The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Vladimir Putin’ Category

Hello Widdershins! What a week, what a week. The Mango Moron and his MAGAt enablers are facing the consequences of their grifting, criminality and seditious conspiracy. Not to mention a bit of old-fashioned nuclear espionage thrown in to season the pot!

Reflecting on the charges of financial fraud that were filed this week (and referred to two separate criminal courts), I remember various pundits discussing why Der Drumpfenfuhrer didn’t want to release his tax returns during his run for President. Criminality was high on the list, but I think Timothy O’Brien, journalist and author of TrumpNation, nailed it six years ago.

O’Brien was sued by IQ45 for allegedly misreporting the extent of his wealth in that 2005 book. Of course, Drumpf lost that lawsuit. Later on, the Trumpologist said this to Politico in May of 2016:

He sued me around a claim that by offering lower estimates of his net worth I had libeled him, so he opened himself up to discovery on all of his financials. So we got his tax returns, his bank records, everything.

He didn’t want to give over his tax returns, which we’re seeing now in the election. And there’s reasons, I think, he doesn’t want to give up his tax returns. It’s because you see what his income actually is in those returns…

Drumpf has always been a fake billionaire, a fake “boss” and a fake alpha male. It’s amazing how long it’s taken to get the truth out there; but whatever narrative the media tries to sell you about his running in 2024 (oh how they want the clicks and eyeballs!), he’s done. His main value proposition was that he was a successful businessman and mogul, and it was all a lie. Republicans will continue their trend of deserting him and seeking a new “success” to worship.

And speaking of fake news…this is the state of media today. There is a persistent rumor that Xi Jinping, China’s leader, has been deposed in a coup by the PLA (a military group) and is under house arrest. Is it true? No one can tell for sure, and the Twitter accounts pushing the narrative are mostly anonymous.

Is Putin pushing social media propaganda, taking revenge on the Chinese President for being critical of his insane invasion of Ukraine? A disturbing combination of China’s insular secrecy and the lack of social media controls on bot accounts has made it possible to push this rumor across the world for hours, possibly days, without any validation or accountability.

Don’t believe everything you read, Widdershins! Well, except here on TW, of course.

Open thread as always – here are some pretty birds to uplift your weekend.

Pooty Poop

It has been six long months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and – depending on who you ask – things are either exactly as Putin planned all along (Russians, Tucker), or Russia is on a verge of a military catastrophe (everyone else.) Over the past couple of weeks Ukraine has staged an offensive that has led Russian army to flee dozens of previously occupied towns and villages in the east. Their withdrawal was so hasty that they not only left behind tanks, stolen washing machines, and some of their own soldiers (who then had to flee on stolen bicycles), but also Russian teachers they brought in to begin teaching nothing but Russian curriculum to Ukrainian children. In the midst of all this, Putin has retreated to one of his homes in Sochi (more on that later), while some of his propagandists on TV continue to insist everything is going according to plan, and that if Russia really wanted to, they would take Kyiv in one day. Seems odd that Putin planned all along to bring his troops as close to Kyiv as Chernobyl (where they proceeded to radiate themselves after digging into polluted soil), and then retreat. And then retreat again. And again. And keep retreating, until they’re running back, leaving behind hard-won Ukrainian territories. Maybe that’s the genius of Putin, his 78 dimension chess is so complex none of us understand it. “We have them surrounded in their tanks,” Baghdad Bob once declared as Americans occupied Baghdad.

As hard as Putin’s most loyal propagandists (Solovyov, Simonyan) continue to insist Russia is winning its “special operation,” cracks are appearing on Russian TV. Some commentators are openly questioning what the hell went wrong, how officials managed to screw things up, how they overpromised glory and deliver humiliation. In this clip from Russian TV, many things are said that would have been unthinkable to speak out loud two weeks ago. But the one that struck me the most is the man who asks how Russia thought they could tell Ukraine they were not a real country, that their language does not exist, and then expect Ukraine to embrace them in return. Again, this is rhetoric that would be unthinkable on state television just two weeks ago. And the subdued responses to such criticisms from the more patriotic Russians is also extremely revealing because two weeks ago they would have screamed over any such words.

Meanwhile Putin cancelled a scheduled meeting with his military leaders and retreated to a vacation home in Sochi. A reporter for Kyiv Post added interesting information on what’s happening around Moscow and historical context:

And in St. Petersburg, some members of Parliament called for Putin to be prosecuted for treason. Their punishments so far have been possible dissolution of their districts and some fines. A few weeks ago it would have been arrest and prosecution.

Is there a coup happening? We won’t know until after it’s over. But it’s impossible to ignore the cracks in Putin’s wall.

Would be just as horrifying.

When I was at the conference two weeks ago, I heard Condi Rice talk about Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. She remained mostly non-partisan, but one critique she leveled at Biden was that she said he shouldn’t have called Putin a war criminal. She said she would have waited before making that strong statement.

I wonder how Condi feels about that position now?

We’ve been talking about what to call this ongoing immeasurable cruelty being perpetrated by Russia. The term “genocide” typically means that many more people have been killed than have been killed in Ukraine as of yet, so we’ve been wondering if that word applies. I think in this case, what’s being done is the intention of genocide. Zelenskyy said something like this.

“We are the citizens of Ukraine and we don’t want to be subdued to the policy of the the Russian federation, and this is the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated,” Zelenskyy said through a translator, pointing out that the alleged atrocities are happening in “the Europe of the 21st century.”

If Putin had his way, does anyone doubt that he would wipe Ukrainians off the face of the earth? After all, Soviet Russia did it before. It was called the Holodomor, and it was a man-made famine that happened in 1932-1933, under Joseph Stalin.

The overlying causes for the famine are still disputed. Some scholars suggest that the man-made famine was a consequence of the economic problems associated with changes implemented during the period of Soviet industrialisation.[26][27][28] There are also those who blame a systematic set of policies perpetrated by the Soviet government under Stalin designed to exterminate the Ukrainians.[11][56][25] According to Stephen Wheatcroft, the grain yield for the Soviet Union preceding the famine was a low harvest of between 55 and 60 million tons,[57]: xix–xxi  likely in part caused by damp weather and low traction power,[58] yet official statistics mistakenly reported a yield of 68.9 million tons.[59] Mark Tauger has suggested an even lower harvest of 45 million tons based on data from 40% of collective farms which has been criticized by other scholars.[59] While Wheatcroft rejects the genocide characterization of the famine, he states that “the grain collection campaign was associated with the reversal of the previous policy of Ukrainisation[60] and that “[Wheatcroft and his colleague’s] work has confirmed – if confirmation were needed – that the grain campaign in 1932/33 was unprecedentedly harsh and repressive.”[61] Historian Stephen G. Wheatcroft lists four problems Soviet authorities ignored that would hinder the advancement of agricultural technology and ultimately contributed to the famine:[61]

As the Ukrainian MP Kira Rudik said tonight on MSNBC, “All those people who said ‘never again,’ they need to help us prevent ‘never again’ from happening.” She followed that statement with pleas for weapons and equipment to protect their skies, their people from being massacred.

Let’s hope we do something to stop this soon. My heart and soul are sickened by this slaughter.

Open thread as always…but I’ll leave you with some good news, because we really, really need it. Ketanji Brown Jackson will be our first Black, female Supreme Court Justice, and there’s nothing the QOP can do to stop it.

Hello Widdershins!

Can you believe it’s still March of 2022? This has been another year of nothing but shenanigans. It feels like we haven’t stopped falling off a cliff since 2016. Just when you think things won’t get crazier, they do. It’s like that old Russian saying: We thought we hit rock bottom. Then someone knocked from underneath.

Speaking of Russia: today in his powerful speech from Berlin, Joe Biden said that Putin can’t remain as leader of Russia. Naturally the media is now tripping over itself that Biden was calling for a regime change in Russia. Well duh. But he wasn’t really saying that, although we are all thinking it. Except Hungary’s mini dictator Viktor Orbán. He’s fine with everything as is. But everyone else knows that nothing will get better in Europe until Putin is gone. We don’t care where he goes, but he can’t stay there. I don’t know if he’s a madman or not, but people are finally realizing he’s not really that bright. His invasion of Ukraine was a clusterfuck from day 1. The estimates of dead Russian soldiers is as high as 15,000 (that’s the Ukrainian estimate; NATO’s estimate is a little lower, but still astronomical.) For reference: if the number is close to 15,000 dead Russian soldiers, that’s as many dead soldiers in 4 weeks as Russia lost in Afghanistan in 10 years of its disastrous occupation there. Putin clearly expected a) Zelenskyy would flee and that b) Ukrainians would welcome him with open arms. Neither thing happened. If Putin expected to win Ukrainians’ hearts and minds, he instead of killed decades of brotherly love between the two peoples. It’s not coming back. Ukraine now sees Russia on par with Nazis. And with good reason.

We also got some banana fireworks at the Senate confirmation hearings of Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson. She is likely going to be confirmed, but that didn’t stop Republicans (their brightest stars: Cruz, Graham, Hawley, Blackburn, Sasse, Cotton, Grassley!) from making asses of themselves, foaming at the mouth, and throwing QAnon at KBJ. They tried, they really tried, to break her down. She didn’t budge. Though I can’t even imagine how horrific those days of testimony were.

And speaking of horrific and foaming at the mouth: Ginni Thomas. WT actual F? We knew she was a rabid QAnon clown, and we knew she paid for some busses to take people to the insurrection on 1/6. But the 1/6 Commission released text messages between her and Mark Meadows in which she urged him to not allow Biden to become POTUS. Clarence Thomas, conveniently, got an infection just as the story broke. He spent a mysterious week at the hospital, nobody saying what actually he was sick with. He was probably sick with the case of Ginni Thomas. And let us never forget Thomas voted – the only justice to do so – to not allow 1/6 related text messages to be turned over to the 1/6 Commission. I mean, does anyone believe it was a coincidence that he voted to block release of those messages and we find out his wife was an active participant in all the texting? Well, Republicans don’t care. Even though Ginni Thomas is everything Republicans think Hillary Clinton is. There is no accountability for Republicans.

This is an open thread.


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