SATURDAY 26 MARCH 2022
- Rallies against Russian occupation in Ukraine.
- Kidnappings of town mayors and artistic figures.
THE GUARDIAN: “Ukraine Will Not…” Maria Zolkina (3/25/22)
- “The only scenario that is not discussed is the full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
- The talk everywhere is that something needs to be sacrificed to appease Russia.
- “It is impossible for Ukraine to accept any of Russia’s ultimatums. Not the recognition of the so-called “republics” within the borders of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, not the annexation of Crimea, and not the demilitarization of Ukraine.”
- “…these concessions will not bring any security and in no way will they guarantee the withdrawal of Russian Troops.”
- “…they can only provoke a new Russian offensive against Ukraine.”
- The military support guaranteed in any treaty must include concrete forms of collective response, including using troops.
- “A ceasefire is not enough.”
- “Russia would use a ceasefire to strengthen and rearm its troops while demanding the west reduce military assistance to Ukraine.”
- “We urgently need weapons, including air defense systems and antimissile systems. We need sanctions, especially the refusal of EU states to purchase Russian gas and oil, and the disconnection of all Russia banks from Swift. We need western support for the independence of all Ukraine.”
FRIDAY 25 MARCH 2022
It’s another day and still, still, the west does not stop the killing and destruction in Ukraine. I am ashamed.
- Report of a man who was the chief of a yacht owned by a Russian oligarch. He tried to scuttle the yacht and was arrested. He went back to Ukraine.
- Zwack: The longer the Ukrainians hold, the more pressure there is on Russia. Troops are hearing what is going on at the front. Because of last minute notification of the fact that they were going into a war, the Russian troops were unprepared. (Note: Zwack has a book about pre-Putin Russia.
- The Alabama Attorney General refused to say that Biden was “legally elected and lawfully serving” when testifying in front of the Congress.
- Carole Leonig: what knowledge did Justice Thomas have of his wife’s activities? “The optics are just horrible for the Supreme court Justice.” Because he is the one justice who voted not to turn over the records. That vote was without legal support. This looks bad for the court in general. There is a ruling that is a “suspicious” vote, and then the text messages come out. Leonig is minimizing the importance of Genni Thomas’ input. (Note: Meadows’ response is not the issue, Genni Thomas’ behavior is.)
- Scarborough: Genni Thomas was the “establishment of the establishment” when Scarborough knew him. She was saying that Biden and his family would be tried on barges off Guantanamo. The Republican party has been taken over by “cranks.” (Note: Again, political movements are diminished in importance through the “crazy” label.
- Lemire: Flynn has been videoed giving a Q-anon salute. Her behavior does not break any law. (Note: Isn’t it against the law to plot a coup?)
- Eugene Robinson: (WP) “This is crazy stuff.” She was talking about watermarked ballots and boats off Guantanamo. This is an example of “radicalization” of the conservative movement in Washington.
- Lemire: Talking about the “limitations” on what we can do to deter Putin. He is talking about crippling sanctions that haven’t done anything. (Note: If they are “crippling” why aren’t they doing anything?).
UKRAINE WORLD (@ukraine_world)
- Around 300 people were killed at the Mariupol Drama Theatre.
- Russians were disseminating the story that the US had funded bio labs in Ukraine. Now they are saying that Hunter Biden was involved in financing these labs.
- Zelensky is warning about famine.
- Wesley Clark has said that Putin may use low yield nuclear weapons, probably not in Ukraine, but on the staging areas or some populated area in Poland.
- US and EU announce a “task force” to reduce dependence of Europe on Russian oil and gas. (Note: A task force?)
- Reuters is reporting that the US estimates an up to 60% failure rate for Russian missiles.
- Australia sanctions Lukashenko and 22 Russians.
- Russian shelling is preventing the rotation of essential personnel at Chornobyl.
- Mariupol City Council calls for help as residents begin to die from starvation.
- Russia claims to have “evacuated” 400,000 Ukrainians to Russia, including 84,000 children.
- Zelensky urges G7 to fully block Russia’s Central Bank and block Russia from the GPS.
- Zenensky: “You have thousands of fighter jets, but we have not been given one yet.”
- The Police General in Mariupol offers to surrender himself to the Russians in exchange for getting children out of Mariupol.
- Japan will freeze assets of 25 more Russians and prohibit exports to 81 Russian organizations.
- Remember when Thomas’ confirmation hearings were going on, Thomas reportedly was laying in a fetal position under a table crying about the “high-tech lynching.”
SATURDAY 5 MARCH 2022
• Moldovans are moving West in fear that they too will be invaded.
• Note: Russia controls the eastern part of Moldova, much like they control the Donbas. The region is called Transnistria
• McRaven is not supporting the no-fly zone. It would expand the war instead of containing it, he says. Note: The Ukrainians might disagree.
• McRaven is suggesting that the Ukrainians have a good chance of winning. So, like in Afghanistan, we are going to blame the population if they lose.
• McRaven has evidently said in the past that Putin has “outplayed us” but, now he is saying; “Putin has lost.”
• Smerconish is asking the “Putin is a madman” question. McRaven is saying that before this he would say Putin is a “rational actor.” He says it’s hard to tell whether he’s imbalanced or just miscalculated.
• You don’t have to attack a nuclear facility, just turn off the electricity so that it can’t cool.
• Russians are employing more mercenaries.
• Washington Journal: Ryan Evans, War on the Rocks, answering questions.
• “risks escalation” if you implement the no-fly zone. “It would create more human suffering…” Note: Glib statements without any evidence.
• “Putin drank some of his own kool-aide.”
• Note: This notion that Putin has done a “remarkably incompetent war,” and that he will defeat himself, or that the Ukrainians will do our job for us, or that one of the Russian inner circle will take Putin out, is very convenient.
• “I think he miscalculated but that doesn’t mean he’s irrational or crazy.” Yep, exactly.
• Latvia has been a member of NATO for 18 years. Permanent Rep. to the United Nations on MSNBC.
• Tiffany Cross Show: The Mueller Report cited Russian interference in 2016. Trump was doing the work of Putin. The narrative of white supremacy that characterizes Putin and Trump.
• Olivia Troye had “Havannah Syndrome” (HS).
• Miles Taylor, experienced HS as well. U.S. intelligence says that it caused by “directed energy.” Why did they feel emboldened to do this to U.S. citizens? Trump’s failure to respond.
• Nayyera Haq: Instances of Russian cyber warfare. “Opens the us up to cyber attack.” Note: We have already been attacked as she has just pointed out.
• Mariupol evacuation has been cancelled.
FRIDAY 4 MARCH 2022
• The Russians seem to be focusing on the south of Ukraine where they are being more successful.
• There are large ships in the area of Odessa.
• Lindsey Graham once again, assists Putin’s effort to destroy democracy. By calling for Putin’s assassination, he has provided Putin with a propaganda video that will be shown over and over in Russia. Have people like Graham done things that are so bad they will entirely sell their souls and their countries to cover it up?
• A nuclear expert is saying that he heard spokespeople trying to calm people down about the risks of the attack on the nuclear plant in Ukraine. He reports that he was alarmed. Never has a nuclear facility been attacked.
• Showing video of Yakivlivka, Ukraine, after four Russian air strikes. “Warning Graphic Video” is at the top of the screen in red. Bodies, wrapped in covers, put in the back of a truck to be hauled away. Another body of a man wrapped in a coverlet.
• Note: The media needs to show the reality of war, not sanitize the death and destruction. People are picking through the wreckage of a village that tried to provide refuge for people fleeing other regions.
• Russia is attempting to close down any media source that puts out negative information within Russia about the war.
• Mariupol desperately needs a green corridor. They are without water, food, light, heating, communication. Dead civilians are laying on the streets because there is no way to collect them.
• Coca-Cola continues to operate in Russia.
• A lawmaker, Shufrych, a member of the pro-Kremlin Opposition Platform party was detained because he was taking photos of a Ukrainian checkpoint in Kyiv.
• Russian state regulator announces it has blocked Facebook in Russia. CNN is reporting other closures and penalties for publishing negative information about the war.
• “Russia’s state Duma approves bill criminalizing the encouragement of foreign sanctions, punishable by up to three years in prison.
• Moscow Stock Exchange to remain closed until Wednesday.
• Russia seizes control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. (Note: There have been posts about the troops who have been put in charge being from Chechnya.
• Olga Tokariuk, a Ukrainian journalist, is posting the absurdly low numbers of entities sanctioned in the UK and the US. (Note: When Luke Harding was asked in a radio interview if he was surprised that the British had lagged behind others in Europe in sanctioning, he burst into laughter).
• Hanna Hopko, another Ukrainian journalist, is posting about this war creating a global food crisis because of the amount of food Ukraine exports especially wheat.
• Alexander Vindman is tweeting: “The NATO contribution to support Ukraine is minimal. We have provided insufficient support to play a meaningful role in negotiation. If/When we get to negotiations, the U.S. will be on the sidelines.”
• Zelensky: “I don’t want Ukraine’s history to be a legend about 300 Spartans.”
• Kherson in southern Ukraine is on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. Russians do not let humanitarian convoys in.
• Gasprom share prices are collapsing.
I hope this is not confusing. I keep getting push back about the support for the Ukrainians and sanctions from a group that Malcolm Nance calls the “anti-war left.” I have tried to list some of the arguments this group uses for basically taking a hands-off stance about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Similar arguments have been made by Sam Seder (Majority Report), Chris Hedges, Michael Sheer (only much worse), Oliver Stone (Note: If you want to hear the true insanity of this position, listen to the interview Sheer did with Stone) and others.
Part of the Russian disinformation about Ukraine is that it needs “denazification.” People who have adopted this line or something a little less radical, argue that dispensing guns to people will only result in arming fascist groups operating in the country. The Azov group mentioned is a nationalist neo-fascist group, but I don’t think it is part of any Ukrainian civil defense. As for distributing guns, I don’t see what alternative the Ukrainian government had. I am including this information just to make people aware that it is out there.
ANTI-WAR LEFT: The Arguments
Nothing on the MSM is true. Not one word.
No one should even be watching the coverage on MSM.
Establishing a no-fly zone would start WWIII.
NATO is an aggressive alliance that threatens Russia.
The West promised Russia that NATO would never expand beyond a unified Germany.
The U.S. military messes up everything it does and the brunt of the messing up falls on the country they are in.
No wars are justified. They are all imperialist expansion.
If you support any war you are a “war-hawk.”
By implication: The Ukrainian people can and should be sacrificed because of all of the above arguments.
Any arms sent to Ukraine will wind up in the hands of fascist groups.
Notes from: In Defense of Marxism (3/2/22)
NATO’s “expansion to Russia’s borders and stubborn refusal to negotiate” created this problem. In Defense of Marxism.
Sanctions will hurt ordinary people.
Sanctions will act by “further destabilizing the world economy and compounding the crisis of capitalism.”
“No amount of jingoism from Western imperialism…will prevent the death and destruction of war.”
Our main enemy is at home, “…NATO, and our own ruling class.”
“…we stand opposed to the root cause of war and imperialism – capitalism itself. As long as this decrepit system stumbles on, bloodshed and slaughter will always be a sad fact of life.”
- Twitter: Joe Biden is the exact right person for the job. Me: Please. Twitter: I’d rather have Biden than Trump. Me: And your point is…I would rather have my cat than Trump.
- Zelensky is tweeting that he is waiting for “positive signals” about Ukraine’s membership of the EU.
- A pro-Ukrainian group has projected a video onto a building in London criticizing the UK for not sanctioning Putin’s inner circle.
- Julia Davis, Daily Beast, is tweeting that Russian state TV is showing a panel of people reassuring the Russian people that Russia can withstand the sanctions and there won’t be any animosity between Ukrainians and Russians. As soon as Russia “wins,” they are saying, world leaders will line up to meet Putin. (Note: As somebody said yesterday, if Putin wins, God help us all.)
- Correspondent Francesca Ebel tweets that friends of hers in Russia are leaving the country. Their ATM cards won’t work. Rumors are that the borders will soon be closed.
- A person who identifies as being from Canada is posting videos. One of them is supposedly of a US citizen living in Kyiv, condemning Zelensky and his government for distributing weapons to “criminals.” He is saying that the “AZOV Regiment” a mercenary neo-fascist group is part of the National Guard of Ukraine and is an “officially sanctioned government approved part of the Zelensky “terror regime.” He then goes on to claim that a video shows “criminals” lynching people in the streets. I watched the video and there are men kicking and otherwise abusing men laying on the ground and another man tied to a tree, but there is no lynching in the video. The man asks for people to “please retweet!!!”
Monday 28 February 2022
- There are a lot of pledges but how long will it take for the Ukrainians to actually receive this aid.
- Jonathan Lemiire, MSNBC, making the point that it is difficult to get weapons into Ukraine now. That is why Zelensky was arguing for doing this arming and sanctioning before the invasion.
- Lemire is now repeating the “questions about Putin’s rationality.”
- This “Putin is a madman” narrative has been created by corporate media.
- There is repeated praise of Biden for “bringing NATO together.” NATO “coming together” may well be a response to the knowledge that Americans can no longer be relied upon. Trump is likely to be back in office in 2024 and they can’t afford to rely on the United States. As usual, Joe Scarborough is touting a “Major success for Joe Biden and the administration.”
- The corporate media is sanitizing the war in Ukraine by refusing to show dead and mutilated bodies. The news media is supposed to be there to show the reality of war, not a fictionalized portrayal that makes it appear like a video game.
- There is a narrative being pushed on the internet about Ukrainians not caring about black citizens, almost uniformly single men working in Ukraine. The posts show a video of Ukrainians trying to get on trains to leave Ukraine, especially Kyiv. They are young black men. The twitter narrative is that Ukrainians are fascists who don’t care about immigrants and black people. In fact, the Ukrainians were trying to get women and children and elderly people out of Kyiv. The fact that they were refusing to allow young men to board trains was because of that.
- In addition, in the video I saw, these young men were pushing and shoving people out of the way attempting to get a place on the train. Cultures differ greatly in the way they access public services. Some cultures push and shove to get on trains, other cultures wait in line.
- Richard Haas on MSNBC this moring was talking about the fact that many people have been disappointed by the Israeli response to condemning the Russian invasion. But, Haas notes, the Israelis think their relationship with Russia is more important than their relationship with Ukraine, or in the end, the U.S. The Russians and the Israelis have evidently come to some kind of agreement to keep Israel out of the Syrian conflict.
- It strikes me as ironic that NATO refused to allow Ukraine to join and then uses the fact that Ukraine is not a NATO member to justify not helping them fight off an invasion.
- The Biden administration made a decision early on not to commit US troops to the fight. Not only did they make that decision, they announced it to the world, thus taking a bargaining chip off the table in a truly Obamian unilateral capitulation.
Ukraine World is reporting
- Canada has prevented financial entities from doing business with the Russian Central Bank, effectively immediately.
- Ukrainian delegation members have demanded that Russia withdraw all its troops including those in Crimea and districts of the Donbas.
- The Russians have used a “vacuum bomb’ on an oil depot in Okhtyrka Sumy region, in northern Ukraine. Its use has been prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.
- We need an immediate embargo on oil and gas from Russia.
- Russia is targeting civilian areas of Kyiv.
- After the curfew was lifted, people in Kiev were out at stores trying to find food and supplies.
- I heard one woman comment that a few days ago she was out having coffee at a café in the street. Now, she’s not sure she can find enough food to survive.
Saturday 26 8:00 PM
• CNN is showing Russian tanks and rocket launchers near the city of Belgorod, Russia, they are going toward Kharkiv, Ukraine.
• There is an enormous explosion outside of Kyiv. Earlier commentators speculated that a hit had been made on a fuel facility.
• There are suggestions that the Russian advance has stalled. But, this may be wishful thinking and stalling on the ground may mean that a stronger attack may come tonight with air power.
• The Russian media is not reporting casualties or allowing media to refer to a “war” or an “invasion” or an “attack.” Instead they have been instructed to call it a “special military operation.”
• There is a growing sense of alarm being reported about the economic sanctions. The freezing of assets of the central bank and the partial SWIFT exclusion will affect working Russians. The value of the ruble has already fallen and people are worried that their savings will be worthless by the time this invasion ends. The point was made that sanctions are aimed at the political leadership, but it financially takes out middle class people.
• Some members of the Russian parliament are now saying that they did not vote for the recognition of the Donbas regions which gave Putin authority to go into Ukraine. If this is true, the protests in Ukraine and the world reaction is having some kind of effect.
• The Russians have not blocked, but slowed down Twitter and Facebook. There is a Russian equivalent of Facebook. That is slowed down as well.
• Russian media is linking the Ukrainian government to Neo-Nazis or the CIA.
• Germany is going to send military supplies to Ukraine.
• When asked if military supplies were enough to turn the tide, William Taylor said: “I don’t think so.” Even though there has been another Blinken announcement of money going to Ukraine, “They need a lot and they need it now.” They need weapons that can take out planes and tanks.
Thursday afternoon 6:00 PM
For some reason, I woke up at 1:30 AM and reached for my mini. The first tweet I saw read: “Russia Declared War on Ukraine.” I was up and in my study/studio in five minutes. I have been there pretty much ever since.
After watching the news and reading tweets from reporters, a lot of them from Ukraine, I wondered why Biden was not on television. Then, they announced that he would be making a statement about the “crushing sanctions” at 9 AM. Well, that didn’t happen. Then, it was 12 noon. That didn’t happen either. Finally he spoke at 1:30 and the “crushing sanctions” were not apparent. Biden spent a lot of time talking about sanctions that had already been imposed, bragging about them. He spent time talking about domestic political considerations like the fear of rising gas prices. He spent a lot of time praising himself for bringing “unity” to NATO, as if that (like bipartisanship) was an end in itself. He did not, however, announce an impressive array of new sanctions, the sanctions we were being told were being held to implement if and when Putin invaded. Putin invaded last night.
There is a curiously circular narrative about sanctions. We were supposedly waiting to impose sanctions so that we would have something to threaten Putin with to keep him from invading. We were told we should ignore the Ukrainians, Zelensky in particular, pleading for the implementation of sanctions before the economy fell apart and the country had been overtaken. We had to have leverage to deter Putin.
Then, after Putin invaded, we were told that sanctions wouldn’t really deter anybody. What? If they wouldn’t deter, why wait to implement them when Russian troops were already bombing and moving into Ukraine? After Zelensky pleaded for sanctions now, the Biden administration promises in tough talking sound bites that we would impose immediate “crushing” (I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that word) sanctions. But, we didn’t.
Then, Biden explained that sanctions would take a long time to have an effect. If that was the case why didn’t they implement them months ago, in fact, a year ago when Biden took office. Russia had already annexed Crimea, taken over parts of Donbas, and squatted in Moldova.
None of this makes any sense without facing the utter feckless, cowardly stance of the Biden administration about holding those in power accountable. They refuse to hold Putin accountable and they refuse to hold accountable Donald Trump who organized a coup. Instead, they prefer to plead and cajole and try to win favor. Biden bragged in the press conference about bring “unity” to NATO, as if that (like bipartisanship) was an end in itself.
Weeks ago, the European press was reporting that Biden had taken removal of Russia from SWIFT off the negotiating table. He removed this like he removed use of U.S. troops. He didn’t have to. The U.S. press, as far as I could see, didn’t even report the story of Biden’s (very Obama like) pre-emptive capitulation on SWIFT. Reuters reported the existence of the European story, but did not appear to even try to confirm the story. No White House reporter I heard even asked Biden whether he had already taken SWIFT off the table.
Soon after I read the article about SWIFT, articles started to appear diminishing the estimation of the utility of removing Russia from SWIFT. I wondered at the time if these articles were put out to support Biden’s capitulation. But, the story barely made a ripple.
Biden refused to answer a reporter’s question in the press conference when asked what (the hell) he was waiting for. Zelensky (who should know) is again demanding that the international community remove Russia from SWIFT.
Blog: 1:50 AM
- There are reports of tanks coming across the border into Ukraine from Belarus. Malcolm Nance, who was in Ukraine, reported that the Russians had divided their forces into three strike divisions in Belarus north of Kyiv.
- There is a major road coming South from Homeil in Belarus, another less direct route from Brest.
- “It feels like the system is breaking down.” McFaul talking about the post-WWII world.
- According to NDTV, Putin gave a “surprise statement” shortly before 6 AM. He called on Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms and justified the invasion with claims of “genocide” in Eastern Ukraine.
- Attacks from north, east and south, reported by CNN
- Russian troops have landed in Odessa.
- Ukraine World (UW) is reporting crossing of the border in the north at Luhansk, Kharkiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv. Massive shelling followed by assault with tanks.
- UW reporting two villages in Luhansk taken by Russia.
- CNN, most Ukrainian troops are in the East.
- Putin warned the rest of the world this morning, not to get involved.
- MSNBC. Putin spoke at 5:45 AM. The message is being played in Russia. Russian TV is using words like “liberation.” They are reassuring the Russian public that citizens are not being hurt. They are selling the Nazi Ukrainian government. The war declaration is being played over rand over on Russian state TV.
- Reporter in Moscow, MSNBC, “people are in shock.”
- MSNBC: Casualties reported, 6 dead and injured.
- Navalny on trial this week in Russia.
- Katy Tur: “Putin sounds unhinged.” Covid, “self-isolation”. Reporter Matt Bodner: “Isolation is something we noticed.” In televised meeting with staff, sitting apart from them. Saw him slap down one of the people (rhetorically). Note: Again they ignore the fact that there is a video of Putin doing exactly this years ago.
- Jack Jacobs: Reporting dead and wounded in Odessa. Russians determining weak points and deciding where to attack next. They are waiting to see what the West will do. Waiting to see what the West will do about SWIFT. (Note: There were European reports that Biden had taken this off the table.) Once you cut them off (from SWIFT) and they continue, what do you do? This should be the last resort. (Note: Strange argument.) Once you do SWIFT, there is no follow up plan. Jacobs now talking about “rationality” of Putin.
- Jacobs: Putin’s strongest allies, most important constituency, are the oligarchs, his inner circle.