power competition.

    “Putin could use a smaller warhead to protect what his conventional forces are doing,” he said. “The Ukrainians may be the target, but the real target politically would be the U.S. and the West.”
    ……….
    Since Mr. Putin’s military modernization starting in 2008, nuclear arms have remained a military centerpiece, giving Moscow some sense of parity with the U.S.

    At the same time its store of tactical nuclear weapons has remained high, with between 1,000 and 2,000 warheads, whereas the U.S. has just over 200, around 100 of which are in Europe, (a) congressional report said.
    ……….
    ………. Washington has signaled the presence of its nuclear-capable forces in Europe this month.

    Weeks before the Russian invasion, the U.S. sent B-52 strategic bombers to exercise with British and European air forces.
    ………
    While tactical nuclear weapons could trigger bigger and more powerful strategic weapons in response, said (Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists). it wouldn’t mean immediate all-out nuclear war.
    ……….
    Analysts said Ukraine would be the most likely target for any tactical nuclear attack, but that escalation after that would be hard to predict, particularly if NATO got involved.

    “You can’t imagine NATO would just sit by and watch it use nuclear weapons for the first time in 80 years and not do anything about it,” said Mr. Kristensen.
    ……….
    “Russia must stop its nuclear saber-rattling,” (said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg) last week ahead of a summit of the Western military alliance’s leaders in Brussels. “Any use of nuclear weapons will fundamentally change the nature of the conflict, and Russia must understand that a nuclear war should never be fought and they can never win a nuclear war.”
    ##########

    Using tactical nuclear weapons is the only way Putin can change the current situation in Ukraine. As is being demonstrated, there is no such thing as a quick conventional war against determined resistance.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  140. 138. The most useful bit of information actually would be who else they (or others) should talk to, and how. Anyone associated with the Russian embassy in Washington, is not likely to know much about Russian war plans, though they still might know some semi-important things about other related subjects.

    It looks like Facebook, Twitter and Google are (maybe just by not interfering with this) on the anti-Russian government side.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  141. 134.

    The lowest serial number of the posthumous Order of Courage according to the decree of March 3, 2022 which we could find is 78487.

    The highest serial number is 83281.

    This is good. Somewhat Similar reasoning was famously used to estimate the number of German tanks during World War II.

    https://statisticsblog.com/2010/05/25/how-many-tanks-gtp-gets-put-to-the-test

    There;s a somewhat higher estimate of Russian deaths, too (the range goes over 10,000 – and the number of losses is estimated at 40,000, including wounded, captured/surrendered and deserted.)

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/03/24/russia-troops-casualties-nato-ukraine

    The number of dead is now estimated as 7,000 to 15,000 with a crude estimate of casulaties based on the idea that for every soldier killed, three are wounded, but that won;t necessarily holf. They peobably have several separate ways of making estimates.

    The Russian military strength is down by 1/5, and Putin is planning to pull in reinforcements from Georgia, as well as announced an attempt to recruit paid soldiers in Syria. Putin is believed to have somewhat altered his plans by last week (at least for the time being) and given up on taking Kyiv while concentrating on the Black Sea coast, especially on linking Crimea with the Donbass. They are also destroying Kharkiv.

    A particular general has been identified as being involved in war crimes (and he was also active in Syria)

    After President Biden decided (or his people decided) not to visit western Ukraine, Russia began dropping some missiles on Lviv.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  142. Biden said Putin has to be removed from power – then issued a correction: He meant power over other countries.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  143. “Using tactical nuclear weapons is the only way Putin can change the current situation in Ukraine.”

    But the reprecussions are potentially immense. He could legitimately lose China….I would think this would be likely and the primary deterent. Depending where he targets the tactical nukes, you can see fallout damage going into Russia or NATO countries. No one controls the winds and can localize the impact of radiation. This will likely escalate opposition to Putin at home and potentially at the highest levels of the military where sober minds will see this as crossing an unthinkable line. It will also elicit a conventional response that could destabilize his regime. Also, despite the current situation making Putin a pariah there is still some hope of gradual return to economic normalcy. Escalating to tactical nukes will mean complete isolation of Russia coupled with a NATO expansion (Finland+) and future NATO remilitarization. All progress in dividing NATO and dismantling it will have been reversed.

    Playing the nuke card doesn’t win Putin anything long term….and it will just drag out the short term losses. Making Ukraine a glowing wasteland is not much of a prize. Putin’s move is to try and annex the previously disputed areas like Donbas and Ukraine not joing NATO. It would be a fragile peace but something that he could call a win. The long-term economic resistance to being dependent and blackmailed by Russia and the growth of NATO will cause this to be a long-term fail.

    AJ_Liberty (3cb02f)

  144. Capitol Riot Suspect Evan Neumann Wins Asylum in Belarus
    ………
    “U.S. citizen Evan Neumann has received refugee status in Belarus. The document was handed to him today in the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Brest Regional Executive Committee,” read a statement shared by the BelTA news agency.

    “I feel safe in Belarus. It’s calm, I like it in this country. Today I am experiencing mixed feelings. I’m glad that Belarus has taken care of me. I’m upset that I wound up in this situation, that in my native country there were such problems,” Neumann was quoted saying.

    Neumann, 48, was charged on six different counts last July, including violent entry and assaulting police officers. But he was already in the wind, having reportedly sold his house and absconded first to Ukraine, and then Belarus last August.
    …….
    In a segment (on Belorussian state TV) that began by claiming that Neumann had just tried to “make America great again,” the fugitive rioter said he had gon In a segment that began by claiming that Neumann had just tried to “make America great again,” the fugitive rioter said he had gone to the Capitol that day for the sake of his children.
    ……..
    He went on to say he was asking for “government protection” in Belarus because of the “political persecution” he was experiencing in the U.S., which involved the FBI releasing a photo of him and questioning his family on his whereabouts.
    ………

    He picked the wrong country-he should have gone directly to Russia and joined Snowden.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  145. @147 AJ_Liberty (3cb02f) — 3/27/2022 @ 9:27 am

    Putin is not a strategic thinker. He doesn’t have lay waste to Ukraine, one explosion would make the point. It could even be off shore as a demonstration to the West of his seriousness. China’s support would depend on the West’s reaction-if the West acquiesces then China may support Russia, and consider their use over Taiwan.

    Putin has nothing to lose; Russia already a pariah and will be for years to come.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  146. #134

    That is what I read.
    Then I buggered it up on the retelling.
    I think my mistake was doubling the number of Russian dead to account for the lag time, but I should have been more careful.
    Thanks for making the effort to track it down.

    There is another article out there that claims Russians are using similar methods to track dead Ukrainian soldiers.

    As usual the dregs of the internet get involved and start issuing forgeries that would – perhaps – make Dan Rather blush

    steveg (e81d76)

  147. Ukraine Must Win

    ……….
    ………. There must be an endgame, a moment when the conflict stops. The Ukrainians, and the democratic powers that support Ukraine, must work toward a goal. That goal should not be a truce, or a muddle, or a decision to maintain some kind of Ukrainian resistance over the next decade, or a vow to “bleed Russia dry,” or anything else that will prolong the fighting and the instability. That goal should be a Ukrainian victory.

    Before you can achieve something, you have to imagine what it will look like. And in this war, victory can be imagined without difficulty. It means that Ukraine remains a sovereign democracy, with the right to choose its own leaders and make its own treaties. There will be no pro-Russian puppet regime in Kyiv, no need for a prolonged Ukrainian resistance, no continued fighting. The Russian army retreats back over the borders. Maybe those borders could change, or maybe Ukraine could pledge neutrality, but that is for the Ukrainians to decide and not for outsiders to dictate. Maybe international peacekeepers are needed. Whatever happens, Ukraine must have strong reasons to believe that Russian troops will not quickly return.
    ………
    ……… A victory for Ukraine really will be a victory for all who believe in democracy and the rule of law. Citizens of existing democracies and members of the democratic opposition in Russia, Cuba, Belarus, and Hong Kong will all be emboldened. “Their struggle is ours,” a Venezuelan acquaintance told me last week. The institutions protecting the states that embody those ideas, most notably the European Union and NATO, will be strengthened too.
    ……..
    Putin and his propagandists are dropping hints about chemical and nuclear weapons for the same reason. They want outsiders, and especially Americans, to fear the consequences of helping Ukraine. The use of hypersonic weaponry; the threats of nuclear war made on Russian television; even the habit, established a few years back, of practicing the use of nuclear weapons during military exercises, sometimes to simulate a hit on Warsaw, sometimes to simulate a bomb exploding in the air—all of that has a purpose.……..

    How should the West respond? There is only one rule: We cannot be afraid. Russia wants us to be afraid—so afraid that we are crippled by fear, that we cannot make decisions, that we withdraw altogether, leaving the way open for a Russian conquest of Ukraine, and eventually of Poland or even further into Europe. Putin remembers very well an era when Soviet troops controlled the eastern half of Germany. But the threat to those countries will not decrease if Russia carries out massacres in Ukraine. It will grow.…….

    Instead of fear, we should focus on a Ukrainian victory. ……..
    ……..

    Related:

    Why Can’t the West Admit That Ukraine Is Winning?

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  148. Kevin M and JF on demise of the tank

    I think the use of the tank and armored vehicles, their tactics will need to evolve.
    Their ability to defeat anti reactive armor/top down rockets will need to improve.
    We’ve just seem a massive proliferation of hand held anti tank weapons and no doubt some will wind up with bad actors.

    JF, I’d say that many many tanks and light armored vehicles have been destroyed in the countryside from range. The Javelin is more effective in top down mode and that mode needs a minimum distance of 160 meters. Direct mode distance needed is 65 meters. The Javelin has made hits out to 2500M.

    That said, its a great ambush weapon and if I were ambushing some tanks with infantry, I would greatly appreciate having their supporting infantry needing to cover 800M to get to me.

    In Syria, the tanks were often sent into urban areas in front of the ground forces.
    I don’t think that is the most favored of US military procedures. Russia seems to have had some trouble with some combat reluctant infantry and has worked around that by using Chechens supporting tanks, and tanks supporting Chechens in Mariupol. They also just bomb and shell the s#!t out of anything that overlooks their tanks so without knowing for sure, I’d guess Russia has lost more tanks out in the countryside than deep in town

    steveg (e81d76)

  149. Russia Has Already Lost
    ………[R]egardless of if Russia achieves its military objectives in the country, it has already lost in nearly every conceivable way. What’s worse is what awaits them if they succeed in conquering Ukraine’s territory — an insurgency the likes of which we have never seen. It will be one funded by the richest nations on earth and run by hardened fighters in a country absolutely awash with advanced anti-armor and anti-aircraft weaponry. …….
    ……..
    While it was nearly impossible to see how Russia could achieve a positive outcome from its adventure in Ukraine just after it began, that question has only become more pressing with the weeks that have since passed. Taking an offramp to end or freeze the conflict as soon as possible seems absolutely critical to salvaging any sort of claim to success. Even then, while a victory could be “sold” to the Russian people if certain achievements are allowed to stay intact and the true losses in lives and materiel remain undisclosed, it would still be a hard case to make to any person with all the facts that Russia gained in any worthy fashion from its blunder of an invasion. In fact, it seems like it would be outright impossible to make such a claim now.

    Even if Russia took all of Ukraine’s eastern port cities and retained its self-recognized breakaway states in the Donbas — securing a land bridge to Crimea in the process — while also falsely declaring it degraded Ukraine’s ability to fight in the future, all that would hardly be worth what it has lost in virtually every category. Maybe some of the low-information or in-denial Russian populace would buy it, but it would be a major reach. And there is no sign that Ukraine would abide by those peace terms. What would stop Russia from executing an even easier invasion the following year? One in which it would be far better prepared to overcome the fumbles it has made during this current operation.
    ………
    ………[C]onquering the territory within Ukraine’s borders is really just the easy part, and it has clearly proven not to have been easy at all. What comes after would be the true challenge — an insurgency like no other we have seen before — one that Russia has next to no chance of overcoming.
    ……….
    While all this is very problematic for the invading Russian force, it is a downright death sentence to any provisional or stooge government and its security forces that Russia plans to install should the legitimately-elected Ukrainian government fall.

    With so much advanced weaponry already floating around the country and throngs of battle-hardened Ukrainians now proficient in how to use it in combat, any puppet administration and its facilitators will have no way to move around the country and execute their duties. Roads will become hellish missile engagement zones with no amount of armor capable of protecting a vehicle’s inhabitants. Travel by fixed-wing aircraft will be highly dangerous with airports becoming MANPADS death traps and helicopters will be juicy targets no matter where they go. These threats can emanate from virtually anywhere and melt back into the population in an instant.
    ……….
    No Russian soldier or collaborator will be safe to move about. The environment will be entirely weaponized and extremely hostile. In fact, successful hits on Russian stooge government plants have already begun. So have the use of roadside bombs and mines — the same low-cost improvised tactics that proved so deadly for U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are already migrating to Ukraine to be employed alongside missiles costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    ……….
    So, even if Russia achieves its military objectives in Ukraine, at great cost in blood and treasure, what comes next is a no-win situation. And once the Ukrainian populace largely blends in with the occupying force, all the artillery or combat aircraft in the world cannot pacify the enemy. They are both nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

    However you stack it, we are talking about a looming guerilla war bloodbath of epic proportions, and that is only after Russia “wins.”
    …………

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  150. Rip: “Putin is not a strategic thinker.”

    You don’t think he’s been strategically working to build energy dependence and working to build dis-unity within NATO? Isn’t his interest in de-stabilizing our democracy entirely strategic? His forays into Georgia and Crimea also indicate a limited strategic probing of his opposition and their response to his territorial aspirations. His relationship with China…opposing the West is all based on a strategic alliance. It’s hard to argue that an ex-KGB officer would operate without some underlying strategy. Now he may have over-played his hand in Ukraine and his strategy has slowly collapsed, but that’s different than saying that there was no strategy at all.

    Now with regards to a limited tactical nuke strike….you again simply discount the possibility that throwing around a tactical nuke disintegrates his support at home. As in, we have to take out this nut as this is no longer about mother Russia and it’s a desperate move to save his own skin. Which generals will want to be on the receiving side of the conventional retaliation? At this point, Putin can still retire to a dacha outside of Moscow and influence his successor and be a behind-the-scenes agitator. Dropping nukes conveys a whiff of desperation that suggests a self-fulfilling fear of removal. The oligarchs don’t want to throw away their billions because Putin gambled wrong and double-downed on the petulance. The odds of the nuke are low because the probability will be high that there will be a coup. Putin is already second guessing himself. He can’t be wrong with the nuke.

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  151. The Naval Response to the War in Ukraine
    ………
    It is vital to Europe’s peace and security that Ukraine not lose what remains of its Black Sea coastline, and that Russia not consider that international body of water its private naval and maritime preserve. The U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization can protect this strategic flank of Europe and NATO while also relieving Russian pressure on Ukraine short of risking war.
    ………
    ……… Here are five steps the U.S. and NATO can take:

    First, keep Ukrainian forces supplied with antiship missiles that can deter Russian naval forces and amphibious landings. ……
    ………
    Second, make sure Turkey bans passage of Russian warships under Article 19 of the Montreux Convention, which governs access to the Black Sea through the straits, while allowing free passage of U.S. and NATO vessels. Under Article 19, Turkey can deny access to warships of war belligerents as long as Turkey isn’t a party to the conflict. …….. Turkey isn’t authorized to close the straits to neutral warships. Adherence to the article requires blocking passage only to Russian and Ukrainian vessels. Turkey’s NATO partners should insist that Ankara carry out Article 19 to the letter.

    Third, send a U.S.-led NATO flotilla to show the flag at ports of friendly countries on the Black Sea.……..

    Fourth, organize a humanitarian sealift with a convoy of ships under NATO escort bringing food and medical supplies to Russian-occupied Kherson……..

    Fifth, devise a naval strategy for the Black Sea region. A single French frigate visited the region in December 2021 and left the day after the New Year. No major NATO warship has made an appearance since, even as Russia ravages Ukraine. The war is “like a boa constrictor around Ukraine’s neck,” retired Adm. James Foggo, who commanded U.S. and NATO fleets in Europe for almost a decade until 2020, told Reuters. “NATO needs a maritime strategy.”
    ………..

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  152. At the same time its store of tactical nuclear weapons has remained high, with between 1,000 and 2,000 warheads, whereas the U.S. has just over 200, around 100 of which are in Europe,

    A “tactical” nuclear war will go strategic long before anyone has used 100 nukes.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  153. This will likely escalate opposition to Putin at home and potentially at the highest levels of the military where sober minds will see this as crossing an unthinkable line.

    Indeed, and probably between the order to use them, and the actual use.

    Impeachment, the short form.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  154. Escalating to tactical nukes will mean complete isolation of Russia coupled with a NATO expansion (Finland+) and future NATO remilitarization. All progress in dividing NATO and dismantling it will have been reversed.

    It also runs the danger of a full and immediate attack into Russia with the goal of unconditional surrender, coupled with the ever-present threat of strategic bombardment if “too many” tactical nukes are used. 1 < too many < 20.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  155. Kevin M and JF on demise of the tank

    I think the real problem is that tanks are incredibly expensive to make and to transport, while things that kill tanks are not. Even if you figure our a way to get your armor to stand up to Javelin et al, the next level missile can make that investment worthless overnight. It’s the asymmetric cost that kills you. I’m not sure what the answer is, because as JF points out a tank is really quite good against an enemy that doesn’t have anti-tank missiles at hand.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  156. Now with regards to a limited tactical nuke strike….you again simply discount the possibility that throwing around a tactical nuke disintegrates his support at home. As in, we have to take out this nut as this is no longer about mother Russia and it’s a desperate move to save his own skin. Which generals will want to be on the receiving side of the conventional retaliation? At this point, Putin can still retire to a dacha outside of Moscow and influence his successor and be a behind-the-scenes agitator. Dropping nukes conveys a whiff of desperation that suggests a self-fulfilling fear of removal. The oligarchs don’t want to throw away their billions because Putin gambled wrong and double-downed on the petulance. The odds of the nuke are low because the probability will be high that there will be a coup. Putin is already second guessing himself. He can’t be wrong with the nuke.

    I discount believing that using tactical nuclear weapons “disintegrates” his public support because I don’t think he cares or needs public support. The military is trained to use tactical nuclear weapons during a conventional war, and the security services will simply arrest/shoot on sight any protesters. Putin won’t leave his position except in a casket. Any leadership change would result in “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. They are all cut from Putin’s cloth. The oligarchs have already lost money, so removing Putin wouldn’t get it back, and they probably be arrested by the security forces. The only way the Russians could signal a real break from Putinisn is to release Alexei Nalvany and name him President.

    The use of a nuclear weapon to end the conflict on Russia’s terms is a feature, not a bug. I doubt that Putin would be removed for using a nuke and winning, he might be removed for not using a nuke and losing.

    Given the lack of tactical nuclear weapons held by the US/NATO (see post 143), I think it is highly unlikely that the US would launch ICBMs against Russia for using a single nuclear weapon. The US/NATO destroyed their short range nukes after the European left protests of 1980s. We are paying the price for that now. And conventional retaliation is even less likely, given Biden’s oft-repeated promise not to fight Russian troops (a grave mistake to even discuss).

    Parenthetically, Biden’s comments about responding “in kind” to a chemical attack was also idiotic. As of 2018 the US has destroyed 90% of its stockpile, and has been working to destroy the rest. Only he knows what he meant.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  157. It also runs the danger of a full and immediate attack into Russia with the goal of unconditional surrender, coupled with the ever-present threat of strategic bombardment if “too many” tactical nukes are used. 1 < too many < 20.

    The question is, does Putin feel lucky?

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  158. @151, 153:

    Russia has lost because most of the sanctions will remain in place until they have completely exited Ukraine. I can’t see how they even hold Crimea now, and get back their foreign trade. And it’s not just sanctions, it’s the risk and lack of trust. Oh, maybe Germany starts buying gas again, but only so long as they can’t replace it.

    And Putin has lost because there is no way that he can order a Russian retreat from Crimea and stay in power. This is a good thing in part, but it is a bad thing mostly as Russia will then rebuild an actual military.

    Khrushchev got bounced for his Cuban Missile miscalculation and the humiliating withdrawal of those missiles in the face of overwhelming US strategic advantage. So, Putin goes and his mess is cleaned up and (like Brezhnev did with his strategic forces buildup) the Russian conventional forces will get corrected in detail. A lot of retirements and “car crashes.” And next time we see the Russian Army, it won’t be a Yeltsin-era joke.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  159. Given the lack of tactical nuclear weapons held by the US/NATO (see post 143)

    Rip, for the life of me, I cannot see where you get the idea that 200 tactical nukes is a problem. It seems obvious that we’ve decided that is far more than will ever be used at that rung in a nuclear escalation. It would actually be more dangerous if we had a whole bunch of them, not only because there is more chance of misuse, but because it sends a message that we are prepared to fight a tactical nuclear war.

    And the message of not being prepared to fight one is “don’t start something you know we will escalate!”

    Kevin M (38e250)

  160. The question is, does Putin feel lucky?

    I’m more concerned about the “Hail Mary Satan”

    Kevin M (38e250)

  161. Rip Murdock (a0ea2e) — 3/27/2022 @ 1:00 pm

    Any leadership change would result in “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

    I don’t think so. There’s no second Putin. The people closest to him are not capable of doing anything – and even they would stop the air attacks in Ukraine and pull back at least to the lines of February 23, 2022 (that would not end the sanctions, just stop the active war. Anything more would require negotiations ad take some time.)

    The only way the Russians could signal a real break from Putinisn is to release Alexei Nalvany and name him President.

    That’s one way.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  162. The question is, does Putin feel lucky?

    Depends on who Doyle Lonnegan is playing poker with: Joe Biden or Henry Gondorff… one sucker has a hand full of jokers; the other rascal, a stacked deck.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  163. I think the real problem is that tanks are incredibly expensive to make and to transport

    … and the MIC smiled.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  164. So I just now found out — and I’m not kidding here, truly just now — that tonight is the night that Oscars are handed out. Last year’s ceremony saw the ratings reach an all-time television viewership low of under ten million; will this year’s ceremony continue the free-fall or will Oscar see a slight rebound this year?

    Anyone going to admit that they plan to watch? I’m meeting a friend for dinner, so count me out.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  165. You’ve already had a ‘nuclear demonstration’ in Ukraine: Chernobyl.

    The Russian doctrine is designed to bait the West and NATO– and the TeeVee-armchair-general-talking-heads keep biting. No way Putin is going to set off any nukes in a region he wants to ‘return’ into Russia –if it’ll be uselessly glowing in the dark for centuries:

    ‘On April 25 and 26, 1986, the worst nuclear accident in history unfolded in what is now northern Ukraine as a reactor at a nuclear power plant exploded and burned. Shrouded in secrecy, the incident was a watershed moment in both the Cold War and the history of nuclear power. More than 30 years on, scientists estimate the zone around the former plant will not be habitable for up to 20,000 years.’

    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/chernobyl-disaster?msclkid=4488af0eae0f11ec83ad37ed685e9065

    Other estimates have pitched a number down to around 3,000 years:

    ‘The immediate area around Chernobyl will have to remain empty for at least 3,000 years because of dangerously high contamination levels, proof, say some opponents, of nuclear energy’s long-term dangers.’… But nuclear experts currently working to clean up the site say a return date of 3,000 years is optimistic. “Because some of the isotopes released during a nuclear accident remain radioactive for tens of thousands of years, cleanup is the work not just of the first responders but also of their descendants and their descendants’ descendants,” writes Time’s Eben Harrell and James Marson. “Asked when the reactor site would again become inhabitable, Ihor Gramotkin, director of the Chernobyl power plant, replies ‘At least 20,000 years.'”

    https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2016/0424/Chernobyl-will-be-unhabitable-for-at-least-3-000-years-say-nuclear-experts#

    Regardless, no way Vlad is going to light off nukes– and you can bet he and his people have been back-channel reminded of this scenario by his own side- and by the West as well.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  166. I’m not planning to the Oscars, JVW, because I don’t have three days to devote to TV. I am, however, most certainly going to be catching up tomorrow on the most important part of Tinseltown’s big nights – the dreamy couture!

    But I have seen a few of the films and can say that CODA is a wonderful film in every way. I also watched “Don’t Look Up” which made me laugh. I thought all sides were nicely mocked. The only other one I’m interested in watching but have held off on because I know it’s going to be heartbreakingly beautiful and I’ll cry is Belfast. Because…Ireland.

    Dana (5395f9)

  167. @168. Yes, will watch– industry courtesy for old colleagues so we can dish the dirt afterwards; but it is being hosted by:

    The Three Little Pigs. ‘Nuff said.

    _____

    Had a chance to buy an Oscar; true story: Portobello Road, 1969: — was being sold for 50 pounds [about $200 then] at one of the stalls- was beat up, much gold plating worn off– was award to some below-the-line-film editor or such from the 30s or 40s if memory serves… surprisingly heavy, too. We figured it was either from an estate of just hot; begged my Dad to buy it. Said no- wasn’t worth it. Mistake. He bought 300 year old cut crystal wine glasses from George III era instead. Still have the wine glasses– would prefer to have had the Academy Award to sell off instead.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  168. * 145.

    After President Biden decided (or his people decided) not to visit western Ukraine, Russia began dropping some missiles on Lviv.

    Correction, maybe? It’s not clear to me when President Biden said they wouldn’t let him go into Ukraine. He had hinted up to that point that he might make a secret visit.

    he missiles seem to have been an attack on an oil storage facility, so still limited,

    A few years ago, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the head of a fake opposition party (whose every word was probably scripted by Putin) proposed the Ukraine be divided between Poland and Russia.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-partition-letter/russian-politician-proposes-new-divisions-of-ukraine-idUSL5N0ML1LO20140324

    A prominent Russian politician has proposed dividing Ukraine along the lines of an infamous Nazi-Soviet pact and suggested that regions in Western Ukraine hold referendums on breaking away from Kiev.

    This Reuters article is from 8 years ago.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  169. Anyone going to admit that they plan to watch? I’m meeting a friend for dinner, so count me out.

    I haven’t seen any of the films. Do they still have movie theaters?

    Kevin M (38e250)

  170. https://www.justsecurity.org/80149/retired-russian-generals-criticize-putin-over-ukraine-renew-call-for-his-resignation (Feb 9, 2022)

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/22/world/europe/putin-russia-military-planning.html (New York Times front page Wednesday, March 22, 2022)

    In January, the head of a group of serving and retired Russian military officers declared that invading Ukraine would be “pointless and extremely dangerous.” It would kill thousands, he said, make Russians and Ukrainians enemies for life, risk a war with NATO and threaten “the existence of Russia itself as a state.”

    ,,,But two months later, as Russia’s advance stalls in Ukraine, the prophecy looms large. Reached by phone this week, the retired general who authored the declaration, Leonid Ivashov, said he stood by it, though he could not speak freely given Russia’s wartime censorship: “I do not disavow what I said.”

    ….As if responding to criticism, Mr. Putin has said repeatedly in his public comments about the war that it is going “according to plan.”

    ,,,,The failures in Ukraine have started to create fissures within Russian leadership, according to Andrei Soldatov, an author and expert on Russia’s military and security services. The top Russian intelligence official in charge of overseeing the recruitment of spies and diversionary operations in Ukraine has been put under house arrest along with his deputy, Mr. Soldatov said. Even Russia’s defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, who vacations with Mr. Putin and has been spoken of as a potential presidential successor, has suffered a loss of standing, according to Mr. Soldatov’s sources.

    “It looks like everybody is on edge,” Mr. Soldatov said.

    Mr. Soldatov’s claims could not be independently verified, and some independent experts have challenged them. But Mr. Shoigu has not been shown meeting with Mr. Putin in person since Feb. 27, when he and his top military commander, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, sat at the end of a long table as Mr. Putin, on the opposite end, ordered them to place Russia’s nuclear forces at a higher level of readiness.

    There is a rumor printed :The Week: that Vladimir putin has replaced all sorts of personal attendants.

    That actually may be on the advice of someone who intends him no good,

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  171. Rip Murdock (a0ea2e) — 3/27/2022 @ 1:00 pm

    Parenthetically, Biden’s comments about responding “in kind” to a chemical attack was also idiotic. As of 2018 the US has destroyed 90% of its stockpile, and has been working to destroy the rest. Only he knows what he meant.

    Similar level of escalation, per U.S. theory.

    Like the way in chess a bishop = a knight.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  172. The publication of Ginny Thomas’ text messages and emails, although all likely true (although perhaps some mitigating ones might have been omitted) looks like a political hit job done in the longshot hopes of creating another Supreme Court vacancy. They were leaked against the rules.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  173. There is, as many of you know, continued suspicion that Stalin was murdered. As I recall, Beria knew that Stalin had begun thinking of him as a target, like his predecessors Yezhov and Yagoda.

    Certainly Stalin died at a convenient time for Beria, though that didn’t save him for long.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  174. No thanks, Hollyweird.

    mg (8cbc69)

  175. Rip, for the life of me, I cannot see where you get the idea that 200 tactical nukes is a problem. It seems obvious that we’ve decided that is far more than will ever be used at that rung in a nuclear escalation. It would actually be more dangerous if we had a whole bunch of them, not only because there is more chance of misuse, but because it sends a message that we are prepared to fight a tactical nuclear war.

    And the message of not being prepared to fight one is “don’t start something you know we will escalate!”

    Kevin M (38e250) — 3/27/2022 @ 1:15 pm

    .

    The point is the lack of choice of US battlefield nukes means our response to a Russian nuclear explosion in Ukraine is limited. While the US obeyed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty limits, the Russians did not. The US tactical nukes (only gravity bombs, no missiles) are in storage and require several weeks to activate-they are not on alert status. The Russians, in contrast, have 10-20 times that number available within days. Our only alternative would be to launch a low-yield warhead from a submarine, which would really freak out Putin.

    What do you think NATO should do if Russia explodes a nuclear weapon in Ukraine?

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  176. Parenthetically, Biden’s comments about responding “in kind” to a chemical attack was also idiotic. As of 2018 the US has destroyed 90% of its stockpile, and has been working to destroy the rest. Only he knows what he meant.

    Similar level of escalation, per U.S. theory.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1) — 3/27/2022 @ 2:46 pm

    With what-nuclear weapons? Bombing of Russian targets in Ukraine (remember Biden’s promises on non-intervention)? What will happen to any American flight crews that are shot down? Wait for Congress to pass a declaration of war?

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  177. I think the real problem is that tanks are incredibly expensive to make and to transport, while things that kill tanks are not.

    As the French knights found out going up against village blacksmith-made bodkin points shot from yew bows at Agincourt. But how else do you fight along 1,300 miles of steppes except with cavalry? And what better (less vulnerable, less expensive, and more heavily armed) cavalry does anybody have right now other than tanks?

    nk (1d9030)

  178. Fact Sheet: U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe
    ……..
    The United States and its NATO allies do not disclose exact figures for its European-deployed stockpiles. In 2021, it is estimated that there are 100 U.S.-owned nuclear weapons stored in five NATO member states across six bases: Kleine Brogel in Belgium, Büchel Air Base in Germany, Aviano and Ghedi Air Bases in Italy, Volkel Air Base in the Netherlands, and Incirlik in Turkey. The weapons are not armed or deployed on aircraft; they are instead kept in WS3 underground vaults in national airbases, and the Permissive Action Link (PAL) codes used to arm them remain in American hands. To be used, the bombs would be loaded onto dual-capable NATO-designated fighters. Each country is in the process of modernizing its nuclear-capable fighters to either the F-35A, the F-18 Super Hornet, or the Eurofighter Typhoon.
    ……..

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  179. I think the two missiles on Lviv were ranging shots. For the strikes on relief convoys coming from Poland.

    nk (1d9030)

  180. have no fear peoples
    razor’s in the rain barrel
    vlad teh gutted

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  181. What do you think NATO should do if Russia explodes a nuclear weapon in Ukraine?

    It depends. Since there are no mass Ukrainian formations of the sort that the battlefield nuke idea supposes, it is either a demonstration, or an attack on a population center. One of the reaons I don’t see nukes being very useful to the Russians.

    It the case of a demonstration, we should do nothing and let the rest of the world deal with the madman. In the case of an attack on a population center, we’d have to make an example. In the book “The Third World War” (by a NATO general) a one-off attack on a British city was responded to by the US, Britain and France each sending a warhead to Minsk.

    One of the things that is forgotten is that 3 NATO members have adequate capacity to destroy Russia. It might be France that responds.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  182. War in Ukraine: Zelensky accuses West of cowardice in plea for jets, tanks

    [AP] LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the West of cowardice as his country fights to stave off Russia’s invading troops, making an exasperated plea for fighter jets and tanks to sustain a defense as the war ground into a battle of attrition.

    Speaking after U.S. President Joe Biden said in a lacerating speech that Russian President Vladimir Putin could not stay in power — words the White House immediately sought to downplay — Zelensky lashed out Sunday at the West’s “ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets” and other weapons while Russian missile attacks kill and trap civilians.” – source AP.com

    Memo to Z: F.U.

    “‘We are all out of Corn Flakes. -F.U.’ It took me three hours to figure out that ‘F.U.’ was Felix Ungar!: – Oscar Madison [Walter Matthau] ‘The Odd Couple’ 1968

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  183. In the case of an attack on a population center, we’d have to make an example. In the book “The Third World War” (by a NATO general) a one-off attack on a British city was responded to by the US, Britain and France each sending a warhead to Minsk.

    In that scenario, the attack was on a NATO member, which Ukraine is not. NATO is not obligated to do anything if the Russians nuke Lviv. Should the US act unilaterally?

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  184. I think the two missiles on Lviv were ranging shots. For the strikes on relief convoys coming from Poland.

    They were a warm Russian greeting to Squitty McStumblebum.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  185. One of the things that is forgotten is that 3 NATO members have adequate capacity to destroy Russia. It might be France that responds.

    Not before their election.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  186. And what better (less vulnerable, less expensive, and more heavily armed) cavalry does anybody have right now other than tanks?

    Well, there’s helicopters but they have similar problems. Artillery can (indiscriminately) cull enemy infantry. A-10s and AC-130s can give infantry support.

    Armor went from a few knights in plate armor on huge horses to light armor on everyone.

    Maybe you get a lot of cheaper, faster “cavalry” mounting anti-personnel weapons and not the huge cannon. A lightly-armored APC with a few M134s or M61s, if present in quantity, would change the missile/target numbers and cost relationship at least. Sure, you hit one with a missile and it blows up, but if you have 1000 of them coming at you, it’s not going to help.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  187. Trump once again praises authoritarian leaders, calling Putin’s soldiers on the border of Ukraine ‘a great negotiation’
    At a campaign rally in Georgia on Saturday, former President Donald Trump once again praised Vladimir Putin’s intelligence, calling the Russian president’s decision to place troops on the border of Ukraine “a great negotiation.”

    “The smartest one gets to the top. That didn’t work so well recently in our country,” Trump said during the rally. “But they ask me, ‘Is Putin smart?’ Yes, Putin was smart. And I actually thought he was going to be negotiating. I said, ‘That’s a hell of a way to negotiate, put 200,000 soldiers on the border.'”
    ………
    “I think [Putin] made a big mistake, what he’s done to so many people, but that was a big mistake,” Trump said. “But it looked like a great negotiation.”

    During his remarks, Trump called Putin’s attack on Ukraine “heinous attacks on a proud and sovereign nation,” then praised authoritarian leaders Kim Jong-Un, Xi Jinping, and Putin for their intelligence.
    ……….

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  188. Not before their election.

    Why?

    1. Russia nukes France to death. Election no long an issue.

    2. France stands up to Russia, Macron a hero. Election in the bag.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  189. It was tongue in cheek.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  190. In that scenario, the attack was on a NATO member, which Ukraine is not. NATO is not obligated to do anything if the Russians nuke Lviv. Should the US act unilaterally?

    If Russia were to use a nuke of any size on a population center inside Ukraine, or nerve gas for that matter, I believe that Biden has already said “there will be a response.”

    Kevin M (38e250)

  191. If Russia were to use a nuke of any size on a population center inside Ukraine, or nerve gas for that matter, I believe that Biden has already said “there will be a response.”

    Right, but given his limited options (no US chemical or tactical nuclear weapons), it will be weak.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  192. And Biden’s promise not involve US troops killing Russians, makes his options are almost nonexistent. Of course it will depend on public and Congressional opinion. I’ll bet most of the tough-talking members of Congress will head for the hills.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  193. I think that the first time a nation detonates a nuke outside its own territory, it will get 1,000 back, that’s what I think. There is no such thing as a limited nuclear war. And I hope our respective Dear Leaders realize that what is in their hearts is in the enemy Dear Leaders’ hearts too. Without waiting to look into their eyes one last time.

    nk (1d9030)

  194. I think that the first time a nation detonates a nuke outside its own territory, it will get 1,000 back, that’s what I think.

    So Japan owes the USA? Hiroshima and Nagasaki aside, eh… the nations of the world already know the U.S. can use them.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  195. I think that the first time a nation detonates a nuke outside its own territory, it will get 1,000 back, that’s what I think

    But if what you say is correct, why would Russia just do one nuke? ANn there we are, right back at MAD, where we belong.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  196. So Japan owes the USA? Hiroshima and Nagasaki aside, eh… the nations of the world already know the U.S. can use them.

    We may have considered nuking Kandahar on 9/12, but we did not. Your buddy Goldwater wanted to use nukes in Vietnam and MacArthur wanted to use “just a few” after the Chinese counter-attack in Korea. The only time we’ve gotten close was October 1962, and that was a defensive posture.

    I do not expect nuclear weapons to be used again in my lifetime (and I’m not near enough to a primary target to make that a trick bet).

    Kevin M (38e250)

  197. A bill limiting trade with Russia is being blocked in the Senate.

    A push to limit trade with Russia, which has broad bipartisan support, is facing a slog in the Senate.

    A standoff with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) over sanctions language included in the House-passed bill to end normal trade relations with Russia dashed hopes of quickly passing it while President Biden was in Europe and could drag out the legislation for weeks as the Senate faces other looming priorities and an April break.

    It’s a significant stumbling block for a bill that passed the House in a 424-8 vote – sparking rare unity between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) – only to get snagged despite Senate leaders working out a deal to move it quickly.

    Presumably the junior senator from Kentucky sees no urgency in helping Ukraine.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  198. Presumably the junior senator from Kentucky sees no urgency in helping Ukraine.

    He’s an isolationist like his dad.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  199. He’s a twerp who has no interest beyond staying on the good side of his voters like his dad.

    nk (1d9030)

  200. Using a “tactical” nuke isn’t useful to us, which is why we don’t have very many. If you use a tactical nuke on the battlefield, you don’t care who dies, your people, their people, whoever. If you use it in a city it creates tons of civilian casualties. On top of that it’s the modern equivalent of salting the earth and we generally don’t do salt the earth combat. A tactical nuke can have a number of times the power of either the Fat Man or the Little Boy (the bombs dropped on Japan) The nukes we used in Japan are tiny explosions in comparison to what we can do today.

    We have the conventional weapons to respond appropriately. I think it’s possible that were Putin to use a nuclear weapon on the battlefield, it might shock the world and even his own country enough that NATO could ask Ukraine how many NATO troops they wanted how fast and issue a warning to Russia to get back into it’s borders in a certain amount of time before whatever they had left in Ukraine would either cease to be Russian or cease to exist and have that be considered a proportional response as long as none of those NATO troops stepped over the Russian border.

    Nic (896fdf)

  201. Presumably the junior senator from Kentucky sees no urgency in helping Ukraine.

    Can’t imagine why:

    War in Ukraine: Zelensky accuses West of cowardice in plea for jets, tanks

    [AP] LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the West of cowardice as his country fights to stave off Russia’s invading troops, making an exasperated plea for fighter jets and tanks to sustain a defense as the war ground into a battle of attrition.

    Speaking after U.S. President Joe Biden said in a lacerating speech that Russian President Vladimir Putin could not stay in power — words the White House immediately sought to downplay — Zelensky lashed out Sunday at the West’s “ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets” and other weapons while Russian missile attacks kill and trap civilians.” – source AP.com

    Even a stand-up comic should know heckling back at the audience, biting the hands trying to feed and help you isn’t a way to win friends and influence people. Ask Michael Richards.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  202. I’d just note that James Comey’s wife was/is a virulent Trump hating woman who took their daughters in pink pussy hats to an anti trump rally… the same James Comey who later bragged about having sent agents into the Trump Administration to take advantage of the outside the beltway President’s lack of Washigton savvy.
    No one thought Comey should recuse himself

    steveg (e81d76)

  203. Rand Paul is consistent
    I am rooting for Ukraine to win, but to be honest, I know a bunch of Ukrainians and most of them have an element of corrupt hackery that was spawned out of survival skills honed in the Soviet era.
    They work under the table as much as possible, keep two to three sets of books and have a very situational ethic… and those are the religious ones

    steveg (e81d76)

  204. @204. Nic- Revisit Chernobyl [see #169] the immediate aftermath of any field nuclear detonation would create enough disastrous problems of their own, peculiar to the explosion itself, which makes any post politicking afterwards difficult to even contemplate; the chaos and aftereffects would easily overwhelm any plans on the shelf- not to mention the damage to the agricultural environment. Don’t see Putin using them at all as it would render the very real estate he wants to secure uninhabitable for centuries. And it’s a safe bet his people as well as Western sources have back-channel counseled him on this. It’s great saber rattling by Russian doctrine to be sure, but the sword will never be drawn.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  205. Best Oscar Moment:

    Well, no love lost between Wil Smith and Chris Rock. Memo to Chris Rock- never use a guy’s wife’s name in a jackazz joke on global TV with him and her in front of you.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  206. Ukrainian Greeks

    are a Greek minority that reside in or used to reside in the territory of modern Ukraine. The majority of Ukrainian Greeks live in Donetsk Oblast and are particularly concentrated around the city of Mariupol.

    According to the 2001 Ukrainian Census, there were 91,548 ethnic Greeks in Ukraine, or 0.2% of the population. However, the actual percentage of those with Greek ancestry is likely to be much higher due to widespread intermarriage between ethnic Greeks and those Ukrainian citizens who are Ukrainian Orthodox, particularly in eastern Ukraine, as well as the absence of strong links to Greece or use of the Greek language by many with Greek ancestry in these areas and who therefore are not classified as Greeks in official censuses.

    Most Greeks in Ukraine belong to the larger Greek diaspora known as Pontic Greeks. But there are also a small recent group of Greek expats and immigrants to Ukraine.

    nk (1d9030)

  207. Zelensky’s full comment: “I’ve talked to the defenders of Mariupol today. I’m in constant contact with them. Their determination, heroism and firmness are astonishing,” Zelensky said in a video address, referring to the besieged southern city that has suffered some of the war’s greatest deprivations and horrors. “If only those who have been thinking for 31 days on how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks had 1% of their courage.”

    AJ_Liberty (3cb02f)

  208. Smith vs. Rock: haven’t seen two black guys go at it with this big a TV audience since Frazier vs. Ali in ’71!

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  209. @212. Even a stand-up comic should know heckling back at the audience, biting the hands trying to feed and help you isn’t a way to win friends and influence people. Ask Michael Richards.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  210. What do you do with a disappointed communist sympathizer carping aimlessly? You commie-serate.

    Get some rest, DCSCA. You’re seeing things. All Will Smith did was yell something from his seat. Only presumably at Chris Rock.

    nk (1d9030)

  211. Smith wins Oscar; apologizes to Academy but defended his wife.

    Class act; classic actor.

    But Will, did you hear what Putin said about her??? 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  212. @215. Sober up, nk: you’re way behind the curve and out of the loop on this one.

    Suggest you educate yourself on the incident- industry insiders are already trading videos of it from around the world– and the off-air broadcast feeds during commercial break.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  213. Yeah, I saw the full version when I browsed a little, but not from your link.

    nk (1d9030)

  214. @218. The irony is, ABC edited and bleeped it in the domestic broadcast feed but the feed overseas did not and was unedited. So much for ABC’s ‘freedom of the press.’

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  215. Well, no love lost between Wil Smith and Chris Rock. Memo to Chris Rock- never use a guy’s wife’s name in a jackazz joke on global TV with him and her in front of you.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 3/27/2022 @ 7:33 pm

    This is the same Will Smith who was okay with his wife banging a coke-addled, mentally ill rapper half her age. All the screaming was strictly performative to make him look like he actually gave a rip about her supposed honor.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  216. The Best Actor for The Pianist kissing the trophy girl was better.

    nk (1d9030)

  217. @221. Just been on the phone w/some biz insiders about it; it’s an interesting split- -especially when you see the whole unedited feed and the commercial break video; Smith’s done this sort of thing before when he was up for “Ali” -general consensus among the old colleagues is he’s a bit of a jerk in the biz to work around anyway.

    But Academy insider told me the staff should have removed him from the auditorium during the commercial break and if/when he won the Oscar to have someone else accept for him. You can guess why he wasn’t in 2022. Probably would have if this was 1980. Another old colleague mentioned it gave the Oscars the look of a rap awards show on MTV, VH1 of BET, lowering the “dignity” of the Oscars; insisted he should be prosecuted for assault as well. There’s something to that dignity thing, too- dealing w/AMPAS was always like pulling teeth; personally experienced it; they were quite protective of their image. Whereas ATAS, the Emmy folks, were just the opposite. Buzz amongst the colleagues is AMPAS may have grounds to ban him as a presenter [we’ll see as he would normally do it next year as a winner]or deny him attending for some period. But that’s up to the Academy BoD. And there are racial and financial elements to consider these days.

    Still another colleague noted if this was just a bar and a stand-up comic had dissed a sick wife, the showdown might be justified– but it was the 94th Academy Awards on global TV, not a bar. Bad forum. Another mentioned if you watch an early fragment of the feed, Smith was laughing along w/Rock until his wife visually soured and prodded him to respond. So he got up and did the smack-down. Regardless, it’ll rank up there w/David Niven’s streaker incident back in the 70s.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  218. From 2002: “By the way, what do you make of the hot rumor that the real reason Will Smith and Jada Pinkett left the Oscars early was not because their daughter was sick, but because Will had a backstage dust-up with Ethan Hawke—who was allegedly doing pro-Denzel trash-talking about the Best Actor award? Smith threw a punch, so goes the rumor, and the result was the big red bruise on Ethan’s cheek. But the various spokespeople involved insist that the “bruise” was a lipstick smear from Pauletta Washington, wife of Hawke’s Oscar-winning Training Day co-star.”

    https://slate.com/human-interest/2002/03/ethan-and-the-fresh-prince-duking-it-out.html?msclkid=676598b8ae5411ecb5abe0986b2edfa5

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  219. as long as none of those NATO troops stepped over the Russian border.

    Oh, I think there would need to be forfeits. Perhaps Kaliningrad.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  220. Will Smith Won’t Be Arrested For Oscars Assault Of Chris Rock After Comic Declines To File Police Report

    ‘Chris Rock has decided not to file a police report against Will Smith after the King Richard actor hit him in the face onstage at the Oscars on Sunday — at least for now.

    Los Angeles Police Department officers on the scene at the well-guarded event at the Dolby Theatre spoke with Rock soon after the ABC telecast ended, sources confirm. If Rock had filed a report with the LAPD and Smith was charged with assault, the newly minted Oscar winner could have faced up to six months behind bars and a fine up to $100,000.

    In California, simple assault is categorized as a misdemeanor. Rock still has up to six months to file a report.’ -deadline.com

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  221. This is priceless; from AMPAS:

    “The Academy does not condone violence of any form. Tonight we are delighted to celebrate our 94th Academy Awards winners, who deserve this moment of recognition from their peers and movie lovers around the world.”

    ‘Does not condone violence in any form’?!?! Any form???? Did they ever screen ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ or ‘The Wild Bunch’?!? Or review the very film the Best Actor presenters were in: ‘Pulp Fiction’?!?! More violent and bloody red than a day in Ukraine.

    Remember when Alex Karas punching a horse was funny in the movies? Now punching a horse’s ass on television is assault.

    Mel! Mel! Mel! Save us, Mel!! The world is in desperate need of some laughs!

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  222. Oh, Will Smith will buy Chris Rock some really expensive gift and Rock will in return give some insincere apology to Jada Pinkett and then we’ll be told that everything is kumbaya among the wealthy and famous Hollywood crowd. Nothing to see here folks. Please move along.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  223. Interesting insights, DCSCA. Thanks for the updates.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  224. Dana, if you see Belfast let me know what you think. I saw it, and I have an opinion. And you will love the soundtrack.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  225. Hollyweird.

    mg (8cbc69)

  226. Another mentioned if you watch an early fragment of the feed, Smith was laughing along w/Rock until his wife visually soured and prodded him to respond. So he got up and did the smack-down.

    “Love makes you do crazy things,” like go on your wife’s youtube channel to be told it was your fault that she slept around because you supposedly weren’t filling her needs, while you sit there looking dead inside.

    Factory Working Orphan (2775f0)

  227. The worser part is that now half of the “Academy insiders” will go around talking about Jada Pinkett’s hair in the hope that Will Smith will girl-slap them too.

    nk (1d9030)

  228. https://twitter.com/kevinmkruse/status/1508422535875944451?s=21&t=

    In the midst of all the white hot takes this morning, spare a thought for poor Ted Cruz, who is still baffled by the sight of a husband defending his wife’s honor.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  229. Also, if the point was for people to stop taking about her hair loss and making jokes about her the slap was a total fail.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  230. Sounds like the only interesting moment in the Oscars was bleeped out.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  231. @234 spare a thought for the poor psychos who must relate everything to trump

    JF (e1156d)

  232. Stephen Colbert’s stunt double vs. Bruce Willis’s stunt double.

    What comes out of Hollywood is only slightly less phony than what comes out of Russia, and no publicity is bad publicity.

    Even money that the scene was not “spliced out”. That it was pre-staged and “spliced-in” in the overseas broadcast but not in the American broadcast.

    And two gets you five that the lady’s “alopecia areata” is too much lye-based hair straightener for too long, a common cause of hair loss in black women, much more common than a genetic cause.

    nk (1d9030)

  233. Ya’ll remember when Michael Jackson had vitiligo and not quinine baths? Like that.

    nk (1d9030)

  234. Let’s see… we have shaky, dangerous times, a senile POTUS and an incompetent, half-wit for a VP.

    Sleep well, America!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  235. I mean, look what it has done to the Oscars, haiku. If Trump were President, he would have done America a favor and slapped that nasty Chris Rock himself!

    Appalled (1a17de)

  236. Yes, trunalimunumaprzure, appalled, trunalimunumaprzure…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  237. alec baldwin would’ve handled it differently

    JF (e1156d)

  238. @237 lol, It’s a joke JF, try to grow a sense of humor.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  239. @244 lol, It’s a joke Time123, try to grow a sense of humor

    JF (e1156d)

  240. If Trump were President, he would have done America a favor and slapped that nasty Chris Rock himself!

    And endorsed his opponent in next year’s Oscar nominations.

    nk (1d9030)

  241. I sincerely hope that Mo Brooks stays in the Alabama primary long enough for at least one more poll. So we can see whether the loss of Trump’s endorsement lost him votes or gained him votes.

    nk (1d9030)

  242. I think Rock had a few jokes immediately come to mind – given the words Smith chose – but decided against it, lol. “Keep my wife’s _____ out your F-in’ mouth.”

    Come on that’s comedy gold, Jerry!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  243. “Oh, I could… okay…”

    —- Chris Rock

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  244. Can’t decipher your 42, haiku. Sure it had something to do about somebody who won’t pay pay the rent in my head.

    Appalled (1a17de)

  245. 177. Jim Miller (406a93) — 3/27/2022 @ 3:22 pm

    There is, as many of you know, continued suspicion that Stalin was murdered. As I recall, Beria knew that Stalin had begun thinking of him as a target, like his predecessors Yezhov and Yagoda.

    Khrushchev writes, using different words, that when Beria looked like he would stay unconscious, he was disrespectful and when he saw Stalin was conscious, he was obsequious.

    No, I think it was the doctors, who took advantage of a medical condition to give him the wrong treatment for the brain hemorrhage he was suffering from: warfarin (also known in the United States as )Coumadin) Although maybe that is wrong.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228382

    …the night before Stalin became ill, he inquired from Beria about the status of the case against the doctors and specifically about the interrogation of Professor Vinogradov. Minister of State Security Lavrenti Beria replied, “Apart from his other unfavorable qualities, the professor has a long tongue. He has told one of the doctors in his clinic that Comrade Stalin has already had several dangerous hypertonic episodes.”[8]

    Stalin responded, “Right, what do you propose to do now? Have the doctors confessed? Tell [Semyon D.] Ignatiev [Minister of the MGB security organ] that if he doesn’t get full confessions out of them, we’ll reduce his height by a head.” Beria reassured Stalin, “They’ll confess. With the help of Timashuk and other patriots, we’ll complete the investigation and come to you for permission to arrange a public trial.” Then, “Arrange it,” Stalin ordered. And from there, they went on to discuss other matters until about 4:00 a.m. on the morning of March 1, 1953.

    Stalin was irritable and in a bad humor. He castigated his guests. Volkogonov based his account on the testimony of A. I. Rybin, who he personally interviewed. Rybin had been in the NKVD and later had become one of Stalin’s bodyguards. But Rybin, though, had not been there during Stalin’s final days. He had only been told what had happened by the guardsmen. And at the time Volkogonov had written his book those guardsmen could not be found or had refused to talk.[8]

    Nevertheless, we do know that the guests had become a captive audience that evening and could not leave the Blizhnyaya, his nearer dacha in Kuntsevo, without Stalin’s permission. They simply had to wait until Stalin dismissed them. But Stalin was not finished. He was still complaining that the leadership, which included many of his guests that night, were basking on past glories — but “they were mistaken.” The implied threat to his inner circle was ominous. When Stalin finally got up and left, his shaken guests seized their opportunity and left the dacha. Georgy Malenkov and Lavrenti Beria, two of Stalin’s henchmen whom he allowed to commingle socially, left together in the same Volga. The others left separately.

    Stalin did not leave his chamber that morning and by noon his staff became worried. To make matters even more difficult, no one was authorized to enter his private chambers unless they were summoned. All through the afternoon the domestic staff and his personal guards worried and waited for Stalin to come out. They were finally reassured when an outside sentry reported that a light from his dining room had come on about 6:30 p.m. Volkogonov writes: “Everyone sighed with relief and waited for the bell to ring. Stalin had not eaten, or looked at the mail or papers. It was most irregular.” As late evening came, the domestic staff and guards began to worry anew. They debated what to do until sheer panic forced them to act. It was now 11:00 p.m., the evening of March 1, 1953.[8]..

    …. Brent and Naumov suspect in one scenario that Beria with the complicity of Khrushchev (whose memoirs, Khrushchev Remembers, relating to the events of Stalin’s final days have been found to be unreliable),[5,6,8] slipped warfarin, a transparent crystalline substance into the wine. Warfarin is a tasteless chemical that in 1950 had just become patented and available in Russia as a blood thinner for patients with cardiovascular disease, and later, widely used as rat poison. A hypertensive hemorrhage of itself would have caused a stroke as Stalin sustained, but it would not necessarily be associated with gastrointestinal or renal hemorrhaging. Warfarin, on the other hand, could have produced both a hemorrhagic stroke and a bleeding disorder affecting multiple organs. The autopsy findings would be critical and, fortunately, just recently they have become available…

    ….“Post-mortem examination disclosed a large hemorrhage in the sphere of the subcortical nodes of the left hemisphere of the brain. This hemorrhage destroyed important areas of the brain and caused irreversible disorders of respiration and blood circulation. Besides the brain hemorrhage there were established substantial enlargement of the left ventricle of the heart, numerous hemorrhages in the cardiac muscle and in the lining of the stomach and intestine, and arteriosclerotic changes in the blood vessels, expressed especially strongly in the arteries of the brain. These processes were the result of high blood pressure.

    “The findings of the autopsy entirely confirm the diagnosis made by the professors and doctors who treated J. V. Stalin.”

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  246. “The Academy does not condone violence of any form.

    Obviously, they mean in real life (whether that is true or not)

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  247. 180.

    Similar level of escalation, per U.S. theory.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1) — 3/27/2022 @ 2:46 pm

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e) — 3/27/2022 @ 4:27 pm

    With what-nuclear weapons? Bombing of Russian targets in Ukraine (remember Biden’s promises on non-intervention)? What will happen to any American flight crews that are shot down? Wait for Congress to pass a declaration of war?

    I think Biden decided to be ambiguous, and overrates that. The actual things he would do is unknown. It could include bombing or destruction by cruise missiles of offensive Russian targets in Crimea and Russia.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  248. @229. Well, it’s ‘inside baseball’ stuff, but AMPAS looked the other way re- Weinstein for years; but w/their new guidelines, AMPAS is likely going to have to do something administratively- this won’t just fade away. They sort of made it a more difficult issue for themselves by not acting on site and removing him from the auditorium to cool down during the commercial break and then let him give that speech. This telecast was the first w/an all-African American production team, too, so it’s an especially sticky wicket given AMPAS’ lily-white history. Biz folks seem to be leaning toward it being bad form by Smith and a poor, unnecessary joke by Rock rather than a guy defending his wife’s ‘honor’- albeit at the wrong time. Asked if Rock’s material was reviewed before air and was told they didn’t know. Smith could have said something to Rock privately rather than go profane in front of world on global TV. Just bad form all around.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  249. Besides the obvious thoughts on Ginni Thomas, there a a few questions that nobody cares to talk about.

    1. Are these texts complete. both in content and in number?
    2. What will the committee do about this violation of committee rules (anwser: not a thing).
    3. What will the two Republicans on the committee do> I can’t see Lynn Cheney happy to be used in an attack on Justice Thomas.
    4. Does this show that the committee has engaged in a fishing expedition? Woodward is standing there holding a big fish.
    5. Will this affect Justice Thomas? Certainly those that hate him will now cite another reason for their hate, but otherwise?
    6. Will all the other justices have to curtail the activities of their spouses, children, parents, etc?
    7. What other justices have failed to recuse given the interest of a close family member in a case? RBG? Did a family member influence Roberts switch on Obamacare?
    8. Will the activities of family members be a fair topic in confirmation hearings?

    I predict we will learn the answers to none of these questions.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  250. Chris Rock handled getting smacked in the face amazingly well. He didn’t miss a beat in continuing the show. He showed class. Smith showed emotional midgetry.

    Paul Montagu (5de684)

  251. They sort of made it a more difficult issue for themselves by not acting on site and removing him from the auditorium to cool down during the commercial break and then let him give that speech. This telecast was the first w/an all-African American production team, too, so it’s an especially sticky wicket given AMPAS’ lily-white history.

    I read that Denzel Washington pulled Smith aside into the wings of the auditorium immediately after the dust-up and spoke to him for a few minutes. Smith later made reference to that in his acceptance speech. Perhaps the Academy thought that was good enough for them.

    I’m just worried because now I think that in retaliation Adam Sandler is going to have to bust a cap in Alfonso Ribeiro’s ass.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  252. If Ted Cruz had punched out Donald Trump for that crack about his wife, he’d be president today.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  253. Do they frisk rappers at the Grammys?

    Kevin M (38e250)

  254. If Ted Cruz had punched out Donald Trump for that crack about his wife, he’d be president today.

    That was 99% made up by Cruz. Follow me on this, as I recall it:

    1. A PAC associated with Cruz published nude photos of Melania;
    2. Trump blamed Cruz and tweeted that Cruz had better not do it again or Trump “would spill the beans”;
    3. A Trump supporter tweeted to Trump a model’s portrait of Melania side-by-side with Heidi making an angry face, and the message “No need to spill the beans”;
    4. Trump retweeted it without any comment that I remember. That was the crack.

    From that, Cruz worked himself up to a frenzy of crossing his arms, stomping his foot, biting his lip, and grimacing.

    So, yes, in a way, that is correct, that if Cruz had punched out Donald Trump he’d be President today, but in the same sense that if his grandmother had wheels she would be a shopping cart.

    nk (1d9030)

  255. “Can’t decipher your 42, haiku. Sure it had something to do about somebody who won’t pay pay the rent in my head.”

    Trunalimunumaprzure? That’s one of your boy Biden’s more eloquent statements, appalled.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  256. If Chris Rock had told Jada Smith to “lighten up” at that particular moment this could have turned into a Golden Corral video.

    They coulda used it to kick-off/highlight the new Golden Corral’s Endless Fountain of Ham.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  257. Awww covfefe, Haiku…

    Appalled (1a17de)

  258. Chris Rock should have gotten more mileage for that b*tch slap. That and the GI Joe comment wasn’t really that funny. More of a groan than a titter. But that said, women are notoriously sensitive about their appearance…especially an actress…..and if losing your hair is literally beyond her control, find a better mark. But with all the serious topics in the world, there’s something cathartic to see really rich people acting out. No, not as good as Hasselhoff drunk eating a cheeseburger or Mel going on about the Jews or Baldwin going off on his daughter…but it will give Twitter a work out today. How many celebrities have fantasized about clocking Rock or an indiscreet gossip peddler? How many comics have dreamt of getting such a rise out of celebrity? In the end, I think everyone’s happy…except for Jada…she’s still bald

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  259. Do bettah, appalled.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  260. nk (1d9030) — 3/28/2022 @ 10:56 am

    From that, Cruz worked himself up to a frenzy of crossing his arms, stomping his foot, biting his lip, and grimacing.

    I only heard it from the “spill the beans” comment. I thought Trump originally wanted to accuse Cruz’s wide of some financial impropriety, then thought the better of it, and so substituted this beauty comparison. The New York Post mentioned the photos of Melania – that was supposed to be her working without a vis that allowed it – but I didn’t connect it to anything.

    There was something else maybe a bit later – on May 3 – The National Enquirer published some blurry photo that was supposed to be Ted Cruz’s father with Lee Harvey Oswald. Roger Stone promoted that.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  261. Federal Judge Finds Trump Most Likely Committed Crimes Over 2020 Election
    ……..
    The judge’s comments marked a significant breakthrough for the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which had laid out in a civil filing the crimes it believed Mr. Trump might have committed as it weighs making a criminal referral to the Justice Department.

    “The illegality of the plan was obvious,” wrote Judge David O. Carter of the Central District of California. “Our nation was founded on the peaceful transition of power, epitomized by George Washington laying down his sword to make way for democratic elections. Ignoring this history, President Trump vigorously campaigned for the vice president to single-handedly determine the results of the 2020 election.”
    ………
    Judge Carter’s comments came in an order for John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who wrote a memo that members of both parties have likened to a blueprint for a coup, to turn over more than 100 emails to the committee as it investigates Mr. Trump’s efforts to hold onto power after his election loss.

    Many of the documents the committee will now receive relate to a legal strategy proposed by Mr. Eastman to pressure Vice President Mike Pence not to certify electors from several key swing states when Congress convened on Jan. 6, 2021. “The true animating force behind these emails was advancing a political strategy: to persuade Vice President Pence to take unilateral action on January 6,” Judge Carter wrote.
    ………
    Mr. Eastman had filed suit against the panel, trying to persuade a judge to block the committee’s subpoena for documents in his possession. As part of the suit, Mr. Eastman sought to shield from release documents he said were covered by attorney-client privilege.
    ……….
    “President Trump and Dr. Eastman justified the plan with allegations of election fraud,” he wrote, “but President Trump likely knew the justification was baseless, and therefore that the entire plan was unlawful.”
    ###########

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  262. Judge Carter’s comments came in an order for John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who wrote a memo that members of both parties have likened to a blueprint for a coup,

    John Eastman was a frmer law clerk for Clarence Thomas. One of the counsel for the Jan 6 committee also is.

    I don’t know that making legal motions and the like can be criminal if there are no threats of force.

    Mo Brooks said, apparently after Trump dis-endorsed him for some other reason, that in August 2021 Donald Trump wanted him to get behind an even more wild scheme to restore him as president – something with not a hint of a basis in the constitution. Brooks apparently kept it to himself until last week.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  263. Kevin M (38e250) — 3/28/2022 @ 9:00 am

    9. How come nobody claims they were hacked, and uses that as a basis to forbid all mention of them on Twitter; or says that they are perhaps salted with other false messages, like Joe Biden and company (mostly people speaking and writing on his behalf) did with the laptop?

    A. Because the people involved know they are real and it will eventually come out that way, and there’s no impending election, and Republicans just don’t lie so blatantly. They lie about what evidence means, and connect dots that aren’t there, and even make up things, but they don’t claim possible forgery about them when it’s not. Democrats do that. Bill Clinton did that with the Gennifer Flowers tapes in 1992 but I don’t think you’ll find a Republican who tried that ploy. They wouldn’t get away with it.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  264. I don’t know that making legal motions and the like can be criminal if there are no threats of force.


    There are myriad crimes that don’t involve the threat of force. Here is the court order.

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  265. /Rip Murdock (a0ea2e) — 3/28/2022 @ 1:15 pm

    There are myriad crimes that don’t involve the threat of force. Here is the court order.

    I think that tries to link Trump and Meadows to the rioters.

    But the whole point is that the storming of the Capitol was an independent event that went contrary to Trump and Eastman’s plans and hopes and that it certainly didn’t stem from his speech at the Ellipse.

    The Eastman scheme was an extremely unsound legal position, that would have had (most reasonable people would agree) have had people violate their oaths of office. But what I meant was that merely making some unusual and unsound legal claims would not be a crime in itself. And also, I don’t think we would want to go there. (I guess in a serious case it could be sedition or something)

    I think Trump was roped into facilitating the riot, but that was not in his plan. I think we need answers as to exactly how. His slowness in reacting or attempting to use the riot as a bargaining chip was something else. Trump’s main concern at that point was actually that the Eastman plan (which can be called a would-be constitutional coup) not be thrown off the rails, and he didn’t want to believe that he didn’t ha

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  266. … he didn’t have the votes in Congress to try to accomplish it.

    The cmomittee alleges, according to the court,

    President Trump violated 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), which criminalizes obstruction or attempted obstruction of an official proceeding.207 It requires three elements: (1) the person obstructed, influenced or impeded, or attempted to obstruct,
    influence or impede (2) an official proceeding of the United States, and (3) did so corruptly.

    They claim he did that merely by

    launching a pressure campaign to convince Vice President Pence to disrupt the Joint Session on January 6.

    But the pressure had no force behind it beyond that of normal politics. And the whole point was that it was allegedly legal. That’s not obstruction of an official proceeding of the United States. Otherwise, anyone who makes a point of order that is not upheld, obstructed an official proceeding. I don;t think we want to go there, even with points of order that are obviously unsound. It’s not obstruction, it’s part of the proceedings.

    Even though I think it can be fairly stated that

    The illegality of the plan was obvious….

    But this was illegal only in the sense of being unconstitutional.

    Even if it could be described as frivolous, (a word the judge does not use) as well as being contrary to the entire spirit of the U.S. constitution..

    The judge dismisses Eastman’s claim that it was a good faith interpretation of the constitution by saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Now this is simply not good law and not good practice. How would we like claims like that applied in other cases??

    Now the judge was ruling that way in order to break attorney-client privilege. Now I don’t think something has to be a violation of the criminal code in order to break attorney client

    But you know, the Eastman plan is known. It’s not one of the unanswered questions.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  267. Today I heard some major person on the radio claiming that there was video showing the people who went into the Capitol were let in (as might have happened after awhile) and he seemed to be claiming that it was Democratic plot to stop the debate (but not the count – that seemed an important point to him)

    Of course the way to stop the count was to stop the debate – the debate would have, and did, to the extent it took place, cast no glory on the proponents of not counting Electoral votes – it disrupted Congress in either case.

    It seems like someone is still manufacturing talking points.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  268. Seems to me it was a mostly peaceful Oscars

    mg (8cbc69)

  269. War with Russia? Finland has a plan for that

    If the worst fears of Europe are realised and the conflict in Ukraine spreads across the continent to other neighbours of Russia, then Finland will be ready.

    It has supplies. At least six months of all major fuels and grains sit in strategic stockpiles, while pharmaceutical companies are obliged to have 3-10 months’ worth of all imported drugs on hand.

    It has civilian defences. All buildings above a certain size have to have their own bomb shelters, and the rest of the population can use underground car parks, ice rinks, and swimming pools which stand ready to be converted into evacuation centres.

    And it has fighters. Almost a third of the adult population of the Nordic country is a reservist, meaning Finland can draw on one of the biggest militaries relative to its size in Europe.
    ………
    ………what Finland calls its strategy of “comprehensive security” offers an example of how countries can create rigorous, society-wide systems to protect themselves ahead of time — planning not just for a potential invasion, but also for natural disasters or cyber attacks or a pandemic.
    ………..

    Rip Murdock (a0ea2e)

  270. So, Florida bans discussing sexuality and sexual practices in kindergarten and grades 1-3. Disney, under pressure from disinformed employees, attacks the Governor and legislature of Florida.

    Now, which do you think will hurt more: Disney employees upset that the company did not take a stand, of Floridians avoiding Disney attractions in Florida?

    Kevin M (38e250)

  271. Russia has taken the side of Armenia in the Armenia Azerbaijan conflict. I never followed it so I am not clear where Russia always stayed on the same side.

    Here is the entire history

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Nagorno-Karabakh_War

    The Azerbaijanis seem to be in the wrong. Are they backed by Iran and what would that say about the Russia Iran alliance?

    Or are they backed by some other country?

    Or is Russia on both sides?)

    One interesting thing: There’s destruction and denial of history going on:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-vicious-circle-of-cultural-erasure-azerbaijan-armenia-culture-muslim-christian-sites-11648151998

    On Feb. 3 the Azerbaijani government announced that it would target hundreds of sacred sites that bear witness to Armenian Christian history in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. “A working group of specialists,” pro-government media quoted culture minister Anar Karimov as saying, “has been set up to remove the fictitious traces written by Armenians.”

    Fictitious traces? Armenian presence in the area goes back thousands of years and can be seen in innumerable monuments. Some churches have roots in the early fourth century, and no serious scholar disputes their authenticity. But Azerbaijan, a majority-Muslim country that conquered much of the region in a 2020 war, is deploying a government-promoted conspiracy theory that casts Armenian cultural monuments as fake. As the Cornell University-based Caucasus Heritage Watch shows in its satellite research, even Armenian cemeteries haven’t been safe from Azerbaijan’s wrath since 2020. Tombstones, new and old alike, are bulldozed in the name of construction.

    Azerbaijan proclaims that Armenians did not exist in Nagorno-Karabakh until the 19th century. This conspiracy theory references Caucasian Albania, a kingdom northeast of Nagorno-Karabakh that ceased existence in the ninth century. During the Soviet era, to compete with Armenian and Georgian narratives, Azerbaijani scholars claimed Caucasian Albanians as their ancestors, eventually extending the discredited theory to proclaim that Armenian heritage is stolen Caucasian Albanian heritage. In 2020, Azerbaijan introduced a new conspiracy theory, claiming that Armenian khachkar monuments are “artificially aged.”

    Between 1997 and 2006, Azerbaijan covertly flattened every trace of Armenian Christianity in historically disputed areas it controlled already. Azerbaijan now says that the thousands of destroyed monuments, including the prominent churches of Agulis and the celebrated necropolis of Djulfa, never existed. That Baku would extend this project to its new dominions is brazen but unsurprising.

    In December, the International Court of Justice ordered Azerbaijan to “take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration.” The organization was particularly concerned with Azerbaijan’s practice of relabeling Armenian monuments as Caucasian Albanian. After some backlash, Azerbaijan’s Culture Ministry walked back part of the Feb. 3 announcement in a new text that was less threatening, but the milder language should fool no one. A 2005 commission created by the Azerbaijani authorities in Nakhichevan identified a list of surviving Armenian monuments for erasure but didn’t explicitly mention destroying them. The monuments were swiftly flattened…

    …Azerbaijan’s government might cast the destruction of Armenian monuments as revenge for damage caused to Islamic monuments that were under Armenian control in Nagorno-Karabakh until 2020. But this is a false equivalence. Many sites sustained damage, but there is no evidence of systematic, let alone state-sponsored, erasure. That’s why the International Court of Justice rejected Azerbaijan’s counter-accusation against Armenians last year.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  272. he seemed to be claiming that it was Democratic plot to stop the debate

    Oh, I could believe that people knew what the whackjobs had planned, and let it happen, hoping that it would destroy Trump. That’s not entrapment, though.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  273. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is in trouble. He’s lost the support of the army because he tried to appoint the former spy chief Lt. General Faiz Hamid as the new army chief. All his anti-Americanism isn’t helping him. He threatens to arrest people.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/22/world/asia/pakistan-imran-khan-parliament.html

    General Hamid probably threw the election to him in 2018.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/21/world/asia/pakistan-election-military.html

    But he is not the top person in the out of control army. There’s a balance of power there.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  274. War with Russia? Finland has a plan for that

    They’ve got some land to reclaim and revenge to serve cold.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  275. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is in trouble.

    It’s a pity they can’t all lose.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  276. Chris Rock should have gotten more mileage for that b*tch slap.

    Pfft. Are you kidding? Fresh material in hand [and face], he’ll be dining out on this for months in town, book gigs and take meetings he’d never have gotten after a forgotten routine w/no smack.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  277. They all lose ion the long run. But can somebody half good come to the top for awhile?

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  278. I passed by a wine store on Friday that had ahandweritten sign on the door: No masks allowed. It’s family owned. The proprietress offered to take what I wanted outside. (I had only been planning at that point to check)

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  279. @256. The real loser in this already is AMPAS. If they eventually do something, it “will” be labelled belated and picked apart in the biz; if they do nothing, it “will” brand their recently revised ‘code of conduct’ as irrelevant and damage the brand forever– something they always strive to avoid.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  280. These guys “will” decide:

    2021-2022 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors

    As a result of the election, the number of women Academy governors increases from 26 to 31, and the number of governors from underrepresented racial/ethnic communities increases from 12 to 15.

    Elected to the board for the first time:

    Rita Wilson, Actors Branch
    Kim Taylor-Coleman, Casting Directors Branch
    Paul Cameron, Cinematographers Branch
    Eduardo Castro, Costume Designers Branch
    Jean Tsien, Documentary Branch
    Pam Abdy, Executives Branch
    Terilyn A. Shropshire, Film Editors Branch
    Laura C. Kim, Marketing and Public Relations Branch
    Lesley Barber, Music Branch
    Gary C. Bourgeois, Sound Branch
    Brooke Breton, Visual Effects Branch
    Howard A. Rodman, Writers Branch

    Incumbent governors reelected to the board:

    Susanne Bier, Directors Branch
    Jennifer Todd, Producers Branch
    Tom Duffield, Production Design Branch
    Bonnie Arnold, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch

    Returning to the board after a hiatus:

    Bill Corso, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch

    The above will join returning governors Kate Amend, Craig Barron, Howard Berger, Charles Bernstein, Jon Bloom, Rob Bredow, Ruth E. Carter, Kevin Collier, Laura Dern, Teri E. Dorman, Dody J. Dorn, Ava DuVernay, Linda Flowers, DeVon Franklin, Rodrigo García, Donna Gigliotti, Whoopi Goldberg, Lynette Howell Taylor, Mark Johnson, Larry Karaszewski, Laura Karpman, Christina Kounelias, Ellen Kuras, David Linde, Isis Mussenden, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Jan Pascale, Stephen Rivkin, Eric Roth, David Rubin, Steven Spielberg, Wynn P. Thomas, Nancy Utley, Mandy Walker, Roger Ross Williams, Janet Yang and Debra Zane.

    source, AMPAS/deadline.com

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  281. Academy “Condemns The Actions” Of Will Smith After Chris Rock Slapping Incident; Conducting Formal Review

    ‘The morning after a raucous Oscarcast that saw Will Smith slap presenter Chris Rock in the face over his joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued another statement.

    “The Academy condemns the actions of Mr. Smith at last night’s show. We have officially started a formal review around the incident and will explore further action and consequences in accordance with our Bylaws, Standards of Conduct and California law.”… That probe could see Smith ejected from AMPAS or suffer some sort of suspension from the organization and its events, including next year’s Oscars. Regardless of where the review ends up, sources tell us that there is no chance that Smith will be asked to hand back his Best Actor Oscar for King Richard… AMPAS Standards of Conduct reads, “Academy membership is a privilege offered to only a select few within the global community of filmmakers. In addition to achieving excellence in the field of motion pictures, members are also expected to behave ethically by upholding the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity, inclusion, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity. The Academy asks that members embrace their responsibility to affirm these principles and act when these principles are violated. There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards
    of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”

    A breach of conduct also includes “Physical contact that is uninvited and, in the situation, inappropriate and unwelcome, or coercive sexual attention” as well as “Intimidation, stalking, abusive or threatening behavior, or bullying”.’… View co-host and Academy Governor in the Actor’s branch Whoopi Goldberg said earlier today on the syndicated show, “We’re not going to take that Oscar from him. There will be consequences I’m sure, but I don’t think that’s what they’re going to do, particularly because Chris said ‘Listen, I’m not pressing any charges.’” added Goldberg referring to how Rock wasn’t pressing any charges against Smith with the LAPD.’ -source, deadline.com

    _______

    Has Anyone Ever Given an Oscar Back Before?

    ‘… In 2017 the Academy released an updated code of conduct in the wake of the #MeToo movement, with Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Dawn Hudson writing to members at the time, “There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power, or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency. The Academy is categorically opposed to any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”

    It’s unclear exactly how the Academy will proceed with regards to Smith’s indiscretion, but there’s some historical precedent for Oscar winners returning their awards or otherwise stripping themselves of their Academy accolades; actors Marlon Brando and George C. Scott and screenwriter Dudley Nichols have all refused their awards.

    Violence, particularly a public display of it like Smith offered at the Oscars, should never be normalized or condoned, but it’s worth noting that accused sex offenders, including Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, have not only not been asked to return their Oscars in the wake of the sex-abuse allegations made against them by women under the legal age of consent, but they have actually been honored by the Academy after those allegations were brought to light. (Polanski was awarded his Oscar in 2003, 26 years after he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old, while one of Allen’s four Oscars came after his adoptive daughter Dylan Farrow first accused him of sexual abuse in 1992.)

    As far as incidences of violence at the Oscars themselves go, actor John Wayne had to be forcibly restrained from confronting Indigenous actor and activist Sacheen Littlefeather after she brought up Hollywood’s offensive portrayals of her community while accepting Brando’s Oscar for him in 1973.

    As of now, no Oscar winner has ever had their award rescinded by the Academy, although producer and serial sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein was expelled from the governing body in 2017. When it comes to Smith, we’ll have to wait and see how the Academy responds under pressure—however, it’s worth asking what kind of potentially racialized message it would be sending if the organization did choose to remove the Oscar awarded to Smith, a Black man, while letting Polanski and Allen’s stand.’ – source, Vogue.com

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  282. 272

    That’s not obstruction of an official proceeding of the United States. Otherwise, anyone who makes a point of order that is not upheld, obstructed an official proceeding. I don’t think we want to go there, even with points of order that are obviously unsound. It’s not obstruction

    On second thought, it’s not exactly the same, because here some people (like Trump and Eastman) were trying to get Mike Pence to act, and it wasn’t Mike Pence himself, and also he didn’t do it. Is lobbying obstruction?

    But if trying to get someone to do something he really has no power to do is criminal, then so was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi trying to get Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment (which also, by the way, likely would not have worked because it probably would not have gotten the agreement of a majority of te Cabinet.)

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  283. If somebody in the Capitol let it happen, they did so in part by altering the intelligence estimate so as to say no rallies would take place.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  284. If only Putin had slapped a celebrity, then we’d get some sustained outrage….

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  285. Oscar Viewership Rises From Dismal 2021 To Second-Lowest Ever With 15.4M Watching

    ‘If only the Oscars themselves moved as fast as the numbers counters at ABC. Mere minutes after fast-affiliate data for the 94th Academy Awards was out, the Disney-owned net that pays tens of millions a year to broadcast Hollywood’s biggest but stumbling night was out with the adjusted fast nationals.

    Moving up a bit from the preliminary data, the 2022 Oscars now is estimated to have had 15.4 million viewers and snagged a rating of 2.9 among adults 18-49. Apples to apples with the same metrics, that’s a 56% increase in audience over last year and 68% in the important demo. However, even with what looks like big leaps over 2021, the 2022 Oscars are still the second-lowest in history. -source, deadline.com

    An ‘Olympic’- sized disaster. The trending numbers over the years tells the story. Network suits at ABC and NBC as well as advertisers are going to have to start rethinking the value of these dinosaur loss leaders to their bottom lines in the 21st century.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  286. If only Putin had slapped a celebrity, then we’d get some sustained outrage….

    ???? Missiles into Lviv while Joey was speechifying in Warsaw before staff walking it back-then Joey not walking it back safe in Washington, was a slap enough.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  287. Mixed news from the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

    Ukrainian forces have reclaimed control of a few small fronts in the country’s north, officials said Monday, as Russia appears to be directing its fiercest attacks on besieged areas in the country’s east and south, including Mariupol.
    . . .
    Ukrainian forces have taken back Trostyanets, a town south of Sumy that is about 20 miles from Ukraine’s northeastern border with Russia, a senior U.S. defense official said. Ukrainian officials said the government had regained control of Irpin, a suburb of capital Kyiv.

    According to Wikipedia, Trostyanets has a population of about 25,000, Irpin a population of about 62,000. Both appear to be in strategic locations.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  288. After a night of partying at the Vanity Fair gala, the harsh light of day dawns:

    Will Smith Apologizes to Chris Rock for Oscars Slap: ‘I Was Out of Line and I Was Wrong’

    “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive. My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

    I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be. There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.

    I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees and everyone watching around the world. I would like to apologize to the Williams Family and my King Richard Family. I deeply regret that my behavior has stained what has been an otherwise gorgeous journey for all of us. I am a work in progress. Sincerely, Will”

    -source, instagram/variety.com

    Translation: My agent and my attorney told me my professional balls are in the hands of AMPAS and they may very well squeeze so I’d better apologize PDQ to monimize the inevitable smack I’m going to get back from them.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  289. 10 -1 next year Chicago will host the Oscars

    mg (8cbc69)

  290. Chris Wallace Has Left Fox. Because the network keeps broadcasting Tucker Carlson’s lies:

    That is a stark admission: Carlson’s wholesale rewriting of Jan. 6 is a key reason Wallace decided his continued presence at Fox was unsustainable. This seems to confirm the suspicion of some media critics — such as Eric Boehlert and Dan Froomkin — that Wallace had decided Fox was becoming fundamentally irredeemable as a news organization.

    Wallace, it would seem, agrees with Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

    The wrong man is leaving — and the network, and the nation, are worse off for that.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  291. Oscar Mayer has been in Chicago for 140 years, mg.

    nk (1d9030)

  292. Pfft. Wallace torpeodoed his own credibility w/his ‘deplorable’ performance as moderator at the Presdiential Debate in 2020. His Sunday show ratings were dropping– and they spiked up after he left. Now, in the twilight of his career at of all places, CNN-Plus, he’s pulling a Fred Allen:

    “Treadmill To Oblivion.”

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  293. Covid, supply chain, 8% inflation on everything, soaring gas prices, potential food shortages, North Korea, Iran, Ukraine, Russia, China, Taiwan…

    “Each day the crises multiply. Each day their solution grows more difficult. Each day we draw nearer the hour of maximum danger, as weapons spread and hostile forces grow stronger. I feel I must inform the Congress that our analyses over the last ten days make it clear that—in each of the principal areas of crisis—the tide of events has been running out and time has not been our friend.” – President John F. Kennedy, January 30, 1961

    Joe Biden will be 80 years old in November. We cannot endure this incompetence any longer.

    It’s 25th Amendment time, Joe; you said it yourself:

    “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power”.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  294. The wrong man is leaving — and the network, and the nation, are worse off for that.

    Perhaps. Fox has decided to be entertainment, not news.

    Shep Smith left a while back and has a new home at CNBC where he’s doing actual news, like CNN used to.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  295. Joe Biden seems to have gone halfway along with Bing West’s column last week, without saying so – and maybe this was the policy before. The column says that NATO has to ask for more than Zelensky would settle for.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-withdrawal-isnt-enough-ukraine-sanctions-nato-freedom-democracy-weapons-war-conflict-11647795517

    Russian Withdrawal Isn’t Enough

    Biden should tell NATO that sanctions will continue until Putin leaves power.

    …Mr. Biden and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky have different objectives. Ukraine is fighting alone because NATO has refused it membership. It is understandable if Ukraine reaches terms whereby the Russians leave, while Ukraine accepts some sort of neutrality. Mr. Zelensky’s objective is to end the destruction of his country, while retaining its freedom.

    Mr. Biden’s objective must be broader…For Mr. Putin to emerge intact after tearing apart Ukraine sets a terrible precedent. [because it promotes the possession of nuclear weapons]

    If Russian troops withdraw from Ukraine but Mr. Putin is still in charge in Moscow, it will be a severe defeat for America. In his meeting with all 30 NATO nations, Mr. Biden must cross his Rubicon. He must declare that the sanctions crippling Russia will remain in full force, with no exit ramps, as long as Mr. Putin remains in power. America’s objective isn’t a return to the status quo ante; it requires removing Mr. Putin in order to reinforce, or perhaps restore, America’s role as the defender of liberty. If Mr. Biden doesn’t clearly state that objective at this week’s NATO meeting, when the world is united behind him, he won’t do so in the future.

    Biden sort of tried to both do that and not do that — he does not want to discourage anyone from deposing Putin but he doesn’t want Putin to think…

    No, wait, yesterday he said he didn’t care what Putin thought and he doesn’t think anything he says will affect what Putin does one way or another.. (“He’s going to do what he’s going to do.”

    You have to wonder, though, is if he said that after taking a poll or consulting a focus group.

    …..

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  296. I think Biden is doing anything but telephoning Russian generals.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  297. A very small army.

    Surf, sand, and semiautomatic weapons.

    Florida officials seized a staggering 75 guns from rampaging partiers in a spring break beach town this past weekend alone — calling it enough firepower to “arm a small army.”

    Where do they find these so-called police? And why do they keep them? On the taxpayers’ backs?

    nk (1d9030)

  298. Meanwhile, who’s up for a fourth shot?

    Kevin M (38e250)

  299. Isn’t it about time that they authorized a vaccine against the variants that are actually out there?

    Meanwhile the Biden Administration is getting close to ending the public health exception to asylum law, while simultaneously offering the possibility of a free vaccine. Susan Rice took the position that offering free vaccine to anyone who approached the U.S. border could constitute a motive to do so. I don’t know if there is a Republican who would say that. Not only are vaccines widely available, the alternative would probably be (for now) to let doses expire.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/28/us/politics/vaccines-migrants-border.html

    Under the plan, officials will start vaccinating undocumented migrants without proof of vaccination who are apprehended by border officials, but not expelled under the public health order, in seven areas including San Diego, El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley. A description of the plan was shared with The New York Times.

    According to directions given to senior homeland security officials on Sunday, if single adults refuse to be vaccinated, they will be detained and put into deportation proceedings. If they request asylum and cannot remain in detention, they will be released with a monitoring device “with stringent conditions.” If migrant families refuse vaccination, they will also be given monitoring devices with the same conditions….

    ….A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said vaccinating immigrants in the department’s custody is a “public health best practice.” The spokesman did not explain why the department had waited so long to put that practice in place with regard to undocumented migrants, many of whom come from Central America. Planning for these vaccinations has been in the works. In November, the administration put out a request for a short-term contract to provide Covid-19 vaccinations at points along the southwest border.

    Previously, the administration has resisted vaccinating undocumented immigrants, despite multiple proposals from the Department of Homeland Security over the past year on how to do it. President Biden’s domestic policy adviser, Susan Rice, has privately raised concerns that it would provide an incentive for more undocumented migrants to try to cross the border, according to three current and former government officials with knowledge of the ongoing discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

    Noah Gottschalk, the global policy lead at Oxfam America, said that argument makes little sense.

    “Based on our work in the regions and places that people are coming from, that would have absolutely nothing to do with people coming,” he said. “People have access to vaccines. They are coming because they’re fleeing persecution.” [or for other reasons, but not to get vaccinated]

    Was Susan Rice just coming up with arguments, or was she really worried about accusations that could be made?

    And the United States ships a lot to other countries, and what better place could there be (assuming that vaccinating people stops further transmission, which it actually doesn’t really do too much) could there be to give vaccines to than people who are a very few degrees of separation away from U.S. citizens and residents?

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  300. Someone apparently tried to poison (incompetently?) Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch whom Volodyrmyr Zelensky persuaded President Biden to exempt from sanctions because he was helping (in negotiations, but probably working against Putin)

    This happened three weeks ago.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/roman-abramovich-and-ukrainian-peace-negotiators-suffer-symptoms-of-suspected-poisoning-11648480493

    Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian Peace Negotiators Suffer Suspected Poisoning

    Russian oligarch developed symptoms that people familiar with the matter blamed on hard-liners in Moscow who they say want to sabotage peace talks

    Hardliners that did not include Putin??

    Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, people familiar with the matter said.

    Mr. Abramovich, Ukrainian lawmaker Rustem Umerov and another negotiator developed symptoms following the March 3 meeting in Kyiv that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, the people said. Mr. Abramovich has shuttled between Moscow, Belarus and other negotiating venues since Russia invaded Ukraine.

    Mr. Abramovich was blinded for a few hours and later had trouble eating, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    Some of the people familiar with the matter blamed the suspected attack on hard-liners in Moscow who they said wanted to sabotage talks to end the war. A person close to Mr. Abramovich said it wasn’t clear who had targeted the group.

    Mr. Abramovich and others involved in the incident since have improved, and their lives aren’t in danger, the people said. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who has met with Mr. Abramovich, wasn’t affected, they said. Mr. Zelensky’s spokesman said he had no information about any suspected poisoning. “I’m fine,” Mr. Umerov tweeted on Monday.

    Western experts who looked into the incident said it was hard to determine whether the symptoms were caused by a chemical or biological agent or by some sort of electromagnetic-radiation attack, the people familiar with the matter said.

    Electromagnetic radiation??

    One thing is clear. They didn’t want to overdo it, or make it too obvious what was used.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  301. Christo Grozev, an investigator with the Bellingcat open-source collective said: “It was not intended to kill, it was just a warning,”

    Bellingcat said the three men who are suspected to have been poisoned consumed only chocolate and water in the hours before the symptoms appeared. The men went to an apartment in Kyiv that night after the talks concluded and began to feel ill, according to Bellingcat. The next day the group drove from Kyiv to Lviv, on their way to Poland and then Istanbul.

    The Russian government previously has been accused of using poison to punish enemies. In 2004, pro-Western Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned, leaving his face disfigured. Mr. Yushchenko, who became president after protests known as the Orange Revolution, blamed the attack on Russia…..The Kyiv meeting where the suspected poisoning took place involved Mr. Abramovich, who is one of Russia’s wealthiest men, and members of the official Ukrainian negotiating team…., Mr. Zelensky said he wouldn’t comment on his discussions with Mr. Biden. He said Mr. Abramovich was initially a member of a subcommittee of the Russian negotiating team, and then tried to help with humanitarian matters, particularly the evacuation of Ukrainian civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol.

    Mr. Abramovich was seen in Belarus in late February as initial, official talks began between Kyiv and Moscow and has acted as a back channel for talks with the Kremlin, personally meeting with Mr. Putin on Ukraine, people familiar with the matter say….Despite the suspected poisoning, Mr. Abramovich has decided to remain involved in the peace talks, a person close to him said. In the past week he has traveled to Poland and Ukraine and traveled Monday to Istanbul, this person said. People who have seen him recently say he has dedicated a lot of time to mediating between the warring parties. Mr. Abramovich’s late mother was from Ukraine.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  302. Biden calls for regime change in Russia, saying Putin “cannot remain in power”

    This is not really in contradiction to policy. They could say:

    The diplomatic goals are not unconditional surrender like in the U.S. Civil War and World War II. It is not even like the position of the alliance of Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia starting in 1813, where they demanded that Napoleon Bonaparte abdicate. It is not even like World War I where the Kaiser’s abdication was never an explicit condition of an end to the war. It is more like the Russo-Japanese war.

    Of course, Vladimir Putin is unlikely to conduct himself in a way so as to salvage his rulership. It is likely to end only when he is ousted.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  303. There’s a great possibility that any criminal justice reform reversal will not be enough to reverse the trend. What went on to promote crime is more than just bail reform.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  304. This war compared to the war in Chechnya:

    https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/03/29/world/ukraine-russia-war#to-those-who-were-in-chechnya-russias-war-in-ukraine-looks-ominously-familiar

    But Chechnya’s experience is worth recalling, because it was the first time we saw Vladimir V. Putin develop his game plan to reassert Russian dominion wherever he wanted. The methods were brute force and terror: the bombing and besieging of cities, deliberate targeting of civilians, and the abduction and jailing of local leaders and journalists and their replacement by loyal quislings.

    The war in Chechnya began with a shocking display of Russian incompetence. On New Year’s Eve in 1994, Russian troops were sent blundering into Grozny in what was intended to be a swift overthrow of the Chechen leadership.

    They were met by highly motivated units of Chechen fighters, armed with antitank rockets, who ambushed their columns, trapping and burning hundreds of Russian soldiers and armor in one night.

    But the Chechen victory did not last. The Russian army moved to flank Grozny on three sides and unleashed a terrifying onslaught of air and artillery strikes. A modern, European city became a ravaged moonscape.

    There was much in the experience that echoes in Ukraine today. Even though nearly 30 years have intervened, it is staggering to see Russia employ many of the same tactics — and mistakes — in Ukraine.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  305. There’s a draft peace agreement, which is the minimum terms that Ukraine would accept. Putin probably has no intention of actually agreeing to it, or keeping it if he does, but it may be a fallback position for him in case he is losing and has to agree to a quick peace.

    It’s got Ukraine to agree never to let foreign troops on its soil, but also has seven or eight or more countries guaranteeing it, including Turkey and Israel!

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  306. Someone apparently tried to poison (incompetently?) Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch whom Volodyrmyr Zelensky persuaded President Biden to exempt from sanctions because he was helping (in negotiations, but probably working against Putin)

    This happened three weeks ago.

    US intelligence disagrees.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  307. And now for something completely different. A personal note.

    I cannot understand why I am unconsciously repelled by Louis L’Amour westerns. And it’s been going for most of my life.

    By all metrics, they are good books as genre books go. Well-written, solid stories well-told, sympathetic characters, authentic settings and props, fully within the bounds of decency, and yet I shy away from them like a vegetarian from a t-bone. Even the movies and TV series made from them, with such notables as John Wayne, Glenn Ford, Tom Selleck, and Sam Elliot rub me the wrong way somehow.

    I just don’t understand it.

    nk (1d9030)

  308. Madison Cawthorn: People in politics in D.C. who I’ve looked up to have invited me to orgies
    …….
    ……… On the one hand, Cawthorn is a populist whose base is eager to have its priors confirmed that the Washington establishment is not only out of touch but dissolute. He doesn’t go full QAnon — there’s no mention of children in what he says — but stories of government movers and shakers doing coke and throwing sex parties fits comfortably into the narrative about licentious elites misbehaving in ways that would appall hard-working salt-of-the-earth Americans. Maybe Cawthorn made it up because he aims to please.

    PatriotTakes 🇺🇸
    @patriottakes
    Madison Cawthorn affirms Washington DC is like the movie House of Cards and said people that he’s looked up his whole life who are now in their 60’s or 70’s have invited him to an orgy at their home and others have done cocaine in front of him.


    ……..
    One interesting aspect of this is that Cawthorn is part of the Marjorie Taylor Greene faction in the caucus, a hardcore MAGA guy. Those types don’t have much interaction with Democrats, I’d guess. And certainly Democrats wouldn’t be among the Washingtonians whom Cawthorn has looked up to in the past.

    So if he’s telling the truth, it was probably a Republican who extended the offer to him. And probably a pretty populist one too, since the RINOs in the caucus who are forever being attacked by the Greene wing wouldn’t want to hand him any scandal oppo by inviting him to a sex party. That’s the sort of thing you do with someone you trust, not a political enemy. ……
    ……….
    Another thing worth noting is that he never says that the person who invited him is a member of Congress. He implies that whoever it was is older and has had a degree of fame for years, enough so that a younger Cawthorn would have known of and admired him, but the inference being drawn that the person in question holds office is simply an assumption.

    I can think of a few guys who might plausibly check all the boxes here but it’s rank speculation unless Cawthorn names names. Which he won’t, despite the public interest in the clip above. Especially among Democrats:

    Ted Lieu
    @tedlieu
    Based on this interview of GOP Rep Madison Cawthorn, I just have to say, wow, the
    @HouseGOP
    Caucus is much wilder than I thought.


    ………..
    I know nothing of Beltway culture but people who do like to say that it’s far more “Veep” than it is “House of Cards.” Although I guess that depends on which parties you are and aren’t being invited to.
    ………

    The Republican Minority Leader is not amused:

    Madison Cawthorn is going to get a talking-to from Kevin McCarthy over his latest volatile comment: that he’s seen cocaine use and gotten invited to orgies since arriving in Washington.
    ………
    During a closed-door House GOP conference meeting on Tuesday, multiple Republicans in the room said lawmakers stood up to air their anger and frustration over Cawthorn portraying his own colleagues as bacchanalian and sexual deviants.

    In one case, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) stood up and addressed his colleagues, telling them that he rarely speaks during the closed-door weekly meetings but felt he must address the topic because he’s now getting questions about participants in Cawthorn’s alleged orgies and drug use. Womack remarked that many lawmakers go to bed at 9 p.m. and still use fax machines and flip phones, stating that it was inappropriate to paint them with a broad brush, as Cawthorn did.
    ………

    Cawthorn is not above telling falsehoods about the car accident that left him paralyzed, accusing a friend who was the driver of abandoning him in the burning car, his (non) college admissions, and that he had been rejected by the Navy Academy before the accident, not after.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  309. I caught oart of an interview of Congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rogers on the Brian Killmey (sp?) show and one of the things she said was that it was discovered several years ago that Putin was funding the NGO’s (Non-governmental organizations – a word for non-profits, usually advocacy groups) in Europe that were against fracking — and there is no fracking going on in Europe.

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  310. 313.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-29/heres-what-we-know-about-roman-abramovichs-reported-poisoning/100947302

    …However, Reuters quoted a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying intelligence suggested an “environmental” reason for the symptoms suffered by Abramovich and the negotiators, “Eg, not poisoning”.

    What kind of an environmental untargeted accidental poisoning would this be? You can’t just say that. Better to suspect him of poisoning himself or say that it never happened.

    Bellingcat said experts who examined the incident concluded “poisoning with an undefined chemical weapon” was the most likely cause.

    “An alternative less likely hypothesis was use of microwave irradiation,” it said in a tweet.

    Microwave radiation?? What are they coming up with? That likely matches only some of the symptoms, if any.

    Ukrainian officials have poured cold water on the report.

    Asked about the suspected poisoning, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said “there is a lot of speculation, various conspiracy theories”.

    Mr Umerov urged people not to trust “unverified information”.

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba later took a similar line in an interview on national television, but also issued a warning.

    “I advise anyone going for negotiations with the Russian Federation not to eat or drink anything and, preferably, avoid touching any surface,” he said.

    “That’s at first hand.

    “Secondly, all these stories — someone heard something somewhere, some sources — now there is a lot of this kind, because everyone is thirsty for news, for sensations.”

    Maybe they know what happened, and don’t want to say?

    Sammy Finkelman (c04aa1)

  311. The QAnoners really do have a deep interest in how law enforcement investigates and prosecutes sex and drug crimes, don’t they? I didn’t know about Cawthorn, but Josh Hawley has recently been front and center as someone who “doth protest too much, methinks”.

    nk (1d9030)

  312. former CIA official John Sipher: when asked about his signing a letter saying Hunter Biden’s laptop story was Russian disinformation he knew to be false.

    “I take special pride in personally swinging the election away from Trump”

    One thing Trump years did for the USA was to show just how unprincipled people on both sides are.

    This is yet another disturbing and disappointing lapse of personal integrity swaddled in the bubble wrap of a better common good.
    A principled person says “I can’t sign something I know to be untrue, despite the wiggle room the words of the letter, I despise Trump but I know this letter is untrue and misleading and my name won’t be on it”

    I also dislike people who had the means to determine if the laptop was Hunters, but chose not to hear or read so their signature on a POS letter could be kinda sorta true

    steveg (e81d76)

  313. Hawley attended a private Jesuit school for boys. May God have mercy on his soul

    steveg (e81d76)

  314. 319. steveg (e81d76) — 3/30/2022 @ 10:16 am

    I also dislike people who had the means to determine if the laptop was Hunters, but chose not to hear or read so their signature on a POS letter could be kinda sorta true

    There were several different claims made to slow down or dtop circulation:

    1) That the material was hacked. This worked for awhile on Twitter and Facebook – it was not used otherwise

    2) The “chain of custody” issue: Maybe the files were “salted” with other material. (by the Russians??)

    Other people mentioned in the laptop files vouching for what mentioned them didn’t help very much.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  315. #314 nk – As far as I can recall, I have never read a Louis L’Amour book, so I can’t help you directly. But I can tell you this: Reagan and Eisenhower both liked him, Eisenhower reading him for relaxation during World War II.

    Jim Miller (406a93)

  316. One of the stupidest ideas going around is that Putin is not aware of the true state of affairs in Ukraine – how badly his army is doing. This sounds like disinformation because the upshot of it would mean that at any time he might suddenly realize it and call a halt to the hostilities.

    It could also partly be based on the likely fact that his military officers don’t understand and ask: Why is this still going on?????

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  317. There is a whole terrorist campaign going on is Israel now (all done by single individual attacks)

    It is starting even before Ramadan, which as become a month for some Muslims to kill people.

    It seems to be blamed on ISIS.

    But what is ISIS?

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  318. Therr are articles that give a close up look at the war.

    One appeard in New York magazine – vignettes from people born after 1991 oday by day up to March 10 – the first 16 days of the war

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/ukraine-war-diary.html

    And this was in the New York Times.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/03/18/magazine/ukraine-war-kyiv.html

    Everything adds alittle to the picture

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  319. Why Putin will never use nukes in his war, reason #2345744332:

    Russian troops withdrawn from Chernobyl with ‘acute radiation sickness’: report

    ‘Several hundred Russian troops have been withdrawn from the Chernobyl nuclear facility in Ukraine after suffering from “acute radiation sickness” and are being treated in Belarus, according to reports. The Pentagon confirmed earlier that the Russian forces began to pull out from the defunct facility, which was taken on the first day of the invasion, after a pledge by the Kremlin to scale back its offensive.’

    https://nypost.com/2022/03/31/russian-troops-withdrawn-from-chernobyl-with-radiation-sickness-report/?msclkid=b00eb8a2b16d11eca7660db5b7aa8c4f

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  320. I can’t solve yesterday’s Wordle, on my second try

    #285 https://www.devangthakkar.com/wordle_archive/?285

    After the third pick on the second try (two were used confirming I have the same wordd) I have:

    ?OW?Y and most letters eliminated.

    No more vowels A, I or U

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  321. Stores in NYT about NY FL and AZ election laws.

    NY districts held illegal under state law but probably election willl be allowed to run o appeal.

    Arizona has new tests for voters. It’s thought it may prevent more Republicans than Democrats from voting. They have to prove citizenship to vote for president. Since 1996 they had to prove citizenship to get anew driver’s license, so there are some 30,000 people on a separate list who can only vote in federal elections. Seems like they realized they could make any rue they wanted for presidential electors.

    Florida law overturned in part by judge, will probably have his ruling reversed.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)


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