Battle for Avdiivka Over. Ukrainian Retreat Imperiled.

The Russians have worn down the Ukrainian troops in Avdiivka to the point that a rescue mission was organized to extract the defenders before it was too late.  Now the rescuers must save themselves along with their besieged brethren.

Avdiivka has become the new Bakhmut where the Russians have ground down their adversaries in a war of attrition.  Both sides have probably lost several thousand men and now the numerical superiority of the Russians has won them the city, or what’s left of it.

The next act will be the retreat by the Ukrainian forces down the few roads that can accommodate war vehicles.  The Russians have encircled the city and the next day or so will witness whether the retreating army can escape decimation.

This war has been one long series of horrific clashes.  With western aid drying up it will be surprising if the Ukrainians manage to continue this war of attrition for much longer.

The Putin Interview

I’ve previously read a transcript of Putin’s apologia for the Ukrainian war so I’m relatively familiar with his thesis.  Now without a doubt he frames it all to put Russia in the most sympathetic light and there are obvious chapters where he is painting some actions, like Stalin’s collaboration with Hitler over Poland, in a false light.  But I guess there are plenty of chapters of American history where one man’s patriotic battle is another man’s shameful massacre.

But what he does successfully demonstrate is that Kiev was the original home of the Rus, or as we call it now the Russian nation.  And that Ukraine has been an integral part of Russia for longer than the United States has been a nation.  And although countries do split and become separate nations the Ukraine contains millions of people who have always considered themselves Russians and who were disenfranchised by the government in Kiev when the anti-Russian coup took over in 2014.

It’s also clear that Putin believes that the history of Russia and the West since the fall of the Soviet Union is dotted with promises that were made by the West and broken whenever it was convenient.  And I have read many American accounts that confirm the specific assurances that the West gave to the Soviets and the Russians and their eventual abandonment.

With respect to what Putin wanted to say I think he succeeded in speaking his mind.  But from a communications perspective there are definite weaknesses in this event.  First of all, the interview was translated from Russian by an interpreter.  Secondly, the speech was two hours long.  In the third place, the first half hour was a Russian history lesson beginning around the year 800 AD and extending down to 1992 before it even began to touch on the relevant causes of the present war.

I mean I found it fascinating but I’m a weirdo who loves ancient history and was impressed how he wove in the ethnographic origins of the people currently inhabiting the various areas of Ukraine.  So, the propaganda value of Putin’s explanation of the origins of the war won’t reach the folks on TikTok with three second attention spans.

But one thing it did do was demonstrate to anyone with a brain that Vladimir Putin is a highly intelligent individual who believes that he has taken the only reasonable course available to him to defend his people from attack by the West.

Parenthetically, I was evaluating the style and substance of the words and ideas that Putin used; both the history lesson which is clearly something that he has worked over previously and his extemporaneous answers to some of the interrupting questions that Tucker Carlson asked along the way.

One of the interrupting questions in particular elicited a very interesting response.  When Carlson asked Putin whether the fracturing of the monopolar world, we lived under during the American hegemony meant that the two hemispheres would diverge, Putin amusingly noted that the human brain has two hemispheres that have separate functions but that unless they work together the mind becomes severely dysfunctional.  This struck me to be the response of a very lively intellect.

In general, I got the impression of a man who is a realist that has seen some of the worst disasters befall his country.  But at the same time, he appears to be an optimist about the future.  It’s an interesting combination.

I don’t completely discount the possibility that the whole performance was a cynical charade disguising an evil monster whose real intent is to conquer the world.  But I wouldn’t pick that as the more likely choice.  I think what we saw was pretty close to who Putin is.

And as leaders go, he’s a lot more interesting and formidable than someone like Joe Biden or Justin Trudeau.  I suspect that Putin will be remembered as being an important leader whereas Biden will be declared a disaster in American leadership.

Another thing that I noted is how strange Tucker Carlson looks while listening to interviews.  His expression is extremely strained.  But I give him full marks for setting up this discussion.  I hope he sets up a permanent news and opinion service.  I’d happily pay a reasonable fee to follow it.  Kudos Tucker.

Mike Johnson’s Moment of Truth

The Senate Bill that involves money for the border, Ukraine and Gaza has been declared a train wreck by every conservative that’s read it.  It turns the open border that Joe Biden created into the legal status quo.  It allows for amnesty of untold number of illegals.  And it gives Ukraine another $60 billion.  Mike Johnson says it’s a terrible bill.  Okay, so that should be enough to bury it and anything like it for the duration of 2024.

But this is Washington DC.  The pressure to get the money for Ukraine is going to be tremendous.  The question is what will they be willing to trade for it?  I can imagine the Democrats will be so desperate they will be willing to promise just about anything.

But there lies the risk.  Whatever goodies they dangle in front of Mike Johnson to get him to sign on will need to be inspected microscopically for traps and loopholes.  In addition, as we’ve seen, just because a law says the federal government has to do x, y and z doesn’t mean they will.  Look at the current situation on the southern border.  There are already clear mandates for the Border Patrol to prevent illegals from entering the United States and courts with the power to deport them.  But none of that occurs.  There are laws that empower the federal government to identify companies employing illegal aliens and punish those companies and deport those illegals.  That never happens either.

Basically, if I were Mike Johnson, I’d tell Joe Biden to shut the border down completely, deport ten million illegals and build the wall before expecting to get another penny for Ukraine.  And if he says no, I’d tell him to go pound sand.  Which, come to think of it, he should tell him regardless of whether he does those things or not.  Joe Biden is a slimy lying sack of crap and should be addressed and treated as one at all times.

So, this is a very good test of Mike Johnson’s courage and instincts.  I can only imagine what kinds of threats and pressure will be brought to bear by the usual suspects.  He will be accused of being a traitor and a Putin puppet and all the usual nonsense by every toady and henchman of the Uniparty and by their paymasters at Raytheon and the other defense contractors that feed like vampires directly from an artery of this country’s life’s blood.

What would be victory?  I would say, not sending a penny to Ukraine and not codifying anything at the border that legitimizes a single illegal alien.

I’ve got to be honest, I’m not super hopeful he can stand up to the whole bureaucracy, the White House and the Congress.  But if there was ever a moment when it should be done, this is it.  Holding off that money until November should be enough to end the Ukraine war.  Zelensky will be booted out by his own people and a deal will be cut with the Russians that should end the wholesale slaughter.

The example that will set for the rest of the world will be important.  It will show that the American people can rein in the maniacs that have been running our foreign-policy for decades and show that it’s possible to advance American security and interests without inciting and blundering into wars everywhere we go.

Good luck Mike.  Just say no.

US and EU Began Preparing Ukraine for Negotiations Last Month

So now that the US, EU and Ukraine know what we already knew six months ago they’re letting it leak out to the general public.

“The conversations have included very broad outlines of what Ukraine might need to give up to reach a deal, the officials said. Some of the talks, which officials described as delicate, took place last month during a meeting of representatives from more than 50 nations supporting Ukraine, including NATO members, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the officials said.”

The problem with those talks is they don’t include Russia.

“The Biden administration does not have any indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate with Ukraine, two U.S. officials said. Western officials say Putin still believes he can “wait out the West,” or keep fighting until the U.S. and its allies lose domestic support for funding Ukraine or the struggle to supply Kyiv with weapons and ammunition becomes too costly, officials said.”

What’s wrong with this whole picture.  We convinced the Ukrainians that between their manpower and our weapons the Russians would be crushed in months.  That is probably because we believed that Ukraine was just a foreign possession of Russia.  And they wouldn’t expend the blood and treasure to fight for it.

But there are millions of Russians for whom the Donbass is their ancestral home.  It would be like California breaking away from the US and the Mexicans living there trying to force the Anglo residents of Northern California to give up their language and culture.  If it came down to pictures of Sacramento being ethnically cleansed would it be surprising if the US stepped in and tried to annex the Anglo areas?  I don’t think so.  Well at least if we had a president who didn’t hate America.

After this I’m guessing the Baltic states and the Eastern Europeans will begin reevaluating their relations with the US, the EU and Russia.  Following the lead of the US in matters of war has been shown over the last twenty years or so to be a perilous strategy.

So the geniuses in the Pentagon and the State Department had already figured this out months ago but continued to spout all the nonsense about the breakout that was about to sweep away the Russians in Crimea.  One thing though, the reality of what will end up happening there should make it easier for the Republican House to put a stop to that $61 billion Biden wants to finish off the few remaining Ukrainian men.

I wonder where in the US Zelensky will end up retiring to?  Hopefully he’ll update his ensemble and stick to comedy but skip the piano playing.

The Truth Leaks Out of Kiev

Up until this summer the audience in the West heard from their leaders and the media that

  • Ukraine was inflicting enormous casualties on Russia while suffering very light losses to their own troops.
  • Russia’s population was dead set against the war and only prisoners were fighting on the Russian side.
  • The Russian troops and officers were incompetent and had rock bottom morale.
  • That with the provision of advanced western weapons and training Ukraine would sweep away the Russians and recapture all of the Eastern provinces including Crimea.

During the summer and into the fall word started getting out that the Ukrainian counter-offensive, bolstered by Western tanks and other armored vehicles was suffering tens of thousands of casualties and wasn’t able to punch through the defensive lines that the Russians had prepared in Zaporizhzhia to protect Crimea from assault.  Now with the onset of winter many in America and Europe are starting to question whether the tens of billions of dollars in weapons and aid have accomplished anything more than facilitating a slaughter of Ukrainians and Russians without accomplishing anything worthwhile.

Finally, word is now leaking out of Ukraine that the leaders surrounding President Zelensky no longer share his almost religious belief that Ukraine can win the war they are engaged in.  And the news first broke in the periodical that had declared Zelensky “Man of the Year” in 2022, Time.

In an interview with Ukrainian leaders many parts of the real story come out.

“But his (Zelensky’s) convictions haven’t changed. Despite the recent setbacks on the battlefield, he does not intend to give up fighting or to sue for any kind of peace. On the contrary, his belief in Ukraine’s ultimate victory over Russia has hardened into a form that worries some of his advisers. It is immovable, verging on the messianic. “He deludes himself,” one of his closest aides tells me in frustration. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.”

When I raised these claims with a senior military officer, he said that some commanders have little choice in second-guessing orders from the top. At one point in early October, he said, the political leadership in Kyiv demanded an operation to “retake” the city of Horlivka, a strategic outpost in eastern Ukraine that the Russians have held and fiercely defended for nearly a decade. The answer came back in the form of a question: With what? “They don’t have the men or the weapons,” says the officer. “Where are the weapons? Where is the artillery? Where are the new recruits?”

In some branches of the military, the shortage of personnel has become even more dire than the deficit in arms and ammunition. One of Zelensky’s close aides tells me that even if the U.S. and its allies come through with all the weapons they have pledged, “we don’t have the men to use them.”

Since the start of the invasion, Ukraine has refused to release official counts of dead and wounded. But according to U.S. and European estimates, the toll has long surpassed 100,000 on each side of the war. It has eroded the ranks of Ukraine’s armed forces so badly that draft offices have been forced to call up ever older personnel, raising the average age of a soldier in Ukraine to around 43 years. “They’re grown men now, and they aren’t that healthy to begin with,” says the close aide to Zelensky. “This is Ukraine. Not Scandinavia.””

And this is a Biden Administration cheerleader saying this.  If you read other sources they’re even more dire.

“Alone among his team, Zelensky seems not to understand how circumstances have changed. Shuster and TIME try their best to portray him as the last stalwart of the Ukrainian cause, but the fact that his own inner circle is the source of the torrent of revelations and complaints suggests that his immovability owes not to Churchillian resolve but rather to an impervious bunker mentality.”

What seems to be the case is the neo-cons have decided that bleeding Russia by genociding the Ukraine is a sensible policy.  Even people who despise Vladimir Putin and desire the United States to dominate in Eastern European politics should have enough basic humanity to recoil from what’s going on in Eastern Ukraine.  It’s just an update of 1914.  Meatgrinders in Bakhmut and Avdiivka are just senseless wars of attrition that kill and maim tens of thousands of men while yielding up only bombed out moonscapes to the victor.

Russia is bleeding but Ukraine is bleeding out.  Hopefully House Speaker Mike Johnson will have the good sense to put an end to this nightmarish quagmire of death.  If we stop sending them billions of dollars in “aid” the only ones who will lose will be the oligarchs that won’t be able to steal their chunk of the loot.  The rest of the Ukrainians can go back home and pick up what’s left of their lives and their future.

Another Day in Paradise, Sort Of

Slapping together a post late at night is a recipe for incoherence.  But that’s my claim to fame.  Fame?

Well, here we are again my old nemesis.  What shall we talk about?

I read a little about the continuing adventures of the Republican House representatives trying to select a new Speaker.  They tried another one of the establishment guys, Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the majority whip.  Trump posted, “Voting for a globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake!”  Well, that’s that.

Now the question that needs to be answered is can they agree on anyone as Speaker?  Maybe not.  It’s possible that the establishment would rather cause a government shutdown rather than allow someone outside of their club from controlling the purse strings in Washington.  At this point I think I’m okay with a government shutdown.  Sure, it would probably mean chaos and possibly bankruptcy for me personally but I think it might not be a bad way of getting the attention of the people running this madhouse.  Eventually the establishment Republicans will cut a deal with the Democrats and make Hakeem Jeffries Speaker.  And that’s fine.  It will demonstrate to the world that the Uniparty is a living, breathing reality.  But I have to admire the rebels in the Trump wing of the House Republicans for sticking by their guns and slapping the RINOs around like they’re doing.  It’s great theater.

It looks like mostly everybody admits that unless Donald Trump is forced off the primary ballot, he will win the nomination.  And once he’s in the general election he’s definitely going to get a crapload of votes.  Not to say fraud couldn’t beat him.  We know from sad experience it could.  But regardless of Trump’s towering lead in the primaries there are several candidates who want to stay in the race in case chicanery takes Trump off the ballot.  I’m guessing DeSantis and Haley are in it for the long haul.  I’m not sure anyone else has enough money coming in to stay in long term.  It’s just a little more than a year before that election but it will feel like forever, especially as the country falls apart around us on multiple fronts.  But it will be interesting.

And speaking of interesting, in a horrific way, the two hot wars continue unabated.  Israel is probing Gaza to see where the hostages are hidden and trying to figure out how to wound Hamas critically without losing hundreds, if not thousands of IDF lives.

And the Ukraine war grinds on.  The majority of the Ukrainian “spring” offensive is over and the Russians have taken to the offense.  The latest front is the fortified city of Avdiivka which the Russians have begun to encircle.  Today they managed to overrun, at very great cost, the high ground northwest of the city called Terrikon.  With the loss of this high ground the Ukrainians will be forced to move their artillery much farther west and north of the present positions and that will finally put an end to the artillery bombardment of Donetsk City which has been a humanitarian problem for the Russian Donbas since the beginning of hostilities in 2014.  But all indications are that conquering Avdiivka will be a slow painful grind for the Russian army in the same way as the Bakhmut campaign was earlier this year, but smaller.  I guess the wars will drag on for months and years but maybe there’s a chance we can put an end to the tens of billions of dollars that Biden keeps shoveling into Zelensky’s (and his own) off-shore accounts.  Well, we’ll see.

I won’t talk about the economy.  It’s too gruesome to dwell on.  We’re all being sent to the cleaners and we’ll all be a little poorer by and by but that’s just par for the course.  Of course, if Joe gets his $100 billion dollars for Ukraine maybe we’ll be a lot poorer and a lot sooner.  But leave that be for now.

So that’s my quick synopsis of where we are right now.  Everybody, do your best to hang in there.  Tomorrow belongs to the people with endurance.  Let that be us.

17OCT2023 – Just Some Impressions of the Current Day

In Israel military and political leaders are sweating blood trying to thread a needle that has no eye; how to rescue hostages, kill the Hamas leadership and its psychopathic foot soldiers, minimize “civilian” Palestinian deaths and protect their own troops from harm while accomplishing all this in an urban environment that resembles some hellish first-person shooter video game.  Chances to accomplish all of these objectives is objectively zero.  And they know that.  The real mission is to destroy Hamas while not failing catastrophically at the other objectives.

Of course, if they fail at that primary objective then all the other failures; deaths of soldiers, hostages and civilians will have been in vain and therefore infinitely worse.  And they approach this mission with the knowledge that Hamas orchestrated this cataclysm for the express result that they would get to kill a lot of Israeli soldiers without the Israelis achieving their goal of eradicating Hamas from Gaza.  I’m sure the IDF knows all this.  For that reason, I’m guessing that they will resist the pressure brought to bear by Israeli peaceniks, moderate Arab state leaders and Joe Biden, that the battle in Gaza be limited and without result.  But that’s my assumption.  All past experience has been that Gaza is an insoluble problem that cannot be resolved.  Time will certainly tell.

In the House of Representatives word is that many of the establishment leaders are bowing to necessity and approving Jim Jordan’s bid to become Speaker.  Here, I don’t even have an inkling about what will happen.  As far as I can tell most of these politicians are crooks who only follow orders from their paymasters so it’s impenetrable to me.  Maybe the need to come up with an aid package for Israel will force the establishment shills to accept Jordan against their wills in order to allow the legislation they want to proceed.  Possibly some good will come of this accident of timing.  I’ve heard Jim Jordan is supposed to be the one in ten thousand, honest man.  I hope he is and I wish him well.  What I do hope is that he draws the line at further funding for Ukraine.  After all I think it’s only fair that we restrict our support to one major war at a time.  Ukraine has had their chance.  Now let them work it out with the Russians.  If that’s still possible.

Joe Biden is going to Israel.  I’m sure he’ll regale them with tales of his service at the battle front in 1948, 1967 and 1973.  He might even relate the story of his hand-to-hand duel against the dastardly Arab terrorist Corn Al-Pop.  He was one bad dude.

Joe Biden in the Holy Land.  Surely the Lord of the Old Testament has some lightning, earthquake and brimstone saved up for just such a contingency.  I mean, Joe is like some local representative of Sodom or Gomorrah showing up after a local atrocity.  Turning Dr Jill into a salt pillar seems like letting him off light.  But politics makes for strange bedfellows.

The election and Trump indictment news moves along on the expected trajectories.  The more certain that Trump will be imprisoned the more certain that his support among Republican voters will increase.  It’s like some fateful confluence of irresistible forces is dragging us to a crisis that can only be resolved by a radical shift in the status quo.  Maybe it’s an illusion but it seems that we won’t be splitting the difference this time.  It appears that the system is breaking down catastrophically.  Now I say appears because as has been mentioned innumerable times before, there is an awful lot of ruin in a world empire.  But short of armed intervention by the military it seems like people are getting fed up with the dysfunction that has been imposed on the whole country.  But we’ll see.

Anyway, that’s what I have to remark on today.  More madness and more dysfunction.  More of the same.

Israel Tells Zelensky to Stop Chasing the Ambulance

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked to make a solidarity visit in the wake of the Hamas onslaught on Israel but was told “the time is not right,” Hebrew-language media reports.”

What they’re saying in a polite way is “Save your grandstanding for a time when we’re not still burying our dead and avenging their deaths.

Zelensky must be afraid that the United States might send some money to Israel without him getting his cut.

He truly is a pathetic and grotesque figure on the world stage.