Ukrainian Independence Day

Today is Ukrainian Independence Day. And a lot of stuff is happening.

Secretary of Defense Mattis acknowledged that Russia is trying to redraw European borders.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has accused Russia of seeking to “redraw international borders by force” and said that Washington is “actively reviewing” supplying Ukraine with new defensive weaponry.

Mattis, the first U.S. defense chief to visit Ukraine in a decade, also reiterated that the United States “won’t accept” Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Mattis made the comments in Kyiv on August 24, the 26th anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.

“Have no doubt,” he said at a joint news conference with President Petro Poroshenko. “The United States stands with Ukraine.”

Russia confirmed that it is trying to redraw European borders.

Just a quick note: when Russia refers to Rus they’re spreading a fiction. The Kyivan Rus is not the same, nor were they related to the actual historic Russian ethno-national and ethno-linguistic forebears, state, and society. The Russian government, and before it the Soviet government, purposefully conflates several different historical ethno-national/ethno-linguistic groups into a catchall category of Rus to justify Russian claims to Ukraine and Finland, as well as other areas that Russia considers part of its historic near abroad.

Earlier today there was an explosion in Kyiv.

Police in Kyiv reported that two people were injured as a result of an explosion in the center of the capital of Ukraine on August 24.

“At 14:06 in the next part there was a message about an explosion of an unknown object on Hrushevsky Street. As a result, the husband and the woman suffered bodily injuries “, – reported in the police.

As all of this is going on, the Poles, and several other Eastern European members of NATO, are rightly concerned about Russia’s upcoming ZAPAD17 military exercise.

This is part of why Poland is spending an additional $55 billion on defense spending.

Poland will allocate an additional 200 billion zlotys ($55 billion) on defense over the next 15 years to modernize its army amid signs of growing aggression from Russia, a deputy defense minister said.

Russia’s Zapad military exercises next month in Belarus and western Russia, the largest in years, have raised concerns for their lack of transparency, with NATO worried the official number of troops participating might be understated.

Russia’s Zapad military exercises next month in Belarus and western Russia, the largest in years, have raised concerns for their lack of transparency, with NATO worried the official number of troops participating might be understated.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will visit Poland on Thursday and Friday to check on deployment of U.S. troops in the east of the country and to meet Polish, Romanian and Turkish government officials.

Poland, alarmed by what it sees as Russia’s assertiveness on NATO’s eastern flank, has lobbied hard for the stationing of NATO troops on its soil, especially since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Yesterday was the anniversary for the victims of NAZIism and Stalinism known as Black Ribbon Day. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 23 AUG 1939 divided Europe into a NAZI German and Soviet spheres of interest. Tensions are running high as Russia continues a military buildup in advance of its ZAPAD17 exercise. ZAPAD17 kicks off on 14 September 2017. What is unknown is whether this is just the 2017 annual exercise along Russia’s western border or whether, as was the case in 2008 with Russia’s invasion of Georgia, it is a prelude to something else.

And what exactly does all Russia mean to Vladimir Putin?

 

133 replies
  1. 1
    A Ghost to Not says:

    What will Rump do if Russia invades Ukraine? I predict he congratulates Putin.

  2. 2

    Why does Russia want more land, it does not have enough of a population for the land that it does possess right now.

  3. 3

    Ukraine’s motives were good, but they should not have given up their nukes.

    If Russia succeeds, you’ll see even more nations trying to join the club. I can’t say I blame them.

  4. 4
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Greater sphere of influence and/or control = more $ for Boss Putin to shake down. Mobster motivation, pure and simple.

  5. 5
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Warm water ports. Reclamation of mythical/historic Russian lands. Reestablishment of what Putin believes is the historic Russian sphere of influence and near abroad. Rollback of NATO and the EU.

  6. 6
    WaterGirl says:

    Yikes. Every day that Trump is in office is a day that is fraught with danger.

    I really want him out, now, but I also don’t because I believe it’s best for the country if we root out all the Russian corruption, and if Trump is out many people will just want to sweep it all under the rug and say everything is okay now.

  7. 7
    Mnemosyne says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    As Cheryl pointed out, Ukraine didn’t have a lot of choice about giving up the nukes since they were the property of the Russian Federation.

  8. 8

    Fake news!

    Right? Right?

    Has to be. Our best friend Putin would never do anything bad, right?

  9. 9
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Why does Russia want more land, it does not have enough of a population for the land that it does possess right now.

    Why does Trump want more money, he doesn’t have hands big enough for what he possesses right now.

    Because manifest destiny, that’s why.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m curious to find out how this guy beat himself to death in his swimming pool…

  11. 11
    TenguPhule says:

    @A Ghost to Not:

    What will Rump do if Russia invades Ukraine?

    Panic, freeze up and let Putin take the initiative.

    This could get ugly.

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m curious to find out how this guy beat himself to death in his swimming pool…

    Putin isn’t even trying to hide it anymore.

    Wonder if he’s trying to send a message to his American gimps.

  13. 13
    Amir Khalid says:

    @schrodingers_cat:
    I think it’s not really land Putin wants, but conquest. To hold dominion again over the territories of the former Russian Empire, and to expand the pool of people he and his ilk can suck blood from.

  14. 14
    Miss Bianca says:

    Well, once again, I have to find myself thanking God that we have a real, bigly he-man type in the White House, instead of that mean email lady.

  15. 15
    Origuy says:

    What’s Russian for Manifest Destiny?* Putin’s idea of all Russia probably includes the Baltics, at least a corridor through Lithuania to Kaliningrad, and a chunk of Latvia, which has the largest percentage of Russians. It wouldn’t surprise me to see an Anschluss into Belarus when Lukashenko dies, to preserve order and protect the Russian minority, of course.

    *I looked it up; according to Wikipedia it’s Явное предначертание, or Explicit Outline.

  16. 16
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: What I’m wondering is whether “Russian ambassadorship” now officially counts as one of those “offers you can’t refuse”.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: The Maskirovka has slipped.

  18. 18
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    To hold dominion again over the territories of the former Russian Empire, and to expand the pool of people he and his ilk can suck blood from.

    That reminds me of what antebellum southerners wanted to do to the American West, Mexico, Cuba, and places in S America like Venezula. Conquer them, make them slave states to make more money and have more power. The Golden Circle plan it was called I think.

  19. 19
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I never thought NATO should have absorbed more than the Balkans, the Czech Republic and Hungary from the old Warsaw Pact. Those made some sense. The rest did not, and was fraught with wider difficulty.

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: I’d definitely be asking for hazard and danger pay!

  21. 21
    trollhattan says:

    @A Ghost to Not:
    He yells at the lying media for lying about Russia’s invasion, which is totally not happening, and/or, Ukraine patriots invited Russian soldiers in for tea and crumpetsborscht and vodka.

  22. 22
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I always think of the line from “Mystery Men”: “He fell down an elevator shaft… onto some bullets.”

  23. 23
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Origuy:
    Ah. World War 2. That’s another parallel I’m getting from current events with Russia

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: It is what it is.

  25. 25
    Cacti says:

    Posted it yesterday and will post it again today:

    Wikileaks flat refused 68 gigs worth of leaked data on Russia’s military and intelligence interference in Ukraine.

  26. 26
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Cacti:
    Someone should link that article in the comments of Greenwald’s next doorstopper. It would be funny to see the sputtering and incoherent screeching.

  27. 27

    Wikileaks flat refused 68 gigs worth of leaked data on Russia’s military and intelligence interference in Ukraine.

    @Cacti: Huh. That’s quite odd. I thought they…released leaks, right? I mean, because if you’re being picky about what you leak, targeting those leaks, it’s almost like that’s not really an organization dedicated to leaking embarrassing government info.

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    He seems nice.

    Also, case dismissed:

  29. 29
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Amir Khalid: Wasn’t that the basic economic engine for the Roman Empire? Gotta keep expanding, gotta have new territory to loot.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cacti: Yep.

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’d definitely be asking for hazard and danger pay!

    Wouldn’t you be more worried about the retirement package?

  32. 32
    Captain C says:

    @schrodingers_cat: In addition to the answers given above, foreign adventurism distracts from the fact that the economy at home is a disaster, and that they haven’t done anything to change Russia from an extraction-based economy to a modern information-based one. In fact, they’ve made it harder; who in their right mind would buy, say, an IT product from Russia now?

  33. 33
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Is that guy a somebody, or just garden variety Southern white guy?

  34. 34
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I won’t repeat his colourful paraphrase of Martin Luther King’s name, but it was dripping with economic anxiety I tell you what!

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Very few Russian men ever make it to retirement age. Poor diets, too much booze, too many cigarettes, crappy economic conditions, etc. That’s the paradox here. Is it just a bunch of 50 and 60 something year old Russian officials who eat poorly, drink too much, and smoke like chimneys succumbing to various comorbidities or is Putin running a wetwork program?

  36. 36
    rikyrah says:

    @Cacti:

    Posted it yesterday and will post it again today:

    Wikileaks flat refused 68 gigs worth of leaked data on Russia’s military and intelligence interference in Ukraine.

    UH HUH
    UH HUH

  37. 37
    Captain C says:

    @Origuy: I’m sure if he could get away with it, in addition to the Baltics, he’d take Finland, Poland, Belarus, all of Ukraine, Moldova, the Caucasian states, Mongolia, and probably Alaska.

  38. 38
    smintheus says:

    Not sure the invasion of Georgia in 2008 is an apt comparison. That war was started by Georgia when it invaded an autonomous enclave with Russian peacekeepers, but then failed to block Russian reinforcements. The Russians drove the invading Georgians out, taught Saakashvili a lesson, and then retreated. If they’d wanted, they could easily have taken all of Georgia by force. Not saying Putin was not playing a game of trying to destabilize Georgia by sending peacekeepers. But that was Saakashvili’s war of choice. It’s far from clear that Russian exercises across the border nearby were anything more than a warning to Saakashvili to stop meddling in the enclave where he wasn’t wanted.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Leto says:

    I see our BALTOPS exercises have been paying off in 1) helping to potentially deter this and 2) presenting a continual show of force in the face of continual Russian build up. That’s partial snark, but we’ve done a lot of really good training with our Baltic partners that I really, really hope we don’t have to use.

    Full disclosure- I was the lead comm planner for AF BALTOPS ops for a few years.

  41. 41
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Yutsano: You noticed that too?

  42. 42
    rikyrah says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I really want him out, now, but I also don’t because I believe it’s best for the country if we root out all the Russian corruption, and if Trump is out many people will just want to sweep it all under the rug and say everything is okay now.

    The longer that they cling to Dolt45, the more he is an anvil for them. They really do believe that they can back him and nobody is going to put them together.

  43. 43
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Well, that’s good news, that his “case” was dismissed, presumably with prejudice!!

    Not news that fat racist pigs want freedumb to continue being racist in public!!

  44. 44
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I
    “I don’t believe it’s a symbol of racism.”
    It’s doesn’t matter so much what you believe. What matters is what the flag and those monuments mean to actually historically oppressed people, and why they were put up in the first place, which is well documented.

    Oh and the “Martin Luther Coon” remark. That wasn’t a mistake. And how dare he compare MLK to confederate shitstains. What an idiotic, overprivlidged asshole. Millions of Americans sacrificed and died (not to mention overthrew several democratic governmets worldwide) to make this the single most powerful nation on earth so this dbag could on TV and pontificate on shit he doesn’t understand?

    Pampered know-nothings who would never survive outside of a first-world nation.

  45. 45
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    Just a quick note: when Russia refers to Rus they’re spreading a fiction. The Kyivan Rus is not the same, nor were they related to the actual historic Russian ethno-national and ethno-linguistic forebears, state, and society. The Russian government, and before it the Soviet government, purposefully conflates several different historical ethno-national/ethno-linguistic groups into a catchall category of Rus to justify Russian claims to Ukraine and Finland, as well as other areas that Russia considers part of its historic near abroad.

    Current Russia descends mainly from Muscovy and the Mongol invaders. One of my favorite alternate histories would be if Novgorod had beaten Muscovy. I haven’t worked out in detail. It’s hard to do an alternate history that far back; too many branches. Novgorod was a republic, although it too was overrun by the Mongols.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Leto says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Sounds like you should contact Harry Turtledove. That would be an interesting book.

  48. 48
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @A Ghost to Not: I thought Russia has already invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. What happens when Russia starts invading other formerly USSR states? I assume Trump will not only sit back and do nothing but also threaten Western Europe to leave Russia alone.

  49. 49
    Mike in NC says:

    Netflix is streaming “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom”. Well worth a look.

  50. 50
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Is it just a bunch of 50 and 60 something year old Russian officials who eat poorly, drink too much, and smoke like chimneys succumbing to various comorbidities or is Putin running a wetwork program?

    I’m going to go with option B. I don’t care what you smoke, that still isn’t going to result in shooting yourself in the back of the head and then jumping out of a 12 story building.

  51. 51
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Cacti: Sing to me again, o muse, of the sea-green incorruptibility and disinterested passion for “information being free” of one Julian Ass-ange…

  52. 52
    Yutsano says:

    @Adam L Silverman: To be fair he wasn’t exactly subtle about it.

    Turns out he’s also from North Carolina. So yeah he just wanted his 15 minutes of hate.

    @TenguPhule: You probably shouldn’t watch Higurashi ni naku koro ni then. The deaths get…creative.

  53. 53

    In fact, they’ve made it harder; who in their right mind would buy, say, an IT product from Russia now?

    @Captain C: Nobody who wants to stay employed. We were discussing some antivirus options, someone said “Kaspersky” and then everyone laughed. Even the Trump contingent. They know the score as well.

  54. 54
    bystander says:

    Watching Sorry Sarah Huckleberry fluffing off the idea of a fully staffed FEMA with a smart pishtosh. I hope in the future she has just one person do her eyebrows instead of two. They don’t seem to have been in harmony before they picked up the tweezers.

  55. 55
    vhh says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Helpless buffer states dependent on Russian petroleum and defense, and able manufacture decent electronics and consumer goods of near Western quality. Remember the Iron Curtain?

  56. 56
    Jack the Second says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Putin took the dissolution of the USSR very personally. He wants two things: its restoration, and the dissolution of the West (NATO, the EU, the United States).

    He (and Russia) have only lost the Cold War if they stop playing the game now.

  57. 57

    I assume Trump will not only sit back and do nothing but also threaten Western Europe to leave Russia alone.

    @Patricia Kayden: No need. It’s not like Western Europe has the capacity to do more than inconvenience Russia for a few days.

  58. 58
    vhh says:

    @bystander: Heckuva job, Trumps. Wait til the Texas hurricane hits. Katrina was a big deal, but it was mainly people of color who perished. Texas is a lot whiter.

  59. 59
    clay says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I don’t get it. Aren’t these Putin’s own ambassadors? Why would he kill his own people? (Not being snarky; I really don’t get it.)

  60. 60
    TenguPhule says:

    @clay:

    I don’t get it. Aren’t these Putin’s own ambassadors? Why would he kill his own people? (Not being snarky; I really don’t get it.)

    Loose ends.

    Three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

  61. 61
    raven says:

    Wanczyk, 53, landed the largest single lottery jackpot ever in the United States — the $758.7 million grand prize in Wednesday’s Power Ball.
    The winning ticket (6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and Powerball number 4) was purchased at the Pride Station & Store in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
    Wanczyk said she discovered Wednesday night while leaving work at the Mercy Medical Center that she had won. A co-worker looked at her ticket and told her she had won. He told her to immediately sign the back of the ticket. She couldn’t believe it.

    Store owner Bolduc said that he plans to donate the $50,000 commission he’ll collect for selling a jackpot winner, to local charities with a primary focus on education and children.

  62. 62
    vhh says:

    @TenguPhule: Sure looks like tying up of loose ends. I have read of 38 suspicious deaths of prominent Russians, all but a few of them under age 65, some much younger, including Lesin (founder of Russia Today) who is said to have beaten himself to death by falling down drunk.

  63. 63
    NotMax says:

    “The vote for the referendum to join Russia has been confirmed. All our poll watchers had high powered binoculars in their tanks and independently recorded each vote as it was cast.”

  64. 64
    rikyrah says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Loose ends.

    Three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

    yep.

  65. 65
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon: In everyone’s in Europe, invaders from the west have trampled Russian defenses. Much of their population – and productivity – lie west of the Urals: invasion of those lands would be catastrophic.

    The Warsaw Pact was USSR’s attempt to build a buffer: with a dozen client states in between Soviet lands and the West, invasion could be contained before the Motherland was affected (or so the theory went). With an end to both the USSR and to its control of Warsaw Pact states, that buffer vanished – especially as many former Pact countries made overtures to the EU and the US.

    Putin obviously thinks that if he can’t restore Warsaw then at least he can seize land for Russia directly, building a new buffer of former Warsaw Pact or Soviet Republic territory. It’s better this way than take the risk that a new generation of vassal states would flip allegiance in another couple decades.

  66. 66
    rikyrah says:

    DREAM TEAM
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    To probe alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel has essentially built his own miniature Justice Department. Meet the experts he’s recruited.

    Betsy Woodruff
    08.24.17 12:49 AM ET

    In a secure location in southwest Washington, D.C., with access to a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility for classified material, 16 of the country’s top lawyers have passed the last several months working on an investigation that will likely be as consequential as it is secretive.

    The following details—gleaned from conversations with people familiar with President Donald Trump’s legal team, as well as intelligence experts and friends of the people working for special counsel Robert Mueller—help explain the broad range of legal and counterintelligence experts he’s assembled. Mueller has essentially built his own miniature Justice Department.

  67. 67
    Cermet says:

    @smintheus: All true; frankly, glad they didn’t try and block the russian army – that could have gotten ugly really fast.

  68. 68
    bystander says:

    @vhh:
    Is it too soon to speculate as to whether Harvey will be Trump’s Katrina?

  69. 69
    clay says:

    @TenguPhule: Maybe, but… the Ambassador to Sudan? Honestly, my first thought was that it was some other agency (ours? UK’s?) in retaliation for the shit Putin pulls on our soil.

  70. 70
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: @Yutsano: Holy fuck, batman. I was about to ask if he really said what I thought he said, but I see from your comments that I must have heard correctly. Wow.

    What a total fucking pig. And that’s still nicer than what he called Dr. Martin Luther King.

  71. 71
    Cermet says:

    @Jack the Second: He knows the lessons of the american civil war and the confederates’; he also knows the lesson that the reds paid to the whites after their civil war …

  72. 72
    TenguPhule says:

    @clay:

    Maybe, but… the Ambassador to Sudan? Honestly, my first thought was that it was some other agency (ours? UK’s?) in retaliation for the shit Putin pulls on our soil.

    Traditionally we didn’t kill ambassadors in retaliation, we killed their spies and/or people which would get the point across in tit for tat.

  73. 73
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I picture them all drinking until they pass out nightly. In the am, they wake in a steam bath as they whack themselves with birch branches and guzzle vodka until noon. A breakfast of fatty, salty sausage, pickles and bread, “service” by escorts, and then they oligarch for the afternoon before the heavy drinking begins at about 1600.

    Repeat.

    They’ve all probably got gout.

  74. 74
    TenguPhule says:

    @bystander:

    Is it too soon to speculate as to whether Harvey will be Trump’s Katrina?

    Perhaps.

  75. 75
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So is Baltar in the White House decrying this as fake news and going on about the upcoming Cyclon peace talks?

  76. 76

    @The Moar You Know:
    I was under the impression that it was the opposite, that Russia’s military is a joke right now and they’re picking on the weakest actors they can find.

  77. 77
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @clay: I don’t get it either. It could be, as TenguPhule implies, that Putin is keeping something quiet. But what? How he’s gotten his money? Where he hides it? There have to be a fair number of people who know or could trace that. Would he kill all of them? And Putin also arrests people to keep them quiet. One might think that some of the people described in this article might be nearing their time for encountering unfortunate accidents.

    It could be tying up a variety of loose ends, Putin having the means to do it now and feeling that now is better than later. It appears that Lesin was in Washington to talk to law-enforcement people. The ambassadors? Maybe just inconvenient amounts of knowledge of stuff going on within Russia, like the Khodorkovsky thing or Litvenenko’s poison tea. There also seems to be a set of rivalries within the FSB, and they may have what they consider reason for eliminating some of these people.

    I don’t know enough to think that any of these explanations is more plausible than any other.

  78. 78
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Why does Russia want more land, it does not have enough of a population for the land that it does possess right now

    Economic, the Ukrian is really important to the Russian economy.

  79. 79
    TenguPhule says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    So is Baltar in the White House decrying this as fake news and going on about the upcoming Cyclon peace talks?

    Cylon.

  80. 80
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    Religious Right websites about ‘Biblical Prophecy’ are freaking out about an astronomical event happening in September 2017 that they claim fulfills a ‘prophecy’ in a passage from the book of Revelation. From what I remember, several astronomical bodies will line up and… bingo! ‘prophecy fulfilled.

    Since they believe Russia will be a major combatant in the Battle of Armaggedon, news of Russian military movements in September will just drive them further crazy.

    But ‘true believers’ will be secure because as Paula White, Trump’s Evangelical mentor, assures them (most recently on the Jim Bakker show) Trump is annointed by God to ‘turn back the US from its wicked ways.’

  81. 81
    Captain C says:

    @rikyrah: The problem with this is that if you do it too often, you wind up with only subcompetents working for you, as you’ve either killed off your skilled workers or scared off new employees, and anyone still working with you (or new hires) are most concerned with not getting killed, rather than doing their jobs.

    (edited for clarity)

  82. 82
    clay says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Hey, Gaius Baltar may have been a self-serving, cowardly traitor to the human race, but he was no Donald Trump!

    a) He was a scientific genius, and b) he was capable of self-reflection and growth.

  83. 83

    @Cheryl Rofer:
    If these were people involved in the America situation it would make more sense, but they seem to be all over the place. That suggests to me that something is going bad in Putin’s government, and he’s either stepped up his paranoia into ‘deranged’ or is desperately playing damage control. Or he has lost control over who gets assassinated. It’s all speculation, alas!

    @Ladyraxterinok:
    They do this every few years. I remember the Nostradomus freakouts in the 80s. It has been the End Times for 2000 years. Major Christian tradition.

  84. 84
    trollhattan says:

    @clay:
    c) Number Six. Everything revolves around Number Six. Because Number Six.

  85. 85
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It’s not impossible with all these Russians deaths is what happens when you have a lot of rich people who think no rules apply to them and agressivily flaunt it. Did Putins goons beat this guy to death to keep him quite, or was it the goons of some guy this Russian wrong, like say the father some girl this guy raped?

  86. 86
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @schrodingers_cat: As Enhanced Voting Techniques said, Ukraine has good farm land, whereas most of Russia is too far north for wheat. Ukraine also has missile and other defense factories.

    Russia’s story for the five centuries or so leading up to the Revolution was expansion. It was partly the same sort of colonialism practiced by the rest of Europe and partly that Russia’s geography has dealt it long and indefensible borders. So you acquire the neighbors as buffer states as someone else noted upthread, and then they become part of the Motherland, so you need another buffer. Rinse and repeat until you have the boundaries of Imperial Russia of 1917. After the Revolution, large chunks like the Baltic States peeled away. Stalin got some of that back in 1945, but then even more peeled away when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. So part of it is wanting to restore past glory.

  87. 87
    Mike in DC says:

    I suspect that the resources necessary for Ukraine to retake Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea are not wholly beyond their capacities, but that developing and deploying that capacity takes time. The longer peace talks drag on, the more Russia can dig in, but conversely, the more Ukraine can build up its own forces.

  88. 88
    Cermet says:

    @trollhattan: That is because six is the only even number that can only be derived by prime multiples … 2*3, 3*2 (remember, 2 is a prime number. Of course, I am excluding multiplying by 1 …;ok, I am making this up.)

  89. 89
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I didn’t say anything about the possibility that they’ve been involved in the American election interference. That’s even more speculative. As you say, it’s all speculation.

  90. 90
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @clay: Think the orignal ’70s BSG show when Baltar was just a sleezy, chinless politican who was so evil he refused to use a blowdrier on his hair.

  91. 91
    Yutsano says:

    @clay: That’s the reboot. The original he was a military officer who betrayed the other Council of Twelve over greed. Closer, but even that Baltar was capable of redemption at the end.

  92. 92
    catclub says:

    @Ladyraxterinok:

    But ‘true believers’ will be secure because as Paula White, Trump’s Evangelical mentor, assures them (most recently on the Jim Bakker show) Trump is annointed by God to ‘turn back the US from its wicked ways.’

    yeah, right.
    An amusing irony would be these wackaloons spouting off that Obama is the anti-Christ and then have Trump turn out to be it.

    [For some values of ironic, and amusing.]

  93. 93
    Cermet says:

    @Mike in DC: Sorry but the Ukraine will never defeat Russia and is not crazy enough to take back anything by military might from russia; not happening.

  94. 94
    catclub says:

    @Cermet: how about 10? 2*5?

  95. 95
    TenguPhule says:

    Judge orders tech company to release Web user data from anti-Trump website

    Uh oh.

    The judge’s ruling ordering a data release covers website information between October 2016 and Jan. 20, 2017, Inauguration Day.

    The only silver lining, provided the DOJ still follows the rules.

    As part of his decree, Morin ordered prosecutors to tell him who was going to review the data DreamHost provides and, once that information is found, explain to him why prosecutors deem the information “critical” to their case.

    Under Morin’s ruling, any information prosecutors find unrelated to the rioting would be sealed and could not be shared by prosecutors with anyone else or any other government authority.

  96. 96
    vhh says:

    I follow what’s going on in Russia, and this has the makings of a nightmare scenario a la 1939, with an increasingly economically strapped Putin in Moscow and a carefully cultivated Poleznij Durak (Useful Idiot) driving chaos in the WH. Russia has been threatening the Baltics (passes over NATO ships etc) but that may be a a head fake, the (initial) target looks more and more like subjection of Ukraine. The question is what can the West do about it? I think we’ll be hearing more about the Suwalki Gap (the border region connecting Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and Russia) and Kaliningrad (formerly the German city of Königsberg, a little, separate piece of Russia that lies between Poland and Lithuania) in coming weeks and months. The Russian garrison in Kaliningrad has been getting beefed up with troops, ships, and missiles (nuclear capable) over the last 1-2 years. Europe would be safer with a bunch of German Panzer divisions based near the Polish border, but the Bundeswehr of today is not the Wehrmacht of 1940. We are moving to northeast Germany, 50 mi from Poland, in a few months (big physics project) so we will have a front row seat for the festivities.

  97. 97
    WaterGirl says:

    @TenguPhule: That’s a Washington Post article – I can’t see it because I refuse to turn off my ad-blocker for them. Can you provide more info? Because there’s no background in your post and I have no idea what this is even about.

  98. 98
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Leto: Great author of alternate history. One of his best novels, The Toxic Spell Dump, follows the travails of an alt-reality EPA agent tracking the sources of leaks (and cover-up) from a hazardous waste dump that are causing severe environmental and genetic damage.

  99. 99
    TenguPhule says:

    What Trump has undone

    Since Jan. 20, Trump’s administration has enthusiastically and systematically undone or uprooted rules, policies and tools that predated his time in office. Below, a list of those changes, roughly organized by subject area.

    …..

    Reversal of a rule that would mandate that oil and gas companies report payments to foreign governments. The Securities and Exchange Commission will no longer receive this information.

    Ended limits on the ability of states to drug test those seeking unemployment benefits.

    Withdrew from the Paris climate agreement.

    Blocked the Clean Power Plan. The plan implemented under Obama focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

    Rescinded a rule mandating that rising sea levels be considered when building public infrastructure in flood-prone areas.

    Reversed of an Obama ban on drilling for oil in the Arctic.

    Withdrew of a rule banning fracking on public land.

    Reversed a ban on plastic bottles at national parks.

    Rescinded a limit on the number of sea animals that can be trapped or killed in fishing nets.

    Ended a rule banning dumping waste from mining into streams.

    Rolled back of Obama’s outreach to the Cuban government.

    Ended the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program. DAPA extended protections for some immigrant parents whose children were citizens of or residents in the United States.

    Withdrew federal protections for transgender students in schools. Under the rule approved by Obama, transgender students could use school bathrooms that corresponded to their gender identities.

    Revoked ban on denying funding for Planned Parenthood at the state level.

    Repealed of a rule mandating that Internet service providers seek permission before selling personal information.

  100. 100
    TenguPhule says:

    @WaterGirl:

    Its in regards to the DOJ going fishing on an anti-Trump website in relation to the Jan 20 riots in DC.

    A D.C. Superior Court judge Thursday ruled a Los Angeles-based tech company must provide emails addresses and other computer user information from users who visited an anti-Trump website in the months leading to Inauguration Day.

    Prosecutors have filed felony rioting charges against some 200 individuals who they say participated in the riots and are asking for the website information as they pursue their criminal cases.

  101. 101
    vhh says:

    @bystander: Won’t have to wait long to find out. I understand that FEMA may be understaffed (like the rest of the govt).

  102. 102
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Reading those articles about high level corruption in Russia, boy howdy, if I was a Russian that would chill my blood; if the elites don’t believe in the system and treat it like a farce, then the system is doomed. It’s like the cop who was charged with treason because he helped the FBI catch a credit card hacker and the hacker turned out to be the son of a prominent Duma member. so, why would this guys colleges bother doing their jobs after that? It an’t going to do them much to go to be a high ranking official in the Kleptocracy if all their body guards are incline to look the other way if someone slips them a twenty.

  103. 103
    WaterGirl says:

    @TenguPhule: Thank you!

  104. 104
    clay says:

    @catclub: I mean, pretty much by definition, the anti-Christ is someone who fools a bunch of believers into thinking he’s their Messiah. If those evangelicals had any sort of critical thinking skills, they wouldn’t look for anit-Christs among their enemies*, but rather among their friends.

    *Not that Obama was their enemy, but that’s how they saw him.

  105. 105
    NotMax says:

    @Ladyraxterinok

    They’re foolish, gullible morons. Same thing happens in the September sky every few hundred years.

    This basic arrangement happened before — in September 1827, in September 1483, in September 1293, and in September 1056. […] I only searched back one thousand years, from 2017 to 1017 — there are undoubtedly other examples outside of that time period, and probably a couple examples that I missed within that time period. Source

    Things in the same plane that orbit at different rates will – surprise, surprise – occasionally appear to line up.

  106. 106
    TenguPhule says:

    @clay:

    If those evangelicals had any sort of critical thinking skills,

    If they had critical thinking skills they wouldn’t be evangelicals.

  107. 107
    ericblair says:

    @Mike in DC:

    I suspect that the resources necessary for Ukraine to retake Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea are not wholly beyond their capacities, but that developing and deploying that capacity takes time. The longer peace talks drag on, the more Russia can dig in, but conversely, the more Ukraine can build up its own forces.

    My understanding is that the Donbas, being a war-torn mess, is a complete money sink and neither Ukraine nor Russia really want it now. From the leaked Russian emails (that Wikileaks didn’t want to touch, natch) there was talk about how to return the Donbas “on Russian terms”, whatever that was supposed to mean. Currently, it’s another idiot foreign adventure by VV Putin, SUPERGENIUS, with no thought about what to do next.

    Crimea is another money sink. The bridge Russia’s building from Russia to Crimea is eating the entire road budget for western Russia, and is likely to fall into the sea one of the next few winters. It’s a terrible place to try to build a bridge, but it’s a political priority and was scheduled so aggressively they started building it before they finished designing it. Don’t drive on it. Even if, by some miracle, a liberal becomes president of Russia, it’s pretty doubtful they’d want to give Crimea back to Ukraine, so it’s going to sit around as a militarily occupied territory for years until it gets traded back for something or other.

  108. 108
    Mike in DC says:

    @Cermet:

    Perhaps, but there are reported ceasefire violations on both sides every day. It seems like Ukraine has not thrown in the towel.

  109. 109
    rikyrah says:

    @TenguPhule:
    BUT.HER.EMAILS……

  110. 110
  111. 111
    TenguPhule says:

    @rikyrah:

    BUT.HER.EMAILS……

    Just because he’s lazy and incompetent doesn’t mean they can’t fuck everything up anyway.

  112. 112
    Chris says:

    @Jack the Second:

    please tell me we’re not going to spend the next hundred years with the Russians Lost Causing the Cold War the way American white nationalists Lost Caused the Civil War.

  113. 113
    clay says:

    @TenguPhule: I knew someone would quip this. There ARE intellectual and even liberal evangelicals, you know.

  114. 114
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @clay: And even they aren’t blind to the roots of their movement in slave apologetics and the Identity Movement.

  115. 115
    M31 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    A friend of mine is a public health professor studying alcohol usage in different cultures and the death rate from alcohol abuse in Russia is unbelievable. Even in the context of the hard-drinking traditions of eastern Europeans, Russia is an outlier.

  116. 116
    Chris says:

    @clay:

    Yeah, I think I’ve met both of them.

  117. 117
    smintheus says:

    @Cermet: The Georgians did try to block the tunnel the Russians needed to use, but they failed to occupy it in time.

  118. 118
    El Caganer says:

    @Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: I think you missed the part where they all start eating watermelon, roll their eyes, and announce ” Sho’ good eatin’, boss!”

  119. 119
    El Caganer says:

    @TenguPhule: Oh, yeah, I have no doubt that Bo Secession’s DOJ will abide by that ruling.

  120. 120
    sigaba says:

    @Adam L Silverman: This guy’s a piece of work.

    “Confederate statues are totally not about racism. My counterexample? What if we started taking down Martin Luther King street signs? … How do Martin Luther King remembrances relate to confederate statues? I don’t know. Also I have this funny joke about how to pronounce King’s name but I won’t tell it, wink.”

  121. 121
    Captain C says:

    @smintheus: IIRC, they were hoping the Ossetians would use it to escape, so they delayed in blowing it up until it was too late. Also, IIRC, there were accusations that the Russian “peace-keepers” were engaging in provocations to try to (successfully) bait the Georgians into attacking.

  122. 122
    Jack the Second says:

    @clay: A number of Evangelical churches joined the UCC, which is one of the most educated and liberal Protestant churches.

  123. 123
    debbie says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Putin jumped the gun and started ZAPAD on September 1. The symbolism is right up his alley: Blitzkrieg the Second.

  124. 124
    Mike Furlan says:

    Defending the eastern border of Ukraine isn’t worth the bones of even one Neo-Confederate American.

  125. 125
    The Pale Scot says:

    What I haven’t heard is whether or not Nato is conducting shadow exercises or is ramping up readiness like they use to do during the cold war. This time next month Belarus will be voting 100 % to rejoin the glorious Rus Empire. Then next year another exercise, who be will next?

    The UK should lease one of those boomers they’re not on keen keeping to Poland. Nothing would scare the Cossacks more than a Polski with a button to push

  126. 126
    evodevo says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Uh, yeah, and that economic strategy + Xtianity did them in eventually. Of course, they lasted longer than America has, so we can’t gloat yet.

  127. 127
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @ericblair: Coming in late because my plane just landed (and thanks for the post, Adam) but I know plenty of smart Ukrainians who don’t much care for getting Crimea back. It’s an economic sink for either side.

  128. 128
    The Pale Scot says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Why does Russia want more land

    It’s all about a nation’s “greatness”. Bloody Bill and the rest of the neocons could explain it to you. The explanation wouldn’t make any sense. It’s “bomb poor nations something something yada yada big fucking buildings yada yada something something “respect on the international stage” something something yada yada only the Übermensch can under stand it yada yada “need something to die for” something something “the girls will stop laughing at us” yada yada etc…………………….

    If only all these assholes, the nationalists, the white supremacists, the 3% ers, could be put on a starship hurtling out of the galaxy and supplied with hand weapons and immortality so they could kill each other for eternity. Sounds like a screenplay

  129. 129
    BCHS Class of 1980 says:

    @Leto: Or Benioff and Weiss to get them off their current alternate-history fixation…

  130. 130
    sm*t cl*de says:

    @M31:

    the death rate from alcohol abuse in Russia is unbelievable. Even in the context of the hard-drinking traditions of eastern Europeans, Russia is an outlier.

    Have they no Oxycontin?

  131. 131
    The Pale Scot says:

    @WaterGirl:

    That’s a Washington Post article

    You can just turn off Javscript to block the Post gremlins, better to use a private page and no JS.

    Chrome and FF have add ons that put a button on your toolbar, easy piezie. For Safari activate the developer menu there’s a selection on it. For most sites I have the JS off, excepting places like here.

    Some websites won’t allow you to see anything without th JS on, that seems shady to me, Why you need so much control over my browser, que??

  132. 132
    WaterGirl says:

    @The Pale Scot: Well, I was going to say that worked like a charm, but with java script off, it wouldn’t let me comment! Also I turned it back on. I poked around a tiny bit to see if I could leave JS on for BJ, but no luck. I will try again another day. I use Safari.

    Some websites won’t allow you to see anything without th JS on, that seems shady to me, Why you need so much control over my browser, que??

    Completely agree! Occasionally, if there’s something I really want to see, I will open Chrome and look at the page. Seems like the ones that want to force you to turn off Adblock have crap all over their pages. Ugh. Those are the very sites that need Ad Blocker the most.

  133. 133
    The Pale Scot says:

    @WaterGirl: Yea, comments don’t work, but for Wapo that’s like pissing against the tide anyway.

    Wasn’t sure I should post that ’cause the last tech advise I gave got you to delete all your bookmarks :D

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