• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

What Is Senile, Dishonest Joe Trying To Think?

THE MORNING JOLT

Russia Pursues Full-Scale Shelling of Ukrainian Cities

By JIM GERAGHTY at National Review:

Ukrainian service members stand guard outside the regional administration building, which city officials said was hit by a missile attack, in central Kharkiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Reuters)

On the menu today: Russia embraces full-scale shelling of Ukrainian cities; a 40-mile convoy of Russian military vehicles bears down on Kyiv, spurring memories of the Russian military’s siege and destruction of Grozny in Chechnya; no one knows exactly what Vladimir Putin’s mental state is; the French finance minister pledges to destroy the Russian economy; the State of the Union address is tonight, but it feels like small potatoes compared to what else is going on in the world; and the community of Hilton Head, S.C., loses a great one.

You probably saw the video of the Ukrainian man carefully moving a landmine that he found on a bridge with his bare hands, while smoking a cigarette. (Note that Russia has not signed the international treaty banning the use of land mines.)

That’s probably how a lot of world leaders feel this week — there’s an unstable and delicate piece of ordnance in front of them that must be dealt with, but one mistake could make the whole thing explode.

Way behind schedule and frustrated by heavy Ukrainian resistance and logistical problems, the Russian military shifted to a new, more brutal approach that is a war crime: targeting civilian areas. “Live-cam footage from Kharkiv’s central Freedom Square showed a missile landing just outside the local government’s headquarters, with a fireball charring nearby buildings and cars. Local officials said there were fatalities.” You can see deeply unpleasant video of the attack here  — one moment there’s a stately government administration building at an intersection, and the next there’s a giant orange fireball. Beyond that, Human Rights Watch has documented the Russians using “a 9M79-series Tochka ballistic missile with a 9N123 cluster munition warhead” just outside a hospital in Vuhledar, killing four civilians and wounding another ten.

Russia’s military has now assembled a convoy of vehicles 40 miles long (!) that, as of this writing, is just 15 miles from Kyiv.

When contemplating what that 40-mile-long convoy of Russian tanks, artillery, and other vehicles could do to the city of Kyiv, remember the fate of the Chechen capital of Grozny in 2000:

Russian soldiers did not capture Grozny. They obliterated it.

Apartment houses along Lenin Prospekt have been pulverized. Minutka Square, once a bustling plaza, has been blasted beyond recognition.

It is hard to find a single structure in the city center that has not been wrecked by a bomb, damaged by artillery or raked by gunfire. . . .

Russia’s acting president, Vladimir V. Putin announced on Sunday, with fanfare, that Russian forces had finally taken the city from rebels trying to break away from Russia. What he did not say was what the government planned to do with the ruined city and traumatized population. . . .

If new city guides were to be issued, they would describe Grozny in terms of military weaponry, not architecture.

The gaping holes in apartment complexes are classic signs of artillery. Mounds of rubble are remnants of large buildings collapsed by bombs. Gashes in the city streets, which have disemboweled the city’s underground utilities and pushed severed gas and water pipes toward the sky, seem to be the work of surface-to-surface missiles. Even monuments have been blown off their pedestals.

Grozny looks more like Stalingrad after World War II or Guernica after the Spanish Civil War. There are hardly any residents on the streets, but Russian officials say thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, remain.

Vladimir Putin has already demonstrated that he’s willing to level a city and slaughter thousands of civilians to achieve his objectives. And that was back when everyone felt he was sane, at least by the standards of Russian leaders.

Which leads to the next landmine: the state of Putin’s mind. If you’re freaked out at the thought that a man losing his marbles commands the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, so is the U.S. intelligence community. Figures who have met with him before, such as Finnish president Sauli Niinistö, say Putin is acting differently lately. The cold, calculating, stone-faced KGB man is now offering angry tirades full of historical grievances. Some observers are wondering if Putin really believes his own unhinged rhetoric that the Ukrainian government is full of drug-addicted neo-Nazis. And Putin is keeping so much distance from other people in his public meetings that I wonder if it is less fear of Covid-19 than fear of assassination by underlings he does not trust.

So far, the Russian invasion is demonstrating all kinds of miscalculations on the part of Russia’s leaders. They drastically underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to resist conquest. They believed their own fantasies about being greeted as liberators. The invading troops were given little or no intelligence before the operation began. (There are reports that Russian troops were given food rations that expired in 2015.) Logistics are always a challenge in war, but the Russians’ ability to keep their vehicles fueled and moving is proving to be a consistent and widespread problem. Putin either didn’t care about how the world would respond or he counted on the world being more apathetic or sluggish in its response.

Are Putin and his military advisers getting accurate assessments from Russian intelligence? Is Putin getting the full picture from his own military leaders? Has Putin been surrounded by yes men for so long that he can’t differentiate between what he wants to see and what’s actually there?

Considering recent events, can anyone say, with any real certainty, what Putin is and is not capable of anymore? As noted yesterday, Russian military doctrine calls for using nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.” In other words, if Russian leaders fear they are about to experience a critical defeat, they can use a battlefield nuke to “de-escalate” the situation. Yes, Putin’s decision to put his nuclear forces on higher alert might be saber-rattling to intimidate the West. Or . . . it might be a sign we’re dealing with a man who thinks a mushroom cloud would finally put his enemies in their place.

The easiest way out of this dire crisis is for some other Russian leader to see the worsening calamity engulfing his country, conclude that Putin will destroy the country in pursuit of lost Cold War glory, and “retire” him in some suitably traditionally Russian way. But we in the West can’t count on that, and while it’s hard to imagine a Russian leader worse than Putin right now, there’s no guarantee that whoever replaces him will be a considerable improvement. You don’t climb to the top of the food chain in the Russian government by being a nice guy.

The other landmine is what’s going to be left of Ukraine and Russia after this fierce conflict ends. No one can deny that the Russian government deserves the fiercest retribution — and Western sanctions are rapidly disconnecting the Russian economy from the rest of the world.

Today in Europe, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire made the implied threat explicit:

“We will bring about the collapse of the Russian economy,” he told a French broadcaster. “The economic and financial balance of power is totally in favor of the European Union which is in the process of discovering its own economic power.

“We are waging total economic and financial war on Russia,” he said. According to an AFP news agency report of his interview, Mr Le Maire acknowledged that ordinary Russians would also suffer from the impact of the sanctions, “but we don’t know how we can handle this differently”.

For a long time, the deeply paranoid and inherently oppositional Putin has contended that the West is out to destroy his country. By invading Ukraine with such wanton brutality, he has made his prophecy come true.

As of this writing, the value of the ruble is just above one pennyThe Russian stock markets remain closed todayBP and Shell are divesting from partnerships with Russian oil companiesThe Russian government is trying to ban Western companies from abandoning investments in Russia, but all that is going to do in the long run is ensure no Western company invests in anything Russian again for a long, long time.

With all of that said, our Andrew Stuttaford wonders if the average Russian will feel the pinch as much as the wealthy; in short, the average Russian has less distance to fall. Andrew wonders if the bank lines understate “the resilience of the ‘silent majority’ (seemingly an important source of Putin’s support) outside the biggest cities, who have missed out on much of the prosperity enjoyed in a Moscow or St. Petersburg. Times have always been tough; if they become a bit tougher, well. . . .”

No doubt we need to punish Russia severely, but we’ve got to maximize the punishment on the regime and minimize the punishment on the average Russian citizen. Yesterday, I wrote that “Forcibly impoverishing the country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world feels like a formula for more trouble down the road.” In response, the foreign-policy geniuses of Twitter called me Neville Chamberlain and contended I was being paid by the Russian government. What’s amazing is that the people who know about Neville Chamberlain somehow didn’t read the history-book chapters about how the treatment of Germany after World War I set the stage for the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Finally, I remain surprised by the number of people who want NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. For a no-fly zone to mean anything, NATO would have to enforce it, which would require NATO pilots to fly over Ukraine and, presuming Russian jets and other planes did not leave Ukrainian airspace, shoot them down. I have little doubt that the best NATO pilots could beat the best Russian pilots in dogfights — or at least, our guys would win those fights quite often. But the question then is how the Russians would respond against NATO.

We want to help our friends the Ukrainians and we want to avoid World War III with a nuclear-armed enemy. Creating a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine represents entering the war on Ukraine’s side — and then the battlefield spreads all over Eastern Europe, to say nothing of cyberattacks hitting much closer to home.

Now, if Russian forces cross over into Poland, or Slovakia, or Hungary, or Romania, or any other NATO-member nation, that’s a completely different story; NATO forces have the right to respond, and I fully expect they would with lethal force.

In other words, our futures depend upon Russian military forces knowing exactly where the borders are.

ADDENDUM: Republicans in the Hilton Head, S.C., area lost a great one when Tom Hatfield passed away this week. I knew him as the coordinator for the First Monday club on the island, where he graciously invited me to speak a few times. There are many Republican “clubs” in that part of the state, and at one point or another, Tom seemed to be leading or associated with all of them — including the Beaufort County Republican Club and the Hilton Head club, among others. He also volunteered as a poll worker and served on the Beaufort County election commission, the state election commission, and the state Agency Head Salary Review Commission. He was kind, courteous, good-humored, and warm to everyone who showed up to those meetings. He will be dearly missed.

Which leads to the next landmine: the state of Putin’s mind. If you’re freaked out at the thought that a man losing his marbles commands the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, so is the U.S. intelligence community. Figures who have met with him before, such as Finnish president Sauli Niinistö, say Putin is acting differently lately. The cold, calculating, stone-faced KGB man is now offering angry tirades full of historical grievances. Some observers are wondering if Putin really believes his own unhinged rhetoric that the Ukrainian government is full of drug-addicted neo-Nazis. And Putin is keeping so much distance from other people in his public meetings that I wonder if it is less fear of Covid-19 than fear of assassination by underlings he does not trust.

So far, the Russian invasion is demonstrating all kinds of miscalculations on the part of Russia’s leaders. They drastically underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to resist conquest. They believed their own fantasies about being greeted as liberators. The invading troops were given little or no intelligence before the operation began. (There are reports that Russian troops were given food rations that expired in 2015.) Logistics are always a challenge in war, but the Russians’ ability to keep their vehicles fueled and moving is proving to be a consistent and widespread problem. Putin either didn’t care about how the world would respond or he counted on the world being more apathetic or sluggish in its response.

Are Putin and his military advisers getting accurate assessments from Russian intelligence? Is Putin getting the full picture from his own military leaders? Has Putin been surrounded by yes men for so long that he can’t differentiate between what he wants to see and what’s actually there?

Considering recent events, can anyone say, with any real certainty, what Putin is and is not capable of anymore? As noted yesterday, Russian military doctrine calls for using nuclear weapons “in response to large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.” In other words, if Russian leaders fear they are about to experience a critical defeat, they can use a battlefield nuke to “de-escalate” the situation. Yes, Putin’s decision to put his nuclear forces on higher alert might be saber-rattling to intimidate the West. Or . . . it might be a sign we’re dealing with a man who thinks a mushroom cloud would finally put his enemies in their place.

The easiest way out of this dire crisis is for some other Russian leader to see the worsening calamity engulfing his country, conclude that Putin will destroy the country in pursuit of lost Cold War glory, and “retire” him in some suitably traditionally Russian way. But we in the West can’t count on that, and while it’s hard to imagine a Russian leader worse than Putin right now, there’s no guarantee that whoever replaces him will be a considerable improvement. You don’t climb to the top of the food chain in the Russian government by being a nice guy.

The other landmine is what’s going to be left of Ukraine and Russia after this fierce conflict ends. No one can deny that the Russian government deserves the fiercest retribution — and Western sanctions are rapidly disconnecting the Russian economy from the rest of the world.

Today in Europe, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire made the implied threat explicit:

“We will bring about the collapse of the Russian economy,” he told a French broadcaster. “The economic and financial balance of power is totally in favor of the European Union which is in the process of discovering its own economic power.

“We are waging total economic and financial war on Russia,” he said. According to an AFP news agency report of his interview, Mr Le Maire acknowledged that ordinary Russians would also suffer from the impact of the sanctions, “but we don’t know how we can handle this differently”.

For a long time, the deeply paranoid and inherently oppositional Putin has contended that the West is out to destroy his country. By invading Ukraine with such wanton brutality, he has made his prophecy come true.

As of this writing, the value of the ruble is just above one pennyThe Russian stock markets remain closed todayBP and Shell are divesting from partnerships with Russian oil companiesThe Russian government is trying to ban Western companies from abandoning investments in Russia, but all that is going to do in the long run is ensure no Western company invests in anything Russian again for a long, long time.

With all of that said, our Andrew Stuttaford wonders if the average Russian will feel the pinch as much as the wealthy; in short, the average Russian has less distance to fall. Andrew wonders if the bank lines understate “the resilience of the ‘silent majority’ (seemingly an important source of Putin’s support) outside the biggest cities, who have missed out on much of the prosperity enjoyed in a Moscow or St. Petersburg. Times have always been tough; if they become a bit tougher, well. . . .”

No doubt we need to punish Russia severely, but we’ve got to maximize the punishment on the regime and minimize the punishment on the average Russian citizen. Yesterday, I wrote that “Forcibly impoverishing the country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world feels like a formula for more trouble down the road.” In response, the foreign-policy geniuses of Twitter called me Neville Chamberlain and contended I was being paid by the Russian government. What’s amazing is that the people who know about Neville Chamberlain somehow didn’t read the history-book chapters about how the treatment of Germany after World War I set the stage for the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Finally, I remain surprised by the number of people who want NATO to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine. For a no-fly zone to mean anything, NATO would have to enforce it, which would require NATO pilots to fly over Ukraine and, presuming Russian jets and other planes did not leave Ukrainian airspace, shoot them down. I have little doubt that the best NATO pilots could beat the best Russian pilots in dogfights — or at least, our guys would win those fights quite often. But the question then is how the Russians would respond against NATO.

We want to help our friends the Ukrainians and we want to avoid World War III with a nuclear-armed enemy. Creating a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over Ukraine represents entering the war on Ukraine’s side — and then the battlefield spreads all over Eastern Europe, to say nothing of cyberattacks hitting much closer to home.

Now, if Russian forces cross over into Poland, or Slovakia, or Hungary, or Romania, or any other NATO-member nation, that’s a completely different story; NATO forces have the right to respond, and I fully expect they would with lethal force.

In other words, our futures depend upon Russian military forces knowing exactly where the borders are.

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