The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Thursday Open Thread

What's on your mind?


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  1. The 1980's called, and they want their foreign policy back.

    1. Russia sucks, but this is not the Cold War.

      And the GOP needs to get it's shit together and decide which shallow and instrumentalist use of this they're going to go with - Putin good or Putin bad and Biden weak.

      Either way, not covering themselves in glory.

      1. Are you arguing that Biden isn't weak? Good God, man.

        1. I think maybe this isn't about the US.

          1. We signed a treaty with Russia and Ukraine where both we and Russia guaranteed Ukraine's territorial integrity in exchange for them transferring their nuclear weapons to Russia.

            You are all in with Putin on pretending that never happened.

            1. Putin my mouth, cries Mike!

              1. You can always tell when you've got a leftist short on responses, it's when they start casting the aspersions of homosexuality.

                He's right, we literally persuaded Ukraine to give up those nukes by promising that we'd defend them if attacked. And, fools that they were, they believed us.

                1. The text of the Budapest Memorandum is pretty weaselly. I think that 'promising that we'd defend them if attacked' is stretching it.

                  What we explicitly agreed to is A)not nuke Ukraine, B)not use force against Ukraine and C)consult with the Security Council in the event of conflict.

                  OTOH, Russia is quite explicitly in violation. Putin's government should be a pariah.

                  The poor Ukrainian people. The Holodomor, WWII, life under Soviet rule, and now this. I hope there defense works.

                  1. "4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;"

                    1. That sounds like what Absaroka described...

                    2. Nuh-uh, absaroka didn’t use bold font, which puts this all under Maritime Law…

                    3. We promised them assistance. Yeah, it's not as strong as it could have been, and, really, they should have held out for an actual defense treaty.

                      But we actually did put promises in writing, even if Russia violated them almost immediately, and we haven't been very good about observing them ourselves.

                    4. "if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;"

                      The qualification of nuclear weapons use applies to both parts of the statement.

                    5. As always, Brett, you triumphantly cite things you didn't read or understand but are confident about nonetheless.

                      That provision is not an agreement to do anything except "seek Security Council action" — not to "defend" Ukraine. And it only applies if nukes are used or threatened.

                    6. The Kremlin always had the triggers to those nukes…so Ukraine couldn’t access them they were just in Ukraine. Ukraine is a craphole and it comes with 40 million mouths to feed!! You break it you buy it. Pretty soon Ukrainians will be calling their cousins in Pakistan telling them how to get handouts from Gazprom.

                  2. consult with the Security Council in the event of conflict.

                    Even less than that, to consult with the Security Council if Ukraine was threatened or attacked with nuclear weapons. There was no US promise to act in response to conventional attack.

                    1. That's not how I read it. It was attacked, no qualifications, or a threat if with nuclear weapons.

                    2. Encourage your offspring to enlist to fight for Ukraine then.

                      This is not our fight and all of this nonsense just weakens Putin because he is at war which is expensive, sanctions will weaken him, he lost any semblance of moral high ground, he potentially has 40 million more mouths to feed, and we now have justification to expand NATO. So America is in a stronger position today vis a vis Russia.

                    3. I really hate to agree with Bellmore on anything, ever, but if they wanted it to read such that it only applies to acts of aggression involving nukes, they could have done so with the addition of two commas. They didn't, so those conditions are entirely independent of each other.

                    4. It’s a piece of paper…give it to me and I’ll wipe my ass with it.

                    5. Drewski, if they wanted to unambiguously make the nuclear aspect apply only to threats they could have done that too, by the addition of one comma instead of your two.
                      They did neither, but we can find your two missing commas in a Security Council resolution a year later (1995) on the topic of nuclear non-proliferation security assurances that said:

                      The Security Council [...] Recognizes the legitimate interest of non-nuclear-weapon States Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to receive assurances that the Security Council, and above all its nuclear-weapon State permanent members, will act immediately in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, in the event that such States are the victim of an act of, or object of a threat of, aggression in which nuclear weapons are used;

                    6. Ukraine didn’t have any nukes. Russia had nukes physically located in Ukraine…big difference. Would you want nukes controlled by Russia in your country??

                    7. Voize, one comma would just be poor grammar. The later resolution does impact how it should be read, I agree.

                  3. The Holodomor never gets mentioned even though it far surpasses the Holocaust. For those here unfamiliar with it (see...that's the problem) Stalin basically imprisoned the entire Ukraine population in their own country then withheld food shipments until 10,000,000 of them died of starvation.

                    The Russians have been a nightmare to Ukraine for a century and now here we go again.

                    1. Putin is weaker today than ever. He created a justification for NATO expansion. He lost any semblance of moral high ground. He potentially has 40 million more mouths to feed with the vast majority that hate his guts. All for a craphole country with no strategic value as Russia developed its own Black Sea port the last 20 years.

              2. He’s right, but you can’t address that problem at all, so you just do another ad hominem. It’s the only discussion technique you know.

                1. Not strictly speaking, a treaty. But we absolutely promised them protection, in writing, in return for giving up those nukes. So did Putin, but he almost immediately reneged once they'd carried out their end of the deal.

                  Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

                  They should have held out for an actual treaty. It would have been a bigger fuss when we violated it.

                  1. What do you consider "strictly a treaty"? Is it a formal, written agreement that the parties intended to be legally bound under (even if Russia has since ignored it)? That's the definition of treaty for purposes of international law -- it doesn't matter whether the title contains the word "treaty".

                2. I'm not a fan of the 'gay for Putin' line of attack.

                  That being said, he isn't right - it's been clear the US wasn't going to go kinetic to defend Ukraine for quite a while now. Or most anywhere in Eastern Europe from Crimea to Kazakstan.
                  Since 9-11 I'd say.

                  But Russia never jumped till now. America may be in the mix, but we're nowhere near a but-for cause at this point.

                  1. "But Russia never jumped till now"???

                    Say what?

                    1. it's been clear the US wasn't going to go kinetic to defend Ukraine for quite a while now

                    2. So, invading Crimea wasn't Russia "jumping"? What do you mean by "jumping" if not attacking in violation of the Budapest memorandum?

                    3. I think my scope being limited to the Ukraine was pretty clear.

                      I mean, I mentioned Crimea in the very next sentence.

                    4. You... get that Crimea is/was part of Ukraine, right?

                    5. Sarcastro follows the Putin line that Crimea was really part of Russia anyway, and was really never part of Ukraine.

            2. Trump and his followers seem to be all-in on Putin, whom they seem to admire and approve of.

              Cut the crap.

              What do you think Biden should do?

              1. There was nothing for Biden to do. It’s fucking hilarious watching the partisans blaming the other side when there’s nothing we could have done.

                But it’s not just the Trumpers. The left is still so invested in the Russiagate horseshit that this just has to be Trump’s doing. “It Trump had won, Putin would already control all of Ukraine.” completely ignoring the fact that Trump was president for four years and for whatever reason Putin did nothing.

                It’s all of you politically broken people who are bellowing like jackasses.

                1. I haven't seen anyone on the left blame Trump for this, but it does not surprise me.

                  1. Just to pick one Sarcastro, take a look at John Harwood

                    His assertion is that Putin helped Trump become president "because he thought that would some day make this kind of attack easier to pull off".

                    Of course, he declines to explain how it made it easier more than a year after Trump was gone, but that's up to us to ponder, I guess.

                    And yeah, he's a media guy for CNN, but that makes him someone on the left.

                    1. Yeah, that sucks and is silly in a way only having a narrative you love too much allows.

                2. It’s all of you politically broken people who are bellowing like jackasses.

                  It's only Bevis who stands above the crowd, objective, all-seeing, driven solely by facts and logic.

                  1. Yeah, pretty much. I'll give Sarcastro some credit.

                    Certainly not you. You're Brett in a different jersey and don't realize it.

                    1. I tend to not love the 'I'm nonpartsian and that makes me an independent thinker' trope.

                      I like your comments - you're a good self-critical thinker.

                      But picking a side that's better than the other is not the same as throwing away your critical thinking skills, if you don't want it to be.

                      Lord knows my liberal compatriots make me roll my eyes a bunch. But netting it out, I think markets are too amoral, and need checks to properly serve society.

                      I also think the Dems are not effective, while the GOP has really gone for the conspiracy theories and reactionaryism; they don't stand for anything anymore! Dems at least have a platform they fail to pass beyond whatever may make the other side sad.

                    2. I am finally personally simply becoming burned out on this bullshit.

                      I've always had hope that eventually, politically speaking, functional solutions would eventually happen after all the hyperbole, but now I'm reaching the discouraging conclusion that the hyperbole and bullshit has become entirely the point. Look at this board. You and I and a handful of others say from time to time things like "I concede your point" or "I see what you're saying". Most of the others might as well just be bellowing at each other through bullhorns.

                      And the same is true among our political class. We need a complete fumigation at this point and it's never going to happen.

                    3. I think things will get worse before they get better, but I also think things will get better.

                      America is full of people who don't hang out on political forums.

                    4. But picking a side that's better than the other is not the same as throwing away your critical thinking skills, if you don't want it to be.

                      In this case it most certainly does.

                    5. Bingo. The tribalism is too much. And quite frankly I feel sorry for Ukraine getting entangled in America’s political asshattery in 2019/20…it definitely didn’t help the situation. And political asshattery refers to Hunter’s hairbrained scheming and the right wing echo chamber’s attempts to make an issue out of it and Trump’s and his orbit’s assclown scheming.

                    6. Right, Bevis.

                      Frankly, I don't see you providing a lot of sharp insights.

                      Mostly, you just preen about how objective you are and what assholes all the other commenters are.

                      And, FWIW, I'd a lot rather have a beer with Brett than with you.

                    7. I'd be up for trying some of the mead that he brews. Waiting for him to invite us all over.

            3. Actually, it didn't happen, at least not in the sense you appear to mean it. We didn't "guarantee" anything to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum. We — along with the Russians and the British — agreed to refrain from the use of force against Ukraine's territorial integrity, and to respect their independence. We did not agree to defend Ukraine against Russian threats.

          2. This will have ramifications that strongly affect the US ... and I don't just mean gas prices.

            The Russian attack is a precursor to a Chinese takeover of Taiwan, which currently runs some 60% of the semiconductor fabrication in the country. If you think that our auto and computer shortage are bad, wait to see what happens when all of our "intelligent" devices are in short supply.

            1. From 2003:

              Acording to legal documents disclosed Tuesday, Sharon Bush's lawyers questioned Neil Bush closely about the deals, especially a contract with Grace Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., a firm backed by Jiang Mianheng, the son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, that would pay him $2 million in stock over five years.

              Marshall Davis Brown, lawyer for Sharon Bush, expressed bewilderment at why Grace would want Bush and at such a high price since he knew little about the semiconductor business.

              "You have absolutely no educational background in semiconductors do you?" asked Brown.

              "That's correct," Bush, 48, responded in the March 4 deposition, a transcript of which was read by Reuters after the Houston Chronicle first reported on the documents.

        2. I imagine Biden must look weak to the kind of simpleton who mistakes brittleness for strength and bluster for substance -- much like the lawyer who says 'we can't propose settlement because it will make us look weak.'

          1. You're right, Putin disregarded Biden's warnings and invaded Ukraine anyway because Biden's international image is that of a strong leader. Lol, Lmao.

            1. Putin is weaker today than ever. And America is stronger today than in 20 years because we aren’t in any asinine wars. I’m sorry you aren’t getting your jollies anymore from us spending trillions to slaughter hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims.

      2. The idea that the GOP has been praising Putin at any time has been one of the more annoying instances of left-wing fabulation.

        1. Check out Tucker's latest some time. Or Trump's.

          1. No link, just an assertion that it's out there.

            1. That's because he has nothing more. Although already took apart the claims about Trump, for example.

                1. That's a really juvenile habit of yours. In this week alone, you've posted several comments with similar oversights of spelling or autocorrect-induced errors. The more mature of us take what was obviously meant. You, on the other hand, crow about technology getting in the way of communication.

              1. I thought you idiots liked Trump because he meant what he said?

                Now when he praises the murderous behavior of a foreign dictator invading a neighboring country, it's "sarcasm."

                Fuck each and every last one of you ignorant dipshits.

                Trump is an authoritarian despot wannabe, and you're too much of a coward to admit the truth that he admires people who can abuse power the way he wanted to.

                You belong in Russia.

            2. Why do I hate Putin?

          2. This is gaslighting by Sarcastr0 again.

            As the saying goes... Liberals are fighting a Spin war. Putin is fighting a real war.

            1. "Putin, my hero! No spin zone with him!"

            2. You still have no idea what the term “gaslighting” means which is why you have no idea how it’s applied. “Gaslighting” is when someone like Brett Bellmore, the most well-read and expert person on literally any subject, pretends he has no idea that FOXNews has been running pro-Putin/anti-Biden programming since the invasion began in earnest (since before, actually, but it’s more pronounced now).

              1. How the hell would I know what Fox news has been running? I don't WATCH Fox news. The last time I watched anything on Fox was Hanity about 6 years ago, and it was just because it was the only channel available on the TVs built into the treadmills at the gym, and I found him irritating enough that he helped keep me running.

                Still less do I know what YOU would think "pro-Putin" programing, since you don't seem to believe you need to provide any examples of such.

                1. Oh, of course not, Brett. Of course you don’t. Presumably you also never follow any of the lower tiers of rightwing media, either. You’re just a guy, y’know man, tryin’ to make it in this world alone…

                  1. . . . still looking for that Obama birth certificate and wondering why most of America can't understand him.

                  2. Plenty of tiers, I read a lot of Instapundit, but I don't watch Fox, and never have. I was an early cable cutter.

                    But, what if I did? Again, you don't seem to feel the need to point out examples of this supposed "pro-Putin" programing. You just assume everybody knows it's out there, and who knows what you're construing to be "pro-Putin"?

                    1. You can do your own research. It's not hard.

                      Trump just said Putin is a genius. Tucker asked why we're angry at Putin at all.

                      The core on the right that has decided Putin has done nothing wrong and is actually super smart is not some hidden thing; it's out there and people are talking about it.

                    2. No I don’t Brett. Because the examples are on your tv every night, and all over social media. There is no possible way you can be missing it and no reason why I have to indulge your willful ignorance or your “prove it to me” bullshit.

                    3. Three Points :

                      (1) It was already a pre-existing condition, but Trumpism intensified the Right's tendency to see Putin as their kind of leader : Manly, ruthless, committed to nationalist jingoism & brutally unsparing to his opposition. Plus they think he looks good shirtless.

                      (2) Which brings us to an unpleasant task : I had an exchange a few weeks back where Don Nico was gushing over Vlad's genius. In response, I predicted with arrogance assurance that Putin wouldn't invade. I hear crow tastes good lightly sautéed with vegetables.

                      (3) But remember : This invasion is because of Putin's failure, not his genius. He destroyed his country's fragile democracy to consolidate power. He destroyed his country's free press to be secure from criticism. He destroyed his country's judiciary to be free of any legal repercussions. He destroyed his country's economy, hardwiring its endemic corruption into the state to enrich himself & his cronies.

                      So after eliminating any chance Russia will be ever be more than a third-world gas station with nuclear weapons, Putin decides he needs a "legacy". Like with corrupt dictators throughout history, the only option left was meaningless foreign adventurism. It is bizarre to see the Right gush over such disastrous ruler for Russia and its people

                    4. "Because the examples are on your tv every night"

                      I literally only use my TV for streaming movies. Somebody else's TV, maybe.

                      And you're still refusing to give any examples, which entitles me to presume you don't have any.

                    5. Brett Bellmore : "which entitles me to presume you don't have any"

                      And everyone else is "entitled" to presume you're full of it. The Right's tendency to gush over Putin's skill and genius is a longstanding freakish delusion. It's impossible you haven't seen this in many examples, past and recent. You have a policy of seeing & hearing only what you find convenient. Thus your ability to see only sweetness and light in Trump's demand the Georgia vote count be changed.

                      It would do your admirable character (I'm sure) credit to abandon this policy and face facts you find unpleasant. You might even find it affirming to your sense of dignity (after the initial pain of the transition period)

                    6. Brett,

                      No one has ever been able to convince you of anything, no matter what.

                      You, OTOH, are excellent at convincing yourself of whatever fits your preferences.

                      Anyway, read this for starters.

                    7. Bernard11, thanks for the link. Yes, that's toxic, illogical, and inaccurate. He should be ashamed. We don't have a TV, so don't get that kind of stuff.

                      As an aside ... Harris isn't a very good speaker.

                      Gotta say, I don't think this is the right time for either side to be trying to score domestic political points. I mean, real people in Ukraine are dying. They have the apparent choice of submitting ... yet again ... to being ruled by a despot or all the terrible costs of fighting a nasty insurgency. Imagine artillery landing down the street from you. It's bigger than partisan politics-as-usual.

                    8. Finally an example. And yet, it's not a link to Fox news, it's a link to somebody attacking Fox news.

                      Thus proving the accusation is made, as opposed to proving the accusation. But I suppose it actually does have links to Fox news, so it's indirectly providing what I asked for.

                      And yet, I find no examples of even Tucker Carlson praising Putin, which is what was asserted. He's merely questioning whether defending Ukraine is in our national interest. The closest he gets to praising Putin is noting that Putin isn't doing anything he objects to in the US.

                      Well, Carlson is an idiot if he actually thinks that Putin's intelligence services aren't active in the US, but he's not praising Putin, he's simply claiming we don't have a dog in this fight.

                    9. grb,
                      You did say that Putin is more savvy about foreign affairs than Biden and that he has ideas about how to force Ukrania out of existence. What I did not say was that I like, admire, or approve of the guy. I just recognized evil genius exploiting a time of weak national leadership in the West
                      By implicit agreement from that time, I have no comment about you post except to compliment you on the ironic reference to eating crow.

                    10. Anyway, read this for starters.

                      So, after repeated challenges to provide evidence of someone actually saying something, the best you can manage is a link to some left-wing propaganda source simply making the same claims while paraphrasing the alleged source?

                      You're incapable of experiencing embarrassment, aren't you?

                    11. Oh shut up.

                      If you think that's a left-wing publication you're nuts.

                      Anyway, <a href=";Here is a source you might like better.

                    12. Don Nico,

                      I think you misspoke, meaning to say that you (D.N.) "did say that Putin is more savvy about foreign affairs than Biden and that he has ideas about how to force Ukrania out of existence." Which you did. However, it's not an opinion I expressed or share, thinking that Putin's foreign adventurism is the exact opposite of "savvy". It is nothing more than bankrupt disparate action by a man who has squandered every chance to build-up his nation. We'll just have to agree to disagree on that. I suspect this latest action will be a long-term disaster for the Russian people - not at all "savvy"

                      The once or twice a year I'm wrong, I typically slink away from the error. But this time was particularly egregious...

                    13. grb, you're correct. I misspoke.
                      I should have written. "i did say..." not you.

                    14. Fuck off.

                      Oh shut up.

                      I continue to be impressed with the shows of intellectualism from your ilk.

                      If you think that's a left-wing publication you're nuts.

                      I didn't say anything about the publication (though even there the absolute best you could say about it is that it's a TDS-driven rag). I was referring to the author of the piece you linked to...since he's the one who...y'know...wrote it. Read his other contributions and see if you can detect any partisan slant to it.

                    15. "If you think that's a left-wing publication you're nuts."

                      It's The Bulwark. If YOU think it's a right wing publication, YOU'RE nuts. They've stopped even pretending to be right wing, and come out and admitted to being Democrats, did you not hear the news?

                    16. Anyway, you did eventually link to Fox news itself claiming that Trump was praising Putin. (So can we put the idea that Fox is in Trump's corner to bed, finally? They were never any more than less hostile than most of the media.) So I tracked down what he said, and he said that Putin was being very clever about how he went about invading Ukraine.

                      That's like somebody noticing that Rommel was a great tank commander. Doesn't mean you're in his corner!

                  3. Brett...the article has links; plenty of them to FOX News.

                    You're not usually this lazy; this is motivated (not)thinking and it's making you look ridiculous.

                    1. I actually commented on the fact that it had links to Fox news. So, yeah, he linked to another accusation, but at least it did itself link to Fox, and to Tucker Carlson not praising Putin.

                    2. bernard also linked to Fox News. Unfortunately, he linked to a column by a former WaPoo and Daily Beast ... who said that asserting the US has higher priorities than intervening in Ukraine is a way to "defend or deflect Biden's invasion" (sic) and "abandonment of the NATO alliance". I think we should take stronger action against Russia, but the evidence does not support anything like the claims being made about defending or supporting Putin.

              2. That's....not actually gaslighting. The example you have is called "playing dumb" if it was true.

                Gaslighting is presenting a false narrative to someone, in order to make them doubt. Like Sarcastro's comments do.

                1. Other examples include:
                  -Widespread election fraud exists
                  -Building the wall will stop drug smuggling
                  -Obama was born in Kenya
                  -Abortion is murder
                  -Jan. 6th was antifa or just tourists or not a riot or didn't have attacks on police or ... some other nonsense
                  -Ashli Babbitt didn't do anything wrong/wasn't attacking police/was murdered/is a martyr
                  -Socialism works
                  -Spending doesn't raise inflation
                  -The economy is terrible
                  -Tariffs work
                  -Isolationism is beneficial
                  -Political volence only comes from the far right (or far left)
                  -There's a war on Christmas/Thanksgiving/Easter/ whatever's next
                  -Christians are oppressed
                  -Deregulation is bad for the economy
                  -Professional licenses are necessary for hairdressers/basket weavers/navel gazers/anyone and everyone
                  -Qualified immunity is good
                  -Asset forfeiture isn't abused
                  -A plethora of other politically-motivated positions that aren't as simple (or accurate) as their advicates pretend.

                2. Gaslighting is presenting a false narrative to someone, in order to make them doubt.

                  Everyone should doubt their narratives.

                  1. Unfortunately skepticism is in short supply these days. More in the GOP than in independents and Dems, but no one is immune. Mindless credulity is a universal disease in politics.

                    1. No, it's not what I defended, you seem bad at reading.

                  2. So, you advocate for presenting false narratives to people, in order to make them doubt...

                    That's Sarcastro.

                    1. No, AL, that's not what I said.

                      I don't lie to people.

                      I say what I believe, just as you do.

                    2. That's what you defended. Must have been a Freudian slip on your part.

                    3. No, it's not what I defended, you seem bad at reading.

              3. I watch FOX news. They have a variety of people with (gasp) a variety of viewpoints on the subject, Tucker being one of many. But the general tone is decidedly anti-Russian.

                I also watch CNN, whose commentary on FOX gives the false impression that it's all tongue up Putin's ass, all the time.

                And of course, Tucker doesn't speak for the GOP.

                Tulsi Gabbard, otoh, is an actual Democratic politician and recent Congresswoman.

                1. And the GOP needs to get it's shit together and decide which shallow and instrumentalist use of this they're going to go with - Putin good or Putin bad and Biden weak.

                  Tulsi sucks, and is doing an amazing impression of a paid shill for Russia.
                  She's also is not the Dem version of Tucker, nor of Trump.

                  1. Well, we'll see what gets done. If someone's not doing anything effective I don't really care whether they shake their fist at Putin or say dumb shit about NATO assurances.

                  2. "This war and suffering could have easily been avoided if Biden Admin/NATO had simply acknowledged Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO, which would mean US/NATO forces right on Russia’s border,"

                    Stating the truth = paid shill?

                    1. It's not a legitimate security concern. NATO is not an offensive pact.

                      And even if it were, invading Ukraine is not the way to turn down the heat on Ukraine looking for protection.

                    2. Russia has a "legitamate security concern" because Ukraine might, one day, possibly join NATO? So basically any soverieign nation that wants the security of a mutual-defense organization can't make their own choices because Russia doesn't like it?

                      Boo-fucking-hoo. Russia doesn't get to make decisions for other countries. And if they can only feel safe if their neighbors are weaker than them, militarily, what does that say about their mindset.

                      Russia is a terrible country run by a terrible dictator who can't be trusted to respect the sovereign borders of other countries. Russia IS the threat.

                  3. For some reason I'm unable to respond to Sarcastr0's reply below...

                    "NATO is not an offensive pact."

                    Tell that to the Kosovars. And I'm sure the folks in the Chinese Embassy were reassured it was only a defensive bomb dropped on on their heads.

                    "It's not a legitimate security concern"

                    In say 1980, would it have been a "legitimate security concern" for the US had Mexico joined the Warsaw Pact?

                    "And even if it were, invading Ukraine is not the way to turn down the heat on Ukraine looking for protection."

                    Maybe so, but does not make Tulsi's statement any less true.

                2. At least now I know what bernard means by praising Putin.

                  He means not thinking he's an incompetent evil dictator attacking his neighbors.

                  1. issuing correction on a previous post of mine, regarding the terror group ISIL. you do not, under any circumstances, "gotta hand it to them"

                    1. You are just demonstrating one of the intellectual pathologies of the left: The inability to distinguish between recognizing that somebody has virtues, and saying they are virtuous.

                      This is regularly on display with Trump: Because you don't like him, you seem to feel obligated to claim that he has no virtues; He's ugly, stupid, incapable of planning, a poor businessman...

                      But "virtues" and being virtuous, despite the common linguistic roots, do NOT mean the same thing, and it is quite reasonable to recognize that somebody is strong, brave, smart, and a bad person.

                      You are NOT obligated to pretend somebody is incompetent, to be dishonest about their capabilities, just because they're evil.

                    2. No, Brett.

                      1) This is not some masterstroke.

                      2) Even if it were, it is bad to admire it along side nothing else; just pure admiration.

                      As I noted in the dril tweet, one takes pure admiration for support, because that's what it is.

        2. Are you fucking serious? Trump practically worships the man.

          And his cultists are falling over themselves in Putin's support, or at a minimum arguing that it;s none of our business what happens. Just look at what Trump's chief propagandist - Carlson - is saying.

          You live in a strange universe.

          1. Then you should be able to give an example of the worship.

            You live in a strange universe yourself, where you get to claim that a whole political party is in bed with a foreign dictator, and don't need to provide any evidence of it.

            1. Everyone on the planet: "Trumpkins keep praising Putin"
              Brett: "Give me one example"
              EOTP: "Tucker."
              Brett: "Why won't you give me an example?"

              1. Everyone on the planet: "Trumpkins keep praising Putin"
                Brett: "Give me one example"
                EOTP: "Tucker."
                Brett: "Why won't you give me an example?"

                How do you go quickly from reasonable commentary to stupidity like the above?

      3. What's the GOP got to do with it?

        The Democrats have the Whitehouse, the State Department, , the Pentagon, the House, and the Senate.

        And your takeaway is "And the GOP needs to get it's shit together"?

        If you really believe that, then you believe as I do the Biden Administration is floundering. I propose firing Blinkin, nominating Pompeo to take over and follow his lead.

        1. I didn't say *only* the GOP needs to get it's shit together.

          But I see you've joined the crowd insisting this is Biden's fault, but not really explaining what should have been done.

          1. "Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President. He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why — it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.
            6:33 PM · Feb 21, 2020

            1. Bob from Ohio....To be fair to POTUS Biden, this is a shitty situation. The best thing I heard from him: We are not sending troops to Ukraine. I hope and pray (literally) that POTUS Biden and his team makes good decisions, starting right now.

              Ukraine is not our fight. It is not worth a single American life. That being said, I would sell Ukraine all the arms they can carry and encourage them (discreetly) to fight the Soviets Russians right down to the last Ukrainian.

              1. "POTUS Biden and his team makes good decisions"

                Little chance of that. Joe has been wrong on foreign policy for 50 years now and Obama's B & C team is not much better.

                They will put on their serious faces and issue stern statements and meet with other serious people from serious countries and make some minor and futile gestures after more stern statements. Then the seals in the media wil applaud.

                1. To me, the best we can hope for is that Ukraine puts up a prolonged, and protracted fight that degrades Russian military capability enough to forestall further invasions. To make that happen, I think you'd need to take out (or render ineffective) roughly 10%-15% of their tanks/artillery/jets. A tall order, but not impossible.

                  That Polish border looks pretty porous to me.

          2. I would say that worst thing Biden did was signal early in the crises that the US would make no serious response.

            His statement that gave Putin a greel light for a 'minor incursion' is just unforgivable.

            He should have said we take our commitments under the Budapest Accords seriously, and remind Putin that Russia committed to guarantee Ukraine's sovereignty and security under the Budapest Accord too.

            I'm not claiming we should go to war over Ukraine, but every public statement Biden made looked like he was trying to reassure Putin that there would not be a high price for an invasion.

            1. Kazinski : I would say that worst thing Biden did was signal early in the crises that the US would make no serious response.

              That's such bullshit. Not a single person on the planet ever thought any U.S. president would go to war with Russia over Ukraine. Biden could have threatened & blustered and that fact wouldn't have changed one bit. Nobody - including the Russian & Ukrainians would have been fooled a second.

              Personally, I think Biden has done very well with a situation that had no solution. He signaled early & repeatedly that the U.S. response would be maximalist among all possible options. He corralled that herd of cats (aka our NATO allies) into following that line. He got some kind of commitment from the Germans on Nord that seems to be holding. He kept a constant focus on the threat of war. He regularly used U.S. Intelligence to expose Russia's actions, lies and hypocrisy. And he did something I thought particularly clever : Instead of frantically insisting everything would be fine, his tone was relentlessly grim, forcing Putin to take the other stance (now exposed as lies)

              He did all he could, but that's irrelevant now. The real test will be assuring Putin pays a price.

              1. "It's one thing if it's a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do." - Joe Biden

                That is not an "early & repeated" signal of maximalist response. That's a green light to invade.

                1. LOL, no it's not.
                  Don't be a partisan clown and say ridiculous things like that.

                  1) No, this is not what made Putin decide to invade; doesn't pass the laugh test.
                  2) Everyone already knew what Biden said was true.
                  3) It was walked back (because it's bad form to say true stuff out loud in diplomatic circles). So if it was magic words, new magic words replaced the old.

          3. Gallup's out with a poll saying 88% of both R's and D's have a negative view of Putin and Russia, so there is not a partisan split of how they view Putin.

            But 62% in another poll say Putin wouldn't have invaded if Trump were still President:
            "A new Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released Friday found that 62 percent of those polled believed Putin would not be moving against Ukraine if Trump had been president. When looking strictly at the answers of Democrats and Republicans, 85 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Democrats answered this way. . . . A majority of Americans polled — 59 percent — also said they believed that the Russian president moved on Ukraine because Putin saw weakness in President Biden."

            It's hard to call that partisan, because 62% is way above a partisan split, it's almost concensus.

      4. "Russia sucks, but this is not the Cold War."

        Are you kidding? Have you been listening to Putin recently? Biden doesn't just want Ukraine back.

        Nobody's covering themselves with glory. Hopefully that will change.

        1. ..You think this is the Cold War?

          1. It sure seems like a familiar refrain to me. The cold war was about keeping the USSR contained. Other than substituting Russia for USSR, how is this different? Once he digests Ukraine, what about, say the Baltics?

            Can you elaborate on why you think it's different?

            1. Russia is a regional power at best. And even then I doubt they have the sustain to occupy anywhere large for long. Digestion is an open question, and not one I'd bet on; Ukrainians my be unable to repel an invasion, but I do not get the impression they will take to incorporation within another empire lying down.

              Russia has nukes, but their conventional threat is not comparable to the Cold War.

              1. Russia has nukes, but...

                You say that like it isn't a potentially decisive factor all on its own.

                their conventional threat is not comparable to the Cold War.

                It doesn't need to be when you're just toppling the governments of relatively weaker neighbor states and installing your own puppet regimes in their stead...and nobody with an equal or stronger conventional force is willing to use it to opposing you....because you have nukes, among other reasons.

              2. "Russia has nukes, but their conventional threat is not comparable to the Cold War."

                And he threatened to use his nukes if we interfered in Ukraine. It's the Cold War.

              3. Russia dropped more than 4,000 soldiers into Syria. That exceeds a "regional power's" capabilities.

          2. "..You think this is the Cold War?"

            Biden just said Putin wants to rebuild the Soviet Union.

            Putin threatened to nuke us if we interfered.

            Yeah, it's the cold war.

            1. Actually kinda getting warm at the moment.

            2. Biden made that claim, but who here thinks Putin actually does want to rebuild the USSR?

      5. "… this is not the Cold War"

        No one was talking about the Cold War except Obama, so I guess you’re saying Obama completely missed the point and showed how unserious he was?

        "And the GOP needs…"

        The GOP doesn’t need to do anything. Dems are in charge of Congress and Presidency.

        This is a very poor attempt to deflect, even for you.

    2. I don't understand the "show we are strong" approach. Ronald Reagan didn't go in for wars on foreign soil. He gathered our allies, made a plan, and executed it, mostly behind the scenes. It got spectacular results.

      Bush 43 made the hard choice to go into Afghanistan after bin Laden, then chose to "show we are strong" by going into Iraq. It turned both choices into failed disasters.

      Trump just talked like Tommy Toughguy with zero followthrough. That's why the world knew they could ignore him. There was no substance behind his bravado.

      Give me the Reagan way any day. Or, if you prefer, the Teddy Roosevelt way: "Speak softly and carry a big stick".

      1. Any evidence the world actually ignored Trump? I'm trying to think of actual aggression like this when Trump was President.

        In terms of Bush, going into Afghanistan was absolutely the right decision. Staying as long as we did...that's a different question. But allowing the Taliban to thumb their nose at us, while protecting the terrorists who killed thousands of Americans. Anything less than a full invasion would have been seen as utter weakness, and encouraged more attacks.

        1. I find the "nothing happened on his watch, so he was good" argument hollow unless you can point to specific policies that would lead to that conclusion. I don't care who it is, having something happen (or not happen) on your watch that you did nothing to cause isn't a feather in your cap.

          I agree with everything you said about Afghanistan. We had to go in and we should have gotten out as soon as bin Laden got his third eye. Iraq was the disastrous decision, the "show we are strong" decision that fucked it all up.

          1. In terms of Trump's foreign policy, he had an unconventional approach that largely worked. Among the accomplishments.

            1. Achieved peace treaties in the Middle East between Israel and Arab powers.
            2. A stronger approach towards China in regards to their economics.
            3. Imposing Sanctions on Russia with NordStream 2
            4. Expelling Russian diplomats for Russian actions

            There's a lot there. But Trump generally responded harsher to Russian actions and faster.

            1. 1. You're kidding, right? Nothing has changed in the Middle East. The "peace treaties" have been exactly as successful as every other Middle East peace treaty before them: not woth the paper they're written on.

              2. "Stronger" is a vague way of pretending that a lot of chest-thumping and policies that didn't (and don't) work and cost Americans more at checkout was successful. We gained nothing from Trump's policies towards China. And his "purchase guarantees" resulted in China buying less, not more, from us.

              3. NordStream 2 hummed right along throughout Trump's presidency. I'm not sure what "sanctions" you think he imposed, but if he did they were completely ineffective.

              4. So did Obama. And Bush. And a bunch of other presidents. It's just theater, regadless of who's doing it.

              Tell me again how successful Trumo's policies were? Because it seems like he didn't actually get any positive results from the ones you listed.

              1. Nelson : We gained nothing from Trump's policies towards China

                That's still too kind on Trump and China. His policy was just carney sideshow bluster. His tariffs were as well-thought-out as a monkey throwing handfuls of feces against the wall. But there was one policy of substance, and it was a gift to the People's Republic on a silver platter wrapped with a bright red bow.

                He pulled out to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which was a proposed trade agreement with Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam. China stepped into the void caused by the U.S. withdrawal with its own trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

                It was Beijing's dream outcome, courtesy of Trump.

                1. His tariffs were as well-thought-out as a monkey throwing handfuls of feces against the wall.

                  Which is why the Biden admin lifted them. Oh, wait.....

                2. This^^

                  The tariffs are stupid - and frankly, I'm disappointed Biden hasn't cut or eliminated them.

                  And Trump's trade idiocy wrt the TPP was also a disaster.

                  And anyone who thinks Trump had much to do with those Middle East treaties has drunk the Kool-Aid. Give Iran the credit.

                  1. I'm disappointed Biden hasn't cut or eliminated them.

                    Therefor you must conclude that Biden is an idiot.

                    1. Give the juvenile posturing a rest, Wuz. No one is impressed. The reason Biden hasn't junked Trump's useless grab-bag of tariffs is the same reason DJT's created them : They look good.

                      Every president, Democrat or Republican, is faced with clownish actions by his predecessor that are PR problems to undo. Every single one. You know that, despite you flailing buffoonery. Why do you go on&on with such meaningless garbage? As much as Trump loves his servile abject bootlickers, you're taking the tongue service a bit too far.

                    2. Give the juvenile posturing a rest, Wuz. No one is impressed.

                      That you think impressing a cognitively challenged rube like you is mine...or anyone else's just sad.

                      The reason Biden hasn't junked Trump's useless grab-bag of tariffs is the same reason DJT's created them : They look good.

                      LOL! So policies that were roundly condemned by virtually everyone on his side of the political aisle, and which buy him no brownie points at all with the other side, somehow "look good" and benefit him? And even if they do, the best argument you can muster in defense of Biden is that he's undermining the economy and continuing piss-poor foreign policy because...polling numbers?

                      As much as Trump loves his servile abject bootlickers, you're taking the tongue service a bit too far.

                      What were you saying about juvenile posturing? That said, my comment had nothing to do with a defense of Trump. I'm sorry (really, I am) that you're too stupid to understand the point.

                    3. Let's spell this out to the your level, that of a posturing clown:

                      1. Trump announced useless tariffs to appear "tough on China". They accomplish nothing.

                      2. Biden can't get rid of the bullshit tariffs without appearing "less tough on China", despite the fact they are useless

                      3. Multiple people point out Trump's useless tariffs accomplish nothing.

                      4. One of Trump's most servile bootlickers in this forum rushes to defend Trump, saying if his tariffs were so useless why hasn't Biden got rid of them?

                      5. See above.

                      Help you out, Wuz?

                    4. 2. Biden can't get rid of the bullshit tariffs without appearing "less tough on China", despite the fact they are useless

                      And to whom would he be concerned about appearing "less tough on China"? Those who think those policies are stupid (or at least regurgitate others' thoughts on the matter, because "my team")? Not hardly. Those who don't like him and wouldn't vote for him anyway? That would be a stupid reason to keep those policies in place.

                      You clearly haven't given this any real thought.

                      One of Trump's most servile bootlickers in this forum rushes to defend Trump

                      So in addition to being as dumb as a box of rocks, you're also a piss-poor liar.

              2. Hmm. In 2014 Ukraine is invaded by Russia. Obama is President; Biden is VP. 2017-2020 Russia invades no one. Trump is President. 2022 Russia invades Ukraine. Biden is President.
                Nelson, (paraphrasing) Trump sucks!

                1. If younthink the Russians weren't fighting in the Donbas through the entirety of Trump's preseidrncy, you are being willfully ignorant. Trump was just as weak (or as strong, if you prefer) as Biden and Obama on Russian attacking Ukraine. Because none of them had any effect on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

          1. Headaches? This was after y'all were roundly condemning Trump for killing that terrorist?

            1. Anyone who thinks a TBI is equivalent to just a headache deserves to have their own head introduced violently to a baseball bat.

              1. Headaches were the only injuries, correct? No broken bones or anything else? How traumatic were these injuries?

              2. I shouldn't have written that. However I will say that anyone who minimizes TBI's as nothing more than 'headaches' is a jackass deserving of contempt and ridicule.

                There's no possible way that even you are ignorant enough to believe that's all a TBI is.

                1. Is there any evidence that these particular cases of TBI produced any stronger symptoms than headaches?

                  They were diagnosed at time when folks were being abundantly cautious in diagnosing TBI, and under circumstances where there were no other injuries reported.

                  They also happened under circumstances where certain people where very eager to find some fallout from Trump killing a terrorist.

                    1. "Hit with a truck..."

                      The guy said his head felt like he was hit with a truck.

                    2. "“My head kinda felt like I got hit with a truck,” Keltz told Reuters in an interview from al-Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar desert. “My stomach was grinding.”

                      Keltz, who said he had concussion symptoms for days,..."

                      At this point, perhaps you should just shut the fuck up. A concussion is not a simple headache you dimwitted, imbecilic, shit-for-brains.

      2. Dude, the Saint Ronnie adulation isn’t even a thing any more. But it has been a long time since I last saw someone put such a glowing spin on his misadventures in Central America and, particularly, the Iran-Contra “affair” (“gathered our allies” indeed). A nice bit of nostalgia, that…

        1. I was referring to his approach to the USSR and his success (without any military adventurism) in accelerating its demise. No President makes every call right and his Central American policies and covert activities (based on the idiocy of regime change and the domino theory) were terrible policies. But his leadership of the West to counter Russia was hoghly successful.

          It's literally the same playbook Biden is using now, with some modern refinements due to the additional economic systems we can use to hurt them. And it's a good strategy that yields success, which should be the point as opposed to the form-over-substance theater of "showing strength".

          1. We outspent them when we knew they couldn’t afford to keep up. And part of that was supporting the mujahadeen in Afghanistan against Russia. That’s how we “beat” them, by having them beat themselves.

            1. We outspent them when we knew they couldn’t afford to keep up. And part of that was supporting the mujahadeen in Afghanistan against Russia. That’s how we “beat” them, by having them beat themselves.


            2. “By having them beat themselves”

              Yeah, that’s the good part.

          2. Which is also how Putin is trying to beat us now.

          3. Nelson : "I was referring to his approach to the USSR and his success (without any military adventurism) in accelerating its demise"

            One can argue Reagan's success was a continuation of U.S. policy since the Cold War began, but that's not fair. There was a real chance the U.S. could have turned more to acceptance and accommodation with the facts on the ground, as evidenced by Ford's embarrassing comments on the Eastern European countries. Certainly, the USSR's excursion into Afghanistan soured relations before Reagan took office, but he reemphasized the fundamental opposition between the West & East. And that was a successful part of the Soviet bloc's demise.

            1. Agreed. But he didn't donit woth bluster and "showing we are strong". He was firm, resolute, used the situatios he had available to him, and maintained the moral high ground by not acting like a blowhard or a bully and always referring to our principles as a nation. Which is, like I mentioned, exactly what Biden is doing now.

              Thank God he doesn't feel the need to act like Tommy Toughguy or talk about how powerful and dangerous America is. Anyone with two functioning brain cells knows we aren't going into Ukraine and knows we get no advantage from a war with Russia. Bluster and bullshit gets you ignored or laughed at (or both) on the world stage. We had to deal with enough of that in the last administration.

  2. It appears that the bear is more dangerous than previously thought. Is this because it knows who's gonna answer the phone @ 3am?

    I've got nothin else.

    1. (A cynic might speculate that, if Trump were still in office, Russia would already be occupying all of Ukraine by this point in time, and this President Trump would be admiringly commenting on the savvy and genius of Putin and how Putin has waged warn on an independent country. And, NATO would be a crumbling shell of itself, with Trump doing roshambo with Putin about who gets to hammer in the last nail in that particular coffin. Not sure how that would be better than the actual current mess. But I agree with your conclusion...Putin's an evil bastard. But he's doing this only because something something Biden. Because, politics.)

      1. I won't argue that Trump would have done a better job in this case. Because thats not really a relevant argument. A competent President would have made a decisive show of force, showing we weren't afraid to stand up to Putin. Add this to the pile along with Afghanistan and so many other things showing that Biden truly is weak and indecisive when it comes down to brass tacks.

        Its kinda pitiful all the people now reduced to continuing to bleat 'B-but Trump!' as their last refuge against the unprecedented parade of crystal clear proofs of the massive incompetence of this administration.

        1. We have no business in Ukraine and certainly no use of US service persons is warranted. This is an European, EU, issue and they didn't see fit to put their people in harms way.

          The US should pursue sanctions and if they wanted truly to hurt Russia the Biden Administration would encourage more natural gas development alongside fracking in order to bring prices down and give the EU some sense of security.

          Biden did more to prop up Russia than Trump ever did by hindering US production and encouraging the Russian EU pipeline deal. High oil prices simply fill Russia's coffers.

          1. They also fill our own coffers as we are one of the largest producers on the planet. Accelerating gas development is far too slow to have any impact this year or next on prices. Solar + Battery installations in Germany would be faster and just as effective.

            Meanwhile, China is buying Russia's wheat and anything else Putin can no longer sell to the Western economies.

            1. As a kid I always thought selling wheat to the Soviets was crazy. Shit, they were the enemy; let them eat the fruits of communism.

              It's like letting the Klingon guard the quadro-triticale stores.

        2. Your foreign policy sucks.

          A 'decisive show of force.' Do you want us to invade Russia? Bomb Moscow?

          The right is the one that's making this about domestic American politics.

          1. The time for a decisive show of force was months ago, when Ukraine was pleading for weapons. We could have provided them, and not in nominal quantities, and Putin would have had to think twice.

            We could have encouraged Europe to be energy independent from Russia, rather than mortally dependent on Russian gas.

            It's a bit late now unless we're actually going to put troops on the ground. I think Russia is going to get their chunk of Ukraine, and if things are going well, probably try to take the whole country.

            1. I really don't think America going in for some Eastern European adventurism either directly or by proxy would have turned out as awesome as you think.

              Europe doesn't want energy independence from Russia. Unless you wanted us to strongarm our allies in a time when post-Trump they were pretty skeptical of us.

              I do think there's a lot more that can be done with targeted sanctions against Putin's kleptocratic base's Western European assets, but show of force?! Awful idea.

              1. I don't think Russia gradually eating pieces of Eastern Europe is all that awesome, either.

                European leaders are bribed to not want energy independence from Russia, in much the same way they've been bribed not to stand in the way of Iraq's nuclear ambitions. None the less, we are not without leverage, it's just that we've been applying it to the wrong side of the lever since Biden took office. Encouraging dependence on Russia, rather than discouraging it. Helping shut down that pipeline from the Middle East. Transforming America from a net energy exporter back into an energy importer.

                I don't want US troops in the Ukraine, but we certainly could have armed them in advance of this invasion, and let THEM fire the missiles that would make his invasion too costly.

                If we hadn't had a leader who thought it was OK if Russia took another piece of Ukraine, so long as they didn't try to swallow it whole in one bite, and said so.

                1. I see the invasion of Ukraine appears to have convinced the German Chancellor that being energy independent from Russia really is vital, even if there's some pain involved in getting there. That's a good sign, if Europe realize the threat this invasion will have been good for them, if not Ukraine.

                  1. It took an invasion of a sovereign nation to do so. I don't think we had a lot of hope.

                    I'm also not optimistic it won't quietly go back once Russian wrongdoing isn't in the spotlight anymore.

                    1. Honestly, neither do I. The Watermelons have way too much influence in Europe for them to do the sensible thing, and go all in on nuclear so that they can have their energy without the CO2. Only France seems to be capable of doing that.

                    2. All in on nuclear is not a good choice either. All in on anything is not going to be great when it comes to energy.

                      And there is no need to redbait to explain anti-nuke people. FFS, we were agreeing on something for once!

                    3. All in on nuclear is, objectively, an excellent choice. They just sit there pumping out power, day in, day out, 99%+ availability, regardless of whether the wind is blowing, the sun is up, whether it's hot or cold. Nuclear power is the ultimate in reliable power sources, and if you don't deliberately hobble it, it's reasonably economical, too.

                    4. You know I like nuclear power, Brett, and I want it much more widely adopted worldwide.
                      But it's not without it's externalities and risks.

                      This is not a basked in which all eggs should go.

                      Whenever a post sounds like it's from a marketing department, it's gone a too far.

                  2. The Chancellor does not need convincing, the PM does

                2. Bribed by cheap energy is not really bribed; that's just short-term thinking winning out.

                  we certainly could have armed them in advance of this invasion
                  This is a horrible idea. I can't think of a time in history when it's worked out well. Maybe Vietnam, on behalf of China.

                  1. I meant bribed bribed. As in personally gaining in wealth.

                    1. You got evidence of that?

                    2. Or how about this?

                      And, of course, I suppose you're going to pretend "the big guy" wasn't getting his cut?

                    3. You have proven bribery exists. You have not proven that Europe's energy policy arises from Russian bribes, which was your original thesis.

                      Your second link seems entirely off point.

                3. "I don't think Russia gradually eating pieces of Eastern Europe is all that awesome, either."

                  Not much of eastern Europe left not already members of NATO.

              2. I don't think its a matter of Europe wanting to depend on Russia, but them not having a choice. With natural gas extraction in Groningen field shutting down, and the US also ramping down extraction, that leaves Russia as the only supplier able to fill the gap

                1. Of course it's a choice. Germany didn't have to set out to shut down its nukes, which increased its reliance on fossil fuels. And there was that pipeline from the Middle East that would have supplied gas to Europe, that got spiked. And for that matter, the US "ramping down extraction" isn't spontaneous, it was a deliberate policy decision on the part of the Biden administration, to reverse Trump's energy policies.

                  All those were choices that could have been made differently, and still could be reversed.

                  1. Like America balancing it's budget is a choice; only in the purely philosophical sense of the word.

                    1. "Like America balancing it's budget is a choice;"
                      No S_O, Germany's over-dependence on wind. I dependence on burning soft coal and wood from Poland, were real choices, not the imaginary one to which you prefer. Look across to border to France and you see a vastly different energy picture which incidentally can sustain a massive underwriting of the conversion of Renault to be a premier manufacturer of EV. Why? because France is rich in stable baseload electric power

            2. "We could have encouraged Europe to be energy independent from Russia, rather than mortally dependent on Russian gas."

              In fact, here's an article about Trump being mocked for doing just that.

              1. Link doesn't work.

          2. I think the only reasonable response is an economic cold war against Russia, and maybe China while we are at it too.

            Both the Ukraine invasion, and the Uighar genocide are unforgivable violations of international law. Any way we can inflict the maximum amount of economic hurt on both international outlaws we should.

            And the absolute first thing we should do is figure out how to get Europe the maximum amount of oil and gas we can to cut the Soviet cash flow.

            1. Russia will be no problem to wreck economically. Their economy is small, the kleptocratic government made American companies avoid investing there, by and large, and they're in the process of staring their own version of the Vietnam War. No one will object to anytning we do to them, sanctions-wise.

              China is a whole different issue. American companies are way too invested in China to support any economic action against them. A ban on doing business in/with Chuna would have disastrous consequences to American companies and our economy. They are a horrible, vicious government with no concern about human rights, intellectual property, or workers' rights. But American companies long ago decided that the theft of their IP, getting into bed with a muderous regime, and slave labor was worth it to decrease production costs. When Apple ignored Foxconn using slave labor to produce iPhones, they showed that American companies don't care as long as the price is right.

              The China ship has sailed. But Russia is an easy target and we are doing what's necessary to destabilize and punish Putin and his cronies.

              1. The thing to do when ships have sailed is to turn them around and sail them back. Took decades to get this dependent on China, we can take a decade getting free of them, the important thing is that we start on it.

                1. I agree with you, but there are too many companies who have already paid the IP price of entry into China. Unless they all leave at roughly the same time, someone will always replace the few who leave.

                  Corporate America loves China and we can't afford the damage any direct financial penalties from the US government would cause to the country. You may be right about being able to pull back, but it would take more focus and determination and political will than either party is willing to spend to make it happen.

            2. I think the only reasonable response is an economic cold war against Russia, and maybe China while we are at it too.

              That harms the wrong people. It'd hurt our economies for very little gain. Putin's power base is not the Russian people, and China has already shown it can get better than we can with curtailed trade - thanks Trump!

              1. Sure, as an oligarch Putin doesn't have to worry about public approval. But as Russia's economy has basically been destroyed except for fossil fuel extraction at this point, anything you do to lower the price of fossil fuels directly reduces the resources he has available to spend on causing trouble.

              2. and China has already shown it can get better than we can with curtailed trade - thanks Trump!

                I don't know that China has shown any such thing. And even if it should have a word with Biden about rescinding those evil tariffs you guys like to pillory Trump over.

            3. "I think the only reasonable response is an economic cold war against Russia, and maybe China while we are at it too."

              I happen to think that doing nothing is a reasonable response, given that we have zero vital interests in Ukraine, and that an economic war would do us harm.

              "Both the Ukraine invasion, and the Uighar genocide are unforgivable violations of international law."

              Whataboutism to be sure, but we've surely lost any moral high ground with our adventures in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

              I am curious what differentiates unforgivable violations of international law from plain vanilla violations or international law...

              1. What does “moral high ground” have to do with anything???

                “Don’t stop genocide unless you are sure you have the ‘moral high ground’” is quite the slogan.

                When the “moral high ground” causes you to make immoral decisions like ignore genocide, maybe you should reconsider the importance you place on superior morality.

                What if the United States had not intervened during WWII to stop the Holocaust because, given how we treated Native Americans and slaves, we didn’t have the “moral high ground.”

                1. You think we joined WW2 to stop the holocaust?

          3. No but we could have bolstered Ukraine's defenses. This isn't ye merry old Bronze Age Europe. Isolationism is a relic of a bygone era. Nations are fundamentally internationally facing entities. While you don't participate in every tinpot spat you know when you hold and you know when to fold. And you will have to hold sometimes. Running from the inevitable as a geopolitical rival builds up strength is simply trading a small intervention now for a big war later on.

        3. AmosArch, you don't have to be afraid of Putin to conclude that, "stand up to Putin," is a stupid way to frame U.S. foreign policy interests with regard to Ukraine.

          The end of the Cold War was a really good thing for both the U.S. and Russia. The mess in Ukraine now shows both countries lost sight of that, and have made policy choices for years with an eye to bringing Cold War crisis politics back to the fore.

          That happens because it serves narrowly political interests in each nation—in this nation, interests mostly built on political habits that would have been better forgotten. Your advocacy seems against forgetting.

          Do you long for return of what you take to have been a durable partisan political advantage for Republicans? Did you experience the end of the Cold War as a loss?

          1. I hate it when I have to agree with Stephen Lathrop...

        4. By "decisive show of force", do you mean troops in Ukraine? Because that's a terrible idea.

          We have increased both the volume and the character of the lethal aid we have sent Ukraine since Trump left office. We have wrangled our allies into line, including Germany (who made a significant sacrifice) and are showing a united front. We showed (and told) the world what we knew and what Putin planned and then he proved we know exactly what is happening at the highest levels of Russian government by doing what we said. We have instituted a sanctions regime that has the room to grow, with the obvious implication to the kleptocrats that the longer this goes on and the more Putin pushes, the more it will hurt them personally.

          Short of sending US troops into Ukraine to fight for Ukraine (as opposed to reinforcing NATO borders, which we did), what more should we do to show we are stong and have a plan for dealing with Russian warmongering? Please be specific

          1. Sometimes it's not a question of whether you fight, but when.

            1. Sometimes, bellicose predictions are nonsense and you pick a fight where you don't need to.

              1. That's true as well, but I see little evidence that Putin will be contained without violence.

                1. Putin doesn't have the resources to continue to expand while struggling to control the areas he's already consumed. It's one thing to take a few, small, somewhat pro-Russian territories and quite another to control all of Ukraine with it's own language and culture.

        5. Can you please be specific about what would constitute a "decisive show of force"?

          Either we were going to risk nuclear war over Ukraine (which we have never promised to do) or not. Now imagine the domestic political response and the constitutional issues if Biden had extended a guarantee to Ukraine.

        6. Just like W kept Russia out of Georgia?

      2. Well, of course it is impossible to prove what would have happened if the election had gone the other way. But I have a hard time imagining Trump telling Putin that a "minor incursion" was OK. And the Biden administration did flip our stance on several issues to be objectively more favorable to Russia.

        Remember, the "Russia collusion" narrative was never anything but a political psyop by the Democrats, there was never any basis for it. Setting aside political PR, there's no reason to claim Trump was particularly favorably inclined towards Putin on a policy level, even if he didn't go out of his way to insult people who had nuclear weapons.

        1. Brett Bellmore can discern the motivations of his political opponents from the thinnest piece of lint. Conversely he has a difficult time imagining Big Baby’s reactions to the Russian invasion of Ukraine despite the fact the man has been an open book his entire life and bared his ass to the world on a daily basis while in office.

          1. Kinda makes you wonder why Putin waited until Trump was out of office to invade, doesn't it?

            1. Not really. I don't think everything in the world revolves around the US President.

              1. I doesn't. But that doesn't mean that the US reaction doesn't come into play into deciding whether or not to invade one of our allies. I mean, he literally invaded Ukraine both before and after the Trump presidency.

                1. I mean, he literally invaded Ukraine both before and after the Trump presidency.
                  So you *do* think Putin's decision making revolves around the US President. Because otherwise this is just random correlation.

                  I see above you want US boots on the ground to contain Putin?

                  1. "So you *do* think Putin's decision making revolves around the US President. Because otherwise this is just random correlation."

                    Sigh. Move the goalposts much? I don't think everything in the world revolves around the US President. I do think that the US President and the US reaction are important considerations, and the timing here doesn't look good for the Dems.

                    "I see above you want US boots on the ground to contain Putin?"

                    Yes. I think we should have a large permanent presence in the Middle East and Europe.

                    1. You're tapdancing around 'important factor' and 'the causal factor.'

                      I think because you want to say the 2nd, to stick it to Biden, but you know it's not supportable. But feel free to prove me wrong.

                      I think we should have a large permanent presence in the Middle East and Europe.
                      Luckily, the American people don't have a lot of appetite for that kind of grinding imperialism.

                    2. "You're tapdancing around 'important factor' and 'the causal factor."

                      He invaded under Obama. He didn't invade under Trump. He invaded again under Biden. I don't see any other reason why he would have held off. Obviously you can't prove a counterfactual, but it doesn't look good for Biden.

                    3. "Luckily, the American people don't have a lot of appetite for that kind of grinding imperialism."

                      ?? We already have a large permanent presence in Europe, not to mention Asia, and it works out pretty well. A few permanent bases in the middle east would increase the stability of the region, and help build Democracy.

                    4. Twelve, you do realize that.there was nonstop war in the Donbas the entirety of the Trump presidency, right? They started eight years ago and never stopped. So your "only during Obama and Biden" trope is factually deficient.

                      Although I'm sure he was disappointed that he doesn't have a US President that would let him get away with murder in Ukraine. He was really disappointed when the guy who saw him for the murderous tyrant he is won and the easily-manipulated blowhard lost.

                    5. "Twelve, you do realize that.there was nonstop war in the Donbas the entirety of the Trump presidency, right? "

                      Yes, I realize that. I'm referring to the overt invasions.

                    6. So war during a presidency shows weakness in the president, but only certain types of wars and only the beginning of them counts?

                      It's almost like you have a predetermined narrative and you are trying to shoehorn the facts into it. But you would never do something so dishonest, would you?

        2. Remember, the "Russia collusion" narrative was never anything but a political psyop by the Democrats, there was never any basis for it

          I see Brett is still sticking his head in the sand and ignoring both the nonpartisan Mueller report and the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report.

          1. I see David Nieporent is ignoring both the text of the Mueller report and recent reporting on other facts that have been uncovered, like how Hillary Clinton approved of the collusion hoax to distract from her email scandal.

            1. You haven't read the Mueller report.

              And your 'recent facts' were debunked so hard Durham basically said the right was running with nonsense.

              1. Actually, his second thing is not about the Durham nonsense; it's a reference to something about a year or two ago in which it was revealed that the Russians — not Hillary — were saying that Hillary was using the collusion scandal to distract from the email hoax.

      3. A cynic might. Another take is that Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, then started the Donbass insurrection. Which then stalled, and almost no additional aggression occurred for the 4 years of the Trump administration.

        Then Biden took office, started weakening the Russian sanctions, and suddenly...Russia invades Ukraine

        1. Yeah, it sure looks like Russia only attacks while Democrats are in the White house, doesn't it?

          1. The Obama-Biden tandem has been particularly feckless with Russia. From Obama's "I'll have more flexibility after the election" hotmike and making fun of Romney's "Russia is our number 1 geopolitical foe" bit...then losing Crimea.

            And Biden....pushing for Russian pipelines, while shutting down our own pipeline construction, leading to the US importing more Russian oil. It's hard to say how Biden could have been more compliant for Russia.

          2. Yeah, it sure looks like Russia only attacks while Democrats are in the White house, doesn't it?

            Sample size of 2.

            Fuck off with that bullshit, you're smarter than that.

            1. Not even gonna bother defending Obama/Biden's atrocious record on Ukraine, eh?

              1. You're just as disingenuous as Putin.

                1. Still no defense, eh?

                  The problem you guys have is that on this issue, reality has a significant pro-Trump bias.

                  1. Ignoring the counter-arguments presented to your empty skull does not actually negate them.

              2. I just did.

                You smugging about it doesn't change anecdotes into data, nor examples into a 'record.'

                1. Lol, you don't have to defend Obama/Biden because the two invasions on their watch were just examples, not a record?

                  Whatever you have to tell yourself.

                  1. I think your causal case is might weak.

                    1. How many more Putin invasions would it take to convince you?

                    2. How many bad appeals to fallacy will you make?

                  2. I flipped a coin twice and it came up heads both times.

                    I conclude that flipping a coin only ever results in heads.

          3. " it sure looks like Russia only attacks while Democrats are in the White house, doesn't it?"

            Only one Democrat.

            "During his time as Vice President, Biden handled the Ukraine portfolio and paid numerous visits to Kyiv." Atlantic Council article "UkraineAlert November 27, 2020 Biden picks Antony Blinken: Good news for Ukraine? By Peter Dickinson"

            [Sorry but my links haven't worked lately, comment just disappears.]

          4. Well, if you ignore the ongoing attacks from 2017-2020. (And limit it to Ukraine — who was president when Russia attacked Georgia?)

            1. So, 2017-2020 is interesting. During that time, there were the insurrectionists, but they didn't make any progress. Russia didn't provide the massive levels of material support needed. The same line of control maintained relatively constant..

            2. If we're counting little green men then Trump successfully fought off a Russian attack.

        2. There was constant aggression in Donbas throughout Trump's presidency, the Ukrainian military just prevented further expansion of the "separatists". If you think there wasn't constant fighting and death there from 2017-2021 you are lying to yourself.

          1. "There was constant aggression in Donbas throughout Trump's presidency"

            LOL Yes, the Obama occupation continued.

            1. True. But I noticed how Trump being President stopped Russian aggression in Ukraine. Oh, wait. It didn't change anything?

              Russian aggression and war in Ukraine was completely unchanged by any of the last three Presidents. Sorry, but your stpry is clearly bullshit.

              1. "Russian aggression and war in Ukraine was completely unchanged by any of the last three Presidents. Sorry, but your stpry is clearly bullshit."

                Russian invaded and annexed Crimea under Obama. They didn't do anything approaching that or the current action under Trump.

                1. You keep pretending like this implies anything like causation.

                  Dude, you didn't even prove correlation.

                  1. Lol. The buck stops with the president.

                    1. LOL, you're being facile, and I'm pretty sure you know it.

                      When you're wrong, it's okay to say so, and not double down on being an innumerate dipshit.

                2. Because the Ulrainian army prevented it. They actually retook a fair amount of territory back from the separatists/Russians during Trump's presidency. It's not like they started under Obama, stopped under Trump, and started up again under Biden.

                  Why would they? Trump was an isolationist who was so badly manipulated by Russia that he thought having shared intelligence to fight cyber crime was a good idea. He wasn't going to do squat about Russia fighting in the Donbas.

      4. "if Trump were still in office, Russia would already be occupying all of Ukraine by this point in time"

        Nice fantasy. The fact is that when Trump was still in office, Russia did not expand any of his Obama era occupation.

      5. "(A cynic might speculate that, if Trump were still in office, Russia would already be occupying all of Ukraine by this point in time, and this President Trump would be admiringly commenting on the savvy and genius of Putin and how Putin has waged warn on an independent country."

        If there were any truth to such speculation, why do think Putin would have waited until Trump's second term? I mean, it's not like Putin showed any hesitancy to invade Ukraine prior to the Trump presidency.

        1. Or during it, for that matter.

      6. A realist would note that this act by Putin is going to strengthen NATO. Trump was all about weakening NATO; indeed, he had indicated he would have pulled out entirely if he had been reelected. It would've been counterproductive for Putin to do this while Trump was president. Now he has nothing to lose because Trump is gone.

        1. You think it's going to strengthen NATO? I'm not so sure...

          1. Absolutely. Now Finland and Sweden are talking about wanting to join.

            It doesn't take too much to see that Ukraine was vulnerable to attack because it hadn't joined NATO, and Russia knew that once it did, that option would be off the table.

        2. Actually, Trump was demanding that the other members of NATO pick up their share of the burden, as they had explicitly agreed to do. This was the precise opposite of weakening NATO.

          1. Sure, Trump had a formal point.
            But a sudden lurch towards strict formalism is not generally how you deal with an alliance you want to keep strong.

            Plus, previous to that, the US foreign policy and national security establishment pretty clearly decided it liked the soft power of pulling more than it's share in NATO.
            Maybe that wasn't worth it, but Trump didn't consider anything like that; he just inexplicably want hard against NATO.

            1. This is inaccurate and a lie.

              Many NATO members have not been pulling their fair share for decades. It makes the alliance weak.

          2. Actually, no. Trump was trying to blow up NATO by inventing fake NATO dues and claiming that countries hadn't paid them, and therefore claiming that we were being cheated and therefore should not be a member.

    2. I acknowledge by the way that the situation is dire and that people will suffer and die because of it but my method of coping is (bad) comedy. If I can't find something to pry my mind away from it I'll turn into a news junkie like I did for awhile around 9/11.

      And thinking of news got me thinking of another one:

      "In other news today paranormal experts, zombie survivalists and fans of the undead of all types are gathering around Martha's Vineyard, hoping to catch a peek at Tom Clancy, who broke out of his coffin, no doubt seeking an analyst job on cable news while he writes his next novel."

      Alright, *now I got nothin else. May the whole thing be over as soon as humanly possible. 🙁

    3. What looked at first like a Chamberlain level response from Biden escalated to a very weak response. Does he have to guts to do anything more than put some oligarchs on the no dollar list? Ukrainian officers at US-provided SAM batteries pushing buttons as directed by advisors? Put Russia on the designated foreign terrorist list so if they get one dollar from a US company somebody is going to prison? Have Putin indicted in an international tribunal for crimes against peace? Tell our European allies that buying gas from Russia is considered to be an act of war against Ukraine?

      1. Lets not abuse the terrorist list, strongarm our European allies, or invent some 'crime against peace' silliness, eh?

        1. So...what happens when Russia invades Estonia next?

          1. ...How powerful and resilient do you think Russian power projection is these days?

            1. Well, they easily seem powerful enough to invade a neighboring country of 40 million. Invading a neighboring country of just over a million should be well within their power projection.

              1. Power projection isn't just 'I can invade a much smaller neighbor.'

                1. It's not "just" that. But Russia easily has the power to invade and occupy Estonia, a small country of just over a million people.

                  Which they've done before in history. Multiple times.

                  1. While it's dealing with Ukraine?
                    I don't think Russia can occupy Ukraine effectively for very long on it's own.

                    Which makes for pretty poor power projection even in the regional arena.

                    No more Afghanistans in that nation's willpower these days. Nor ours, I hope.

                    1. After it's dealt with Ukraine. Give it a couple years.

                      Russia has occupied Ukraine before. They've been occupying Crimea for 5 years problem.

                      Ukraine isn't Afghanistan. The Russians have a long history of occupying it successfully.

          2. Estonia is a NATO country, unlike Ukraine. Do you think Russia is willing to take on all of NATO?

            1. Maybe in the fall, with a cold winter setting in.

              But Putin still has to finish Ukraine, and then maybe Belarus and Moldova, before trying to take any part of Nato.

              1. Again, what kind of power projection do you think Russia has these days?!

                1. Ask the Ukrainians that, why don't you?

                  1. That's a shitty dodge to emotionalism, and you know it.

                    Russia being able to invade Ukraine doesn't mean it can sustain an occupation, much less open other fronts.

                    Maybe I'm wrong, but while Russia can clearly do a sprint, I don't see evidence they can do a marathon. To project power effectively, you need both.

                    1. Russia can easily support its troops in Ukraine. It's right next door, with a large land border, and lots of easy rail lines and roads to support them.

                      If Russia can support its troops in Vladivostok (Very far away from the center of its power), or Belarus (outside of Russia), it can easily do the same in Ukraine.

                    2. That's dumb as hell, AL. You just compared supporting troops in your own country and allies to supporting them as an occupying force!

                    3. Sarcastro, you're gaslighting again.

                      Arguing some false narrative to make people doubt reality.

                      Russia is supporting its forces in Ukraine RIGHT NOW. It's been supporting its forces in Crimea (part of Ukraine) for more than 5 years, without a problem.

                      You've got to stop lying so much.

            2. You assume NATO would defend Estonia. I'm not so sure. Especially given the weak response to any type of sanctions.

              Let's use the typical Russian playbook. Take an area in a country with a high native ethnic Russian population. Call it Narva.
              Have Russia agitate there. The native population of Narva has a "referendum" to leave Estonia and join Russia. What should Estonia do? Allow it? Let's say they don't allow it. Then "insurgents" in Narva have a rebellion against the Estonia government. Is NATO going to intervene in a "Civil war"? When Russia quietly threatens to turn off their natural gas in winter?

              The Italians aren't going to want to intervene. Either are the Spanish. Or the Germans. Maybe they have "diplomatic talks" to allow Narva to leave...

              1. This is not a typical Russian playbook; seems more like you fan fiction.

                It's actually a lot like what I saw abound Muslims about 10 years ago.

                And before that people said it of the Irish and Germans. And people been telling that same story about the Jews for ages.

                1. They did it in Georgia. They did it in Ukraine. It's pretty playbook for them now.

                  Just for the record, I'm speaking about the current Russian government, not some abstract "ethnic russian people"

                  1. Congrats on your two examples from the past 14 years.
                    Hardly a playbook.

                    I don't know what your general thesis about Russia is, but your military analysis is piss poor.

                    1. Russia did it against Ukraine in both Crimea and Donbass. If one wants to be pedantic, in both Georgia and Donbass, Russia "recognized" two breakaway states, so arguably N=5 now.

                    2. If you need to be pedantic to make your point about the Russian playbook, that's a sign you are pushing thesis and looking for evidence.

                    3. Why are you defending Russia so much Sarcastr0?

                      This isn't controversial. They did it in South Ossetia. They did it in Abkhazia. They did it in Crimea. They did it in Donetsk. They did it in Luhansk. They did similar actions in Transnistria.

                      Repeatedly, over and over again.

                      And you've got this obscure argument that "They only did it twice, how do we know they might try it again?"....

                      It's like you're gaslighting to defend Russia

          3. "So...what happens when Russia invades Estonia next?"

            Sarcastr0 tells the GOP to improve their messaging again. And says "let’s not…" to more responses.

            1. I mean, you have my reply to that post, which said nothing like the strawman you crafted.

              But you prefer to argue against strawman Sarastr0 I guess.

        2. "abuse the terrorist list"

          Russia is using force against civilians for political aims. It would not be an abuse the terrorist list, countries are on the list.

          1. I'm not super up on the intricates of international law, but I do know invasion is not terrorism.

            1. Domestic law applies, in particular 8 USC 1189 ( "Designation of foreign terrorist organizations." Under the relevant law, "terrorist activity" includes "any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed ... and which involves ... The use of any ... explosive, firearm, or other weapon or dangerous device (other than for mere personal monetary gain), with intent to endanger, directly or indirectly, the safety of one or more individuals or to cause substantial damage to property."

              While I do not personally describe warfare or crimes against peace or humanity as terrorism, the Russian acts in Ukraine fit the legal definition.

              1. I mean, by this language any random robber is a terrorist.

                Moreover, black letter or not, I don't think the law would be very effective if deployed this way.

                1. A robber is not a terrorist under the law I cited because of the exception "other than for mere personal monetary gain." More generally, designation as an official terrorist requires a finding that the "terrorist activity" threatens U.S. interests.

                  Politico published an article a few weeks ago describing how smashing a window to get into the Capitol to try to block the January 6 electoral vote count could be prosecuted as terrorism under a different law. "Depredation" of government property with political motives (to influence policy or retaliate against policy) is considered terrorism under the sentencing guidelines.

    4. You had nothing to start with. Serendipity!

  3. Kinda funny watching all these hippies who are balls to the wall for organic 'natural' foods also love those lab synthesized Frankenburgers and artificial meats which the megacorps keep trying to push.

    1. There's a very funny South Park about this. "Let Them Eat Goo"

    2. I find these meat substitutes tasty enough, but they sure are very unhealthy.

      I don't what you have against food science, though.

      1. I'm not sure where you got the idea he's opposed to food science.

        1. Invoking Frankenstein is not generally done by folks looking to be complementary of science.

          And what's wrong with lab synthesized food?

          The product isn't healthy at all, but AA seems to be think the process is somehow anti-hippy. Also, way to fight the battles of the early 1970s today...what even is a hippie these days?

          1. I think you're confusing science and technology here. The Frankenburgers are the latter. It's the science itself that says they're unhealthy.

            "And what's wrong with lab synthesized food?

            The product isn't healthy at all"

            Answer your own questions much? What's wrong with lab synthesized food is that the plant based versions are expensive and unhealthy, and the vat meat is ultra-expensive, and probably not scalable. Animals really are very convenient self-reproducing meat factories.

            Now, in principle there's no reason lab synthesized fake meat couldn't be healthy. And it already doesn't taste awful, even if it doesn't genuinely taste like meat. But it sometimes seems like they're not making that a high priority.

            1. Science, technology, both are fine.

              AA made his attack on the process not the product, and the process is fine.

              1. As I read it, AA made an attack on the (perceived) hypocrisy of people who think "organic" food is better, and also that heavily processed vegetables are better than meat grown the old-fashioned, bloody way.

              2. Frankenfood is a noun, not an adjective. He was literally attacking the product.

                And, no, the process does not seem to be dedicated to producing a genuinely healthy result. It's way too high in phyto-estrogens, IMO, and that seems to be viewed as a feature, not a bug.

                But I don't think that's necessarily true, you could make a plant based meat substitute that was genuinely healthy. Cheaper, too? Maybe though I have doubts.

                I have VERY serious doubts about the vat meat, though. That's absurdly far from commercialization.

                1. 'lab synthesized Frankenburgers' are, in principle, fine and a dumb thing to attack.

                  He didn't talk about health, or flavor.

          2. Also, way to fight the battles of the early 1970s today...what even is a hippie these days?

            The first rule of being a hippie is you don't ask questions like that. Heavy, man.

    3. You of course know about zero of these 'hippies.' Keep being Amos!

  4. Now for the VC question of the Day and a quite timely one at that. If you suddenly were elected President of the United States right now how do you think you'd rank overall compared to what we've had?

    1. I would be excellent at policy and terrible at deal-making.

      1. ". . . terrible at deal-making."

        Wouldn't matter and doesn't matter.

        If a President (like Trump), thinks they're some kind of deal-maker, then they're in the wrong business for two reasons.

        First, no one person is an expert on everything (you hear that Trump!). Instead I want the President to have a 100-person team with SMEs, politicians, acadamia, NGOs, PACs, etc, providing advice and guidance.

        Second, "deals" are limited (tactical) things; instead I want the (foreign/energy/environmental/economic, etc.) policy of the United States to be long-term and negotiations should always be focused on our strategic interests and our future.

        1. You should be directing your advice to Barack Obama instead. He's the one who thought he knew everything. Now, of course, the 1980s want their foreign policy back.

          And a president cannot simply use a 100-person team. Rule by committee leads to deadlock, and a lot of deals need a personal touch to be closed. You can have all the advice you like about Ukraine's economy and Russia's unit deployments and gas pipeline financing, and you can even try to bring the trunalimunumaprzure, yet all that will do less to keep Russia's troops in Russia than being able to deal one-on-one with a strongman dictator. That was where Trump is vastly more fit than Biden or any other Democrat candidate.

          1. Having teams of skilled and knowledgeable people address their areas of expertise with an executive decision-maker who can choose the best path forward sounds a whole lot like a highly successful multinational corporation. Why would it be a bad model for government?

            1. The suggestion I was answering was not to have teams of skilled and knowledgeable people, but to dilute the SMEs with "politicians, [academia], NGOs, PACs, etc, providing advice and guidance".

          2. I love that Mikey doesn't even see the contradiction in his post (Obama knew everything, but he put too many people in charge to be effective)!

            Obama bad and guilty of everything bad now, amirite Mikey?

            1. Obama was seriously narcissistic, but that's hardly unusual in a politician. But he got a pass on a lot of crap because criticizing him could be played as 'racist'.

              That's the plus side of a white President: Nobody yells "racist!" at you if you point out their deficiencies.

              1. Whoosh goes the point

    2. I would take a Lewis Black modified stance on policy and international relations.

      "Today, President darkknight9 will be in the rose garden, sipping margaritas!"

    3. I'd decline to be sworn in.

  5. Missouri GOP rejects filing fee of candidate who once said 'Hitler was right'

    The Missouri Republican Party on Tuesday announced that it had rejected the filing fee for conservative radio host Steve West due to his "vile" past statements.

    "Today the Missouri Republican Party has rejected the filing fee of Steve West, who sought to run for office as a member of the GOP," the Missouri GOP said in a statement.

    "West's past statements are vile and conflict with the fundamental values of our platform," the party added. "The Missouri Republican Party believes there is no room for hate and divisiveness and the Missouri Republican Party will not associate with anyone who promotes these abhorrent ideas."

    West is running for the Missouri House of Representatives.
    Boy, you’ve got to be way off the rails if the Missouri Republican Party sez you’re nuts.

    1. It helps to say what Hitler was allegedly right about. If it was the spineless character of the inter-war British government, Hitler was right and his generals were wrong. If it was a secret cabal of Jews and bankers destroying Germany, which the Hill article implies is closer, I won't back him up on that.

    2. "Hitler was right"

      Looks like the online trolls of "Hitler did nothing wrong" snagged an idiot.

    3. Don't worry. The "legitamate rape" guy is still in the race.

  6. The weird salience of Ukraine in American affairs continues. It makes me itch. It's partially anxiety, partially revulsion, the kind of recoil you expect from an encounter with the uncanny—in this case the zombie-like return of the Cold War from the dead.

    Thomas Friedman wrote a column in the NYT a couple days ago. It featured an excerpt from George Kennan, answering questions about the American foreign policy to expand NATO to Russia's borders. Kennan though that was folly. He offered suggestions about how to do it better.

    It's worth a look. Basically, Kennan seems to have thought that after the Soviet collapse it would have been better to treat Russia as a weak nation, rather than as a perpetual threat. Play a long game, with an eye to bringing Russia back within European norms over decades. That does not seem to be what is going on now.

    1. There was a little while after the collapse when that might have been feasible, but it probably would have required spending the 'peace dividend' on something other than domestic vote buying.

      But I'm not sure you actually could have brought Russia into the sphere of free nations; They don't really have the competing power centers and traditions of government limits that requires, generations languishing under totalitarian rule saw to that.

      Nation building is still an undiscovered art.

      1. Brett's right.

        One of our strengths is our competing power centers.

        There's DC which controls the (national) politics but then there's NY which controls the national (and partially international) finances and money markets.

        Other independent sources of power are:

        Professional news media
        Cultural centers (Hollywood, fly-over states)
        The States
        The internets
        Religion (luckily waning)

        1. Unfortunately, we don't so much have the competing power centers anymore, either; One by one they're falling in line behind the government.

          But only when the government is controlled by a particular party.

          1. The main headline in the WaPo recently was how internal records showed Biden's Afghan withdrawal was seen as terrible by generals.

            Yeah, controlled by a particular party...

            1. The military is not, by design, a competing power center. That's the whole point of civilian control, that the military not be a distinct power center from the government.

              They gripe in private but fall in line for Biden.

              1. Yeah, so a main headline about the military undermining Biden's decisions is hardly 'state media.'

                1. It's nothing like media behavior during Republican administrations. More of an internal squabble than the all out war you see at those times.

                  1. The best whattaboutism is vague and generalized whattaboutism.

          2. You've got that backwards.

            One by one, it's the govt that is falling in line with that particular party.

            Granted, the "line" is very gradual and is not continuous; there are always set backs and pockets of resistance.

            But the trend is unmistakable and irresistible.

            You risk being on the wrong side of history if try to fight it.

      2. it probably would have required spending the 'peace dividend' on something other than domestic vote buying.

        Not sure who you are jabbing at here, but I do agree that we cheaped out badly at the time.

    2. One of the questions after the fall-of-the-wall was indeed what to do about Russia.

      There was one train of thought that it would be better to have a strong, central Russian govt because otherwise it was possible (likely?), that the Russian territory would dissolve into madness with wars all over the place over independence, natural resources, ports and outlets to the sea, etc.

      Of course then China, India, Pakistan (nuke holders) and Turkey, Iran, etc., would become involved for their "national security."

      And then of course Japan and then the US would become involved - and it would basically be the end of the world.

      1. I had some coworkers in Russia who were beneficiaries of the American plan to keep ex-weapons scientists and engineers with marketable skills off the black market by hiring them.

    3. Elections have consequences, and the consequences of the 1992 election are still with us. I don't recall who coined the phrase "vacation from history" to describe America of the 1990s, but Clinton's utter disregard of foreign affairs would bite us quickly after he left office and continues to do so. We wasted an opportunity to engage with Russia and bring it into the Western fold.

      1. Yeah, this is all Clinton's fault.
        For not allowing Russia to Westernize.

        Good lord.

        1. You buy your straw men in bulk, I see.

          Clinton gets the blame because he sat back and allowed the KGB, helped by organized crime, to take Russia over from a more liberal government.

          1. Sat back and...didn't invade Russia? What are you saying we could have done?
            Not a lot of levers in a recently collapsed state.

          2. “Allowed” that, did he?

        2. They covered this in one of the lousy Trek movies, where Scotty says of the Klingons, "Sir, they're dying!"

          "Then let them die!"

          I suppose that was a context of received wisdom in Hollywood that Kirk's attitude was bad.

          Of course, Hollywood wants the Klingons to survive as they are a valuable property.

          In real life, Klingon resurgance, not so good. Ahhh, Hollywood.

          1. Yeah, Kirk was bad in Trek VI. For understandable reasons. And he got better.

            An empire is not the same as it's people.

            I've heard the utilitarian argument that our second nuke in WW2 should have been at Moscow. It may not be wrong in terms of total lives saved. But it's still monstrous; because utilitarianism is the philosophy of the villain.

            Unless your utilitarian sacrifice is only of your own life - see Trek II. Though even then it can get dumb.

            1. Remember, Stalin was never one of the good guys, and the USSR started out on the other side in WWII, and arguably finished up on the other side, too, if you ask Eastern Europe. So I'm not so sure what would have been monstrous about it, that wasn't about dropping a nuke in Japan.

              1. Thing is, Brett, when you nuke Moscow, it's not just Stalin that gets it.

                1. Yeah, and when you nuke Nagasaki, it's not just Hirohito that gets it. I asked what would be monstrous about it that wasn't about dropping a nuke in Japan.

                  1. The fact that we weren't at war with Russia?

                    Come on, man. A nuke as a sucker-punch would have been a war crime above all else in history.

      2. Apparently FDWolf slept through the 1990s, and therefore missed, e.g., the wars in the Balkans that Clinton got involved with. Not sure what other "foreign affairs" he thinks Clinton neglected.

        1. "Not sure what other "foreign affairs" he thinks Clinton neglected."

          .... I mean .... you're pretty much setting that up for someone to spike it. 🙂

        2. There was that minor Hutu/Tutsi kerfuffle in Rwanda.

    4. "It's worth a look."

      Why? The ship sailed 30 years ago.

  7. Europe is still buying Russia's gas.

    1. US is still buying Russian oil.

  8. I realize they are just English transliterations, but I have seen the capital of Ukraine written as "Kiev" my whole life, but almost universally as "Kyiv" seemingly just these last few weeks. Did I miss a meeting?

    1. They got mad about being called chicken.

    2. I noticed the change a few years ago. The choice of name for the city historically known in English as Kiev signals which side you are on. Like choosing "homeless" or "experiencing homelessness", "undocumented immigrant" or "illegal alien". Or back in the 1980s, since we're headed there, Reagan's ABM plan officially named "SDI" was called "Star Wars" in the press while the unnamed Soviet plan was called "SDI". I think that last one was the reliably liberal Boston Globe's choice.

      1. Wait, when did we give up on "bums"?

      2. I thought they were called hobos.

        1. Tramps and hobos are commonly lumped together, but see themselves as sharply differentiated. A hobo or bo is simply a migratory laborer; he may take some longish holidays, but sooner or later he returns to work. A tramp never works if it can be avoided; he simply travels

          -HL Menkin.

          In a 2003 interview, Todd DePastino, author of “Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America”, said, “One famous quip had it that the hobo works and wanders, the tramp drinks and wanders, and the bum just drinks. More accurately the tramp, the hobo, and the bum represent three historical stages of American homelessness. … Hoboes were by and large more organized, militant, independent, and political than [tramps]. The widespread use of the word ‘bum’ after World War II signals the end of this colorful subculture of transient labor.”

          1. There has always been a romanticization of the hobo life in America. The notion of travelling randomly and ending up "somehwere" is very attractive to Americans. I am pretty sure Jack Reacher calls himself a hobo in at least one of the books.

            Granted, I read the Deptford Trilogy a while back (by a Canadian btw), and it kinda turned me off the whole living on the rails thing.

            1. Not enough people read and appreciate Robertson Davies.

    3. The background is, "Kyiv" is a bad transliteration of the Ukrainian name for the city while "Kiev" is a better transliteration of the Russian name for the city. I had a Russian and a Ukrainian coworker a few years ago and got to hear them compare pronunciations.

      1. Thank you. I imagined it was something like that. I know Ukrainians hate the phrase "THE Ukraine" which implies that it is just a region [of Russia] as opposed to an independent state.

        1. Ukraine translates to "borderland" in English.

          It was a borderland between the Russian and Hapsburg empires.

          Western Ukraine [around Lvov] was Austrian, not Russian, before 1918.

  9. Well, there goes Taiwan. its gone. Its now only a matter of time. China might decide to take it back before Biden gets smoked in the next election.

    1. Realistically, what could we ever do about it? There's not a lot of appetite to go to war over Taiwan. That's been the case as long as it has existed. Why do you think we have had a One China foreign policy since the beginning? You don't stake out a position that is certain to fail. There's no advantage in it.

      1. The key in all these cases is not defending the target, because at the moment of attack it stops being in our immediate interest to defend them.

        The key in all these cases is aiding them in becoming capable of defending themselves, because THEIR motivations will be more reliable, and we can do the aiding outside of moments of heavy threat.

        "Why do you think we have had a One China foreign policy since the beginning?"

        They're really good at subversion.

        1. becoming capable of defending themselves

          Other than giving them nukes, there was no set of actions the U.S. could have taken to make Taiwan capable of defending itself against China, or Ukraine against Russia. The power imbalance is too large.

          1. How sure are you that Taiwan doesn't already have nukes?

      2. I agree with the above comment "The key in all these cases is aiding them in becoming capable of defending themselves"

        Realistically though that means giving nukes to Taiwan. I don't see that happening. China would put nukes in Venezuela or closer.

        The issue for me is that we got nothing out of giving China most favored nation trading status. We need to go back to bankrupting communism the old fashioned way and stop giving them our business.

        I guess its hard to do when most of the Democratic party wants to be socialists not beat them.

        1. The fact that people still think China is a socialist/communist country is insane to me. They are one of the most aggressive capitalist markets in the world.

          Apparently the word "Communist" in the party name is more important than their actual economic behavior.

          1. Nominally communist regimes have never been very good at practicing communism. It's funny how this works both ways when people want to defend communism and its regimes.

      3. Nelson, I'd be careful confidently asserting we won't mix it up with China over Taiwan. The factors involved with Taiwan make it much more in the US national interest (than Ukraine), and kinetic intervention much more likely. There are two aircraft carriers currently 'parked' right by Taiwan. That ain't an accident.

        1. China has anti-ship missiles that are fast enough we can't adequately defend against them, with longer ranges than their planes can fly. Carriers would not be helpful defending Taiwan.

    2. Been seeing this post since the Internet was invented.

      Whatever is preventing China from moving, it's not been fear of a counter-invasion for a while.

      1. They don't move because a sea borne invasion is very difficult. Its 100 miles across the straights. You need landing craft and both air and naval superiority.

        They'd probably win but the losses would be high. Good chance of initial repulse. Chinese admirals and generals don't want their new toys to get too smudged.

        1. Until very recently China didn't have the Navy to do it . They might not yet but will soon. It would require an invasion roughly on the scale of D-Dy in WWII - 6 divisions.

        2. They don’t move because they have an extremely large amount to lose and very little to gain.

          Say they win Taiwan. Then what? Any value they get will be worth zero within a couple years. And reprisals would cost them enormously.

          They’ll get Taiwan in 100 years or whatever anyway. Both are Chinese. Someday the leadership philosophies will align.

          1. I find myself agreeing with Ben.

            In fact, territorial conquest for its own sake has always puzzled me a bit. How does "Russia" gain by taking Ukraine? Which is to say, how is the average Russian's life made better?

            Strikes me that it's mostly ego tripping by the people in charge.

            1. Why would Putin care about the average Russian's life getting better? He's a dictator, the whole point of being a dictator is not having to care.

              He's former KGB, I doubt he even feels an urge to rationalize that he's improving anybody's life besides his own.

      2. It's been the fact that they'd basically destroy their military in the process, Taiwan has made itself a very tough nut to crack, even assuming they don't have any nuclear weapons hidden away. Even if they won, they'd be worn down to a nub in the process.

        And then they'd have captured a ruined island, and crashed the world economy, and made enemies all over the place.

        And they had thought Taiwan could be subverted, and captured peacefully. Well, they kind of blew that in Hong Kong.

        1. Exactly. People need to think it through. Invading Taiwan accomplishes little at a very high cost.

  10. I never listened to Joe Rogan until the whole Neil Young controversy.

    Now I've listed to quite a few of his podcasts ... he does a really good podcast and has a lot of interesting guests.

    Sometimes I wonder when I see media drama, whether its manufactured. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Everyone say hello to Streisand for me.

    1. Only podcast of his I ever took in was the Musk interview.

    2. Disaffected, half-educated, antisocial culture war casualties -- heavy on the incel -- appear to be Joe Rogan's target audience.

    3. Choosing your podcasts out of spite is a choice, I guess.

      1. A rather uncharitable take. It's more likely that he was hearing a lot about Joe Rogan and decided to see what all the fuss was about.

        1. The point of this post was to let his spite flag fly; it was not 'hey here's an interesting podcast.'

        2. Correct.

          "There are people in your home town who have taken certain books off the shelves of your school library. Do not argue with them; do not protest; do not organize or attend rallies to have the books put back on their shelves. Don't waste your time or your energy. Instead, hustle down to your public library, where these frightened people's reach must fall short in a democracy, or to your local bookstore, and get a copy of what has been banned. Read it carefully and discover what it is your elders don't want you to know. In many cases you'll finish the banned book in question wondering what all the fuss was about. In others, however, you will find vital information about the human condition. It doesn't hurt to remember that John Steinbeck, J.D. Salinger, and even Mark Twain have been banned in this country's public schools over the last 20 years."

      2. I haven't watched Fox News for years. I might tune in to see, reportedly, Tucker Carlson polishing Putin's bayonette.

    1. Looks to be, although it doesn't to have records from at least the last 6 months

    2. Also does not appear to be complete as to every state/county, and may actually be over a year out of date

  11. At this point, really, what difference does the UN make?

    The UN Charter is supposedly binding on its members, and two of the principles from its Article 2 are:
    4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
    5. All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

    1. Hopefully the UN remains feckless. UN Human Rights Council includes: Somalia, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Cameroon, Eritrea and the United Arab Emirates. No this is not a Comedy Channel special.

      If the UN gave assistance, it would be supporting dictators and tyrants, because most countries right now are still in the dark ages of human rights. At the moment, I am not even sure Australia is "free" given how they are cracking down on the unvaccinated. And lets not forget Trudeau's little emergency power temper tantrum with the truckers.

      Fuck the UN.

      1. I just read this morning that Trudeau cancelled the emergency powers because the emergency was over. At least he understands that an emergency doesn't last two years.

        1. The emergency was over because the conservatives were up at least 10 points on his overreach.

          1. The new emergency was that he was looking at his government falling if he didn't. And possible a bank run if the account freezing continued.

            I think they're still going to see a bit of a rolling bank run, actually. Who on the right is going to trust Canadian banks after this? You'll want at least a month or two of savings in cash.

              1. No, I don't think they're all that different, and you're going to see a fair number of people deciding that having some cash squirreled away is smart, now that the financial sector is proving unreliable and choosing sides in political battles.

              2. If you believe Nick Fuentes, well, I think you might need a conservatorship until you become smart enough to tie your shoes.

                1. The second link came up while I was searching for the first.

                  I don't know anything about it, are you saying that his assets were not seized? Are you aware of the factual claim being denied or contradicted by anyone, or are you saying this must not be true because the FBI or US law enforcement doesn't do that sort of thing? I can't seem to find much info on it, but it looks like this individual was subpoenaed by the Jan 6 Congressional Clown Committee.

                  1. EDIT: The letter from the Congressional clown committee says that the FBI is "scrutinizing" his assets and others related to a donation of Bitcoin. The footnote cites a peculiar "blog post" from a private security contractor, and an NBC news story based on it. The blog post has an update noting that the donor was a French computer programmer who also suddenly died afterward by suicide.


                    Anyway, certainly seems to support that the FBI is interested in his assets and may have seized them, and no sources seem to contradict this.

                    1. Wow, this person also claims he can't fly anywhere and is on the no-fly list.

                      Seems the penalty is getting pretty steep these days for saying reprehensible things that the government also doesn't like (most reprehensible things still safe).

                    2. Take a look at Fuentes' history, and decide for yourself how credible he is.

                    3. bernard, So if someone is not "credible" they have no rights?

                    4. bernard, So if someone is not "credible" they have no rights?

                      Why are people so bad at logic? Did anyone say he didn't have rights?

                      No, if someone isn't credible then you shouldn't believe him when he claims his rights were violated. (Because that's what "not credible" means: unworthy of belief.)

    2. We've had a pretty stable run since the UN got into place, actually. Is it due to the UN? Who knows - we can't run that counterfactual.

      But it's certainly no League of Nations.

      1. "Is it due to the UN? "

        No, its due to the USA.

        1. Britain thought the same thing about themselves in 1912.

          1. No general war in Europe for a hundred years. I'd say England did alright.

            1. 'general' doing a lot of work there.

              1. They had a 25 year war ending in 1815, after a 7 years war 25 years before.

                100 years of relative peace with only 2 great power wars is pretty good.

        2. I think it's due to MAD. The superpowers don't fight each other directly anymore, it's all proxy wars and posturing. Ukraine will likely be Russia's last bite at the European apple (other than economic warfare) because everyone else worth invading is an EU/NATO member. I might be worried if I were Kazakhstan though

          1. I doubt it. He supplies most of easterns europes natural gas, and about 60% of Germany's natural gas. To win a war he barely has to do much more than turn the heat off.

  12. At this point in the Russian Crisis, firmer steps are needed by the feckless Biden Administration. Effective immediately, the following should occur.

    1. All trade with Russia should immediately be cut off.
    2. Measures should be taken with our NATO allies to also cut off all trade with Russia.
    3. Non-resident Russian Nationals should be expelled from the US.
    4. Russia should be cut off from the western financial system.
    5. Ukraine should be provided with more weapons from the west

    The issue of course is China. Russia will simply trade with China. At this point, a diplomat should talk to Putin and explain what's going to happen if he continues to invade and occupy Ukraine. He can do it..sure. And then he'll be cut off from the West. He can be China's puppet like North Korea...subservient to Chinese whims and needs. His country poor and struggling like NK. Or he can rejoin the west by renouncing his aggression. His choice. Chinese puppet...or withdraw from Ukraine.

    1. Firmer steps and feckless don't go together, though. There are a lot of things that are needed, and basically none of them are likely.

    2. Also China. Stop supporting communist thugs.

      I have a better chance of getting a hand hob from Gal Gadot that any of these suggestions.

    3. Non-resident Russian Nationals should be expelled from the US is punishing the wrong people.

      'Measures should be taken' is covering a multitude of sins.

      Cutting of Russia in the era of globalization is more than dumb, it's not possible.

      1. Disagree. Cutting off Russia is precisely what's needed. Freeze all assets. Shut them out of SWIFT. Send all the Russian oligarchs living the good life in the west with their stolen money home. Take steps to expand fracking and other oil production; that hits at Russia's only real asset. Germany needs to reverse its insane decision to shut down its nuclear power plants.

        (Obviously, this isn't all stuff Biden can do unilaterally.)

        1. I believe that shutting them out of SWIFT has already been done. I believe they have also expanded the people whose assets have been frozen. But I don't think any of the others have been done.

        2. Send all the Russian oligarchs living the good life in the west with their stolen money home.
          This, we can do.

          Freezing all Russian assets? That's too broad and seems to me also misaligned in who it hurts.

          audit all Russian assets? Now we're talking!

          1. It hurts Russia. Those Russian assets support the Russian state, in one way or another, one which is currently engaged in an "illegal" war.

            Cut. Them. Off.

            These weak pussy-footed "sanctions" just encourage Russia to do it, and to do it again.

            1. You're mixing up Russia with Russians.

              Like how those ahols at GWU thought criticizing the Chinese government meant criticizing the Chinese people? You're doing that, only less about words and more about collective punishment.

              Maybe the collateral damage is worth it, but right now I don't see anyone making that case.

              1. You're confusing ethnic Russians with Russian Citizens who happen to be visiting the US.

                They aren't the same.

                1. No, I'm not.

                  O, H1 and J1 visa holders are often looking for a path to a greencard. You want to just send them all home.

                  That would absolutely fuck up their lives. But I don't see how it would pressure Russia much.

                  1. Ask the Ukrainians about their lives being "fucked up".

                    1. Which has nothing to do with my point - you don't fuck up random Russians lives if it won't change Russian policy.

                      Unless you're into collective punishment.

              2. You're mixing up Russia with Russians.

                I think you're conflating tourists and/or immigrants with Russian oligarchs.

        3. "Disagree. Cutting off Russia is precisely what's needed."

          Disclaimer: No one gave me any classified briefings today.

          But, yeah. What if the whole world just told Russia ...Bye!. No trade, no financial deals, no travel except for credentialed diplomats. Like Amish shunning. My guess is that the Russian people might find regime change attractive.

          The interim sucks for the Russian man in the street, but maybe it's better in the long run. It's sort of the same ethical dilemma as whether you should send famine relief to North Korea or Taliban-run Afghanistan; harder in the short run, better in the long run.

      2. "Non-resident Russian Nationals should be expelled from the US is punishing the wrong people."

        No. Russian nationals are part of Russia, especially non-resident Russian nationals. Kick them out. Let them exert pressure on the Russian Government. This isn't "life like normal" for the people of Ukraine. Those Russian citizens living the good life in the US can be kicked out to help end the war.

        "'Measures should be taken' is covering a multitude of sins."
        A combination of threats and promises are needed. Turkey can close the Bosporus. The Danes can close the Danish Straights to Russian shipping. independent country is being invaded, breaking all sorts of treaties and promises Russia made. They should be made to pay the price for it, to encourage a retreat.

        "Cutting of Russia in the era of globalization is more than dumb, it's not possible."
        We've essentially cut North Korea off. Doing the same to Russia to the same extent (or close to it) should be possible.

        1. Kick them out. Let them exert pressure on the Russian Government

          Do you know anything about Russia?

    4. The real question here is will the US and Europe accept the cost that Putin's war will inflict. Peace is always cheaper than war even for countries not directly fighting. Can we accept higher personal costs to keep sanctions on Putin's Russia. If Ukraine sovereignty come at the cost of higher energy prices will we continue sanctions? I think Putin is counting on our self interest to allow him to do as he pleases.

      1. For us we can. For Europe, the price is higher, since they rely more on Russian Energy.

        More persuasion on the part of the US is needed. Europe needs be given a choice. They can keep the US as an ally, and keep being a free state. Or they can keep importing Russian oil, and enjoy the eventual consequences of that.

    5. I doubt Ukraine will last long enough to make effective use of weapons they do not have on hand. Deliver a SAM battery and an instruction manual and they'll still be scratching their heads when the tanks run over what the Russian missiles didn't kill. Deliver a SAM battery and some "civilian" "volunteers" who happen to have military training on (what a coincidence) that model system and they could use it much sooner.

    6. So at what point do we send Hunter Biden back to Ukraine?

  13. Good morning VC Conspirators....Europe is on my mind. Namely, a war in Europe. We have not seen war in Europe for a generation (probably 30 years or so). We now enter a time of greater uncertainty, but I think there are a few things we can safely assume in the short (next 10 months) and medium term (next 5 years).

    Russia willingly chose to wage war against Ukraine. If you think Putin will stop at Ukraine, please re-examine the assumptions that underlie that belief. History is clear: If men like Putin think they can succeed, they will keep going until they can't. That has been the history of post-Roman Europe for 1,300+ years. (hint, hint) You don't assemble 150K+ troops for just one country. It started with Ukraine, it will not end there. Short term: Europe is being remade.

    If you think China will sit quiescently on the sidelines, that is an assumption you should immediately re-visit. Medium term: War is coming to Taiwan. That has far more serious implications to the US. We are talking about ~40% of the world's semiconductor supply going away. While I would not call that a vital US national interest, it is awfully damned close (I can make the case either way). America runs on semi-conductors. Japan, Australia and the Philippines will be in real trouble.

    We are seeing an unholy alignment between the Soviets Russians and Chinese, and their actions are directly inimical to our national interests. The communists seek to destroy our way of life; never forget that. They will not stop; they are now ascendant. As Americans, we need to awaken from our slumber.

    Politics stops at the water's edge. I am praying for POTUS Biden, that he (and his team) make good and wise decisions.

    1. I agree with your entire post up until the point you think Biden and his team will make good and wise decisions. Re-examine the assumptions.

      I highly doubt he will stop at Ukraine.

      1. I have very little confidence in the abilities or judgment of POTUS Biden and his national security team. Why do you think I am praying for them, dwb68? I am an American first, and POTUS Biden is the man sitting in the Oval Office. So, I pray to God to guide/inspire/nudge him so that he acts wisely.

        The players we have in Europe have changed since the last European war (Yugoslavia, and the attendant wreckage). I don't have a lot of confidence in Europe's leadership, either.

        In the end DWB68, Ukraine is a European issue. It is not a NATO issue (yet). There is no vital US national interest at stake in Ukraine. The Brits, French, Germans, Spanish, Italians, Danes, Poles, Romanians, Lithuanians, Estonians, Latvians, Swiss, Holland, Netherlands and the rest of Free Europe all have sufficient wherewithal to deal with Ukraine (and Russia). And quite honestly, this is their backyard. They need to pick up the trash in their backyard and clean up their mess.

        1. Praying is superstitious nonsense. The #1 thing I learned from 12 years of Catholic school is god helps those who help themselves.

          1. Don't be a dick; someone on the Internet praying can't hurt you, and might help.

        2. Also Europe doesn't have "sufficient wherewithal to deal with Ukraine (and Russia)."

          The foremost rule of war is the willingness to do whatever it takes to win. If Europe had that kind of resolve, Russia would not be invading Ukraine.

          I think people need to re-learn the concept of deterrence. Showing resolve (say through troop buildup) lessens, not increases the probability of war

          1. "Also Europe doesn't have "sufficient wherewithal to deal with Ukraine (and Russia).""

            Anglo-Americans will just have to save Europe again.

    2. There are nearly a half trillion reasons why China won't invade Taiwan and it all has to do with trade between China, the US, and EU.

      As for Russia, the only countries that Russia could take without violating the EU would be Ukraine, Moldavia, and Belarus. If he were so willing to risk war with the EU by attacking a member country there is nothing we could do to dissuade him as he would have factored our response into his plans.

      1. China will calculate that trade sanctions against them will hurt us more than them. With 40% of semiconductors made overseas, and as much as 45% of the price of a car electronics (, China may not be wrong that trade sanctions will hurt us more than them. And oh, you can't build houses when you cant get the windows or garage doors imported from China.

        They will invade Taiwan. The optimal time to do it is between now and when Biden and the Democrats get smoked in the next Presidential election.

        1. China will calculate that trade sanctions against them will hurt us more than them.

          Even if that were true, and it's an impossible calculation, so what?

          You may start a fight with me, and hurt me more than I hurt you, but unless you've gained something why would you do it?

      2. "risk war with the EU by attacking a member country"

        Its NAT0 that matters. The old Warsaw Pact countries and the Baltics are all NATO now.

        The Russian Army isn't beating the US and UK and Poles.

    3. On foreign relations, Teddy Roosevelt advised us to "Speak softly, and carry a big stick." Leftists today want to snicker softly while posting memes, and burn their sticks in a demonstration against our historical wrongs.

    4. Commenter_XY,

      Well said. I do not think China's words (silence) and actions (the purchase of Russian wheat) are an accident.

      I am not a fan of doomcasting- after all, to doomcast is to invariably be incorrect. But this has the possibility of turning very bad, very quickly.

      My thoughts and prayers go to the people of Ukraine, and I hope against hope that America will present a united front against this aggression.

      1. China also just did a ginormous coal deal for 100 million tons of coal with Russia. China shored up their power generation capacity for a prolonged period of time.

        1. Well obviously they need some power to make all our iPhones, $500 billion of goods sold annually on, and everything else. They are buying it for us.

          1. Or....It could be they know that the first thing we will do in a hybrid type war is shut off Persian Gulf oil exports to China. Besides, if China burns coal, the US will suffer environmentally for it. China will not shed tears at that prospect. Would you (if you were them)?

    5. Just to point out, there's definitely been war in Europe more recently than 30 years. We bombed Yugoslavia in 1999 and Russia took Crimea in 2014, almost exactly 8 years ago.

      1. You're right....I was thinking more about the time period 1989-93. That is when Yugoslavia blew the hell up and the slaughter began.

        Sure as hell, the Russians took Crimea in 2014. I mean, that was going to happen no matter what. The Russians were not going to give up their warm water access via Odessa, and as soon as Ukraine played 'footsie' with NATO, the die was cast.

    6. Russia willingly chose to wage war against Ukraine. If you think Putin will stop at Ukraine, please re-examine the assumptions that underlie that belief. History is clear: If men like Putin think they can succeed, they will keep going until they can't.

      Putin may be evil, but he's not insane. He is not going to start a war with NATO. Which rather limits how much further he can go.

      Moldova, Georgia - they have to worry, if Russia isn't stopped now. Maybe some of the central asian former soviet republics, but I think he's fine with them as long as they have Russian puppet governments.

      1. "I think he's fine with them as long as they have Russian puppet governments"

        It's always possible that the people there will spontaneously decide they miss being part of ... whatever the USSR's new name will be. They might have a plebiscite or something, with 99% voting in favor. People in Ukraine might agree as well. Self-determination FTW, amirite?

      2. " He is not going to start a war with NATO. "

        He will if he thinks NATO won't intervene. Given the current, rather weak, response to his invasion of Ukraine, he's gotta be wondering. Maybe just try to nip off Narva, or a few other pieces of the Baltic States. See what happens...

    7. Sure. Same as it ever was. Communism is a horrible, inefficient system, doomed to cripple any nation which tries it. And all the communist nations are full of adversaries who are 10-feet tall.

      1. Always good to know where your true sympathies lie, lathrop. I will never forget that.

        1. Commenter_XY, are you unable to discern that my comment leaves plenty of room for even vehement anti-communism?

          I say a lot of things you disagree with, I get that. You want to call me a communist, I get that too. Maybe you ought to try to figure out whether there is any logical reason to suppose you ought to think that way.

  14. Watching Archive 81...Creepy in a good way so far.

  15. Anyone have any speculation on why Trudeau bailed so quickly on the Canadian National Emergency act, and rolled back all the sanctions . I've heard a few of speculative reasons:

    Trudeau himself said he didn't need it anymore and it had served it's purpose.

    The National Post said the Senate might vote against it and that could bring down the government:
    "It turns out the Senate may be useful after all. Rather than risk a vote with an uncertain outcome in the upper chamber, at least according to speculation Wednesday, Justin Trudeau ended the government’s use of the Emergencies Act. It was the right decision, even if it was a mere two days after the Liberals rammed it through the House of Commons by suggesting that losing that vote would trigger an election."

    I also heard speculation that it could trigger bank runs, if even 10%, let alone 25% of the population don't trust banks anymore, that could impact the financial system.

    And of course it's probably not polling well either.

    1. “Trudeau himself said he didn't need it anymore and it had served it's purpose.”

      Did someone else wrote this part of your post, or do you always keep asking questions you’ve already answered yourself?

      1. Well thought I should list the reasons I heard. I don't really buy Trudeau's explanation because it was just 2 days ago that he rammed it through commons with a whipped vote, but now it's out there to discuss.

        1. And the convoy is broken up and the accounts that were frozen have been thawed and the matter is resolved so the need for the emergency has ended. It was an extreme measure taken to address an extreme situation. Nothing more, nothing less.

          Your likely problem here is you got wrapped up in the “Trudeau as merciless, power-hungry despot” nonsense and you’re trying to hold onto it as long as you can.

          1. No, he's right, it's pretty atypical for somebody who'd unnecessarily seize emergency powers to give them up this quickly and easily. I suspect that he had been privately warned that it was either this, or a real confidence vote would be coming. The account freezing was really starting to threaten the stability of the Canadian banking system, they may still get a bit of a bank run as people start to move some of their savings into pickle jars just in case.

            1. No, this is just a story you tell yourself. You have no proof Emergency powers generally stay. Other than your personal ideology about governments.

              1. Nobody here has any proof, only opinions. At least now, more data may come out later.

                But we're I to pick a reason I would go with the National Post's theory, mainly because they are the 3rd largest paper in Canada and it's their job, and they're part of the Financial post, and business newspapers are generally more objective because their readers want facts more than red meat.

                1. I go with the simple explanation - The event defined as the emergency ended, the emergency order ended.

                  1. High-level Canadian government officials -- Deputy PM Freeland being one -- said, even earlier this week, that some of the emergency powers needed to be (and in fact already had been) made permanent. That contradicts the idea that they expected them to disappear after the "emergency ended".

                    1. You moved from some high-level officials (naming only one) to 'they' meaning Canadian leadership.

                      You haven't established that one is the same as the other. It's like taking a Pelosi quote and deciding that must be administration policy.

            2. No, Brett, it’s just that his hoping to hold onto the “Trudeau as dictator” narrative is applied to you as well. And freezing a handful of accounts, which only appears to have been done to the few organizers who were arrested, was not affecting the Canadian economy.

              1. "And freezing a handful of accounts, which only appears to have been done to the few organizers who were arrested, was not affecting the Canadian economy."

                Is hundres a 'hanful?'

                NY Times:
                "As of Sunday, the national police force said in a statement, 219 “financial products” had been frozen, 253 Bitcoin addresses related to protesters and organizers had been given to virtual currency exchange operators, and a bank had frozen 3.8 million Canadian dollars held by a payment processor."

                1. Sounds pretty trivial.

    2. Looking forward to your investigation of the real reasons Cincinnatus gave up the dictatorship so quickly.

    3. The whole National Emergency Act invocation never made any sense to me.

      Countries (civilized and less so) have been breaking up unruly/disruptive demonstrations for a loooong time.

      Where demonstrators are genuinely causing serious disruptions and seriously inconveniencing other people, I have no issue with the government saying, "You have made your point, now it is time to go home." And if the demonstrators don't go home, you send in a horde of police, including some on horseback, and arrest people who still won't cooperate. Less civilized governments tend to combine that with firing tear gas and live rounds into the crowds to accelerate the process.

      The cops on horseback tactic seems to have worked very well in Ottawa.

      So why the need to freeze bank accounts and cancel insurance policies?

      It seems like a crass overreach, and completely unforced error.

      If the police had been unable to break up the demonstration, and serious violence started breaking out, then I could see escalating with those "Emergency" powers, but why would you lead with them?

      1. cops on horseback tactic seems to have worked very well in Ottawa

        Hard to say if the bank thing was a necessary ingredient it's operation would be quieter.

      2. The whole National Emergency Act invocation never made any sense to me.

        Countries (civilized and less so) have been breaking up unruly/disruptive demonstrations for a loooong time.

        From everything I've read, and heard about from Canadians I trust, the answer is kind of Canadian: they really don't like to play rough. They thought that the optics of violently breaking up protests would be worse than the polite, behind-the-scenes freezing of bank accounts and such.

  16. Been thinking about the abuse law recently passed in Texas. The one that says that there are situations where transitioning your pre-pubescent child can be abuse.

    It seems a better way to have handled this would have been to simply introduce liability to the prescribing/operating doctor. The kid can't consent to the procedure or taking medication with long term side effects legally. Just write a law that if 15 years down the road, when the kid's out of the reach of his/her abusive parents and realizes they were never trans, they can sue the doctor for physical and emotional damages.

    The solution has the advantage of not needing to know which side of the debate is right ahead of time. If trans activists are right, and detransitioning essentially never happens. Then malpractice insurance will absorb the new costs with basically no issue. If Texas is right, and a significant percentage of these cases are abuse. The trail of lawsuits will heavily incentives doctor's to make sure the kid is actually trans.

    Also it would provide real unmanipulatable data on which side is actually right on this issue.

    1. A 15-year delay in liability is a big deal -- in my state, for example, medical malpractice has a two year statute of limitations.

      Also, parents are legally capable of consenting to treatments on their child'a behalf. Are you suggesting a change to that?

      1. If we want the victim to be able to decide if it was medical abuse as opposed to state officials or family members who are not parents, as the current law provides for. Then the time frame needs to be such that the child can become an adult not dependent on their abuser.

        Also, we do put limitations on parent's medical rights when it comes to kids. We don't let them conscript a doctor to cut off a healthy leg for example, even if we do let them make the choice on amputating a limb if the child life is at risk.

        As we are quibbling on where a line should be drawn on the difference between legitimate parental rights to make their children's medical decisions vs abuse, rather than if a line should be drawn. My solution allows for the minimal amount of injustice in a situation where the decision making data has been intentionally obscured by both sides. Letting the individual actually effected by the actions taken make the decision on if what they went through was legitimate medical intervention or abuse.

        1. 15 years was just a number I just thought sounded about right to meet adulthood though. If we wanted something a little less arbitrary, we could say liability lasts until the kid is 25 (1 year after medical science says on average the brain stops developing) or 27 (1 year after they are off their parent's medical insurance and are fully independent adults).

          1. Statutes of limitations for sex acts on children run quite a long time in many places, e.g. 15 years from majority. On the other hand, where I live medical malpractice claims have a statute of repose. A statute of repose differs from a statute of limitations in not allowing exceptions.

            1. I suppose then it would have to be phrased as medically abetted abuse instead of malpractice then. It has the same issues as child sexual abuse, from a victim stand point, so being treated similarly would be expected.

    2. The problem with your idea is that it doesn't fit into the culture war narrative. The number of trans kids undergoing treatment in Texas is small. Trans adults in US are at about 0.6%. At 29 million with about 25% under 18 assuming same rate of trans identification in children and you are looking at about 40K in Texas. Only a fraction of those will get treatment and that will likely only be puberty blockers to avoid development of secondary sex characteristics. The numbers will get smaller as you look to those that transition and then are unhappy with the choice.

      This a small problem that is blown up by the cultural warriors.

      1. Oh yes, it is extremely rare. That's a big part of why reliable data is so hard to gather on the issue.

      2. I don't understand why we're taking up so much space for something that's so rare.

        But it could get worse here in Texas. There's a guy named Huffines that's running in the primary against Abbott and from his commercials he makes Abbott seem like Mother Teresa by comparison.

    3. As a pediatrician, I am quite aware that med-mal is 2 years, but the clock does not begin ticking until age 18; so age 20.
      So endocrinologists, surgeons, shrinks, and anyone else is potentially on the hook for a long while even without any new legislation.

  17. Here's what's on my mind. The left has to be stopped, by any means necessary.

    1. Then you really need a hobby or some friends or something. Desperately so.

      1. That's someone's way of saying, "Mute me."

        It's good to give people what they ask for, Otis.

  18. Gaslighting is presenting a false narrative to someone, in order to make them doubt.

    It's not easy to do so, but everyone should doubt their narratives.

    1. I'm sure there is a German word for autogaslighting.

      "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."

      1. Epistemic closure, right?

        Anyone not part of my narrative is a plot against it.

        1. Most of these comment threads just make me sad, tbh. I think that there are a lot of commenters (and I remember them from way back in the day) who don't realize how - we'll say closed - they have become. Makes nuance or legal discussions a wee bit difficult.

          Best decision I ever made was getting rid of social media eleven years ago.

          1. No Facebook for quite some time. Twitter I don't find to be much of an issue; the key is to never read the replies.

            1. So what you're saying is ... you quit twitter.

              You know, like Blackman did.

    2. Gaslighting isn't really just making someone doubt a particular narrative. It is more making someone doubt their sanity generally, so you can make them believe your narrative. It is almost always misused here.

  19. The following Youtube video came up for me, and I found it gave a lot of food for thought:

    Was Harvard Worth It? The Hidden Cost of Attending an Ivy League College

    Attending an elite school if you are not from the elite can be very difficult.

  20. I think we can call agree the most pressing concern right now is, have the Russian soldiers had diversity and inclusion training? What will happen to Ukraine's queer folx if they haven't??

    1. No. Obviously the most pressing concern right now is to completely ignore what is going on, including the fact that people are getting killed, and instead say to yourself, "Self, how can I make a stupid and puerile point that I would have made anyway, regardless of the topic?"

      But good for you getting that out. Do you feel better now?

      1. One can feel bad about the Ukrainians, and still point out the utterly weak response of our government at all levels. Frankly, it has been an utter disaster. And some people here can only react by saying, "but Trump."

        Please. The current guy is an utter disaster, and his weakness certainly made it easier for Putin to do what he did. Putin, whatever else he is, is not maniac. He is a calculating bastard, and he calculated that this was a good time to go into the Ukraine.

        And believe me others are watching. If you are Taiwan, or Israel, or Japan, or the any of a number of Western European countries, this gives you great pause.

        1. Oh, sure. That's exactly what I was responding to. Someone who came in to make reasonable comments about realpolitik. Thank goodness you called me out, BL! After all, it was obvious that Kleppe has been reading Foreign Policy for decades and wanted to share his insights on geopolitics and the history of Russia vis-a-vis the current situation with Putin.

          I have no idea how I might have mistaken his reasoned discourse for some sort of, "DERP something something ha ha diversity is bad and something DERP," that has nothing to do with the Ukraine, or Russia, or Putin at all.

          I truly appreciate you coming in BL, and Bored-splaing that to me. My reading comprehension is off, and I must have missed the complex subtely of what was presented. I'll do better for you in the future.

          Thanks for pointing that out to me.

          1. So you know how to engage in snark, too. Duly noted.

            1. No, I don't know what snark is.

              Why don't you teach me? Seriously, can you explain this concept to me? You are so good at explaining these concepts to people who don't understand, Bored Lawyer. Maybe you can explain this to me in a way that can help my peanut-sized brain understand the complex nuances of Kleppe's geopolitical arguments.

              I will wait for you to smite me with your book-learning, like the slightly dumb golden retriever that I am!

              1. Drink some tea. Will make you feel better.

                1. You know what will make me feel better?

                  How about you go ahead and justify your response to me, given Klebbe's comment. Explain to me the brilliance I was missing. Go on!

                  Or, you know, just go. Either works.

                  1. I'll try one more time. Kleppe's comment is the equivalent of a political cartoon. It is cartoonish, but it still makes a valid point.

                    The notion that someone posting here is going to give an in-depth analysis is risible.

                    Now why don't you respond to my point. The current Administration has been remarkably weak, and many of its policies have only emboldened or aided Putin. Shutting down the Keystone pipeline not only raised the price of oil, but put more money in Putin's pocket, and made Europe more dependent on Russia.

                    1. "The notion that someone posting here is going to give an in-depth analysis is risible."

                      What's risible is you defending that comment with more blather. First rule of holes- when you're in one, stop digging.

                      If you wanted an actual conversation with me on the merits, maybe you should have approached things a little different, eh? As it is, go on.

                      Or just go.

                    2. Ok, you got the last word in. Glad it makes you feel good.

                      Try camomile tea.

                    3. Yes, you've got all your talking points down pat, except that Biden did not shut down the Keystone XL¹ pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline wasn't operating, so there was nothing to shut down. At the time Biden revoked the permit,² only a small fraction of it had been constructed. It wasn't expected to be completed until 2023.

                      So, no, it did not "raise the price of oil" for Biden to do that, or make anyone more dependent on Russia.

                      Not to mention, here's a fun fact: Keystone XL would've been a convenient way to get oil from Alberta, but it's not the only way. The oil can still be produced and sold whether the project is running or not.

                      ¹I'll put the pedantry in as a footnote: there are multiple Keystone pipelines. Other ones have been running for years, and Biden didn't take any action with respect to them. It's only the last phase, Keystone XL, that Biden acted on. I'll assume that's the one you're referring to.
                      ²To be clear, I disagree with Biden's decision. But I disagree with inaccuracy even more.

        2. One can feel bad about the Ukrainians, and still point out the utterly weak response of our government at all levels.

          Did you know that it took roughly five months after the U.S. was attacked at Pearl before we actually did anything except retreat from the Japanese (and longer before we went on the offensive), and it took almost a year after Germany declared war on the U.S. before we actually attacked them?

          But, sure, you're capable of evaluating our response to the invasion of Ukraine within a few hours.

      2. I feel great; I didn't vote for the feeble cretin who's letting the world fall apart on his watch. How are you?

        1. I'm sad. A lot of people are dead. More are going to die.

          But I wouldn't want that to stand in the way of you feeling good about how clever you are. I hope that's working out for you- being clever.

          1. What is your problem? Are you the Volokh Conspiracy comment police, enforcing some standard that exists only in your head for comments here? It's Open Thread Thursday? What don't you get about that. Humor is fine.

            1. Wow.

              That was harsh. Yeah, I know he's not funny, but that was a serious sardonic attack, Publius.

              "Humor is fine." Ouch. Just tell him that he sucks next time, why don't you?

            2. "What is your problem? Are you the Volokh Conspiracy comment police, enforcing some standard that exists only in your head for comments here?"

              That is, in fact, exactly how Loki sees himself.

    2. I'm sure Putin's quaking in his boots anticipating our soldiers in drag driving electric tanks showing up in Kiev.

  21. Question for Trump critics.

    What is the absolute worst thing Trump did as president? Only name one thing.

    1. I'll bite and do you one better. I'll list (IMO only) the worst thing, and the best thing, he did.

      1. Worst- eroded norms. That's a catch-all category, but from things like intra-branch cooperation to trust in elections, a lot of what we depend on for our system of government to work relies on norms- not just rules. Trump didn't start the process (the idea of "constitutional hardball" long predates him) but the cynical exploitation of it escalated to such a degree that it's hard to imagine going back, now. Any other specific policies, whether you agree with them or not can be changed or undone, but this (IMO) is the lasting and damaging legacy.

      2. Best? I would have to say the actions in the Middle East. They weren't perfect (far from it- the whole thing with Qatar was just bizarre). They weren't really pro-human rights (Khashoggi). But a lot of people, me included, thought the Jerusalem thing would be an instant disaster. As much as I hate to say it, sidelining the Palestinians and practicing realpolitik in the Middle East ... worked. I don't know if it will continue in the long-term, but the people who predicted immediate terrible consequences were wrong, and the Trump administration was right.

      1. "1. Worst- eroded norms. That's a catch-all category, but from things like intra-branch cooperation to trust in elections, a lot of what we depend on for our system of government to work relies on norms- not just rules. "

        And this didn't start with Hillary,, in 2016?

        1. See, here's why we can't have conversations. Do you even care what I wrote? Seriously? Do you want to have a discussion, or are you intent on ... what, PWNING THE LIBTARDS?

          As I wrote ... "Trump didn't start the process (the idea of 'constitutional hardball' long predates him) ...." So yeah, I have a little bit of history with this. In fact, this was a conversation going on for a very long time.

          But for numerous reasons, Trump cared a lot less about these norms. Part of it is because, well, he had no real experience with them. Part of it is because, if you were at all familiar with him as a person prior to becoming President, you were aware that he didn't care much for rules, let alone norms.

          But I was asked my opinion, and that's it. That's what I think is the worst thing. Because norms require buy-in. And when people stop buying in (and, worse, assume "the other side" doesn't have them) then norms don't work at all.

          1. True the erosion of norms accelerated under Trump, but it had also accelerated under Obama, and under Bush before that. Trump was little more than the straw that broke the camel's back in that respect. Him getting the GOP nomination was itself a reflection of how much the norms had already been eroded

            1. Norms deteriorated over time. Arguably, the serious damage began with Clinton/Gingrich. It is a banal truism that our system of government (with first past-the-post and an executive/legislative split with a strong executive) doesn't work with strong partisanship and polarization.

              But the distinction, such as it is, is that the executives before always cared about the norms. Both parties. Trump exposed just how weak the remaining norms were.

              (I would agree re: the nomination.)

              1. While I agree with you, I think it's stronger than just norms: it's institutions. Trump was — still is, but it's much less important for now, unless he gets the 2024 nod — a burn-it-all-to-the-ground-so-that-I'm-the-only-one-left-standing guy.

                People talk about how much of an ambitious douche Ted Cruz is, and that's true. He'd sell out his dad, and his wife, for career advancement. But as bad as he is, he still believes in and works within the system. Exploit loopholes, sure — but real ones. He just wants to be the most successful guy at the top of the system.

                Trump doesn't believe in it at all. To Trump, the media, churches, the "deep state," the courts, political parties, and of course elections are just obstacles to his ego gratification.

                1. Yeah, this is pretty well put.

                2. Meanwhile, leftist protesters are the ones who literally burned things to the ground, and leftist politicians tried to stop Trump's most famous construction project.

                  Projection is a hell of a drug.

                  1. So you're saying — assuming that someone who burned something actually was a "leftist protester" rather than just a random guy, and assuming that trying to destroy the media and the judiciary and elections is just as bad as burning down a tire store — that Trump is no worse than a violent street thug. Okay. Gotcha.

          1. Nope.

            "Hillary Clinton dismissed President Trump as an “illegitimate president” and suggested that “he knows” that he stole the 2016 presidential election in a CBS News interview to be aired Sunday."


            If that's conceding, I am Mao Tse Tung.

              1. How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn't make it a leg.

                Abraham Lincoln

    2. He tried to steal the 2020 election.

      1. The 2020 election was stolen, but not by Trump.

        1. Another unsurprisingly false statement by Publius. Every comment sets a new record!

    3. Worst thing is his attempt to steal the 2020 election, when he lost, and that makes him a LOSER. And like the flim-flam man that he always has been, he tried to cover it up with lies, and attempts to intimidate the people who were engaged in the procedures that would certify hims as a LOSER.

      And, BTW, he lost to someone who in his best days, say 20 years ago, was a political hack, and is now a senile political hack. So that makes him a double LOSER.

      1. Completely agree. Hillary Clinton was perhaps one of the few candidates who would lose to Trump, and it probably took Trump to get the feckless Joe Biden into the White House. How depressing.

    4. Worst is accelerating the GOP's turn into a purely reactionary party. Using the bully pulpit to exactly govern on behalf of only red America.

      Best is not reversing Obama's anti-ISIS policies. He reversed dang near everything else, but not that. His best actual change effort was with opoioids, but I don't think that paid off much.

    5. Bump stock ban.

      Took a perfectly legal product, even related to exercise of a constitutional right, and by executive fiat made it illegal to own. You'd become a felon if you didn't destroy them, or turn them in, and without compensation, too!

      That's the executive branch making criminal law, AND violating at least two constitutional rights in the process.

  22. I can't help but compare the Russia/Ukraine situation with the Cuban missile crisis sixty years ago. Both are at their root a concern about an enemy establishing a beachhead. In resopnse JFK didn't invade Cuba, but he blockaded it and that is also an act of war. Was it a more acceptable act of war, and Putin should also have found a less extreme response? Or was Kennedy equally wrong to prevent Cuba from allying with whomever they chose?

    1. I heard that last night Biden sent out Jen Psaki to buy all the chicken Kiev should find in stores in the DC area.

      1. Now that's funny.

        1. Yeah, that's a regular political cartoon!

          Did you know that Kiev and Chicken Kiev share a name? That's a knee-slapper.

          And they say there aren't any good conservative political humorists. Bunch of liars- I mean, these guys learned at the webbed feet of Mallard Fillmore, and he pitches straight fire.

          1. See my above comments on camomile tea. Or try tranquilizers.

            But if you are interested, what makes it funny is not the Chicken Kiev and Kiev share a name. It is that Biden is so senile and stupid, he would think he needed to stock up on what any chef can make from chicken, butter and a few herbs. Kennedy at least stocked up on Cuban cigars, which are not easily replaced. (At least that is what cigar aficionados say. Personally, I find all cigars and cigar smoking foul.)

            1. Regarding cigars, in 1962 it was true that the only cigars worth smoking we Cuban, but due to market demand (as well as a "brain drain" of cigar makers fleeing Cuba) the quality of non-Cuban cigars has greatly increased. Personally I don't find Cubans all that impressive compared some US and Dominican offerings

            2. Explaining jokes always makes them funnier.

          2. Loki, you didn't get it.

            1. Oh, I got it. I think you missed the point completely.

              But sure, your joke was really funny and not at all obvious. A great example of not only real comedy, but an insightful use of non-obvious concepts to drive home a satiric point no one could possibly have considered. Truly, a comedic tour de force.

              1. You are coming across as if you have mental issues. Are you executing a vendetta against me or something. I thought it was clever, a "quip," as it were, and others did, too. And you go off the deep end on me! Wow.

                1. So what, you're some kind of reverse Joe Pesci? Demanding people find you funny?


                  1. Where exactly did he demand anything? He made a joke. You don't find it funny, so ignore it.

                2. So here you go.

                  You're a clown, Publius.

                  All good now?

    2. The missiles were much more than Cuba allying with the USSR.

      1. OK, how about Option 3: Putin jumped the gun, his military response would have been justified only after NATO forces were deployed in Ukraine.

        1. That would depend on whether the forces were defensive or offensive.

        2. Others have disagreed but I maintain that Putin doesn't conflict with NATO, that's why he's spent the last 8 years ensuring Ukraine remains isolated from EU/NATO, and insisted as recently as last week that Ukraine must be permanently barred from joining NATO. If he didn't care about fighting NATO it wouldn't matter if Ukraine joined or not

          1. Kevin, I assume you meant "Putin doesn't want conflict with NATO". I think that is likely true, and that NATO doesn't want conflict with Russia either and that is why Ukraine's desire to join - which their president at the time announced 20 years ago - has been slow-walked for so long.
            Maybe Putin is acting now because Ukraine's NATO aspirations haven't gone away - in 2017 they even amended the constitution to include a commitment to NATO membership - and he felt that waiting longer risked Ukraine achieving that goal. If Russia invaded after that point the rest of NATO would be obliged to respond in kind, but not if he invades now.

    3. Both are at their root a concern about an enemy establishing a beachhead.

      No. Putin is not worried about an enemy beachhead. He doesn't worry that the U.S., or NATO, or god forbid the EU, is going to attack Russia via Ukraine.

      He gave a long speech the other day, and made it clear what his grievance was: he views the existence of Ukraine as fundamentally illegitimate. He views the collapse of the Soviet empire as a geopolitical tragedy that was ultimately an insult to Russian dignity.

      1. Yes, but he complained about a NATO threat in that same speech. I agree though he is more likely worried about losing influence to NATO in Ukraine, as has happened just about everywhere else in eastern Europe, than he is about an actual attack.
        Which statement is genuine and which is fuel to inflame his audience may be difficult to tell. If he really is trying to rebuild the USSR then inventing an excuse to send Russian troops into Kazakhstan (again) can't be too far off. Though he could still spin it as countering NATO, or even as defending ethnic Russians who make up about 20% of the population.

  23. In the U.S. and Canada there are good protests and bad protests.

    Bad protests: January 6th, Canadian Freedom Convoy: track them down, freeze their accounts, put them in jail, seize their funds.

    Good protests: Against Justice Cavanaugh, BLM: hey no problem! break into the capitol; burn, loot, murder. Everyone released, no serious charges, no accounts frozen, no funds seized.

    1. You've elided the methods that distinguish these protests a whole bunch here.

    2. And you conflate all that happened post-Floyd as though it was just one protest. There were absolutely bad actors there doing vandalism and looting.
      And there were fine orderly protests.
      And also illegal protests where people got arrested but there was no looting or economic damage.

      Given the methods of the truckers, and the short period of the emergency act being invoked, I think that part was well handled.

      You know what wasn't well handled? The police rousting the protesters. Plenty of videos of excessive and unneeded force.
      Police are a blunt instrument. Deploy them more carefully next time.

      1. "And also illegal protests where people got arrested but there was no looting or economic damage."
        Are you kidding? Maybe we're talking about a different group, or different planet.

        "Nevertheless, arson, vandalism, and looting between May 26 and June 8 were tabulated to have caused $1–2 billion in insured damages nationally—the highest recorded damage from civil disorder in U.S. history, surpassing the record set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots."

        Wikipedia: George Floyd Protests

        1. Read what I posted again. The protests that summer included

          -Bad actors there doing vandalism and looting.
          -And there were fine orderly protests.
          -And also illegal protests where people got arrested but there was no looting or economic damage

          So coming back saying 'There was looting and vandalism' agrees with my post.

          Are you trying to argue there was *only* looting arson and vandalism? Because if you're trying to compare that whole summer with what happened in the Capitol on Jan 06, that's where you need to go.

          1. Yes, I see that now, thanks.

            But here's my point. No one who participated in the BLM protests that included violence, looting, and arson have been treated nearly as harshly as the Jan 6 people and the Canadian truckers.

            Here's an example. The two lawyers who were captured on video fire-bombing a police car in NYC were released on bail. The woman who organized the Freedom convoy was denied bail, and is being held.

            1. If all the BLM protests involved everyone breaking into a Federal Building and hunting it's employees, you might have a point.

              I don't know the Canadian bail system. America's bail system is way too harsh, and needs reform. No special pleading though.

                1. You've really changed your goalposts from BLM, eh?

                  1. Also, glad you called them rioters. Because also there were protesters, and it's not great to call them the same people.

                  2. The Portland rioters insist they are legitimately protesting for proper causes, and BLM is perhaps the leading such cause.

                  3. and BLM is perhaps the leading such cause.

                    The fact that you had to throw in this unsupported bullshit shows you're not commenting in good faith.

                    Sorry I wasted so much time on a liar like you on this open thread.

                    1. So what do you think their leading causes are? I assume you don't think they're rioting and getting arrested because they find it entertaining. And that you don't think they started just after George Floyd's death because they think Black Lives Matter.

              1. "America's bail system is way too harsh"

                Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The guy who tried to shoot the Louisville mayoral candidate was released on bail. Personally, I think mass shooting suspects probably shouldn't get bail. I mean, I get it that the shooter was a 'March for Our Lives' and BLM supporter, but still...

                1. Meeting a systemic indictment with an anecdotal exception is not a great argument.

                  If you don't want mass shooting suspects to get bail, pass a law specifically about them. Do it consciously and openly. Not this under the table discretionary ad-hoc system. I tend to like discretion, but in this case it's proven to tilt it towards those with means.

                  1. "Meeting a systemic indictment ... it's proven..."

                    I didn't see you cite as much as an anecdote.

                    "...those with means"

                    I agree there. It's not just bail, but the justice system, and life in general, is easier if you have a fatter bank account. What are your suggestions for improvement that don't involve letting mass shooters and career criminals loose?

                    1. Sure, if you want me too back up my opinion, it's fine to ask. But an anecdote is not a counterargument.

                      Our justice system locks people into it in a way that makes the class division especially stark is all.

                      What are your suggestions for improvement that don't involve letting mass shooters and career criminals loose?
                      I think my previous comment strongly implied it - less discretion, less local control. Make a system that defines who is a mass shooter and who is not. Add some order to this regime.

                      I don't like the term career criminal. To be sure, they are a thing. But that line gets real blurry when you try and nail it down, and mercy to those who deserve it always suffers. Plenty of injustice examples under three strikes laws.

                      I'm all for law and order, but many seem like they want revenge or something.

                    2. From Sweden: "1 % of the population accountable for 63 % of all violent crime convictions".

                    3. From DC:

                      "This small number of very high risk individuals are identifiable, their violence is predictable, and therefore it is preventable. Based on the assessment of data and the series of interviews conducted, NICJR estimates that within a year, there are at least 500 identifiable people who rise to this level of very high risk, and likely no more than 200 at any one given time. These individuals comprise approximately 60-70% of all gun violence in the District."

                      The innocent victims of prolific violent criminals deserve mercy as well.

                    4. I remain skeptical - if there is indeed an easily defined cohort, why are we so bad at implementing measures to remove them that don't catch-up a bunch of lower-level folks that don't deserve it?

                      I suppose the issue could be the incentives for prosecutors to use every lever at their disposal, even if it may not fit the spirit of the law. But it really seems more like any test will be over inclusive.

                      Separately, 'violence is predictable, and therefore it is preventable' may not mean jail and throw away the key. Maybe it does! Bail seems like a bad idea for that cohort, but we need to think hard about what kind of interventions we use. And America seems really bad about thinking hard about anything but moar jail.

                    5. Can you believe I did prosecution clinic in law school, lol?

                      I loved to talk, and wanted some discretion.

                      Man, that job woulda broken me.

                    6. "But it really seems more like any test will be over inclusive."

                      Let's talk specifics.

                      Car thief Chuck is 30 years old and is up for sentencing for his ninth conviction for stealing cars.

                      Violent Vic is also 30. To date he has been convicted of nine violent crimes - he has put four people in the hospital, carjacked two people, and robbed three people at knifepoint. He's here today to be sentenced for putting his girlfriend in the hospital with a baseball bat.

                      Judge Sarcastro has complete discretion on sentencing. What sentences will you pronounce for these two cases? I really am curious. These are the kind of people I think about when I think 'career criminal'. Maybe you are thinking of someone with one conviction for shoplifting and four for driving without insurance? Or are we both envisioning Chuck and Vic, but you don't think jail is appropriate for Chuck and Vic?

                    7. You're making a 'know it when I see it' argument, and I'm making an 'actually drawing a bright line is hard' and an 'in practice, it's abused' argument.

                      I don't disagree with you, but I also believe these three things are true at the same time.

  24. A quiz!

    B&W newsreel: "Fascism on the march!"

    Leader of a militarily powerful nation, with nominal private ownership of industry, but strong government "partnership", screetches about how ethnic peoples of his own nation, residing in regions of a nearby one, are suffering, oppressed over their ethnicity, demands their regions be rolled back into:

    A. The Fatherland
    B. The Motherland

    Part 2:

    A. "I have here a piece of paper. Peace in our time!"
    B. "If you move militarily, I frownie face and I shall taunt you a second time!"

  25. For all the talk of Trump's mental health during his presidency I wonder of Putin hasn't gone round the bend. His recent delusional statements and his willingness to spend the lives of his people for what I believe will turn out to be a quixotic quest to restore the glory of the Soviet Union, displaying traditional Russian paranoia.

    I used to think that Putin was an understandable and maybe inevitable pendulum swing reaction to the breakup of the Soviet Union and the chaos that followed.

    I thought we in the west could wait him out and eventually more rational leadership could emerge. Unfortunately if he remains in power he is setting up a new cold war which will isolate Russia with a few camp followers and possibly set off more military conflicts ion the coming decades.

    I know the Poles haven't forgotten all they suffered at the hands of the Soviet Union and I doubt the Ukrainians will forget for generations either.

    1. I don't think Putin's lost it. It's a fairly shrewd move on his part. He doesn't intend to keep all of Ukraine. The Donbas, Crimea, and maybe the rest of the coast are all he really wants. The Russian public isn't in any real danger as long as it's just Ukraine; Ukraine stands no chance of ending up in Russian territory right now. Lives matter little to him anyway, as virtually his entire life as shown. He gets a temporary (maybe permanent) approval boost at a time of little public opposition. All he has to do is be willing to risk Russian citizens' money and economy. It doesn't affect him much.

      One of the few promises (little too strong of a word) he's given to the Russian public, rather than promises from the party, is that he'd make Russia Russian again and proud. It's incredibly popular.

      1. You assume you know Putin's endgame, gormadoc. That is a very dangerous assumption.

        1. Maybe not endgame, but I believe he is correct in the short term: Crimea, Donbas, and a land corridor between them. Once he controls that much he will pull out of the rest of Ukraine and the government will gladly accept the loss of territory in exchange for the ceasefire.

          Personally I think after that Putin will turn his eye toward former imperial holdings in Asia

          1. "Once he controls that much he will pull out of the rest of Ukraine..."

            Obligatory disclaimer: "making accurate predictions about the future is hard, especially about the future"

            My guess is "...sort of pull out of Ukraine, after installing a puppet government". Unless, of course, that government asks for Russian assistance in 'fighting terrorism', AKA insurgents.

            1. $%%^^&&*& ... delete the first 'about the future'. I blame Yogi Berra.

        2. Everything he's done he's been saying for nearly 20 years. Nothing he's done is unexpected once you stop thinking "Putin can't really mean/intend what he said." Stuff about Ukraine becoming friendly with the West being a "red line and " they'd "aim their missiles" at Kyiv if they partnered with NATO, Crimea being illegally given to Ukraine and should have been still part of Russia, Russians outside of the country were being oppressed and needed Russia's help, and the West was exporting degenerate culture to weaken Russia. Each of these claims he's made and said how he would address them he has now attempted. Perhaps he goes on to take all of Ukraine but then Russia truly does lose the wanted buffer between NATO and Russia.

          1. Time will tell, gormadoc. I just hope we (America) make good decisions that keep us out of a European land conflict. I have a feeling though, that this will go sideways and it will not be confined to just Ukraine. Moldova's (not a NATO member) leaders are probably crapping their pants right now. I would.

            The troop reinforcements to the Baltics, Poland and Romania are the right moves (to me). It communicates that we mean business, without being overly provocative.

            The lack of unified approach within the EU-5 toward Russia is a huge concern.

      2. Have you seen the picture of anti-war marchers in Moscow?

        Some polls show less that 20% of the Russian people are in favor of war.

        Hard to know how deep the sentiment runs.

        1. There are fewer than 1000 people marching in Moscow. In 2014 there were thousands in multiple cities. The opposition in Russia has been neutered and the leadership killed or imprisoned since then.

          I think most polls show that Russians are largely ambivalent on the matter of war, so long as it doesn't enter Russia:

          1. It's hard to care when you're just along for the ride, and don't have any say in what happens.

          2. What's telling, though, is that there's nobody marching for this war in Russia.

    2. Putin is the classic "old man in a hurry". He has a lot of things he wants to accomplish, and is running out of time in which to accomplish them. So he's cutting more and more corners, and taking bigger and bigger risks.

      And with every risk that doesn't blow up in his face, he becomes less risk averse.

      Xi is no different, of course, he just has more resources available.

    3. UK defence minister: Putin has gone "full tonto." I was not familiar with the saying but I like the sound of it.

  26. An interesting development in the Arizona v, San Francisco oral argument was a statement by Deputy Solicitor General Brian Fletcher not only that the nationwide injunction issued by a district court in Illinois was improper, but that as a general matter, district courts should not be issuing nationwide injunction.

    This appears to leave a straightforward resolution of the case that may well command a supermajority. Arizona would appear to lack standing in this 9th Circuit case where there was only a local injunction not involving it, but has a better case for standing in the 7th Circuit to contest the nationwide injunction. In addition, there appeared to be a near-consensus both that nationwide injunctions were a problem, and that states shouldn’t be able to automatically intervene when the federal government acquiesces to a court ruling against a federal statute or regulation. Finally, there appeared to be some agreement that the federal government doesn’t normally formally retract regulations struck down by courts, and doesn’t have to have notice and comment to stop enforcing them.

    So the obvious solution is either dismiss the grant of certiorari in this case or issue an opinion clarifying that Arizona lacks standing in this case but may have standing in the Chicago case. And in the Chicago case, or another one where there is standing, the court could issue an opinion declaring the nationwide injunction invalid and setting a standard to determine when (if ever) a nationwide injunction could be issued.

    It’s really the nationwide injunction that was the source of the problem. If the injunctions were all local, the administration would have to use notice and comment to rescind a rule in jurisdictions where local injunctions don’t apply. And if multiple injunctions result in a rule being unenforcible everywhere or almost everwhere, a pattern of multiple local injunctions reflecting a consensus of judges in multiple circuits would provide a much more solid and less problematic justification for stopping enforcement nationwide without notice and comment than a single nationwide injunction by a single potentially outlier judge.

    1. What if the judge in the Chicago case denies intervention because it should have been sought sooner?

      1. Well, they intervened in the current case even later, after the Supreme Court had already taken the case. So if it would be correct to deny leave to intervene in the Chicago case, it would be even more correct to do so here. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court doesn’t let them intervene in this case, they could still argue that intervention in the Chicago case is timely.

        So what might happen in the Chicago case doesn’t seem to be a good basis for deciding this case.

    2. Of course the administration could argue the exact opposite in another case where they liked the outcome.

  27. So I'm listening to CNN in the background while I work. An ad by Egypt comes on, and starts puffing about how Egypt is working towards green or sustainability, I forget the most recent buzzwords.

    An ad, by a dictatorship, on how they're adhering to modern concerns of spoiled westerners, during a news show live monitoring dictatrship on the march.

  28. And John Kerry weighs in:

    Good thing he has the climate change angle covered. I am sure Putin is very worried about that.

    1. The dictatorship of Egypt ran an ad during the invasion on CNN just now, puffing up and assuring US citizens and John Kerry the dictatorship is on board!

      Egyptian journalists, ranked as one of the most oppressed in the world, could not be reached for comment.

  29. So, who wants Trump back in office about right now?

    1. Putin, that's who.

  30. How is Canada like Moscow?

    Moscow right now is arresting protesters, taking stop the war signs, and warning protesters government will track their arrests for the rest of their lives so you had better not protest the government.

    1. "Poutine my mouth!", screeches Queen Amalthea.

  31. Honestly its hard to get work done watching tanks roll.

    I hope no one here is dumb enough to think hes stopping with Ukraine. Hes going to challenge NATO and turn off European gas.

    Very sad day.

    1. I agree it's a sad day. I hope you're wrong about the escalation, but regardless of initial plans, things can, and will, escalate unexpectedly once fighting starts.

    2. He didn't need to attack Ukraine if he wanted to turn off the gas...

  32. Congrats to the people who think feelings about words are a good criteria for choosing politicians. I’m sure all the families of the war dead will console themselves with the scarcity of mean tweets.

    1. Ironically, this post is appealing to feelings.

      1. Hopefully some feel ashamed of how extremely shallow they’ve let themselves become and vow to do better.

        1. By your own logic, you're being pretty shallow right now.

          1. On the other hand, feeling ashamed is for people who care about the difference between right and wrong and aren’t just trolling everyone with meaningless word games.

            1. No, I'm pointing our your hypocrisy as you stamp your foot from on your high horse.

              You can tell me how to feel all you want. Rest assured I'm not chortling about Ukraine right now.

              Regardless of how much I am broken up by Putin killing and rendering people homeless, I bridle at your trying to make this some kind of indictment of the American voter for not being as rational as you.

              1. When you try to make it about me, it’s clear you have nothing to say.

      2. Trump twits and Ukrainian graves are morally equivalent to Sarcastr0 because people have feelings about both? Wow. That seems pretty shallow.

    2. I certainly hope that this isn't meant to be some type of shot at people who voted for Biden over Trump.

      Because, really, does anyone think Trump was elected because of his long and careful study of international relations and diplomacy, rather than a visceral propensity to grab onto a strongman when one is feeling insecure?

      1. No one knows what would have happened.

        But perhaps it’s a good time to reflect on the value some people place on feelings about words. Maybe try to understand the world and pay attention to policy instead of exclusively engaging in phony melodrama.

    3. The main issue here is that most of the West just does not understand how the rest of the World works. We have lived in our neo-socialistic liberalism bubble for too long. People actually think things like "toxic masculinity" exist or that if we all just act like women the world will find utopia. That just isn't reality and you know what reality wins, eventually, every single time.

      The rest of the world, outside of a few Western nations, which is run by tin pot authoritarian dictators, relish power and displays of authority as being controlling and desirous. That is the kind of action and presence that commands respect, not whining about climate change or feminism. And what it means is that when we put in a weak kneed leftist like Biden, the World thinks they can roll him which is exactly what Putin is doing right now. Our leftists applaud when a general says something like "I want to understand white supremacy and rage" to Congress. Other World leaders just laugh at us and think we are weak. What is going on here is the direct result of that being our current leader presence.

    4. Feelings about words.

      In the spring of 2020 American cities were burning and a generational pandemic was ramping up. What was Trump doing?

      Mass tweeting at Joe Scarborough about an intern of his that died in an accident ten years ago. His fee fees were hurt because Scarborough didn’t support him any more.

      It’s not bad words, although yeah Trump is extremely unlikable. There is a decent number of Americans that would like their president to show emotional maturity and self control better than that of a five year old.

      1. So nevermind anything about policy or world affairs. Decide based on musing about emotions.

        1. Or because Trump seems, you know, unstable.

          1. Four years of policy choices including the defeat of ISIS, Abraham Accords, and the US-Canada-Mexico trade agreement indicates otherwise. But you care about Morning Joe tweets...

      2. And you might be more into emotional musings, but all the leftists could talk about for four years was how words cause teh bad feels.

        1. I don't think that's true, but I'm sure you feel it's true.

          You've convinced yourself you're soo rational you operate based entirely on anecdotes and getting mad at them.

            1. "Congrats to the people who think feelings about words are a good criteria for choosing politicians. I’m sure all the families of the war dead will console themselves with the scarcity of mean tweets."
              Also no mention of policy.

              1. Policy mentioned just above.

                Keep trolling though

                1. You construct the straw man that the only reason people don't like Trump is because of his mean tweets, and then you argue against that. Seems kinda pointless, but this is the open thread.

  33. I am somewhat mortified by many of the comments here. Have people become so used to spinning every little thing for stupid partisan points that they simply cannot understand when something real is happening anymore?

    People, good people, are dying Ukraine. If you have family or friends that are in the service, you know that deployments are ramping up. Hard choices will have to be made- at a minimum, we are looking at increased energy costs and some degree of economic shock in the short term. At a maximum, well, things can always start spinning out of control of the people who planned them.

    I do not envy the administration and its options. I honestly don't know what I would do in their place; on the one hand, unchecked aggression such as this, if tolerated, will continue (by Putin) and perhaps by emulated (Taiwan/China). But I don't know that anyone has the stomach to either do anything about it with force, or even take the steps necessary to truly isolate Russia on the world stage (which would include, at a minimum, disconnecting them from SWIFT).

    I think Putin is aiming for a quick victory, to install a puppet government, and is assuming that after a year or so people will calm down and forget about the sanctions. Maybe. But success emboldens, doesn't it?

    1. Hungary and Germany can't support disconnecting Russia from SWIFT because they need it to pay for Russian gas.


      Makes you wonder if the real goal of the climate change agenda is to make Europe and the US more dependent on Chinese and Russian economy so that we cant do anything to stop their aggression.

      Well, I dont really wonder, but I hope you do.

      Yep, a lot of people are going to die, including a lot of Ukranians who will not make it out.

      My heart goes out to people like Prof Volokh who may still have family there.

      1. Makes you wonder if the real goal of the climate change agenda is to make Europe and the US more dependent on Chinese and Russian economy so that we cant do anything to stop their aggression.

        It would have to be a really stupid person who was doing that wondering, since the whole point of the climate change agenda — for good or ill — is to reduce the use of fossil fuels.

        1. Germany's attempt to move to "renewables" (solar and wind) make the grid unreliable. Moving away from coal and nuclear leaves... Russian gas.

          Renewables are simply not a reliable energy source. Same thing happens in Texas when the wind blows.

          1. Man, you are into making predictions.

            Germany's grid will become destabalized.
            The GOP will win the Presidency for the next 16 years.
            Putin will invade other countries after this.
            Inflation has become structural.
            Taiwan will fall to China, due to this invasion.

            The world is too uncertain for predictions to say much except about the predictor.
            All of yours seem to be based on elevating the GOP and global destabilization.

          2. "Renewables are unreliable," seems to be sort of a Texas specialty. Maybe Texas ought to hook up to the national electric grid.

          3. Germany did not move away from nuclear because of "the climate change agenda." It moved away from nuclear because of a stupid overreaction to Fukushima.

    2. Biden should start by immediately rolling back all the energy moves he made when he took office, and allow the U.S. to return to being a net exporter of oil and gas.

      1. The majority of issues w/r/t oil in the United States have nothing to do with regulation. It has to do with the cost of energy.

        We have a lot of energy that we can access, but it's usually at a higher cost that certain other places (like the light sweet crude of Saudi Arabia). So when oil and gas prices plummeted, extraction wasn't profitable. It's the same problem that you have with, inter alia, tar sands.

        TLDR- the problem was that investments were made when oil was trading at $100 a barrel, which, when it crashed to $20 didn't seem like such a great idea. Heck, a lot of places struggle unless it's at least above $60, which it hasn't been consistently since 2014.

        Anyway, that tends to take a while to ramp up, and those decisions should be made without looking at short-term spikes.

        1. Oh, you think canceling pipelines and leases doesn't have any impact? Or maybe you don't count them as "regulation"?

          1. I honestly don't know how familiar you are with the industry, Brett. I'm guessing not very.

            But sure, different things have different impacts. The skyrocketing energy prices, for example, will lead to increased production here and in Canada (not to mention overseas). There's a lot of productive sources that aren't being fully utilized (or, in some cases, utilized at all) because of the recent energy prices.

            But whatever makes you feel better. Okay?

          2. Brett, I can show you a silver mine in the Rockies. Miles and miles of tunnels, but all inactive, no mining. You can walk in through your choice of open portals in the mountainside, and before you get very far, you start to see glittering veins of galena ore (lead, zinc, silver). The ore is about 70% metal. The lead is what glitters. The silver is present as a grey oxide. The mine is loaded with ore, but it has been inactive for decades, since the 1950s.

            What that shows is that, for the present, it is cheaper to mine those metals somewhere else. That is pretty much how all the mineral reserves work. They get developed, sometimes exploited for years, and then closed without exhausting the resource, for economic reasons. Not many major reserves get mined out.

            Mostly, the companies which own those mines are pretty tight-lipped about what they have. I do not much trust any summary statistics about mineral reserves in the U.S. I have seen too many pickups parked at stream access points, with their license plates off. Those belong to modern prospectors, who work their way upstream to find presumed ore bodies identified by trace minerals in the streams.

            If those guys do find something, and the activity to explore what is there gets too obvious, they will tell you what they found. Molybdenum. Always molybdenum, every time. The biggest molybdenum mine I ever heard of was developed as a pretty large open pit. I knew someone who worked there. It was producing thorium. If it had been copper, or tin, or rare earths, or gold, or pretty much anything else, it would have been advertised as a molybdenum mine until public knowledge got so general you couldn't fool anyone any more.

            Fossil fuel reserves get treated the same way. You have no idea how large they are, or how quickly they can come on line. There are almost surely plenty available that do not need the long lead time that comes with permitting new drilling, or building a pipeline. The only trick will be to get the owners to cooperate.

    3. Yeah, politics stops at the water's edge. I believe that.

      I am no fan of POTUS Biden (you know that), but I am praying for that man and his team. Our health and well-being depend on them making good decisions, considering Russian capabilities (i.e. hypersonic missiles).

      I did not like it when I thought POTUS Trump was unfairly pilloried regarding Syria, Iraq, Iran, North Korea. It would be hypocritical for me to pillory POTUS Biden over Ukraine and Russia. The job is hard enough.

      How we got to this point? Historians can argue about that. Right now at this moment....we're in the thick of it. It is time to take a quick 'time out' on politics.

    4. "I do not envy the administration and its options. I honestly don't know what I would do in their place"
      Thank you for your honesty .
      The constant harping on partisan points delivered with the usual rhetoric is discouraging.

      1. Thank you. Truthfully, though, I don't think it takes a surplus of honesty to acknowledge that there don't appear to be any great options. I am just hopeful that we find one that works.

        1. By the time the bullets start flying, all the good options are expired. Doesn't mean there weren't previously a lot of good options left unexercised.

          Mostly of the "don't reverse that policy" sort, sadly.

          1. "Doesn't mean there weren't previously a lot of good options left unexercised."

            And a lot of bad ones. The great thing about these types of arguments is that they are as annoying as they are unfalsifiable. Obviously, if different things were done, things would be different. But they weren't done ... so who know what would have happened? I'm sure if we all had perfect knowledge of the future, we'd all make perfect decisions, right?

            Point is- what are we doing now? Not, "How can I make my same points I always make."

          2. Brett,

            Do you have some examples in mind?

  34. "Hungary and Germany can't support disconnecting Russia from SWIFT because they need it to pay for Russian gas.


    Well, the reporting so far is that there is a solid bloc in the EU (incl. the Baltics, Poland, UK, etc.) that want to disconnect. The primary opposition is, of course, Germany, which is insisting it be "saved" for some future infraction (like ... really really invading?).

    As for neo-fascist Hungary? Screw them and everything they do. Sorry, just my opinion on that one.

    1. Under EU rules I think it needs to be unanimous, sadly.

      1. I think it's possible. That's really the issue, isn't it?

        I mean, "Sure, it's really bad. But not so bad we're going to even bother sanctioning you like we could," is hardly the strong message of deterrence that you want to send. 🙁

    2. The problem for Germany besides for the excuse that you quoted is that it really needs the Russian gas because German energy policy has been so unbalanced.

    1. That's great, thanks!

  35. I asked an actual person from Ukraine what they thought of the whole Russian invasion thing and there answer was this:

    "In Ukraine the government is largely considered to be corrupt and strongly favors certain regions in the country. Areas closer to Russia think that their interests would be better served as being part of Russia and also there is a feeling that certain aspects were 'better' under the Soviet Union. A large minority of people are extremely frustrated with the entire situation and may be willing to agree to extreme measures that this point. I find coverage of the West does not include any perspective of the people of Ukraine and is framed more in putting Putin in a bad light as opposed to giving a fair take on the situation."

    So there you go. That is more of an "explanation" then I ever got from just about any US based news source.

    1. Oh, well if "an actual person" says it, it must be an accurate representation of the populace's views.

      1. To be clear here, by putting "actual person" in scare quotes I was not calling JtD a liar — I mean, that's rarely a bad bet, but I wasn't doing it here. I was simply mocking him for thinking that because one person said it, it must be true.

        1. My point was the US based news sources have included absolutely no perspective from any Ukrainian except for representatives for that government. International affairs are usually more complex then "bad man bad" as it appears to be here.

          1. Ukraine was just asking for it. Did you see how it was dressed?

  36. "Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests. The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible." George Washington


    "The Polish government is seeking to nearly double the head count of the country’s military to 300,000 people, which would make it one of Europe’s largest by troop levels.

    That increase began last July, when Polish President Andrzej Duda received intelligence reports from the U.S., later confirmed by Poland’s own security services, that Russia—supported by Moscow’s close ally, Belarus—was likely to escalate conflicts with neighboring states in coming months, a senior adviser to Mr. Duda said. Those plans accelerated in the fall, when Belarus encouraged thousands of asylum seekers, mostly from the Middle East, to cross Poland’s border."

    Almost like the Biden administration knew this was coming and did nothing. They were too busy not doing anything in Afghanistan.

    1. Or, conversely (and more bleakly), they got the troops out because they knew we couldn't find a two- or three-front war.

  38. Holy shit. Biden used his Ukraine address to warn US E&P companies about price increases. Either his administration has less understanding of supply and demand than my dogs, or they just can’t help governing by gaslighting. He insults our intelligence every time his mouth moves and half of us just can’t get enough of it.

    And we’re gonna armtwist our allies into draining their oil stockpiles. “Hey, WWiii might be about to start! Let’s pull down our strategic energy reserves!!”

    Meanwhile, his idiot predecessor is going around telling anyone who’ll listen that Putin is a fucking genius and is pulling a master stroke, when in reality Putin’s “going in to quell rebellion” plan was worthy of the average American seventh grader. Russian TV is using his speeches for propaganda.

    These two have to be the absolute most stupid Presidents/administrations in our history, hands down. All of y’all out there that are so deeeeep in your beliefs that you can only just hate the enemy, this is what you’ve given us with a lot of help from our dysfunctional media. Nobody worth a shit wants the headache any more. So we’ll remain a nation run by dunces.

    1. bevis, if you are trying to cheer me up, you are failing miserably.

  39. Barbara McQuade, former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, has written a "prosecution memo" outlining the criminal actions for which Donald Trump may be culpable for his efforts to pressure Mike Pence to abuse his authority as vice president in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021. Her analysis is cogent and thorough.

    As I have been advocating in these comment threads, Ms. McQuade does not find it necessary to hold Trump vicariously liable for the actions of those who breached the Capitol on January 6. The leadup to those events, especially the attempt to corrupt Pence, is more than adequate to prosecute Trump.

    The entire memo is well worth a read.

    1. How's the Manhattan DA prosecution coming?

      1. Not well, it would appear.

        1. I was rather impressed to discover that Trump was not, in fact, a ham sandwich. The guy must be cleaner than I ever thought, if a couple of Lavrentiy Berias couldn't find the crime.

          1. Who said they couldn't find the crime? I suspect that the prosecutors assigned to the case couldn't abide Alvin Bragg's timidity.

    2. Private Citizen and MSNBC(lol) Contributor Tilts at Windmills!!!! See it on MSNBC because you’ll never see it in court ! Film at 11!!!!

      Wonder if any of the Fox guys have finished writing their Hunter Biden indictments yet. They could do like high school and grade each other’s papers.

  40. Would China be maximizing its alliance with Russia if it chose to attack Taiwan right now?

    1. China's issue with a Taiwan invasion is the near trillion dollar trade it puts at risk with the US and EU.

  41. Anyone have an idea why the Russians seized Chernobyl? Seizing important infrastructure is Takeover 101 ... but Chernobyl has been shut down for years.

    1. Email message...with a CC to Absaroka 🙂

      From: Vlad the Russian Conqueror
      To: Europe, and other interested parties
      Subj: Geez, look what we found at Chernobyl; very costly (to you)

      Hey Europe, a mighty fine looking continent you have there. Gosh, it would really be a shame if something happened to it, like radioactive rain. And for the small sum of X (fill in the blank) whenever we ask, we'll make sure nothing like that happens here. But geez, Chernobyl does look really nasty now that we are bombing the shit out of it testing it, so that small sum (whenever we ask) might have to increase (a lot) if you take too long to get to get back to us.

      Waiting impatiently for your the Moldovan border.

      Vlad the Russian Conqueror

      1. I still don't grok it.

        1)If you want to breach the sarcophagus, all you have to do is send a missile or bomb.
        2)My sense is that Vlad wants to rule Ukraine, not make it a wasteland.

        1. A south wind blows from Chernobyl toward Belarus. A southwesterly blows toward Russia. A northwesterly blows toward the Russian separatist parts of Ukraine.

          It could be that Russia wants to secure Chernobyl, to avoid scorched-earth retaliation.

        2. Well, there is also this. If you look at a map of Ukraine, it is the straightest approach right into the Ukrainian heartland. It is also the geography.

          1. You're probably right. I would think that prudence dictates avoiding the area, but Russia doesn't seem to worry a lot about collateral damage. I've seen reports that the radiation sensors have spiked about 20X, from dust kicked up by munitions, and also a report that an errant Russian artillery round hit a nuke waste storage area.

            1. Can you imagine a universe in which you would not have heard such reports? Not saying that means they are false, mind you.

  42. John Eastman is trying to shield e-mails from January 4 through January 7, 2021 from disclosure to the House January 6 investigating committee, claiming attorney-client privilege.

    I am pleased to see that the House is challenging assertion of the privilege based on the crime/fraud exception. No privilege exists where an attorney assists a client in perpetrating a crime or fraud.

  43. Sidney Powell has failed in an effort to obtain a stay from the Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, of the District Court's order that she and other Team Trump attorneys take twelve hours of continuing legal education credit before February 25. Ms. Powell and her cohorts did not first seek a stay from the District Court.

    Will this lead to contempt proceedings in the District Court? Why do those associated with Donald Trump act as if rules don't apply to them?

  44. There are previously unimagined levels of left-liberal copium in this thread. Be careful not to overdose.

  45. Hope everybody's got their iodine tablets; The President of Ukraine just issued a veiled threat to nuke Russia if the Budapest Memorandum doesn't start being respected.

    1. How can Ukraine nuke Russia if they were supposed to disarm their nuke capability under the memorandum?

      1. They are supposed to disarm themselves of nuclear weapons under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, not the Budapest Memorandum. Perhaps withdrawing from the NPT, like North Korea did, would be the strongest signal of their intent.

      2. Perhaps they weren't stupid enough to actually trust us?

  46. A day and a half into the war Zelensky wants a surrender on terms but Putin wants unconditional surrender. Soon an occupied Ukraine will become the status quo, business as usual, same as Putin's other conquests, and Germany will keep on funding the Russian war machine because nuclear power is scarier than an ambitious dictator.

    1. But of course nothing in international politics is ever static and in 10, 15, 25 years maybe Ukraine will become whole again and Putin will be placed in the loser column of history.

      1. Maybe it will take only 15 years. Maybe Putin will move in enough colonists to make the occupation permanent.

    2. Germany is asshole.

  47. 1. I found this to be an interesting analysis.

    2. In for a penny, in for a pound. Now Russia is threatening Finland and Sweden.

    1. Thanks for that link, Loki. Bret Devereaux is an unexpected beacon of clarity. Everyone should read that. Remarkable to find such concise and extensive clarity about modern events coming from an academic specialist in ancient history. I plan to follow this guy.

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