44 thoughts on “Bang Bang! Who’s There?”

  1. another paean to putin. this one, a get-out-the-vote effort, from 2020 posted by Suttle Comedy/Suttle Dramas

    Satirical comedy music video. Putin on the Ritz – not Puttin’ on the Ritz. Not safe for work (though this is being released during the pandemic so if you’re working from home it might be more than safe for work, lol). Adult content. Please vote (strategically). And remember, you’re not voting for one person, you’re voting for the team they bring with them. And if you think a dictatorship couldn’t happen in the USA then you haven’t learned anything from world history.

  2. excerpt from last night’s

    Ukraine – Level 4: Do Not Travel – U.S. Embassy in Ukraine (usembassy.gov)

    On January 23, 2022, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct hire employees (USDH) and ordered the departure of eligible family members (EFM) from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action. U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options.

    There are reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine. The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice.  Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv.

    U.S. citizens in Ukraine should be aware that Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine would severely impact the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including assistance to U.S. citizens in departing Ukraine.  For more information, please review what the U.S. government can and cannot do to assist you in a crisis overseas.

    The Department asks all U.S. citizens in Ukraine to complete an online form so that we may better communicate with you. This is especially important if you plan to remain in Ukraine.

  3. https://www.politico.eu/article/russian-orthodox-christians-lose-faith-in-vladimir-putin/

    “Over the following years, Putin, who professes a deep Orthodox belief, would shift to ultra-conservatism, positioning himself as a defender of traditional Christian values.“

    “Not only did Orthodox Christians make up a significant number of the scores of protesters who took to the streets in pro-democracy protests across Russia this year; many of them openly cited their faith as grounds for taking action.“

    “Grotesque propaganda and xenophobia since [the Kremlin’s annexation of] Crimea has made many Russian Orthodox believers to realize that our society is heading in the wrong direction, and it is not possible to identify with evil,” Tsorionov, 30, said in an interview in central Moscow.”

    “He also accused the Kremlin of exploiting religion to whip up hatred against Ukrainians. “Young people, with weapons in their hands, headed en masse to southeastern Ukraine under the banner of Christ,” he said.“

    “Any person can come to faith,” said Minyaylo. “But we identify a tree by its fruits. And the fruits of any actions by Putin and his inner circle make one thing clear — they are not disciples of Christ. They are either deceiving themselves, or others.”

    Religion is a useful tool to Vlad, and nothing more.

  4. Re: Ukraine, whither Germany & France? Defend Ukraine or complete the Nord Stream pipeline? I’m guessing pipeline. 

  5. pomp-eo & circumstance (and maybe circumstantial evidence collusion-wise?)

    from the guardian:

    … Pompeo also had praise for Putin.

    Under Trump, he said, “we had respect for him and his power. He’s a very talented statesman. He has lots of gifts. He was a KGB agent, for goodness sakes. He knows how to use power. We should respect that.”

  6. Seven VA counties sue Youngkin over his DeSantis copycat order banning facemask mandates by school systems.  He seems to be just a bit more pleasant about his dumbass moves than DeInsanity, but the results are the same – intentional exposure of kids to COVID.  

    “Seven school boards — including one overseeing the largest and most prominent district in the state — are suing to stop a mask-optional order by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) on the day it is supposed to take effect, arguing that the order violates the Virginia Constitution.

    “The school boards, led by Fairfax County Public Schools, whose 180,000 students make it Virginia’s biggest system, filed suit Monday morning in Arlington Circuit Court. The suit asks for an immediate injunction barring enforcement of Youngkin’s order, which sought to leave masking decisions to parents, contravening federal health guidance and the masking mandates that the vast majority of Virginia school districts have maintained throughout the pandemic.

    “In the school boards’ complaint, their lawyers write that Youngkin’s executive order goes against Article 8, Section 7 of Virginia’s constitution, which asserts that “the supervision of schools in each school division shall be vested in a school board.” The lawyers also say Youngkin’s order contradicts a state law passed over the summer that requires Virginia school districts to follow federal health guidelines to the “maximum extent practicable.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends masking inside K-12 schools for everyone over age 2, regardless of vaccination status.

    “The school boards joining Fairfax’s suit include those for Alexandria City Public Schools, Arlington Public Schools, Falls Church City Public Schools, Hampton City Schools, Prince William County Public Schools and Richmond Public Schools. The seven boards said in a statement Monday that “school divisions need to continue to preserve their authority to protect and serve all students, including our most vulnerable who need these mitigation measures perhaps more than anyone” to keep attending school in person.”

  7. Been doing some googleing
    Part of the problem for Germany is that they have moved away from coal and nuclear power plants and are depending on Russia natural gas to take their place. Also like here in the US their politicians have not been honest with the voters and fully explained costs of the move. 
    Some numbers
    Europe buys 50% of Russia’s energy exports and energy exports make up about half of russia’s exports. Russia’s economy is very export dependent. Exports as a part of GDP is around 25%, compared to 18% for China or 11% for the USA.
    So while Germany and the Netherlands are dependent on Russian energy so to is Russia dependent on EU countries for their economy.
    That doesn’t mean that Putin or Germany can’t be idiots, which is why I’m happy to have Biden in power rather than the former idiot. It is a time for diplomacy, slow and frustrating it maybe and will not satisfy those channeling their inner Rambo. 
    BTW, my morning Foreign Policy news letter says that Germany going both directions at once. Blocking some arm sales to Ukraine and threatening through back channels the stopping of the Nordic Pipeline. The former a real action the later just words. 
    Brings me to one of Mrs Jacks favorite quotes from Gandi, “Actions express priorities.”

  8. BTW
    Russia used to be much more oil/ Europe dependent. In the last 10 years they have broadened their exports and developed China as a buyer of Siberia oil and gas. China buys a third of Russia’s energy exports and is the largest single buyer.

  9. there goes rand paul’s immunity promise to those who’ve already had a case of covid.

    Palin tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of New York Times trial | TheHill

    The newswire added that U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, who is presiding over the defamation case in Manhattan, said Palin tested positive after a rapid antigen test on Monday. He noted that “she is of course unvaccinated.”
    Raskoff said Palin, 57, will be getting retested on Monday to determine whether her trial can proceed at the stipulated start date. He added the result was from the “at-home test whose reliability was lower than tests administered at the courthouse and required for the trial,” Reuters added.
    The results will determine “whether the trial can proceed the same day or will be delayed,” Raskoff said per the newswire.
    Palin had previously said that she would not get the coronavirus vaccine.
    “It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a shot,” Palin said in 2021. “I will not do that. I won’t do it, and they better not touch my kids either.”
    She previously contracted the coronavirus in March 2021 and confirmed her COVID-19 diagnosis in an interview with People magazine.
    After preliminarily testing negative in March last year, Palin described later developing COVID-19 symptoms “overnight,” and suffering a fever, muscle soreness and loss of taste and smell.

  10. Well, we don’t actually know she’s telling the truth about not being vaccinated.  She could just be peddling BS. Either way…

  11. Craig
    I could see the US beefiing up its presence in Poland, Might even move some of the German bases there, one if Poland is willing and 2 if Biden wants to do a strong show of force on the way to an agreement with the Russians to get out of  Ukraine turning it into an independent, neutral buffer state. Then huff a little about the baltic states.

  12. That’s a best case scenario Jack. But I fear we’re looking at Hitler with nuclear weapons, an irrational actor holed up in his hideaway dacha insanely plotting hegemony over Europe. Russia is even now on military exercises within 150 miles of the Irish coast. 

  13. More reasons to distrust Germany. They’re not letting UK fly over their air space to deliver military stuff to Ukraine, and so far blocking Latvia’s efforts to send arms. 

  14. Putin is a small time player. He may have those dreams but he is very much beholden to the Russian oligarchs.
    Just a thought as I type this, one reason he may be beating the war drum and getting religion is because he is weak. When a tyrant type feels threatened internally finding an outside enemy…

  15. Putin has been meddling for sometime. But this is different, he may believe he can safely invade the Ukraine. More Trump damage. So it will take a strong showing by Nato and yes Germany is not on board. Again, more Trump damage that needs to be repaired. It may be time to channel Ronald Reagan.
    And yeah, I understand that can get scary.

  16. Proposal: lift all sanctions in exchange for all of Russia’s tanks (and guarantees).  Not a drawdown of the tanks, we take physical possession of the tanks

    AND some planes and ships OR uncontested NATO membership for Ukraine

  17. could be putie is about to announce that belarus has “voluntarily” returned home to mother and may make use of a grand official announcement like that to cover withdrawing some of the troops circling ukraine merely to have them show up in their neighbor’s yard in addition to the russian troops already there.

  18. The scariest thing Jack is intel from Russia saying Putin is holed up in his dacha listening to no one but the voices in his head. He’s potentially more reckless and irrational than ever. 

  19. …would only cost $20 billion to offer 100000 Russian military defectors $200k a piece, plus debriefing

  20. Bink – Russian navy is a pile of (mostly) floating junk.  The brand new aircraft carrier (single and only one) caught fire and is useless.  Russian aircraft are more scary to fly than to do much more.  The army is still the use bodies and tanks.  Russian tanks work until they don’t.  But, they can do damage and make a mess while puttie messes stuff up trying to rebuild the old Soviet Union. 
    What I never saw coming was the repubs joining the russians and leaving American democracy.  The traitors need to be rounded up and shipped to Moscow so they can be with their friends.

  21. “Mr. Putin’s aim is bigger than closing NATO’s ‘open door’ to Ukraine and taking more territory — he wants to evict the United States from Europe,” writes Fiona Hill, former national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia.


  22. Russian navy is a pile of (mostly) floating junk. 

    The idea is to neutralize Russia’s military capability to invade by providing them economic incentive, not to get a good deal on shitty tanks.   Just spitballin’, here

  23. Time to humiliate Putin. DOJ should work with Ukraine to slaughter as many Russian troops as possible with air power and long range artillery if they invade, flood his country with body bags. Another Chechnya, when he almost lost power. 

    Thing about densely massing 130,000 troops is we know exactly where they are, easy kill targets

  24. “Nuclear War Risk”
    A game my Brother-in-law picked up and then modified, when he worked at the MU experimental reactor. Just modify a regular Risk game with a regular card deck plus the jokers. These are you nuke cards. It completely changes the old Napoleonic war game of regular Risk where massing your troops on the border for a frontal attack works. With Nuclear Risk it is just an invitation to lose armies. 

  25. Craig – that is exactly what putin is faced with.  He knows that the Russian weapons were flat out neutralized within hours in Iraq. That was a few years ago, so both sides have improved weapons, but those of the russians are still facing a first world military that is ready to destroy them.  Russians do not have a lot of good to go on right now because the American military is still hardened from Iraq and Afghanistan.  There is so much that putin has to consider, military destruction, retreat.  Will he use nukes?  The man is KGB, he is not insane.  SFB might use nukes, we have a real human in the president’s seat.

  26. Whether China or Europe, Russia still needs to sell gas.  Their economy is still a shambles for the majority of the people.  Ukraine was the bread -basket with non frozen ocean access.  Now Ukraine can sell into the whole of Europe which is why Russia fears a NATO membership.  

  27. Jamie – you got it.  One of the things President Biden did was to state that the U.S. would increase natural gas distribution if the Soviet Russian supply was cut off.  What is interesting is that sfb had increased U.S. distribution of gas and oil so that EU knows there is a supply.  That is great.  What has to happen is the Saudis need to step up and say the same.

  28. Plus, Central Asia a major problem it was for USSR and it is for Russia. If Russia invades Ukraine all we have to do is start shipping weapons clandestinely into central Asia. That way we keep both Russia and China busy at home.

  29. Time to reread Rachel Maddow’s 


    “A rollickingly well-written book, filled with fascinating, exciting, and alarming stories about the impact of the oil and gas industry on the world today.”—The New York Times Book Review


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