As I write tonight, the U.N. National Security Council is meeting to discuss Russian president Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) as independent states within the country of Ukraine. Russian-backed rebels have been fighting the Ukraine government in those regions since 2014, when Russia invaded Ukraine. Today the self-styled leaders of those regions asked Russia for recognition, and Putin granted it.
Putin to World: I need you to know I am still here, in the worst way
At what point of absolute power does a bee in the bonnet of a dictator metamorphose into bats in his belfry? It happens. These men claw their way to power, strategically and tactically, and then lose their shit and turn irrational. It does not even end well for them.
A shooting war is so 20th C.
Unless Russia wants a bloodbath to terrorize the civilian population. Chaos to provide cover for mass arrests and
assassinations. And to stand atop the rubble. Mission Accomplished. And then what? And who are the Russians and Ukrainians willing to carry this out?
And here at home. We came *this* close to a coup. To a crazy man and his apparatchiks ruling the roost. Republicans are still on that crusade.
And some on the Left are still reflexively
sniping at Democrats / Biden.
But it is heartening to watch all those who are trying to do the serious work of pushing back.
Is it possible that Putin made the gambit and lost? That Biden got the NATO allies to act together and now full on invasion would be too disastrous for Putin and Russia economically? However, he can't just go home emptyhanded. So, he recognizes the rebel areas held by his troops already (and those loyal to him), and gets to declare victory and go home? For Ukraine, they haven't really lost control of more land, as they weren't holding those easternmost areas. For Putin, he gets to make a statement and move some troops into the area without incurring the full sanctions regime. He gets to say he's gotten a victory but he is really slinking off.
I guess we will know in a few days, but it hit me that they were saying he'd been outmaneuvered, but needs a face saving way to call it off.
Anyway, that's what I was thinking. And if I'm right, "Sleepy Joe" just kicked some a**.
As Heather has written, the "financial laxness of western democracies" supports the Russian oligarchs and their colonizing expansion. In this world of global finance, what is the difference between Russian oligarchs and American oligarchs? How is it that Great Britain and South Dakota have become international tax havens? What are the financial interests of the Sedition Caucus, the 147 members of Congress who voted against accepting the electoral votes for Biden? Which corporations then donated money to members of the Sedition Caucus in 2021? What can we do about it?
As Heather frequently reminds us, we can make our voices heard. We can and must make phone calls, write letters, send emails, posts messages on Facebook and/or Twitter, and rally our friends to call out these corporate bad actors for undermining democracy.
The good people of Civic Sundays have organized a campaign for corporate accountability on behalf of democracy: a spreadsheet with data detailing which corporations donated how much to whom and contact information for the corporations, along with sample letters, messages, and tweets. A prefab action kit--check it out this coming Sunday on their Zoom meeting.
We, too, engage in hybrid warfare. The sign-up link is here: https://www.mobilize.us/civicsundays/event/426019/
"Edward Luce of the Financial Times identified the larger picture: “Cannot be stated strongly enough,” he wrote. “If the west—chiefly America, but also Britain—doesn't burn its financial ties to Russia's oligarchy then Putin will prevail. This means taking on Wall Street, the City, law firms[,] realtors, the prep schools and western laundering outfits.”"
Last paragraph. First steps. Make business as usual - especially the business of 'living well' - impossible for the oligarchs. And clean up our big money mess as well.
And this from an aristocrat in the Financial Times. I hope it is sincere and not just trying to get rid of Russian arrivistes buying up the best real estate and buying their way into the best schools. Oh and starting wars and ruining the markets.
And what are Putin's ties to Russia's military industrial complex.
"In response to Putin’s machinations today, the U.S. and U.K. immediately imposed limited sanctions. Biden signed an executive order economically isolating the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, banning all U.S. investment and business there, along with any imports from there, although it makes an exception for humanitarian aid. The executive order also allows the government to sanction individuals participating in the seizure of the region, as well."
Is this a joke? A slap on Russia's pinky? These sanctions won't have any effect at all. They are basically a nod to Putin. Instead, all Russian assets should be frozen (or confiscated) until Russia leaves Ukraine. Biden's plan of "possibly" sanctioning a few individuals misses the point. Putin orchestrated this. He is the leader of Russia. Sanction all of Russia so that Russians feels the pressure and demand that Putin leave Ukraine.
Also - - who is Putin to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states? He has no authority. The authority belongs to Ukraine, because Donetsk and Luhansk are within Ukraine. I just found out that Donetsk has natural gas resources, and this is likely the impetus behind Putin's invasion. So essentially, Russia is stealing Ukraine's natural resources.
Russia created the unrest in Eastern Ukraine and then sent in its troops to quell the unrest that it created. Dictators have used this playbook over and over again throughout modern history. I wish Russia could be taken to a world court for violating treaties and for intentionally causing unrest in Donetsk and Luhansk.
10:30 am. Just checking in. Utilities are still working. Dog and cats fed. So far so good.
Good column. Thanks, HCR, for your understanding of the situation and your support.
If wishes were horses.. we are close to the edge.
Russia is broke and totally broken. Navalny threatens from jail. Feeding the hungry brutal wealthy often disobedient semi controlled oligarchs inspires death and rage - all around. Instability rules. Putin is savage, brutal, ugly, paranoid, lonely, enraged, isolated, living within his Covid-19 bubble, threatened and trapped, incredibly rich, incredibly hated and frightened and very, very dangerous. Our intel on display suggests intel leaks, spreading disloyalty, a dystopian violent future and an end that’s risky for Putin. Ukrainians will resist. Stalin died. Three followed and failed. More and more failed. Failed. We bribed one with fancy cars. Soccer loving Andropov failed. Leukemia. Shoe pounding Nikita Khrushchev failed. Beautiful Raisa’s husband M. Gorbachev succeeded and drunk Yeltsin failed. Markets will collapse, oil will surge, Russia’s history is littered with failed dictators, dead failed Tsar’s, a destroyed people and whole ravaged areas. The Soviet Chernobyl sits in Ukraine. The national mood resents Soviet control. They’ve tasted better. Corruption is rampant. The swelling unstable NATO concept provoked Putin. Cornered many. Ukraine soil is the best. Ukrainians cut off the water… to Crimea, the first conquest on the Black Sea. The NYTImes is inside. Lines are tapped. WhatsApp and Signal are used, Signal has a rival. We won’t engage. MAD rules with nuclear weapons. We will act as we are. Passive aggressive. The UN will meet. Covid-19 will spread. Dead bodies will frighten the people. Instability will increase. Dictators never last. Mussolini and Hitler fell. Our GOP and Fox will collapse. The people will wise up sooner or later. Leaders will emerge. Joe Knows Us and Black women brought One Six. Leaked txt messages will out the Trump ring. Frightened Pence and rich Moscow Mitch are flipping. Racism is exploding. Muslims and Chechens got pounded. Putin was vicious. All lost in Afghanistan. Putin was vicious in Syria. His methods are producing pushback. France is playing him. He’s going in, he’s lying, this can go fast or take time. The end is not MAD. The end is change in Europe. And elsewhere. Germany and Poland and France may unite. Moscow may blow up. 1914 may repeat. Covid-19 may explode or fade. Our debt markets may implode. Currencies will mirror the mess. Biden might die. Trump et al may be jailed. This period will bring change. We need it. DOJ is not dead. The draft is not dead.
Suicide and suicide by murder are endemic.
A republic if you can keep it.
Darkest Before the Storm.
I just read an article from March of 2021, about the severe water crisis in Crimea, and how much it's costing Russia. If Russia assumes control of Ukraine, they could send badly needed water to Crimea via the North Crimean Canal (which Kyiv has cut off). This was from Bloomberg. I just wonder why I have never seen this situation mentioned in the recent news coverage. Is it still an issue? Here's a link to the article: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-03-19/russia-vs-ukraine-crimea-s-water-crisis-is-an-impossible-problem-for-putin.
BIDEN TO PUTIN: “UP YOUR TUSH, WITH MY PERSONAL REGARDS”
President (Cool Hand Luke/Make my day) Biden is giving Putin a master class on how America can, in real time, shove Russia’s Ukrainian Disinformation/Misinformation, Program up Putin’s ass. [I can almost hear Putin shouting to his AgitProp manipulators: “But Americans have never acted this way.”]
Russia has launched its normal Disinformation/Misinformation Program:
1) ‘Nothing unusual about assembling 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s border;’
2, ‘Russia increasingly upset by Ukraine’s aggressive actions towards Russia;’
3) ‘After normal military exercises with Belorussian troops the 30,000 Russian troops will be withdrawn’;
4) ‘NATO is exacerbating the situation by providing assistance to Ukraine and placing more troops in other Eastern European countries’;
5) ‘Ukraine historically is an integral part of Russia’;
6) ‘Ukraine may spark a war by lobbing artillery shells into Eastern Ukraine’;
7 ‘Russian troops are not on the edge of invading Ukraine and Biden and his buddies are wrong and mean spirited to proclaim otherwise’;
To all of this President Biden has replied BULLSHITSY! For the first time in my memory an American president has authorized that the most sensitive American intelligence be unleashed in real time against Russian (or Soviet) disinformation.
[From my years working in COMINT (communications intelligence) I am acutely aware of the extraordinary steps we took not to expose the source of vital information. Ditto with CIA protection of its ‘human resources.’]
What Biden unleashed is akin to the end of a July 4th celebration: launch all of the remaining fireworks in one magnificent display—WOOZER DOOZER!
1) ‘Our aerial photos (and COMINT) have tracked a massive Russian military build up—about 150,000 troops with top-line combat units’;
2) ‘We are following Russian misinformation endeavoring to blame Ukraine for threatening Russia’;
3) ‘The 30,000 Russian troops engaged in extraordinary military. Exercises with Belarus close to the Ukrainian border are staying there’;
4) ‘Russian reports that some troops are being withdrawn are false—they are simply being redeployed’;
5) ‘Russian reports reports that Ukrainians have been the instigators of ‘major military actions’ in Eastern Ukraine are false’;
6). ‘We have intelligence that Russia army leaders have orders to attack Ukraine’;
7). ‘Russia, after invading Ukraine, has a lengthy list of Ukrainians slated to be killed or “disappeared”’;
President Biden has focused the world on Putin’s Ukranian shenanigans, while uniting the West, Eastern European countries, and others. Whatever Putin decides to do, he will be as butt naked as was the Wizard of Oz, when Toto pulled open the curtain.
I recall one dramatic incident when President Kennedy, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, declassified highly sensitive U-2 photos. During the UN Security Council discussions, at which the Soviet ambassador denied that there were Russian missile sites in Cuba, Ambassador Stevenson pulled back a curtain to reveal blown up U-2 photos of these missile sites. Game/match U. S.
Many months after public accusations that Russian cyber gum shoes were interfering in American presidential elections, sensitive American intelligence was included in judicial indictments identifying Russian individuals and specific cyber units. But this intelligence was not released in real time, as this subterfuge was occurring.
Kudos to ‘Dirty Harry’ Biden who has challenged Putin to ‘make my day.’
This letter is a master class in how to comprehensively summarize fast-moving developments of a complex, volatile story. Congratulations to the professor. The last paragraph is quite a kicker ending: the conclusion from the Financial Times writer that Putin will prevail if the West doesn't "burn its financial ties to Russia's oligarchy." It's a money-laundering system operating not exactly in secret but beyond the view or understanding of most Americans.
Does this Congress have the will to take action on many financial fronts? Doubtful. You can almost see cash-laden lobbyists lining up in the morning outside the Capitol. I have trouble seeing much of anything happening on this front, sadly. Perhaps Biden can make some inroads via executive orders.
I just have to wonder at the timing of all of this, and how it has obscured the Trump fiasco. Perhaps, Putin efforts to use Trump to bring down the US haven't panned out quite the way he would have liked and how convenient for Trump that we are now facing this world crisis and are looking away from him for the moment.
"Putin’s recognition of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) as independent states within the country of Ukraine" is a clear sign that Putin is annexing Ukraine to fulfill his megalomaniac totalitarian agenda. The man is losing his mind and will do nothing but harm to both Russia and Ukraine. No Wonder tfg idolized him -- they are most definitely birds of a feather.
Heather, my deepest thanks for your thorough unraveling of the day's events. In the meantime, let's keep the Ukrainian people in our thoughts and in our hearts..
"Edward Luce of the Financial Times identified the larger picture: “Cannot be stated strongly enough,” he wrote. 'If the west—chiefly America, but also Britain—doesn't burn its financial ties to Russia's oligarchy then Putin will prevail. This means taking on Wall Street, the City, law firms[,] realtors, the prep schools and western laundering outfits.'"
Wish I knew specifics on that quote! Let's see what funds buying Americans' farmland and private homes implode tomorrow and which Congresspersons start tomorrow by selling and shorting on opening bell. Would love to see the rats flushed out into daylight.
I have been wondering for sometime how Russia is doing with Covid, so this evening, I looked up all I could find on it. The latest info is about a year old, but it does not look good. At best, only about half of the population is vaccinated, and that with Russian vaccines which were never fully tested. And Putin prefers to not deal with it, but to push the problem on to someone else.
How are 190,000 soldiers going to do, bunched together, out in the cold, I assume with limited quality food stores, and Covid doing it's nasty best to spread itself as far as possible?
To me, it sounds like a disaster ready to explode!
Russia is not in good shape financially already. Adding health issues on to it can only make it's people very unhappy.
Thank you Heather for the updates on this extremely tense and dangerous time. “According to Russia analyst Julia Davis, Russian state television last night said of the former president: “Trump gave us a 4-year reprieve.”” That quote confirms the political dangers Trump, Manafort and the other “operatives” in that administration engaged in while lying, smoke-screening, distracting, and half the American people believed it. Imagine the failed Impeachment. And tfg’s sarcastic “ Russia, Russia, Russia.” Even more confirmation that tfg is a psychopath as is Putin. How much more evidence do the repubs and tfg supporters need? Now we (NATO, U.S., other countries) must work to prevent war spreading, not only deeper into Ukraine but to other countries. There’s great concern as antisemitism and fascism are continuing to spread throughout Russia, Ukraine and Europe and those most affected may not be ready or able to leave. How threatened are the citizens? A NYT article about Jewish community in Odessa described some people preparing and others waiting. This tension especially along the borders isn’t new.
Boston College endowment 3.8, Colby 1, Amherst 2.5, Deerfield 2/3 of a billion.
Nice buildings, nice education. With dollars like that though it’s hard to believe some deals with the devil haven’t been made.
Glad that one writer is calling it out but not sure if anyone is listening. Do I even know if my portfolio is pristine? Probably not.