Rally for Ukraine
We rallied in front of the Unitarian Church on Lincoln Drive in Germantown, Philadelphia.
The UN Human Rights Office testified to civilians being wantonly slaughtered
in the city of Bucha, just outside of Kyiv. Nothing really changes.
Back during World War II, Nazis would rape non-German women and if the
women had earrings, would tear the earrings out, so that their corpses
would be found with torn earlobes. Russians are doing that to Ukrainian women now. Germany kept their short-wave radio interceptors
that were used to intercept Soviet communications after other countries
had decided short-wave radios were obsolete. Germans were able to
intercept conversations about, for instance,
a soldier who shared stories about him and his buddies "chasing a litle
Ukrainian girl, shooting her in the legs - just for fun."
Does this make Russian soldiers uniquely evil? Actually, this sort of
thing has been going on for as long as armies have ventured far from
home. A ship would set out from Norway, travel several hundred miles to
England, and when the men get there, they start ravaging and pillaging.
People know, of course,, that "The Vikings" did terrible things, but would have no
idea who specifically did what. The Vikings would commit atrocities,
but they'd do so far from home, so they'd never have to answer to
anyone they knew. Russians are in the same situation, they're in a
foreign land where there's no accountability. I suppose it demonstrats a little bit of conscience, or at least some level of consciouessness of guilt, that Russia is moving mobile crematoriums into occupied cities.
What this means is that there will be no peace until all Russian troops
are forcibly ejected from Ukrainian territory. As long as any Ukrainian
civilians are under Russian control, there will continue to be
Very interesting piece tells of how NATO used a military base
near Lviv left over from the Soviet days to transform the Ukrainian
Army. One of its most transformative things was that the Russians don't
really have Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) or, as they're
called in the Navy, Petty Officers. Over the years since the invasion
and occupation of Crimea in 2014, the US Army has been creating an NCO
corps for Ukraine. Expertise is developed in people, who are them no
longer simply conscripts who just follow orders, but are considered
professionals who can make decisions and take the initiative.
There's a debate among progressives today about the expansion of NATO
since the fall of the Soviet Union. Does the above story tell us about
NATO aggresively expanding to the point where Russia felt
threatened? Or does it tell us about how Ukraine felt threatened
by Russia and gladly accepted NATO assistance? I think it does
both. The Russian-born newsperson Julia Ioffe described how
Finland, Sweden and even Bosnia have reacted to the war against
Ukraine. "Hey NATO, what's up?" Y'know, like "Gee NATO, you sure are
looking handsome today!" Note: Finland and Sweden have now been fomally accepted by NATO. Update: Finland and Sweden have begun the process of entering NATO. Should be done in a few months. Russia's own mini-NATO,
the Collective Security Treaty Organization, is collectively
refusing to join the war. One of the CSTO's members, Belarus, is too
close to the conflit to simply refuse, but gee, they just somehow can't seem to get their troops into the fight.
This is after "the war was fabricated"
by NATO. A piece in which the author makes the point that NATO did a
number of things after the collapse of the Soviet Union that were
aggressive and pushed into the area that was previously Soviet or
Warsaw Pact territory. There was clearly a deliberate plan to fill the
power vacuum that was left by the Soviet Union's demise. But as the
above piece on transitioning the Ukrainian Army from an officer and
conscript force to an officer and NCO army makes clear, Ukraine decied
after the invasion and occupation of Crimea that they had to prepare
for Russia's eventual attempt to finish the job that they began in
2014. Th attack of 2022 was anticipated and NATO prepared Ukraine to
Is facism a problem in Ukraine? They have a single battalion, the Azov,
which is definitely dominated by fascists. They're accepting all
applicants thes days. But generally, they're a pretty small problem.
There are no political parties that are explicitly pro-fascist and
there is testimny that the Azov Battalion fought bravely in 2014.
President Biden has never been a rigid ideologue. He's always been a
finger-to-the-wind consensus seeker. This is a good stance to have
right now as he's now doing just what the public wants. The public is very unenthusiastic
about going to war against Russia. Democrats are perfectly happy not
sending troops and Republicans don't trust Biden, even though they like
his specific policies of sanctions and of sending weapons. Fine by
Ukraine. Al Jazeera reports that
"Ukraine’s army has been dramatically expanded as reservists and
volunteers swamp recruitment stations." Ukraine has the people it
needs. It just needs weapons.
*Sigh!* The "Hunter Biden laptop" story didn't begin with an actual,
physical, laptop computer. It was always just a collection of files. It
was first reported on by the right-wing New York Post.
Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, told The Post about the
existence of the hard drive in late September and Giuliani provided The
Post with a copy of it on Sunday.
Shortly before this batch of files was introduced, a fake "intelligence firm" was pegged as trying to put out false information
about Hunter Biden and his then-presidential candidate father. A
serious problem from the very beginning was that the batch of files
contained photos and emails that were very likely genuinely from one of
Biden's devices, whether that was a phone or an actual laptop computer.
It's not terribly difficult to imagine that a group of people with
spy-type resources could illicitly obtain such files. The NY Post emitted shouts of joy
when the NY Times and then the Washington Post verified what we knew
from the start, that at least some of the emails in the batch of files
were very likely genuine. Both Facebook and Twitter thought the material was stolen from Biden and they've never been proven wrong. But did the two papers verify the important question? Did either the WaPo or the NY Times show that nobody added
incriminating-looking files to the batch? Of course not. That of course
raises the extremely good question of what these papers thought they
were accomplishing when they had the files examined. As it is, they've
given this BS story undeserved life. Granted the issues
concerning journalists and hacked material is a legally tough one.
In some thankfully good
news, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed
as the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice! Essentially, the
to-be-replaced Justice Stephen Breyer appeared to have accepted the
liberal argument that if the GOP gained control of the Senate in the
2022 midterm election and he were to pass away before Democrats
regained control or before a Republican president took office, then
there would simply be no replacement, as any nominee the Democrats put
forward would be blockaded as Judge Merrick Garland was in 2016. From Axios;
Democrats succeeded in getting Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed on
Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to commit
during an Axios interview to filling any more seats if he becomes
majority leader next year.
Interestingly, McConnell, in the same interview, appeared to be baffled by the concept of "moral red lines." Apparently Donald Trump's boast during the 2016 campaign was entirely accurate, that:
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
McConnell made it crystal clear that for the Republican Party to gain power was THE objective!