Opinion | For Justice Thomas, the Roberts court is more feud than family – The Washington Post

Since the leak of the draft opinion on Roe v. Wade, any pretense of family harmony at the Supreme Court is collapsing.
— Read on www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/05/16/clarence-thomas-john-roberts-supreme-court-family-leak/

UKRAINE UPDATE: THE LATEST FROM THE TELEGRAPH

MONDAY 16 MAY 2022

UKRAINE UPDATE:

MSNBC

  • Russia fired long-range missiles on Western city of Lyiv.

EUROMAIDAN PRESS

  • After destroying Mariupol victims are offered money if they agree to blame Ukraine.
  • Russian shelling causes explosion at ammonia nitrate warehouse in Kharkiv.

PODCAST: UKRAINE THE LATEST

THE TELEGRAPH

  • There are exercises continuing in Belarus.  At the moment there is no evidence that they are more than exercises.  This will fix Ukrainian forces in the area.
  • Lukashenko wants to avoid direct military participation and thereby avoiding Western sanctions.
  • Ukrainian troops are on the border with Russia.  They are able to affect Russian resupply.  But if they start shelling that resupply, it raises risks.
  • Russians are losing the support of Israel.
  • Finland and Sweden joining NATO would have been unthinkable six months ago.
  • Ukraine purposefully flooded a village, Demydiv, in order to stymie the Russians.  This contributed to the defense of Kyiv.
  • More killings discovered in Bucha. 
  • Phosphorus bombs.  P bombs are used by many armies as smoke creators.  Incendiary devices to create fires.  White Phosphorus is used for smoke.  On the front of tanks there are tubes which can distribute smoke.  This allows the tanks to escape.  It is perfectly legal to use.  It is not legal to use them as an anti-personnel role in civilian areas.   In the past the Soviet Union classified white phosphorus as a chemical weapon.  The Russians are setting off blasts which shower and then explode (over the steel plant) when they hit the ground.  This is another type of white phosphorus being used.   
  • White phosphorus was used in Syria.  It’s not classed as a chemical under the conventions.  But the effect is to kill indiscriminately, through fire, works similarly to chemical weapons.  It’s a legal grey zone. 
  • Russia has made belligerent statements about Finland joining NATO, but they are having trouble crossing a river in Ukraine.  They are not going to invade Finland.  The have used so many resources.  It is no longer conceivable that Russia can do anything (in terms of conventional warfare) to prevent this.  What is expected is cyber and possibly assassination retaliation.
  • Finland and Sweden will add a great deal to NATO.  They both have sophisticated military capacity.
  • NATO needs Turkey.  We need that position on the Black Sea.  There is an opportunity to draw Turkey further into the alliance, but it will require compromises that people are not likely to be happy with.  Turkey seems not quite comfortable with Russia or with the West.
  • Russia has to hold Snake Island.  Eyes on the Southwest.  The expected massive encircling effort by Russia just has not come about. 

UKRAINE UPDATE: PUTIN AND LUKASHENKO

MONDAY 16 MAY 2022

CNN

  • Finland applying to join NATO.  Russia threatening retaliation. 
  • Russia may have lost 1/3 of their combat troops (death, desertion, disappearance)
  • McDonald’s is selling out in Russia.

UKRAINE WORLD

  • Russians shelled Severodonetsk again.  (On Donets River, near Lisichansk, east of Izium.
  • Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) composed of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.  A security bloc trying to position itself as a NATO rival.  Russia tried to draw these nations into its war against Ukraine.
  • CSTO meeting held in Moscow May 16. 
  • CSTO Statements: Putin cited a “peacekeeping” operation in Kazakhstan in January.  This contingent from the CSTO “prevented the seizure of power…by extremists, who were also controlled from abroad, and helped quickly stabilize the…political situation.”
  • Putin: “…the Pentagon has created dozens of specialized biolaboratories in our shared region….Their main task is to collect biological materials and study the specifics of the spread of viruses…for their purposes….”  In Ukraine “…documentary evidence has been obtained…components of biological weapons were created in violation of the Convention…possible methods and mechanisms were worked out to destabilize the epidemiological situation…”
  • Putin also noted: Ukrainian “neo-Nazism,” a “surge of frenzied Russophobia in the so-called civilized and politically correct countries…”
  • Lukashenko (President of Belarus) noted: “NATO saber-rattling”…a “full-scale hybrid war unleashed against us, primarily against Russia and Belarus.”  NATO was described as: “drawing Finland and Sweden…into its nets.”  The CSTO was characterized as “defensive and peace-loving.”
  • Lukashenko: “It is clear that Ukraine was incited and incited, stuffed with nationalism, Nazism – evidence of that is Odesa, where people were burned alive – and fascism, Russophobia and weapons.”
  • The establishment of an independent Orthodox Church in Ukraine is again cited as a reason for the invasion. 
  • May 12, Peskov: “NATO expansion threatens the world’s security.”
  • Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Maria Zakharova.
  • Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev: “After Sweden and Finland join the Alliance, the United States and Great Britain will immediately deploy nuclear weapons on their territory.”
  • April 28, 2022, head of theRussian Foreign Intellience Service, Sergei Naryshkin: “Poland is planning to establish their control over part of the territory of Ukraine….Poland and the United States are working out a plan to establish Warsaw’s military-political control over its historical territories.”
  • According to Russian officials and media personalities, Poland is going to seize Western Ukraine.

The Russian media is reporting that Poland is planning to attack Belarus

UKRAINE UPDATE: Russians Pushed Back

SUNDAY 15 MAY 2022

Notes on an interview:

UKRAINE WORLD: Episode 97: Is This War About Geopolitics?

Interview with Danylo Lubkivsky, Director of Kyiv Security Forum

  • Russians are schooled into the belief that the West is the most horrible empire ever to be in existence. 
  • They believe that a greedy West is trying to conquer them.  This is part of their mindset. 
  •  Host:  The West underestimated the imperial nature of Russian society.   
  • WWII was the end of German imperialism but left the Russian empire.
  • The loss of the cold war was for Russia like defeat of Germany.
  • Guest: What to do with Russia is the most important question of the 21st century.  You cannot compare Russia to Germany after WWI.   Russia wasn’t abandoned and neglected.  Russia was invited into the international community and the international bodies.  They were given a place on the UN Security Council. 
  • The problem was that Russia never accepted the invitation.  The desire of Russia was to influence the international process to project a false understanding of their own superiority.  Russia had chance to build strong economy, help their citizens and get rid of the chauvinism and nostalgia.  But to the contrary, they did everything not to cure the Russian society but to deepen these societal diseases.   
  • Overall the majority of Russians support the offensive against Ukraine.  They bare a strong collective responsibility for what the Kremlin is doing right now.  Many people want to return to the old Soviet Union system.  They “ordere the music.”
  •  “At some point, the Russians made the mistake when they have chosen the road not of their own independence but of belong in some other state formations that looked like helping us to protect our independence.”  “Every nation makes its own mistakes.”  “Russia is guilty not only of some mistakes, but of a great crime against Ukraine, against the world, against the ideas of the humanity.”

EUROMAIDAN PRESS

  • Russia is using occupied Crimea to imprison and ill-treat hostages.
  • Sea mines wash ashore in Odesa.
  • Russians use prohibited phosphorus munitions and cluster munitions in Dnipropetrovsk.
  • Ukrainians manage to buy freedom for some of their activists kidnapped to Crimea.  Corruption of the Siloviki allows this.
  • Russia is attempting to encircle Ukrainian forces in the Donbas.

TWITTER

  • Per Newsweek: Russian State TV is praising Rand Paul for singlehandedly blockin Ukraine aid in the Senate.  The anchors commended him for “not being primarily worried” about the “fate of Ukrainians.”
  • Natasha Bertrand: Over 400 soldiers were killed last week trying to cross the Donets river.  Western military leaders say this represents a stunning lack of tactical sense on the part of the Russians.

UKRAINE WORLD

  • Reports from Kherson of rape of girls, people who disappeared, widespread cases of torture and beatings. 
  • Finland is applying for NATO membership.
  • Hungary’s president condemned the Russian invasion aNd supported Ukraine’s attempts to join NATO.
  • (Note: How dare the Republicans attempt to take any credit for the victories in Ukraine. They fought this tooth and nail. They removed support for Ukraine from the party platform in 2016.  They supported a president who tried to extort Ukraine with a holdup of military weaponry.  F..k them.)
  • Ukraine has pushed Russia back from the Kharkiv area.

UKRAINE UPDATE: PODCAST

SATURDAY 14 MAY 2022

UKRAINE UPDATE: PODCAST

Anyone seriously interested in the implications of and the events around the war against Ukraine, must seek out the various excellent podcasts on the subject.  The corporate news is hopeless as a source of information and is by and large a waste of time.  Coverage of the war is primarily focused on isolated day-to-day military events (how many bombs fell in Odessa, for example) and anecdotes of either personal tragedy or personal heroism.  The interest in the war, as Zelensky predicted, is waning in the US.  Most cable news networks present an upbeat understory of Ukrainian victory largely brought about by American support.  The point of the coverage is to reassure the American people that everything possible is being done and to keep them from feeling guilty as they sit and watch Ukraine be bombed back to the stone age every night. 

UKRAINE WORLD: Episode 97: Is This War About Geopolitics?

Interview with Danylo Lubkivsky, Director of Kyiv Security Forum

  • Russian propaganda is that Ukraine was dragged into this war by the West and is nothing but a pawn in a struggle between great powers. 
  • Putin has made very clear that according to Russian thinking, Ukraine is an artificially created country that does not actually exist as an independent entity.  He has also made clear a Russian cultural contempt for Ukrainians and the belief in innate Russian superiority.
  • In the lead up to the war, some “liberal” Russians argued that if Ukraine remained “loyal to Russia” Russia would never invade.
  • Even if Russia did invade, they argued, this is just “what big powers do.”
  • The suggestion and sometimes the assertion is that Ukraine should just accept its fate. 
  • This line of thinking proposes a legitimate right of “great powers, i.e., those countries that can get the world to accept them as such.
  • The proposition is that Russia says: If you countries are loyal we will not attack.  But what this means is that Russia, the great power, judges whether or not others are loyal.
  • The idea is that countries like Ukraine (and the Balkans) should simply accept occupation.  They should humble themselves and accept their fate.  (Note: Putin actually used the language of a smutty song recently to describe what Ukraine should do as being something like “lay back and enjoy it.”  The song referred to a rape.)
  • Lubkivsky argues that Russia got into this war because of a “false understanding of international politics.”  They are fighting according to the methods of WWII, an outdated approach.  In addition, they are obsessed with outdated views of how to conduct international politics. 
  • “Putin lost this war before he even started,” according to Lubkivsky.  Russia is trying to remain a great power.  Or perhaps to jump back into being a great power.  Their only instrument to accomplish this is the military. 
  • Russia tried to implement the idea of the Russian World.  They tried to maintain control over the former territories through propaganda and control of ideas.  This failed.
  • Host: The question is raised about “enlargement fatigue” on the part of the EU and NATO.  They had expanded and felt they had gone far enough and failed to include Ukraine.  2007-2008 were cited as crucial years.  Then, there was in 2008, Russia’s invasion of Georgia. 
  • One of the interesting things about the situation is that the decision about Ukraine moving decidedly toward the West was not made in Washington, or Berlin, or London.  It was made by the Ukrainian people themselves.  They made the changes, throwing out the Russian puppet government, moving on corruption, electing a total outsider as president, which ensured the direction of the society.
  • Guest: This was not really a question of provocation.  “Russia wanted to be provoked.”
  • Host: “Russia didn’t need to be provoked.”  “Russia was a victim of its own disinformation.”
  • The Russians thought Ukraine was weak.  They were preoccupied with their own greatness and false superiority, they simply didn’t understand what was going on around them.  They couldn’t accept the independence of the Ukrainian nation.  They really believe that everything is orchestrated by Biden or somebody else.
  • Guest makes Five predictions about the aftermath of the war: (1) Russia’s role will be clearly diminished. (2) A united West will make a huge difference internationally, 3) there will be a more profound role of China, (4) the result will be a reshaping of the international architecture, the UN.  Security Council, (5) There will be a new role for Ukraine.

UKRAINE UPDATE

FRIDAY 13 MAY 2022

UKRAINE UPDATE:

CNN

  • There are wounded inside the steel plant in Mariupol.  It is believed that all the civilians are all out. 
  • The Russians keep shelling the plant.
  • Russian troops have withdrawn around Kharkiv and destroyed bridges.
  • Destroying the bridges means that the Russians have given up attempts to occupy Kharkiv, according to the reporter on the scene.
  • Kherson: controls the head of a canal that controls fresh water into Crimea.
  • They are trying to carve Kherson off, the Russians to add this to the occupied territory. 
  • Convoys are leaving Kherson and have been attacked.
  • The Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv has been very successful.
  • The Ukrainians have forced Russian troops down in Izium back north to defend their supply lines.
  • Ukrainians are trying to keep the russians out of Kramatorsk.  Russians are trying to take Kramatorsk.
  • Russians are pushing into Voevodivka towards Kramatorsk.  They have secure supply lines into Voevodivka. 
  • Ukrainians have destroyed 13 ships of the Russians.
  • Odesa is a key port.  Grain products have to be shipped out through Odesa.
  • Odesa is blockaded now.  This is going to have an impact on world hunger.

UKRAINE WORLD

  • Member of Russian government: “Poland should be the next in the line for denazification…”
  • Residents of Mariupol are starving.
  • Zelensky: “France’s President Macron offered to make concessions on Ukraine’s sovereignty in order to save the face of Putin.”
  • Russian Foreign Ministry threatened that if Finland joined NATO, Russia would take “reciprocal steps, both military-technical and other.”
  • Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Moscow (controlled by Russia) stated that Russia invaded Ukraine because its former President Poroshenko established the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (independent of Moscow.)
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