I think it’s time to really get real on what has happened in Ukraine, what is happening, and what might be happening.
Doing so will require a great deal of searching in some weird places. Because we are all consuming some sort of spin, somewhere. Everyone is doing it-NATO, the US, the EU, the UK, The Russian Federation, and of course, Ukraine. It will also require us to be more dispassionate armchair generals, questioning what we think we know constantly, absorbing new information as it arrives. We all have a fan favorite, and we will say just about anything to make our team look good. I certainly would like to believe that Ukraine is going to be able to get Russia the hell out of its territory. It’s an illegal war, and a threat to national sovereignty everywhere. Moreover, it’s a direct challenge to Western democratic hegemony, bringing incredible wealth and control of global food and energy to a nuclear armed country in the midst of a fascist rebirth.
I’ve already talked about what I think is going on in Putin’s head; I don’t think he’s an expansionist on the level of Hitler or Japan or any of the other great powers of yore who tried to seize great swaths of land by brute force. Instead, Putin chooses small wars, like the ones he’s waged in Chechnya and Georgia. This Ukraine war, though, is his biggest gambit yet. According to him, this is a “special military operation”, designed to liberate the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. Now what Putin and his generals did to achieve his strategic goals is a matter of intense debate. Most feel that the plan was to invade Ukraine and swallow it whole, and take Kiev. I do not number among these analysts. It’s beyond Russia’s control to hold the entirety of Ukraine with the forces it has. Everyone seems to think that Russian strategists are mentally deficient, and I think that’s a mistake, one that will cost Ukraine greatly in the future. What was done instead was draw Ukrainian forces far, far from the east to face withering attacks from Russia from all sides. Railways and infrastructure were targeted to ensure the Ukrainian forces would not cross the country to join the fight in the east. You mean to tell me that the Russians sent only twenty thousand soldiers to take a city of 3 million? I don’t think so. They are simply not that dumb. But Ukraine sure sent a bunch, and the Russians retreated, again strategically. And no one should believe casualty numbers from anyone. They vary so wildly it’s impossible to see through the fog of war.
It was around this time that Putin declared the first phase of the operation complete; and suddenly the Russians were on the move to the east, with a much easier time pacifying Donbas. But there seems to be more to Russian ambitions, and I believe they were there the whole time. Once the Mariupol obstacle is removed, the land bridge to Crimea is complete. Kherson is under Russian administration. So if that’s basically wrapped up, they run the Sea Of Azov.
But are they done after the land bridge? I don’t think so. What will make all of this worth it is landlocking Ukraine, cutting off its ability to trade with the world. That means Mykolaiv and Odessa are next. Proving my supposition is that suddenly everyone wants to talk about Transnistria, a breakaway area from neighboring Moldova controlled by Russian forces. The Russians can link up there, and pretty much put an end to the special operation and try to sue for peace. Many think that Putin has designs beyond Ukraine. I don’t see a point to that. This has been a major effort for them that they will need to recover from. If Ukraine isn’t interested in the new map, well, there’s going to be a long, ugly insurgency in store for Russia and while millions will die, Russia will have paid for its adventure. Nobody wins this thing.
Rumor has it that Polish troops are on the move to fight those Transnistrian Russian forces, and cross into Ukraine as a peacekeeping force. So there’s clearly going to be some kind of showdown there. Is Odessa going to be a NATO beachhead in Ukraine? Are we going to pour assets in from the west? It’s very possible. It could be an extremely provocative move, one that could be interpreted as NATO directly confronting Russia. And just about everyone agrees that when that happens, the world needs to pay attention and worry a bit more about the third world war popping off for real.
It may be time to take a fresh perspective on why Russia has recklessly invaded its neighbor Ukraine. In our hearts, we see what the war has wrought and we know it is wrong. Because war disgusts all good people. What gives Vladimir Putin the right to continually attack his neighbors without consequence? Why doesn’t somebody do something to contain them?
In his mind, history accords him that right. But I don’t think Putin is operating from a pre-WW2 mindset, as he is often accused of doing. I don’t even think he’s operating in a 2014 mindset either, Because he’s been taking little chunks from other countries for years before the Ukranian revolution. Where is Putin coming up with the justification for annexation and invasion?
In today’s carefully managed defense of territorial integrity, annexation by force is a highly unpopular move. In modernity, anyone who tries to pull it is severely disciplined by the world community. Saddam Hussein learned that when he tried to begin his ideas of a Greater Arabia by annexing Kuwait; he ended his quest dangling from a hangman’s noose. Slobodan Milosevic also had dreams of a Greater Serbia and committed genocide to achieve it; he too was executed for his crimes. The only country in the world who has not been punished for annexation per se is Israel. That’s a complicated one because the Palestinians never declared statehood, so the view seems to be that they are taking no sovereign territory. However, their occupation of the Golan Heights is definitely straining the definition of occupation and pushes closer to annexation as they continue to hold it, year after year. (UPDATE 4/6: Papa Chomsky reminded me that Trump allowed the official annexation of the Golan Heights. Oops!)
However, in the case of Putin, it’s very hard to discipline him. A bombing campaign will not stop a Russian advance, nor will a counter-invasion of Ukraine. Russia, you see, has nuclear weapons. A lot of them. And they have made it clear that any move that threatens the existence of the state will be met with annihilation. So we have to be very careful how to play this one. And the world has been. We have been pouring every low intensity asset available we can into Ukraine to make this invasion super painful for the #2 military in the world. There’s two ways this invasion can go: one is to turn Ukraine into Afghanistan II for them. This, like Afghanistan, could take years and kill millions. The other is for Ukraine to cede control of hostile areas around Ukraine that are Russian-friendly and end this terrible siege.
The second option disgusts many. Who would countenance the loss of territory like that? Would the United States cede states, as some are fond of saying?
In our case, the answer was no. But we paid a dear price to preserve our Union in the years of 1861-1865. People are still arguing about why it happened. To my mind, it was about consolidating and retaining power. Since 1776, America worked and warred its ass off to become and remain The United States. And I figure Lincoln wasn’t going to let a perfectly good union go to waste after cultivating it for almost a hundred years.
In contrast, how long has Ukraine been Ukraine? How far do you want to go back? Empires wax and wane, so let’s just start with modern Ukraine. They had a revolution in 2014 which would eventually skew Ukraine’s ties closer to Europe. As you might imagine, Russia didn’t like that at all, for reasons I’ll try to address later. They saw the revolution as a good a time as any to return Crimea to Russian control. No blood was shed, and the Ukrainians relented and allowed Crimea to become autonomous, protected and run by Russia-friendly leaders. But peace was not established yet. War broke out in the Donbas region, and two pro-Russian separatist states declared their independence from Ukraine. This time Ukraine was going to fight for its territory and subdue the rebels. And up until February 2022, they were still at war. But as we all know, Ukraine had bigger problems than Donbas. Russia began to surround Ukraine with its military, and here we are today, wondering whether World War 3 is going to start.
Ukraine had only been Ukraine for eight years, if we take the various separatist movements into account. It was a country in revolutionary flux, and Putin picked a good time to weaken it and make it something unpalatable and indefensible to Europe.
Or so he thought. We may not want to start a nuclear war, but most of the world, respectful of territorial sovereignty, has made sure that Russia will be punished by playing an old conventional game of violent imperialism. And we’re doing it without directly causing a single casualty at our hands.
There’s a lingering question though: what does Russia really want from Ukraine? You can find it in today’s papers. It is, as it has always been, “the special operation”, which Russia has invented some bullshit reasons for. Now it may look like Russia wants to eat Ukraine whole and return it to old Russia, but as you can see, they’re not getting very far if that is the plan. It’s purely a strategic move; to connect Crimea to the Donbas breakaways via land. Contiguity is what Putin wants, plus he wrests access to the Sea of Azov from Ukraine. I believe any military action not in Donbas is to distract and disperse the Ukrainian military so that it can no longer defend its eastern flank. What is the crown jewel in the special operation? Where does the connective tissue between these little secessionist republics begin?
Mariupol. As I write this, Russians have kidnapped tens of thousands of its civilians and is demanding that the city surrender. What Volodomyr Zelenskyy decides to do next will probably determine just how long Ukraine remains under siege. This is a flashpoint. Let’s say Russia wants to make a deal-ending the invasion for the surrender of Mariupol. Can they be trusted? To me, the answer is yes. They can see damn well that this war is not going to plan and they are probably eager to get back to some semblance of normalcy and deal with all of the economic, political and military fallout from the incursion. Putin will have paid heavily for his land bridge if this is the direction Ukraine wants to go. No one is going to “win” the battle for Mariupol. But as of now, Zelenskyy is holding firm, refusing to give up the city. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but it will not be pretty. And if anyone really thinks the West is going to do anything about it, they’re kidding themselves. Because the reality is, Ukraine was like a DMZ to the EU and NATO. This war is still on “cold” setting, and will likely stay that way so long as Russia blunders around in the DMZ. That is a tragedy for Ukraine, and I hate it. They’ve been caught between two power blocs and a newly adventurous Russia.
So, let’s circle back to the question of just where Putin’s head is at and what year he thinks it is. To do that, we must look at the recent history of the EU and NATO, and ask ourselves if we too have been “annexing” countries by pledging to defend them. Are we playing the imperial game as well? Did World War 3 start without a shot several decades ago? In Putin’s mind, this is undeniable. For the EU and NATO, their goal is simply to defend democracy. It’s probably a bit more complicated than that. It seems obvious that the goal is to hem Russia in, ending its influence upon the states that surround it. We did that during a time when Russia was at its weakest. Just like we finally came together to bring Germany to heel, ensuring it would never be a threat to Europe again. Nothing remains of its Nazi past for continental domination. This is what we wanted from the dissolution of the Soviet Union. To ensure it would be crippled so it could not threaten the world with its weapons of mass destruction.
But Germany had to be utterly destroyed for us to stop the Nazis; it was not the way we defeated the Soviets. The USSR fell to internal pressures; we just sat back and watched it happen. A deal was made between Russia and NATO in 1991 to dissolve the Warsaw Pact, and in return we would not accept former pact members into NATO. But that’s exactly what we did. The US and the Eurozone, to Putin, were “annexing” its old stomping grounds.
1991 is where Putin’s head is at. That was the year he quit the KGB and began running for office. Like it or not, he turned the country around in a lot of ways. I imagine he had grand plans to “Make Russia Great Again” and that’s what he thinks he’s doing right now. His own personal Monroe Doctrine. He’s been fucking with its neighbors ever since, trying to amass more territory and more power where he can. Whenever he sees chaos, he exploits the conflict. He saw the conflict in Ukraine. Trying to pull Ukraine into Europe’s orbit was a last straw, and he’s going to make the fledgling government pay for its eagerness to do so with land loss. And it’s doing it through old conventional imperial techniques like force. Whether he pulls off this special operation is unknown. Ukrainians have shown themselves to be tough as nails, but now we have to worry about hostages.
In no way am I excusing Putin’s actions any more than I am blaming NATO for its actions. But it’s important to dispassionately look at the possible “why?” for the invasion of Ukraine and armed with that knowledge, figure out how the hell to make it stop without blowing the world to kingdom come.
I’m going to attempt a triple lutz here and try and answer a much asked question these days: how the fuck do we stop buying Russian oil?
Well, I’m afraid the hard answer is to stop our insane hunger for oil itself. We’re talking about a massive restructuring of the energy mix in the United States. Solar. Wind. Maybe a little nuclear. Obviously there is no such thing as eliminating petroleum use, it simply makes too many products that are useful and necessary to modern life. But we could also learn how to travel more responsibly. More mass transit like buses and rail, and perhaps electric cars that are affordable.
Joe Biden and the Democrats tried to begin this restructuring with the Build Back Better Act. It was stomped by Senate Republicans and Joe Manchin. It would be my guess that all of these creeps are on the take from dirty industry, who by the way, are enjoying the Russian/Ukrainian war. You see, uncertainty makes markets do funny things, and war and all the economic sanctions we’ve thrown at Russia have caused volatility in the oil market, causing it to reach heights above $100 a barrel. There’s also renewed demand from a wind-down of the COVID scare, and not a lot of supply out there to meet it. And no one in the oil industry anywhere has any interest in increasing supply because they are enjoying record profits. This includes American oil producers, believe it or not. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen, but our dumbassed free market system allows it.
Now what would happen if we shut Russia out of our market? They are the #2 producer of oil in the world and have plenty of gas for themselves. They are in the export business, and we get about 3 percent of our oil from them because of our thirst for the stuff. Chances are, if we drop Russia as a supplier, we’d see more pronounced pain at the pump, and increased prices due to higher transportation costs. That’s not good. Survivable, but not good. It’s also politically difficult because people have been propagandized to reflexively believe it’s all the president’s fault. But consider the plight of Europe, who is under direct threat from an expanding Russia. They import sixty percent of their oil from Russia. Talk about being fucked. The simple fact is, no one with an advanced economy can kick Russia out of the global market. I suspect they will find other takers for our 3% if they are rebuffed.
No matter how you slice it, the lesson we all must ultimately learn from the Russian/Ukraine war is that we need a global energy revolution. As it is, we’re heating up the planet, but the turn away from fossil fuels has geo-strategic importance. If we can just have some resolve to change the way we live, we don’t have to rely on tyrants for fuel. It could even stop American militaristic adventures for black gold, which means more happy mothers whose sons didn’t die for a lie.
I like the sound of that.
Fresh off the heels of a damaging paper-wide crisis that gave voice to Tommy Cotton’s most virulent monkeyshines, the New York Times nevertheless has redeemed itself and gone to bat in the service of the truth by blowing open the story that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill US soldiers. Furthermore, the “President” was told in March and he probably couldn’t bother to get off his phone long enough to figure out a way to deal with the situation. Instead, he lobbied for Russia to be able to join the G-7.
I’m loath to call things treasonous because that word gets tossed about too lightly for my tastes, but I think we’ve reached an event horizon we can no longer ignore: there’s a Russian mole in the White House, and he sits in the Oval Office. You don’t have to dig too far to know, because the creep now knows there are no consequences to his behavior and does all of his dirt above board. This scandal will probably raise a few eyebrows from GOP leadership, but that’s about all. It couldn’t mean a thing. They will voice a little concern and then pretend it never happened. Think about that. I guarantee that the party that trades in hyperpatriotism and military genuflection is going to sweep this ugliness under the rug because they really don’t care about the troops. They’re nothing but pawns in a political game to them.
There’s just too much tying this “President” to Russia for me to think that all the skulduggery that’s been reported on is simply a matter of coincidence anymore. This new insane story makes everything pale in comparison. It’s now much easier, for example, to believe that Trump utilized foreign intelligence in the run-up to 2016 to smear his much more competent opponent. And it should shock no one that he did it again this time around, asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens. You can reasonably assume that there is probably another swiftboating op in the works, one that Trump had better avail himself of soon because he’s losing serious ground in the polls. The fact is, there’s no perfect storm that brings us Trump 2.0-no e-mailgate, no Republican boobs to easily defeat, no Comey, no Stein, no presidential blowjob, no Benghaaazi. Of course, Joe Biden is certainly not immune to attack from a number of vectors, having been in the public eye since the seventies. He did not always make the right choices from a progressive standpoint, or even a moderately liberal one.
But I’m not here to list his sins. The Trump campaign will do quite enough of that, won’t it?
Bottom line, I am not interested one bit in making the perfect the enemy of the good. I want the good to be the enemy of evil- and it’s not hyperbole anymore to call Trump exactly what he is. He’s the most bloodless, amoral ghoul ever to occupy a prominent federal position of power who never met a quid he couldn’t quo, no matter who else gets hurt. We’ve got to get behind the person who will stop this reign of error.
We are all far from perfect. Bear that in mind when you want to balk at the choices we have. Joe Biden wouldn’t sell out our soldiers to stay in the good graces of a ruthless competitor. Bet on it.
It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2017. We now know what a full year of a Trump presidency feels like. It’s been like a psychic dog-year to some of us, his antipathetic, weary subjects. Every moronic tweet, every sensible regulation tossed on the pyre, every golf outing is a painful reminder that we have the stupidest, least qualified leader in American history, voted into office by the stupidest, least informed electorate in history. I’d like to say we as a nation have reached something of a nadir, and much like a drunk who has woken up in the gutter missing his shoes we have realized we have hit the bottom.
But I can’t make that call. Yes, it will take some digging to out-stupid Il Douche, but I rest assured you small-minded fuckers on the right will find someone else who can dog whistle the tunes you always come running for who is again just as mercurial, incurious, vacuous and terminally vain as you are.
Yesterday, we learned that you fucking dumbasses made Fox the most watched cable news network of the year, and that irritating cunthair Sean Hannity was the most popular opinion shaper. These are existential danger conditions for the country. Fox is The Mouth, and Sean is your Lewis Prothero blathering about how America Prevails every night. We used to know what to do with fascists. Now we’ve brought it to the homeland, happily indulging in love of party, profit, The One True God, and that goddamned flag over regular, struggling people. And Merry Christmas, or else. Don’t take a knee if you know what’s good for you.
Have we gone too far to be redeemed? Have our worst impulses turned life in this country into a dull, hostile, nerve-racking gauntlet from which there is no surcease? If the depression epidemic is any indication, perhaps. We have become strangers to each other, on our own when we need us the most. We have enough automation to end the most stultifying of jobs, enough that we could work less and enjoy more of this 18 trillion dollar economy. But instead we’re working more than ever and earning less. Work is our religion, often the only polite thing that people can talk to each other about when they’re not doing it. We’ve taken the yoke so easy, that we barely feel the pain of the prod or the whip anymore.
This is NOT where I planned to go with this post. I wish I had Milo Yiannopoulos’ editor sometimes. I just want to put on the record that Donald Trump must have recently lost one of the two marbles he’s had rolling around in his noggin all this time. I want to mark it because I am re-joining the ranks of people who are not going to normalize the shit he says. I’m gonna get loud instead of get numb.
For some inexplicable reason, now and then the New York Times will allow Donald to get on the record about whatever diddlyshit pops into his empty helmet holder with little or no drilling down. It’s perhaps akin to a wild animal show, where you just get kinda close and observe how they behave. Lemme tell ya, If you are into liars extraordinaire, you will not want to miss this last stream of consciousness “interview”. CNN could not help itself from compiling nearly 50-bullet points detailing the craziest shit he let fly. Charlie Pierce brandishes the interview as prima facie evidence that we are no doubt witnessing a deteriorating mind. “In denial”, remarks Vanity Fair.
One of Donald Trump’s favorite things to do is brag. Dude never misses a moment to aggrandize his achievements, or outright lie about them. The jury is still out on whether or not he knows he’s making things up. There’s a little part of me that thinks he’s doing it to drive liberals insane. And even if he disagrees with us, is this the kind of “poke in the buzzing nest” a real president should engage in? Or is he talking to the millions of people who think he’s sent by God, knowing that none of them will ever question the bullshit he spews?
Yesterday, Trump tweeted about the weather in New York. I ain’t no meteorologist, but I was curious enough at some point to learn that weather =/= climate. Donald didn’t even bother. Like the simpleton that he is, he thinks that short term cold weather snaps mean the globe isn’t heating. And that’s as smart as he or any of his voters will get on the subject because further study runs counter to their heavily vested beliefs that it’s all a hoax perpetuated by scientists so they can keep their jobs and so that the Chinese can outgrow us and that the good Lord would never again let the earth go barren having gotten a guarantee regarding the issue in a 2000 year old book. I don’t have to exaggerate this-legislators and pundits alike keep these legends alive.
There is a third, more troubling explanation for his outrageous bullshitting. He’s doing it to drive liberals insane AND talking to his base who thinks he’s sent by God. That’s a long shot, though. It would mean that Donald Trump has enough agency to divide and conquer. I’m not ready to accept this third hypothesis yet as to why this motherfucker is full of it constantly. But I’ll put it out there anyway-in this unsure world we live in, he might, just might be pulling some sort of rope-a-dope. Again, it’s unlikely that Trump’s a strategic genius, and I’m getting my strings pulled by a master con artist who thrives on disorder. He’s more like a disagreeable Chance the gardener. I have to remind myself that he gets his news of the world through an imbecilic morning show that your racist grandmother watches instead of the president’s daily brief. Let’s not dwell on this third possibility too long.
Best guess really is he is just an ignorant boor who loves the sound of his own nonsensical voice. So if you are feeling a bit masochistic today, do stop by at the links above to remind you what we are all up against. You will find many choice nuggets of horsehockey, like the part where Trump claims that Hillary only wanted the popular vote while Trump The Wise deployed a “50-state” strategy instead. No collusion. And how the way they handled things during the race was much like how one approaches golf or track in that…well, the differences are pure philosophy to hear Trump tell it. No collusion. And how the Mueller investigation is bad for the country (so is colluding to ratfuck an election with a hostile world power). Or that he knows more about big bills than anyone EVER! Yeah, while the country flailed about trying to understand the jury-rigged screw job that Republicans cobbled together in secret, this piece of shit could have led and quelled fears, but didn’t see fit to let us in on his incredible understanding. Some fucking salesman. No collusion. You can also read that he blithely predicts an easy 2020 win, because he’s been so good for all the failing media outlets.
And even if there was collusion, which there wasn’t, it’s not illegal.
The Washington Post tallied that Trump lied 24 times in 30 minutes. That’s 0.8 lies a minute, if I got the division right. That is an amazing pace for making things up.
Tens of millions of people think this is OK. We have our work fucking cut out for us. Y’all have a Happy New Year if I don’t say it on Monday.
Yesterday, it seemed like the end for the struggle to preserve benefits, protections and entitlements for millions of people across the country was imminent. The GOP looked unified enough to pull it off and take it all, desperate for some sort of victory no matter how Pyrrhic it would be once regular people felt the bite. They were ready to commit massive legislative arson just so they could please their wealthy donors in this cussed Citizens United era.
There was a snag last night when deficit hawks had reservations, but we’re all still on the hook at the moment. We might be losing the light yet.
But fuck all that. I know it’s important, but hang on.
Robert Mueller pulled another string.
As they say in chess: Check.
And it looks like an ugly check, a nasty, sickening game-fucking fork that will cost King Dipshit his protective pieces, and when that happens, it’s only a matter of time before white chases him around the board where no space is safe.
I knew something was up yesterday. Trump is erratic at best on normal days, so it’s hard to read anything into his behavior. But he went berserk this week. It started with “honoring” Native American veterans in front of a portrait of the asshole who signed the Indian Removal Act, and like the 6 year old imp that he is, he proceeded to take a bizarre shot at Elizabeth Warren (as if to say “While I’m on the subject of Indians…“), a shot that no doubt confused the honorees and eventually pissed off much of the Native American community. He accused Joe Scarborough of murder, mused as to whether the pussy grabbing recording was real, told people in private that he still isn’t sure about Barack Obama’s birthplace, dribbled something about a fake news contest, dragged NFL players, CNN, The New York Times, I mean he whipped out all the greatest hits and made up some new ones. And then yesterday, he’s out there retweeting British anti-Islamic/white supremacist material, material that was without basis in reality. Now since Trump has been in office, he has NEVER taken responsibility or apologized for anything he has said or done and that did not change here. Sarah Sanders dutifully put on her ever increasing volume of warpaint (perhaps to unnerve the press corps) and basically said Trump is right, even when his proof is wrong. Oy vey.
All of it made my spidey senses tingle. I’ve never been fond of the notion that this twat of a president has any clue what he is doing. So many pixels have been wasted positing that Trump is a master of distraction. But the sum total of his miscues and outbursts this week suggested to me that his nerves were frayed about something. There may or may not be a little bird who has seen Mueller’s flop cards whispering in Humperdoo’s ear. This may be causing a bit of mania and rightfully, paranoia. Again, the things he does, says and types unintentionally muddies the water. Put simply, the dude is spazzing out. And the level of spaz might be a hint that trouble is coming…coming for him.
We may yet lose this country, what’s left of it for us normal folks anyway. But Justice, a severe and merciless bitch of a goddess, will not be denied her sacrifice. Maybe we will come out the other side of this caring more about each other after having been lied to and treated so badly by our putative leaders. My hopes are chastened, though. It only took five short years after Nixon left town in disgrace to bring us to Ronald Reagan’s senile reign of error.
We don’t learn from our mistakes here in America. We repeat them, with pride. But for now, let’s celebrate that our modern Caligula, this mad hatter of a misbegotten president is going down soon, hopefully taking his conspirators with him.
I keep returning to the asshole well. That’s because it doesn’t run dry.
In my to do list is to finish the goddamn story about how I became a lefty, and I’ve been compiling stories that suggest to me that something big is gonna go down in America, like in a violent way. When (or if) the Republican Party is finally exposed for the criminal organization that it is, I think we’re going to pop off into a civil war-and I want to be ready, although my wife does not want me to be a soldier again.
Anyway, I’m biting at the Tucker bait because I think it’s funny and judging by the amount of people who come here to see what an asshole he is, it’s the sensible thing to write about. I need to give the people what they want.
So, how many of us remember “Ol’ Blood And Guts”?
No, not Patton.
A more current warmongerer is who I had in mind.
Hm. I don’t seem to have any stuff about Colonel Ralph Peters on this blog. That means I haven’t heard from him in over six years. He’s one of Fox News’ “analysts” and go-to guys on all things war, even though the good colonel has never been to one. Ralph’s a cantankerous fella, more old man than old soldier. You can reasonably assume that his appearances and writing will be over the top, and therefore hilarious. Here’s a few of his greatest hits. Kill, kill, kill for peace, hang the traitors by their thumbs and take the booty because it’s the white man’s burden to civilize the world.
Did I mention that Ralph is old? Ralph is so old, he’s a Republican who remembers that t
he Soviet Union Russia is not our friend. And don’t you forget it, sonny, or you’ll get a tongue lashing.
That’s the mistake that Tucker Carlson made, who is young and does not remember fallout shelters and desk drills and being an ass hair from mutually assured nuclear annihilation. Now look-I’m not saying that historical enemies cannot be our friends. But if you think about it, you generally have to waste them to get them to be nice, a la Germany, Japan and even Vietnam in the long run. We never broke Russia to the point where it pledged to be good after we crushed it. And we did the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend thing with them already. When our common aims were achieved, which was ridding the world of the Nazis, we went on hating them and every godless thing they stood for.
Now it could be argued that we are at that place again, this time against ISIS. But really, no one gives a jolly fuck about ISIS but us, partially because we keep picking at a scab called 9/11. That’s the story for the rubes in the United States, anyway. What we’ve actually been up to is trying to control the globe, cynically using our collective fear of terror (and make no mistake, the “terrorists” are today’s Red Menace) as a pretext to gobble up more power. We never stopped trying to hem Russia in while they spiraled into chaos in the 80s. Since then we’ve grown NATO, made buddy-buddy with breakaway soviets, and are moving antiballistic missiles closer and closer to the Russian border. I really think we are still trying to game out getting away with an unanswered nuclear first strike.
Then Vladimir Putin came along. An ex-KGB creep turned technocrat, he embraced capitalism, Christianity, and politically motivated murder while using Russia’s formidable oil wealth to mount a defense of itself. He has crushed rebellions and annexed land as he expands his power. And if you are an enemy of America, he wants to know you.
We are NOT angels, but Vladimir Putin is probably not a good person and not to be trusted whatsoever. We are at cross purposes with him in Syria. He’s pummeling the resistance to Bashar-Al Assad ruthlessly, and setting ISIS back on its heels a little in the process. We’ve had less luck in this area because we are futilely trying to arm the small resistance that has both ISIS and Assad as its nemeses. We’re trying to thread a needle here-because any further aggression against Assad is probably not going to sit well with Putin. We’re already in something approaching a proxy war with him already, and there seems to be no appetite here for a more direct one that could send this whole world to hell.
Anyway, it looks like Putin’s recent skulduggery took the form of trying to curry favor with an entire American political party, particularly one that would work with and protect one President Donald J. Trump and associates in order to advance Russian interests. After the country suffered six months of smoke inhalation, we’ve finally found some still glowing embers of the conflagration that we’re calling collusion. And it’s not going to go away. The American political system has never been tested in this way before-this is “new snow”, as I saw it put once. It’s so new, there might not be laws against it, I fear. But surely there is something odious and unethical at the very least about letting a rival nation ratfuck an American election. Our elections stink of illegal and unethical behavior as it is with caging and allegations of machine hacking. But the reachout to Russia must qualify as something in the “misdemeanor” part of the impeachment clauses, if Herr Trump is indeed red-handed. And that’s just the president-this dragnet could ensnare high ranking Republicans outside of Trump’s inner circle.
But you didn’t come here to listen to me tell you shit you already know. You want the good shit, where your suspicions that Tucker Carlson is an asshole can be confirmed. I don’t know what his producers were thinking when they put Peters, a temperamental cold warrior, on Tucker’s show to discuss how better we can work with Russia because they are achieving one of our foreign policy goals (while undermining another, because not only is Tucker an asshole, he’s a damn fool as well). Here’s the exchange:
You can read a partial transcript here, if you have no patience for how wrongly both of these people see the world before the sparks fly. But basically, Col. Peters said that Carlson was like Charles Lindbergh in 1938 who said he had no issues with Hitler because he hasn’t attacked the United States.
Boom, Ol’ Blood And Guts, boom.
So, is Putin Hitler? I don’t know really know enough about him. But the general rule is Hitler, and only Hitler, is Hitler. Peters is no stranger to hyperbolic thinking, but that doesn’t necessarily make him wrong in being worried about their expansion. The potential is certainly there. Peters is upset that the Russian military bombs indiscriminately. As if we have never done that. He props up vicious dictators like the Assad family. We do that shit all the time. So really, is Russia any more terroristic than we are? Not really. We are two sides of the same coin. But both of us are trying to divvy up the world, and Putin wants a few pieces and Tucker’s like, have at it, Russkies. And we don’t know how far they will go, and that’s why I’ll go with Peters’ assessment before I go trying to shake hands with the country who will try to run the board if we don’t. Personally, I wish we could stop playing Risk but bowing out of the imperial struggle does not guarantee that the other player wants to stop. And that’s where Carlson fucks up, failing to understand that we are two empires in competition and it’s not worth extending Russian reach across the globe in order to advance a narrow, misdirected foreign policy objective partly because we can Never Forget.
I worry that the left (which I am a card-carrying member of) is overplaying its hand with respect to Donald Trump.
That is not me saying get off Donald Trump’s case. On the contrary-there’s an excellent chance that this past election was mangled and stolen by a shady cabal of GOP/Trump operatives in consort with Russia. I want to get to the bottom of it because it is unacceptable to mess with the integrity of our elections. If Donald Trump cheated, it needs to be known. If he is an illegitimate president, he needs to be shuffled out. Let the investigations go on and on until we get some answers.
I am not distracted one bit by what to me was Trump’s first real decision as the president. I’m talking about the hit on Syrian war assets.
But it sure seems like everyone else can’t stop talking about it. Those who claim that this is a distraction are very distracted by said distraction.
Everyone in my tribe is elbows and assholes working to scoff, minimize and rationalize the raid. Nobody seems to have the same angle-there’s no consensus as to what Trump accomplished and what he did not. Which means that we are guessing at best and making stuff up at worst. For example, liberals are making common cause with morons like Rand Paul, who said the attack was unconstitutional. Sigh. It wasn’t. Please refer to the War Powers Act and the AUMF.
Our response to the Syria attack is shattered like a pane of glass hit with a hammer. People I really respect are doing weird contortions to explain away what Trump did.
Sure, it does not compute that a potential Russian lapdog like Trump would go and piss in their cornflakes by attacking one of their allies. But to me, it’s a very Trumpian decision. He doesn’t understand politics. He doesn’t do details. And he’s not afraid to bite the hands that feed him. Consequences are damned. It’s the kind of shit that his voters got off on.
Donald “No Puppet Here” Trump very much wants you to know that no one is the boss of him. He’s still much like a child in that respect. I mean, fuck, he’s turned on Bannon, Tillerson and Priebus in the last week alone. But I will take what I can get from Twitler. If indeed he made Assad and the Russians angry, good. They’re never going to be our fucking friends, as I said in my last post. That’s not the world we live in. There are two shadows across the globe and ever it shall be because the alternative is oblivion. We are locked into this destiny and are doomed to fight by proxy. I know I sound like Max Boot but this is realpolitik we’re in, not hands across the globe.
It should go without saying that I still think Trump was/is the worst choice possible to do this job. He’s far too mercurial and belligerent and sniffs his own farts way too much. His amygdala seems to be overriding his cerebral cortex. But it’s very likely and probable that his decision on Syria was probably the same one that my preferred choice, Hillary Clinton, would have made. Actually, her response probably would have been even more trenchant. I watched those two debate three times and I know who has the bigger ballsack.
Alright. Having said all that, let’s please stop the “Wag The Dog” bullshit line of thinking, my liberal friends. Bill Clinton did not bomb Sudan to distract from the Lewinsky scandal. It was a sincere effort to destroy Al-Qaeda/Bin Laden assets. But the CIA, ever the colossal fuckups, gave Clinton bad intelligence. The Al-Shifa attack did not deter the impeachment at all, and neither should the Al-Shayrat bombing slow the pace of the Russia/Trump putsch inquiry. Once again, I repeat myself-things are a lot simpler than they seem. What you see is what you get from Trump-he’s a simpleton, not an evil genius.
Be done with this. Everything is not fucking sleight of hand and rope-a-dope, especially not with this group of screwups. The confusion we are experiencing is due to the fact that Donald Trump is a poor leader, and we’re trying to make sense out of what he does as if he were a smart person. Again, I repeat, that is giving the Near-President way too much credit.
“Wag The Dog” is a movie, developed from a book. I am not saying that a piece of art can have prophetic qualities, and we are indeed in an age where the absurd is possible. But we seem to be getting carried away by the emotions that Donald Trump stirs in us. He’s offensive in almost every way you can think of. I’m as nauseated as you are. I feel you and I understand you. But I must stick with my assertion that Duh Fuhrer is not much good at conniving. A cheap liar, maybe. No doubt about that. But he’s so fucking obvious to me.
There’s every chance I am dead wrong about #45. I could be naive as fuck about this guy. I’m reminded of that old saying that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people he didn’t exist.
I have way more respect for the devil than I do this two-bit grifter, though. And I’m an atheist.
Not content with third place, Carly Fiorina tries to corner the neoconservative donors:
“I believe we must tell the Russians that we will conduct [and] we will secure a no-fly zone around anti-Assad rebel forces that we’re supporting,” she said on Fox News’s “Hannity.”
“Does that mean we might use force against Russian jets?” host Sean Hannity then asked.
“Well, hopefully not,” Fiorina responded. “Hopefully, if we are signaling clearly to the Russians our intention, it will not come to that.”
“But if it does come to that, I think we must be prepared,” the former Hewlett-Packard CEO added.
“This is a tricky maneuver, it’s a dangerous maneuver, but it’s a maneuver we must undertake because we must make it crystal clear to Russia that they do not get to move into the Middle East and become the dominant outside power, which is clearly their intention,” she said.
Very telling. What she admits is that we, the US, are the dominant, if you will, “inside” power. It’s not important if the Middle East would like to govern itself; what’s important is that it stays in our sphere of influence and we will go to war with the Russian juggernaut to enjoy that privilege. It’s a bitch, this row we have to hoe, that so much of our prosperity lies within the hand of such a volatile, faraway place. We have to send troops to 100-plus countries because if we don’t, then the natural ally in many cases is Russia. We’ll do anything to remain on top, as paranoid as ever, because we are just like Russia-an empire in decline sucking up resources, a rogue state feeding on other states to survive.
I hate to think about how this turns out.