• 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

A Note From Waldeland!

CHAOS INTENDED BY THE WASHINGTON POST LEFTISTS….?

Another Washington Post author shifts blame for Biden’s Russian oil stance onto the GOP

JOHN SEXTON Mar 08, 2022 1:20 PM at HotAir:

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(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)

Yesterday I wrote about Greg Sargent’s piece in the Washington Post complaining that dastardly Republicans had set a political trap for Joe Biden. What I didn’t notice until today is that another opinion writer at the Post wrote almost the same piece yesterday afternoon. Catherine Rampell’s version was published about 7 hours later under the headline “Republicans are laying a trap for Biden on Russian energy sanctions.” It’s basically the same piece but written in a more straightforward manner.

In just a few days, there has been a dramatic change in political consensus over how to respond to Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine…

Now, U.S. lawmakers say, we must cut Russia off from global energy markets. Why would Putin capitulate, after all, unless we block the life blood of Russia’s economy? Both Democrats and Republicanshave insisted that we stop our (relatively small) energy imports from Russia, which might pressure our European allies (who depend much more heavily on Russian oil and natural gas) to do the same.

Like Sargent, Rampell admits the president could actually make the case for this if he were so inclined.

U.S. politicians could make the case that higher energy prices are a cost of defending freedom and democracy, upholding international law, resisting armed aggression. We’re not sending American sons and daughters into this war, they could say; instead, Americans’ sacrifice could be economic.

From there she goes into an argument about how unleashing domestic production, which many Republicans have been demanding, won’t help us anytime soon. That’s arguable I guess but by the same token going all in on green energy won’t help us in the next few months either. We’re facing a short term problem for which there are no easy solutions.

But that doesn’t change the fact that Republicans have a point about things like the Keystone XL pipeline. If that pipeline hadn’t become a political football during the Obama administration we’d have more options now. Instead our best options now include turning to Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia for more oil. Eventually Rampell gets to this closing which makes the GOP the center of this story.

If Republicans truly believe our patriotic duty is to orchestrate a Western embargo of Russian energy, they should commit, today, to not politically exploiting the economic pain such sanctions will inevitably cause American consumers.

Republicans should commit to not playing politics over the thing that Democrats in the White House, up to today, have been playing politics over.

This is really just another “Republicans seizing” story, i.e. an attempt to distract readers from the actual story which is bad news for Democrats. The actual story here is pretty simple. Democrats in the White House made a calculated decision not to ban Russian oil imports because they were worried higher gas prices would hurt them in the next election. But here we are a week later and it appears the administration is about to reverse course and ban those same imports.

Why? It’s not happening because the Biden administration has suddenly decided to listen to the GOP. Remember, the pressure to do this is bipartisan. It’s coming from Democrats as well, including Nancy Pelosi.

The real problem is that Biden’s original plan makes very little sense. If we’re going to put in place crushing sanctions on Russia to force them to withdraw from Ukraine, then continuing to send them billions of dollars for oil is counterproductive. We know those dollars will inevitably be used to fund the Russian war machine so we can’t keep buying the oil and pretend we’re all in on sanctions. It’s one or the other.

But the White House knows there will be a price to pay. The price of gas is already up sharply in the first week of this war and that’s before we stop buying Russian oil. Knocking a big hole (about 6%) in our imports means those price increases will continue and will remain high until we have a substitute supply. And all of that means President Biden’s best option is to sell the American people on this being a noble sacrifice. And, hey, Stephen Colbert has already come up with a slogan for the White House: “A clean conscience is worth a buck or two.”

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What Rampell and Sargent are arguing, in so many words, is that the GOP should help Biden sell this, or at least not make it harder for him to do that. That’s a nice thought but it’s not likely to happen. Republicans know it certainly wouldn’t happen if the roles were reversed in this little drama. After the past four years, Democrats are really in no position to ask Republicans to take it easy on the president because he’s engaged in foreign policy with Russia. That’s just not how Democrats have been playing the game.

The political problem Biden faces is a lot like the energy problem he faces. Both could have been mitigated by a different approach over the past 5-7 years and neither problem can be easily fixed in the short term. And so the White House is left with an array of bad options to deal with a current crisis. But blaming all of that on the GOP as if Democrats are facing an unprecedented partisan trap and not a problem at least partly of their own making is absurd.

“Hopefully, Republicans will get properly angry about Biden’s deal before it’s too late”.

Where’s the GOP resistance to Biden’s Russia-Iran deal?

ANDY MCCARTHY Mar 08, 2022 at HotAir:

With this embarrassing history recounted, congressional Republicans’ apparently muted response to news of Biden’s impending deal may make more sense than it would seem to at first glance: Russia’s integral role should make a bad Iran deal even harder for Biden to defend as a matter of politics, but attacking it would require GOP lawmakers to dredge up their role in getting us to this point. The aforementioned letter by 33 Republican touts the treaty clause while avoiding discussion of how Republicans helped Obama and Biden navigate around it the last time. And both that letter and the McCarthy–McCaul letter remind the Biden administration of INARA’s disclosure obligations, without recounting that INARA was responsible for undermining treaty-clause opposition to the JCPOA, and that it proved utterly ineffective in forcing the Obama administration to fully disclose the deal to Congress.

Hopefully, Republicans will get properly angry about Biden’s deal before it’s too late. But you may have your answer if you’re wondering why there’s not a full-scale mutiny on Capitol Hill over Biden’s unabashed collusion with our Russian adversary — even as it is ravaging Ukraine — in order to complete a deal that empowers and enriches our Iranian adversary.

While out of one side of the Biden administration’s mouth it promises a sanctions crackdown that will reduce Russia to international-pariah status, out of the other side it speaks about continuing our strategic cooperation with Russia in areas of “shared interest” — which, it laughably contends, include making sure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons, an aim that Biden’s deal would not achieve and that there’s no reason to believe Moscow is committed to achieving. Meantime, while Biden continues to hamstring American fossil-fuel production in order to mollify his party’s woke-progressive base, he simultaneously pleads with every rogue regime under the sun to step up production with oil prices now skyrocketing above $120 per barrel. So to Iran and Russia, we can now add Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and Libya.

Some Of Those Best Days OF ONES LIFE Can Be Very Painful!

Posted on August 18, 2020 by Glenn H. Ray | Edit

MY DEATH AS A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER!

For most of us human beings life is growth moving through  a tunnel  of   woundings.   

Not all of life’s wounds are equal.

Personally, I have been very foruntate  regarding my woundings.   Although life’s  tunnel by the Law of Nature,  keeps slicing at me every day of my existence, I have experienced only two that have made  their  way deep  into my mind and body.   A third might be visiting me shortly, but, as it is said, ‘time will tell.”

To feed my family, my imagination, and  ‘end’  my formal intellectual training, I became an  educator…..the teacher ‘kind’……..the real kind, a classroom instructor of knowledge.   Despite many shortcomings cultural and personal, I was quite good at it and  I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing.   

After several years of teaching in a Minneapolis public high school, trouble was brewing in the community where I taught; trouble  coming from the  ‘outside’ world beyond the walls and lives of the young at the high school where I was employed.    I took battle to defend the students and their community against a powerful, often well meaning, city establishment, the Minneapolis School District, a bureaucracy causing and abetting  wars  against  this very  community.

At the time, although I was tenured,  I lost the battle, my job, and eventually  my career as a public school teacher.  I was in some ways wounded for the rest of my life.   Through time  although initially painful, the deep wound eventually healed over  leaving a scar as such wounds do.     I thought my Crusade was the right thing to do based on my cultural and educational background.

I have never doubted that thought.   I felt I  was a teacher fulfilling my civic duties despite the costs  of losing something.    Yet, although I was chronologically an adult, a father with a wife and  three children, I was still  a teenage dreamer never thinking evil could overcome good.

The  agony from my  ‘rightousness’ was temporarily soothed when both the Court and the School Board admonished the Administration to allow me to be reinstated, but without tenure, back into the school system to teach if I agreed to do so.    

I knew I would be on trial.   I knew my teaching would be attacked, for I was transferred to a  predominantly black school which was advertised as a “Magnet School”.   Despite major efforts by the school district and  by most of  the teachers, both the standard and the lefty loonies,  the environment was made a powder keg by the viscious in the black community both in and beyond  school  enrollment.

Half of the victims assaulted and threatened by these black hoodlums were black, the others white.   Assaults,  occuring almost daily included the sexual, a shooting, robberies and  beatings of whites, setting fires to clothing in lockers usually  to send ‘messages’,  and daily intimidations by these hoodlums  against white teachers.   Car tires were flattened.   Objects including spit, were aimed  at white targets when these teachers  walked from car lot to the school  each morning through the boiler room for our safety.   

The administration, of course, denied all of these truths.   The city newspapers and politicians  protected the school district.   All hoped the schools would successfully retain a civilized educational  tradition and termed any criticisms of this  ideal at any of its schools in black neighborhoods as   “WHITE RACISM”.   

Black racism was endemic throughout the  school system particularly in the ‘black’  high school to which I was transferred in the autumn of 1971.  ‘ Hate whitey’ was at fever pitch.    During the days before the opening of the school term for students,  I got a phone call from a fellow teacher at the school.    She was a white gal who  taught English.  

I had never met her  in my life.    She didn’t mention her name,   but  in the foulest language a female anywhere could produce, the crux of the message she passed on to me was ….”You f…ing, *****,  racist pig.   We’ll have you out of here by Christmas.”  

She was so proud of her Crusade that  she had informed some of her English class students of her noble deed calling me especially of the vocabulary she chose to use.   She and some other white  teachers were more enraged black racists, than any blacks.     After all, some blacks were simply hoodlums who from no racial prejudice at all, picked on any victim closest by.

This English teacher sexually, was a married gal, so we should remember these were also the days of feminist insanity which  competed with  her racism in the flow of her  vocabulary and swearing choices.

I lasted longer than Christmas.   It was February 9th, 1972, as I remember, when I received notice in the middle of my last  class of the day.     The note read something like:   “Please collect all of your belongings by the end of this day.   Henceforth, you will report  to Room  xxx  at the  School District office for further assignment.”

One of the students in that class was Joey Lykken about 14 years old.   He was the youngest  among twenty others, almost all  seniors about to graduate.    A quiet, polite, articulate, confident kid who asked all the right questions a student would ask when seeking  to expand ones knowledge, including mine.     There were other choice students in other classes I taught at the school.    “Choice” student in my thinking, was any student who sought to improve his or her understandings of the mysteries of life around them.   

Joey, however,  was exceptional.   I knew nothing about him except for his youngness and behavior as a student of mine.  I might have teased him about his Norwegian name.   I did know of a ‘Lykken’ who was a teacher at a nearby public high school.   I don’t think I mentioned it to Joey.

I also knew the Lykken name from the Minneapolis newspapers.    This family’s home had been raided  by the Minneapolis police about December of the previous year.   They were seeking evidence  that these “Lykkens” were subversives  plotting something or another not particularly  good for the Minneapolis community.    I had read the article, but  did not  associate the name with Joey.    Or,  it is possible that the name was not mentioned in the article which I had  read, but learned later the Lykkens of the newspaper were  Joey’s parents.

I had taught Russian at  previous schools  and on three occasions my own world had been  ‘visited upon’  by FBI agents checking out the degree of  loyalty to my country.   I admit I enjoyed the attention  and the pleasure I imagined  when  the investigators would discover I was a model citizen…..which was reaffirmed each time both to me and the agency.

During the evening of the day of  my exile from teaching I got a phone call from a Harriet Lykken.   She introduced herself as Joey’s mother.   She said some wonderful words about my teaching and how much her son had enjoyed my class.     He was profoundly upset, she said.

In the afternoon of the day I received the firing notice,  I was in the midst  of teaching  a  class, Joey’s class.    When handed to me, I read the firing notice directly to the students of  that last class before my exile.   The  school principal’s secretary who personally had handed me the notice in front of the class, shouted at me  that I had  “no right”  to read the notice to the students.   I read it.      Afterwards as I was cleaning out my desk, Joey approached  and asked  if I had been fired.   “Yes” I replied.

And then he asked…..”Does that mean you won’t be back?”    After I answered,  he teared up and left the room.    That was one of the most painful moments of my life….the ones you can never forget until the final moments  of release.

Harriet asked if she could be direct with some questions.  Joey was terribly upset.    She wanted to know if there was anything behind the scenes  I had done which instigated the firing.      “Absolutely nothing.   I have become an irritation to them, that is all.”   We talked a bit and then she asked….”Would you mind if I did a little investigating into this business on my own.”

I was thrilled!   “Please do!  Search anywhere!  Ask anyone anything!  I have nothing to hide!”    

“Is this person for real?” I asked myself.

About three weeks later she called back  and asked if I could come over for  dinner to meet her family.    I did so about a week later.     I met Harriet and her husband, David, and a son Jessie…..and I was introduced to Joey as a human being rather than a just another  public school teacher.

Looking over my life, and my distance from them, they were the finest people I had and have ever met.   They, like I, were liberals and NOT Liberals.   They displayed all of my prejudices and values in practice and not just preachments.  

I have always loved ‘people’ from the time I began to understand the human struggle.   I think we are all heroic enduring our daily pain  yet driven  to know the unknown all the time knowing our future of  ‘dusty death’….’signifying nothing’.    These four, from all that I was to learn about them,  were  personifications of my American dream family.  

Harriet and David asked  all kinds of questions, many of them based on interviews Harriet had conducted with many who had worked with me, including some administrators.   Outside of occasionally irritating people, (a talent I knew I had all of my older-than-teenage life and a weapon I often use in my style of teaching) my disorders were minor league. 

 Harriet summed up her investigation telling  me that she was shocked at the school adminstration’s actions.

I had no legal recourse.   The school board had voted 4-3 to fire me…..and had to do so to show their support for their Superintendent of Schools, John Davis and his assistant superintendents.    (Outside of my personal case, I then, and in retrospect, have  considered  Superintendent Davis an outstanding person to occupy that office.   He was caught in the same tsunami of  racial politics as was I, a teacher.  I was  critical as a teacher of the anti-white racism  associated with his administration>    That brand of racism was  a common  tyranny of that  day. 

I had but one trump card left…..only a deuce perhaps…..but still a trump card  over the administration actions against me.    I asked Harriet if she could represent me at the administrative hearing which I,  by state law, was entitled to.   

She happily agreed to do so.

Immediately the  District School Administration fought the idea.   I could have an attorney to represent me.   The District’s legal team  had expected me to bring along the Federation of Teachers Union attorney, for I was a member of the teachers’ union.   They opposed allowing Harriet, a leading citizen in the Minneapolis school community to speak.

This union was, in the early 1970s  toothless in defending  education and its needs.   It had heroically battled an illegal teachers’ strike against the school district  two years earlier, was exhausted,  and was practicing  obedience and kindness to the School Administration.   I think it was also financially  broke.    Its leaders, both local and state, were outstanding guys and citizens  who did what they could to push a cause and heal a pain.   

The union had never shown much  interest  in anything beyond basic and usually inane labor issues.   It was an old time union, an  extension of Minnesota’s   Democratic-FarmLabor Party in which I was sometimes active.    On the issue of whom I asked for representing  me at the administrative hearing,   the union was tenacious.    It  was willing to  pay for an attorney of my choice, offer the union’s attorney, or challenge the school administration if it denied me my choice, Harriet Lykken.

Who would have ever known that my hero in life turned out to be a woman!    Not I.   The School Administration was forced to back down and allow Harriet to represent this ousted  teacher.   

Note: Thank you, Dear Person, who sent the above article from yesteryear! I missed teaching school students thereafter….but always loved to share knowledge those old gals made to learn and share when I was in their schools, K-12….that is, when schools for me were between 1939 and 1952 in modest but MOTHERED, Godfearing, Civilized AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL!

Will your America ever recover from what your children have had to endure in public schools these days? YES, IF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE….OR WILL. OR ARE YOU TOO BUSY?

CJACK: Sentinel of the Gulf!

March 8, 2022:

A SPY? Who Could It Be….Adam Schiff? OR Nancy Pelosi?

Russian Spies: Joe Biden’s Seditious and Incompetent Administration

Do we have American spies on Capitol Hill close to Putin? Of course! Not one, but a whole troop of Capitol Hill politicians known to dance for the coins; a seditious bunch for the hangman’s noose.

Our domestic spy problem began after the 2nd world war and the beginning of the cold war. Josef Stalin, way ahead of his allies before and during the war, used the first Berlin crisis of the ‘Cold War’ that started in June 1948 [when Soviet forces blockaded rail, road, and water access to Allied-controlled areas of Berlin] to reorganize Russia’s state security operations. [The crisis ended in May 1949].

Russia’s People’s Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) with a superior spy network activated prior and during the war gave Stalin a significant military advantage over the allies. In fact, during the war the NKGB spies had already infiltrated the nuclear weapon research facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The effectiveness of the NKGB spies in Los Alamos was surprisingly demonstrated to the U.S. and its allies on August 29, 1949, when the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in a Kazakhstan test site. Five years after that Soviet success, Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 established the KGB to target Capitol Hill and other US public and private institutions. Khrushchev had already identified the vulnerability of our nation’s nascent intelligence apparatus during and after the war. Our Office of Strategic Services (OSS) created under the leadership of William Joseph Donovan (Wild Bill Donovan) during the war was no match for the Soviet’s NKGB. Moreover, our Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) woefully ineffective against the KGB, is no match for Russia’s G.R.U. Intelligence Agency. I would say, the Kremlin may have already secured a long-term lease on Capitol Hill.

Under the Harvard amateur Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin annexed The Crimea. And now under the dolt Joe Biden, Russian soldiers are in Ukraine under fabricated incidents against Russians living in that country, to dismember the democratic Republic of Ukraine. It is not that Putin is very much concerned about the Chernobyl nuclear facilities; it is more about his territorial ambitions masked by the false assertion that Ukraine has historically been a part of Russia.

I say ‘Tsar’ Vladimir’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial rights is driven by his fear of a Russia encircled by a hostile NATO alliance poised and prepared to enter his homeland. Notwithstanding that the European Union and NATO have brought relative peace and economic stability to a continent historically beset by wars.

Nonetheless, what is more troubling for US allies in Europe is the apparent military weakness of the United States and the glaring corruption and political imbecilities on Capitol Hill. And another of our concerns should be the European perception of the American military becoming a vassal institution controlled by our exceedingly wealthy and capricious political class.

Last but not least, we must continue to ask why did President Obama allow his then Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, to accept a $145 million donation to ‘The Clinton Foundation’ from a Russian business group? In fact, a substantial amount from that illicit donation was used by Hilary Clinton during her campaign for the White House, and after her loss more of those funds were used to invalidate Mr. Trump’s election. Yes, from that illicit Russian donation Mrs. Clinton paid for the infamous “Steele Dossier”, that seditious fabrication of lies to overthrow the government of the duly elected 45th President of the United States, Mr. Donald J. Trump. Why isn’t the evil Hilary Clinton, and the others involved in this awful deed, not in jail?

For the $145 Million donation Hilary issued an IOU to Vladimir Putin for his access to and favors from her projected two term (s) in the White House.

And what about the Bank of China $1.5 Billion deal with Joe Biden’s bagman Hunter Biden? Was that deal not for China’s Emperor Xi’s access to, and favors from, Joe Biden’s November 3, 2020 presidential election? There should not be any doubts as to why the U.S. is no longer trusted and respected around the world. Even in Latin America the rapacious Chinese are now enthusiastically received.

The recurring nightmare of another war in Europe hangs over the Biden administration. If Russia’s incursion into Ukraine escalates to engulf the world, Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin should be tried for crimes against humanity. Even if the current conflict ends, Putin should be held accountable for the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine. Lamentably, the silence of the United Nations, our leftwing media, and the Democratic Party is a testament of their collective moral delinquency, corruption, and designed incompetence.

Ukraine, a democratic sovereign European nation the size of Texas is under attack by the nuclear armed Russian bear. Why isn’t the UN Security Council in session?

Best wishes to our Minuteman, Ghr. May the blessing of our Lord be always at his door.

Cjack…Sentinel on the Gulf…Monday, March 7, 2022…

Will Putin Use Nuclear Weapons?

I&I/TIPP Poll: 56% Blame Biden’s Afghan Debacle For Ukraine Invasion, Fear Putin Will Use Nukes

Surprisingly, 56% believe Putin will use nuclear weapons.

Terry Jones at Tip Insights 07.Mar.2022

Americans are deeply unsettled by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade neighboring Ukraine, a just-released I&I/TIPP Poll shows. The March public opinion survey shows Americans fear a widening of the conflict could lead to the involvement of U.S. troops and even the use of nuclear weapons by Putin’s Russia.

President Joe Biden’s White House and its supporters in Congress are telling a story of America boldly stepping up to lead Europe in its response to the threat of an aggressive Russia. It’s been repeated by some in the mainstream media.

But a solid majority of Americans are focused on something very different: They worry that a desperate Putin might resort to nuclear weapons.

Those responding to the poll who were following the Russia-Ukraine situation were asked the following: “(Russian) President Putin has placed his nuclear weapons on high alert. How likely do you think he will use nuclear weapons in the current conflict?”

The answer: A shocking 56% said it was “likely,” with 21% saying it was “very likely and 35% saying “somewhat likely.” Just 31% said it was “not likely.”

Chart - The likelihood of Putin using nuclear weapons in the conflict

Respondents who followed the Russia-Ukraine situation were also asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “The disorderly withdrawal of the U.S. troops from Afghanistan emboldened Russia to invade Ukraine.”

The response shows the White House has an uphill battle in its public relations campaign: 56% said they either agree “strongly” (30%) or “somewhat” (26%) that the botched departure from Afghanistan encouraged Putin to move against Ukraine. Only 32% disagreed with that statement.

Chart - Disorderly Afghan exit emboldened Russia

Meanwhile, 78% of those who were following the Russia-Ukraine situation agreed “the situation in Ukraine will develop into a larger regional conflict that could lead to the U.S. military getting involved.” Only 14% said they disagreed with that statement, while 9% were “unsure.”

Strikingly, there was largely bipartisan agreement on this, with more than 70% of Democrats, Republicans, and independents agreeing.

Chartr - U.S. Military might become involved

Are Americans unnecessarily fearful, perhaps not understanding the situation? Hardly.

We also asked them how closely they were following news about the situation in Ukraine right now: 73% said they were following “closely,” while just 24% said they weren’t. Only 3% said they weren’t sure.

So people know what’s going on, for the most part. And again, it isn’t just one group paying attention. It’s tripartisan.

Chart - Most Americans are following the Ukraine situation closely

So Americans are unusually focused on this story, seeing Russia’s invasion of a sovereign neighbor as a clear danger to our national security and world peace.

But, as the data show, they also see the linkage between the invasion of Ukraine and Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan. The U.S. abandoned its allies in that nation to the murderous Taliban, while leaving thousands of Americans and U.S. visa holders stranded, along with some $80 billion in U.S. military equipment.

In Ukraine, Russian troops are now shelling major civilian areas and have even hit two nuclear facilities, including the infamous Chernobyl nuclear plant, as they attempt to overcome surprisingly strong resistance from Ukraine troops and civilians.

The West has hit Russia with significant sanctions, including removal from the SWIFT global payments system. Putin has warned that the broad economic, diplomatic and cultural boycott put in place by the EU, Britain, and the U.S. verges on an act of war.

A host of major corporations, banks, tech companies, and even news organizations have suspended operations in Russia, leaving the country economically isolated and cut off from the West. The boycott represents a serious threat to Russia, whose GDP of an estimated$1.5 trillion is dwarfed by the U.S. GDP of $20 trillion, along with the combined GDP of NATO countries.

NATO has rejected a no-fly zone over Ukraine, fearing escalation of the conflict after Putin put his troops on nuclear alert. That said, the U.S. over the weekend gave Poland a “green light” to send fighter jets to Ukraine, and more military aid from the U.S. and Europe is flooding in.

Even so, Democrats and Republicans alike in Congress have inveighed against sending U.S. troops to engage Russia on the ground. And, as our data show above, there seems to be a broad political consensus among average Americans to be cautious.

For while NATO and the U.S. hold a significant military edge over Russia in both troops and arms, Russia remains one of the most potent nuclear forces on Earth.

A recent piece in Newsweek sums up the NATO-Russia military gap, based on data from the Statista web site:

NATO allies together have a personnel count of 5.41 million, compared to Russia’s 1.35 million, according to the graphic that was the same as Statista’s figures.

It also found NATO allies had 144,000 armored units, more than double that of Russia’s 60,000, again a similar number to Statista.

NATO once more outnumbered Russia with 20,700 aircraft, a factor of nearly five to one when compared to Russia’s 4,170.

Russia is also outnumbered in regard to its naval forces, which number 605 — far lower than NATO’s 2,049 — once again a similar number to Statista.

But Russia holds an edge, as noted, in nuclear weapons: NATO nations have roughly 6,065 nuclear weapons, compared to Russia’s 6,255. A regional war that turned into a nuclear conflagration is a preventable disaster, Americans seem to agree.

The data in this story come from the I&I/TIPP Poll, which was conducted online from Mar. 2-4 and includes responses from 1,318 adults from across the country. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points.

As a service to our readers, I&I/TIPP will continue to provide timely and informative data from our monthly polls on this topic and others of major interest. TIPP has earned a reputation for excellence by being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.

Terry Jones is editor of Issues & Insights. His four decades of journalism experience include serving as national issues editor, economics editor, and editorial page editor for Investor’s Business Daily.

That Con Obama Was Great At Make Believe!

Wisdom from my father

By Rob Jenkins at American Thinker:

Sometimes I feel sorry for Barack Obama. Though we grew up in the same era—indeed, were born less than two months apart—he had a very different upbringing. The title of his first autobiography says it all: Dreams from My Father.  

Unlike young Barack, I was blessed with a present father who took an active hand in raising me—a hand that, on rare occasions, wielded an old wooden paddle. I got a lot more than just dreams from my father. I received love, affection, counsel, discipline, and direction. Whatever wisdom I possess, whatever wisdom I have managed to pass on to my own children, came mostly from him (and probably from his dad before him). 

That Obama overcame his father’s rejection is to some extent a credit to him. Unfortunately, it seems to have shaped his warped worldview, especially his apparent belief that the state should act as a substitute parent. Yes, he went on to become President of the United States, leader of the free world, which sadly grew progressively less free under his watch; whereas I, in the eyes of the world, am a nobody.  

Yet I would not trade growing up under the watchful eye of a loving, engaged father for anything—not eight years in the White House, not a muti-million-dollar publishing deal, not a mansion on Martha’s Vineyard. Between me and Barack, I’m pretty sure I got the better deal.  

I realize this might be starting to sound like a eulogy. Thankfully, it is not. My dad, the noted writer and photographer David B. Jenkins, is alive and well. As I write, he and my mom are traveling across the country in an RV, fulfilling a lifelong dream. But it is probably what I would write, hopefully in the far distant future. Meanwhile, there’s something to be said for eulogizing someone while they’re still alive to hear it.  

Many of the things my dad taught me growing up are no longer fashionable or politically correct. But they were of infinite value to me, and I believe young people today (and maybe some not-so-young people) would still benefit from hearing them. Here is a small sample: 

“The world doesn’t owe you a living.” This is something my dad would say to me whenever I showed signs of being lazy or complacent, which was all too often. He wanted me to understand that I would never be successful if I just sat back passively and waited for success to come to me. Nor could I count on others, including the government, to take care of me. I had to be able to take care of myself—and, one day, a family. 

That message seems to be lost on many Millennials and Gen Zers. They do indeed believe the world owes them a living, or at least their government does, which is to say their fellow citizens do. Hence their embrace of Universal Basic Income and the reason so many businesses have had a hard time getting people to come back to work, after the government spent two years paying them to stay home.  

What they don’t seem to grasp is that the “living” they can expect from the government isn’t really living. It’s just existing.  

“That’s the price you pay for the price you pay.” This was my dad’s way of acknowledging that life is seldom fair. Even when you do everything right, sometimes things don’t work out the way you want. The only healthy response to that unfortunate reality is to shrug it off and keep pushing forward. In any other course lies defeat and despair.  

That’s a hard lesson for any generation, but especially one steeped in the seductive fantasy of “social justice.” If you expect life to be fair, and then you find out it’s not, as you inevitably will—well, that’s tough to overcome, especially without a father like mine to prepare you for it.  

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This old saw has certainly fallen out of favor, replaced by the post-modern, neo-Marxist notion that “words are violence.” Generally, that comes from people who have never experienced actual violence. 

It’s true that words can sometimes be very hurtful. But if you go through life allowing yourself to be incapacitated just by things people say, you’re going to find it very difficult to cope—which may explain why so many of today’s generation seem unable to cope. Being successful at life—raising a family, building a career, living your values—requires a certain mental toughness. That is one of the best qualities fathers can cultivate in their children.  

“Never start a fight, but if somebody else starts one, be sure you finish it.” When I was growing up, in the 60s and 70s, schoolyard scuffles were a lot more common than they are today. There are some good reasons for that, including the fact that these days the loser might come back with a gun. But I can’t help thinking something has been irrevocably lost. By teaching our children never to fight, we’re teaching them there’s nothing worth fighting for.  

My dad was not a big fan of fighting. He would not tolerate bullying. But neither would he allow me to be bullied—and he wouldn’t fight my battles for me. He taught me that bullies are generally cowards, and the only way to stop them is to stand up them—with your fists, if necessary. If he found out I had started a fight, I was in big trouble. But if somebody else started one, he expected me to finish it.  

That’s a lesson many could stand to learn these days—and not just kids.  

And Biden CAN’T SAVE BIDEN….so What Happens To Our America These Days?

March 8, 2022

The Ukraine War Can’t Save Biden

By J. Robert Smith at American Thinker:

Since Russia invaded the Ukraine, the U.S. news media has focused nearly exclusively on the war underway.  Wars are attention-grabbers, so news coverage makes sense.  Certainly, a war of aggression by nuclear-armed Russia in Europe merits significant coverage, though we can do without the snap analyses, ridiculous speculation based on sketchy or false reports, and warmongering.  

Domestic news coverage has been light.  There’s been some reporting on blue states and cities ending ludicrous mask mandates, except for kids five and younger in New York City.  Those poor kids will still have to wear unsanitary obedience rags at school.  Hikes in gas prices get mentioned.  Turbulence in the stock markets gets a word.  Otherwise, it’s Ukraine 24/7.

But that won’t last.  And it’s silly to think that the war has distracted Americans from the country’s festering domestic woes.  Sillier still is the idea that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is Biden’s means of offloading the troubles he’s created.  Biden and his hapless White House handlers would surely love to pin Biden’s across-the-board failures on a distant war.  But a majority of Americans aren’t suckers.      

Come November, provided Biden and his crack team haven’t blundered us into war with Russia — never discount Biden’s knack for sheer incompetence — voters are poised to deliver a slap-down to Democrats that rivals or surpasses the whippin’ Democrats received in the 2010 midterms.  Let’s add the proviso that if the elections are honest.  Mail-in balloting is opened to all sorts of mischief.    

In 2010, Obama’s vaunted charisma failed to blunt not only massive Democrat losses in the U.S. House (the GOP picked up 63 seats, the most since 1948), while ceding five seats and the majority to the GOP in the U.S. Senate, but Democrats dropped six governorships and hundreds of state legislative seats.  An argument can be made that 2010 was the beginning of a creeping realignment.

The crew at the Last Refuge (AKA Conservative Treehouse) says that the Ukrainian conflict was “manufactured” as a means of foisting Biden-made woes onto that war.  They’re persuaded that voters are being duped.  From a February 28 article at the Last Refuge:

The manufactured Russia-Ukraine crisis now becomes the cover story for why the U.S. economy is collapsing.  The pain being felt by middle class, blue-collar workers is now shifted to be an outcome of geopolitical events that are Vladimir Putin’s fault. It’s always someone else’s fault.

And then this take:

Do not underestimate how many people in the U.S. will buy into this nonsense, and keep in mind the Republican wing of the UniParty has a vested interest in allowing the narrative to embed in the psyche of voters.  Both wings of the DC vulture will help promote this fraud, just as both wings of the DC uniparty sold out our Main Street economy on behalf of their multinational benefactors.

I’m certainly more receptive today to the idea of conspiracies in politics than I was prior to Donald Trump’s ascendency (The Russia Collusion Hoax is as real as it gets, and let’s hope John Durham actually rolls up indictments, including the biggest fish in the Clinton campaign).

For the sake of discussion, let’s accept that the Russia-Ukraine war is a diversion enabled by higher ups in the executive branch to dump Biden’s domestic troubles onto Putin and the crisis in Ukraine.  Putin was baited into war.  Then we’re to accept that voters — let’s specify a majority — will be conned into absolving Biden of blame for growing domestic difficulties.  

But here’s why that argument doesn’t wash, conspiracy or not: Biden’s troubles began on his first day in office, which predate the Russia-Ukraine war by better than a year. 

One of Biden’s first acts was to put the kibosh on the Keystone XL pipeline followed by clamping down on oil and gas exploration and drilling leases on federal lands.  Biden has often publicly ballyhooed inane green energy goals for the nation.  As a candidate, he even said: “I guarantee you. We’re going to end fossil fuel.” 

A majority of voters aren’t buying that the nation’s energy price spikes — evident not only at gas pumps, but in grocery stores and in the costs of home heating, etc. — only began this past February with the Ukraine crisis.  The facts are too well established for people to be so easily tricked. 

Moreover, importantly, all politics are local and personal.  Middle- and working-class Americans are seeing their paychecks shrink daily as their family budgets continue to stretch.  That’s happened for many months now.  Don’t forget that the median household income is a modest $62,000.  Certainly, families with yearly incomes higher than $62 thousand are feeling the energy driven inflation bite, too.  Inflation is also rising due to profligate federal spending and unconscionable money-printing by the Federal Reserve.

Americans get that it was Biden, not Putin, who ended U.S. energy independence.  Blaming the Russia-Ukraine war for any oil and gas supply disruptions and higher prices only blows back on Biden.  He can’t escape the responsibility for making the U.S. vulnerable to foreign suppliers, be it the Russians or Saudis or — unbelievably — Iranians. 

Are most voters so gullible as to believe that the ongoing supply chain issues are Putin’s handiwork, too?  Or are a majority of Americans fairly well apprised that Biden and the glib incompetent that he appointed U.S. Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg are to blame for failing to smartly address supply chain challenges?      

How will Democrats hang the dissolution of the U.S.-Mexican border on Putin and the war?  Not incidentally, Biden and his handlers opened up the southern border as a matter of policy, not from bungling incompetence.  It was deliberate because Democrats have had a longstanding aim of creating new, dependent constituencies for their political benefit.  The left has long desired to “transform” the U.S. into a Third World dystopia. 

Voters will ask why Biden is eager to defend Ukraine’s borders but not our own. 

Unless the polling is cockeyed, Americans strongly oppose Biden’s border policy.  Those waves of illegals are impacting communities across the country, as Biden violates his oath of office by transporting them to communities far from the southern border.  Come November, voters will blame Biden and Democrats for that, not Vlad Putin and his fellow Russian oligarchs.

As of March 7, Rasmussen Reports staked Biden to a 44 approve/54 disapprove overall.  Drill down deeper and Biden’s numbers among the “strongly approve” and “strongly disapprove” bode ill for Democrats this November.  Only 23% of respondents strongly approve Biden’s job performance, while 45% strongly disapprove.  Intensity matters when it comes to voter motivation.

An earlier (February 22) Trafalgar Group survey shows an even worse picture for Biden and Democrats.  In that poll, Biden is strongly approved by 22% of likely voters while 52% strongly disapprove.  Whether you want to go with the Trafalgar Group numbers or Rasmussen Reports’ findings, for Democrats, it’s a matter of picking their poison.

Biden’s approval numbers actually represent an uptick in his support.  Count that as an anomaly, a small bubble that will burst in the coming months.  Why?  The troubles that Biden created won’t disappear.    

As always, we have to issue a qualification: November is still a long way off, and much can transpire between now and then to change political fortunes.  But the betting is that the nation’s difficulties will only worsen, and that voter perceptions — bolstered by hard facts — of Biden and his Democrats are too deeply ingrained for a majority to suddenly do an about-face.  And as much as Democrat spinners and their propagandist allies in the establishment media may try, they won’t succeed in hanging Biden’s abysmal performance on Vladimir Putin.    

J. Robert Smith can be found regularly at Gab @JRobertSmith.  He also blogs at Flyover.  

“Masks contribute to feelings of safety and normalcy that schools provide our students” THE FASCISTIC TEACHERS PREACH!?!

Seattle teacher’s union pushing to extend school mask mandates to May

JOHN SEXTON Mar 07, 2022

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AP Photo/Denis Poroy

Gov. Jay Inslee announced weeks ago that school mask mandates in Washington state would come to an end on March 21. But as the infection rate and hospitalizations continued to drop, Gov. Inslee eventually moved the date up to March 12. California and Oregon also planned to put an end to indoor mask mandates on the same day. But teacher’s unions in Washington state are urging schools to keep the mandates in place, claiming that ending the mandates too quickly could “cause serious harm.

“Masks contribute to feelings of safety and normalcy that schools provide our students. Removing masks will significantly disrupt that sense of normalcy, and educators will struggle to explain to students why we are removing masks so soon,” the educators wrote to King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin and interim Director Dennis Worsham.

The letter goes on to say that “prematurely allowing the mask requirement to expire in King County schools could cause serious harm.” Allowing mask removal earlier, school union officials claim, will “result in significant anxiety for many students, families, and educators, and exacerbate rather than help with the mental health crisis for them.”

“Second, we believe the negative impacts of lifting the mask mandate would be most heavily felt by our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities as well as by people with disabilities,” it continues.

Seattle Public Schools have also put out a statement saying that masks will remain in place for now:

Seattle Public Schools is aware of Governor Inslee’s plan to lift the state mask mandate on March 11, 2022.

Implementation in the school district must meet the unique health and safety needs of our students, families, and staff. Seattle Public Schools continues to look to guidance from Public Health – Seattle & King County.

SPS will: Continue until further notice with our current policy requiring mask use by all students, staff, visitors and others while they are indoors and outdoors at all SPS buildings;

How long will the unions drag this out? It could be for another two months according to a statement from the union president:

Jennifer Matter is the president of the teachers union. She said Monday that the union wants to see mask rules lift no sooner than two weeks after spring break, or May 1, which is two months from now.

Matter said they want to see whether there’s a spike in cases after the most recent break, and again see what happens with cases in schools after spring break.

“We believe there should be no rush to lift the mask mandate,” Matter said.

So if the unions get their way, May 1 is the earliest the mandates could be lifted. And that would apparently apply outside as well as inside the classroom.

Seattle isn’t the only place where unions are doing this. California and Illinois both lifted mask mandates but in San Francisco and Chicago teacher’s unions demanded masking continue. Teachers in Washington, DC did the same thing.

Obviously if case rates were to suddenly spike that guidance could change but that hasn’t happened. The New York Times COVID tracker shows cases are down in Washington 47% in the past 14 days. Hospitalizations are down 36 percent and deaths are down 37%.

There’s no reason to drag this out another two months given that everyone from the CDC on down has said it’s safe to drop mandates. It’s impossible for these unions to claim they are following the science at this point so instead they are talking about the anxiety of parents and educators.

Lefty CNN Discovers Truth And Truths’ Problems Again….If True……WELCOME!

Putin is wreaking carnage in Ukraine and no one can stop him

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

10:15 AM EST, Mon March 7, 2022

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02:17

Ukrainian journalist explains how they are staying on the air during war

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‘Nightmare’: Mom reveals what it’s like living in town taken over by Russia

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Drinking melted snow: Indian students trapped deep in Ukraine

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‘You betray me’: Ukrainian’s message to former Russian friends

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‘I felt really bad going’: Maksim Chmerkovskiy on his emotional escape from Ukraine

00:29

Video shows Russian missile flying overhead toward airport

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Video shows Russian missiles flying overhead toward airport

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Horrific video shows Ukrainians hit by Russian missile

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Man travels 5000 miles to play his piano for Ukrainian refugees

Alex Marquardt destroyed village

04:17

Russian attacks decimated this residential area. CNN shows the aftermath.

02:17

Ukrainian journalist explains how they are staying on the air during war

03:47

‘Nightmare’: Mom reveals what it’s like living in town taken over by Russia

02:25

Drinking melted snow: Indian students trapped deep in Ukraine

03:23

Video shows Russian jet falling from the sky

04:50

‘You betray me’: Ukrainian’s message to former Russian friends

01:31

See stadium converted into refugee center to house Ukrainians

Ukrainian military couple celebrates wedding with camo and cakeCNN —  

Millions of lives could be destroyed to slake Vladimir Putin’s Cold War obsession.

Less than three weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – a historic outrage 30 years in the making – the world is looking on in horror at the barbarity, human tragedy, appalling destruction and worldwide reverberations sparked by one man’s orders.

Ukraine’s fate starkly underlines that even 20 years into the 21st century and despite the world’s vows to learn from history, a lone autocrat who has ruthlessly fashioned a political system to eliminate dissent and reality itself has the power to cause unfathomable human loss and misery.

Putin’s apparent willingness to bombard Ukraine into submission and clearly gratuitous targeting of the innocent civilians he insisted are Russian kin mean the humanitarian disaster is likely only just beginning. More than a million refugees have already fled their homes, according to the United Nations. Millions more will likely follow – as family lives, jobs and communities are shattered. That’s without the thousands of civilians sure to die in a prolonged Russian blitzkrieg.

While there is speculation about Putin’s goals and state of mind and huge public interest in the courage of Ukrainians vowing to resist the invasion, it is critical for the world to properly understand the basic reality of the apparent war crimes that are now occurring in Ukraine.

US officials identify 3 areas where US may take action soon on Ukraine

In a Kyiv suburb on Sunday, two small children and two adults were obliterated by Russian shelling as they tried to flee. “A family died … in front of my eyes,” Oleksandr Markushyn, the mayor of Irpin, said. Meanwhile, the dead lay unburied in the smoldering wreckage of Kharkiv – a city of 1.5 million people, which was under a prolonged bombardment that served as a warning of Kyiv’s likely fate to come. Other Ukrainians were trapped by shocking Russian shelling of humanitarian corridors. Photos and video of Ukrainian men putting their families on evacuation trains and heading out to fight are reviving the trauma of a continent’s blood-soaked history.

If harrowing video of Ukraine was in black and white, it would be easy to mistake it for historic newsreel of World War II, the last time such scenes of devastation and cruelty were inflicted by one sovereign nation on another in Europe.

And it all flows from the mind of a Russian President apparently motivated by his own historic scars as a KGB officer in East Germany when the Berlin Wall fell. Putin, seeking to redraw the post-Cold War map of Europe, has now engineered the counterpoint to those joyous scenes three decades later in his relentless bombardments designed to revive Russia as a superpower.

Ukraine’s future looks increasingly bleak

The events of a bloody weekend underscore that despite the West’s impressive ramping up of sanctions strangling the Russian economy and the courage of resisting Ukrainian civilians and the pleas of their president, Ukraine’s future is bleak, with Putin having raised questions about it continuing to exist as a nation state.

Massive Western sanctions might eventually whip up sufficient opposition inside Russia, where citizens are struggling under a collapsing economy, to topple Putin. Arms shipments to Ukraine from the West will certainly increase the cost to Moscow’s forces of the invasion and possible occupation.

But the reality that the West will not intervene directly to avoid triggering an escalation with Russia that could spark a nuclear exchange grants Putin an advantage and deepens Ukraine’s tragedy. Sooner or later, the outside world may find itself looking on at a massacre it was powerless to prevent. This terrible possibility was raised in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s latest heartbreaking appeal for help on Sunday.

“We are humans, and it’s your humanitarian duty to protect us, protect civilians, and you can do it,” Zelensky told the world.

“If you don’t do it, if you at least don’t give us airplanes so that we could defend ourselves, that the only conclusion remains – you also want us to be very slowly killed.”

Putin is still dictating events

While the US is talking with Poland about a plan to send its Russian-made warplanes to Ukraine and there is debate about a full embargo on Russian oil exports, the West is close to hitting the limit of what can be done without triggering a direct conflict with Putin. Thus, US messaging is beginning to stress the magnitude of what has already been done to help. That includes western sanctions that have thrown the Russian economy back into a Soviet-era dark age and the arsenals of anti-tank and anti-aircraft rockets poured into Ukraine in the West’s new proxy war with Russia.

As Americans cursed Putin over the weekend with gasoline soaring well above $4 a gallon in some states because of an oil market rocked by the invasion, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the Russian leader’s savagery was still dictating events.

Stocks sink while oil soars after US and allies consider banning Russian oil

“Vladimir Putin has, unfortunately, the capacity – with the sheer manpower that he has in Ukraine and the overmatch that he has – the ability to keep grinding things down, against incredibly resilient and courageous Ukrainians,” he told Jake Tapper.

Speaking from Moldova, a non-NATO US ally that fears it might be next in Putin’s firing line, Blinken seemed to be looking ahead to a post-invasion future in which a western-supported Ukrainian resistance might make Putin’s troops pay a heavy price.

“I think we have to be prepared for this to last for some time. But just winning a battle is not winning the war. Taking a city does not mean he’s taking the hearts and minds of the Ukrainian people,” Blinken said. “On the contrary, he is destined to lose. The Ukrainian people have demonstrated that they will not allow themselves to be subjugated to Vladimir Putin or to Russia’s rule.”

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, also stressed the severity of Western sanctions but signaled that Zelensky’s plea for immediate EU membership was unlikely to be fast tracked.

“Nobody doubts that these brave Ukrainian people and the outstanding leadership of President Zelensky, all fighting for our common values, that they belong to our European family,” von der Leyen told Tapper. “And with the application, President Zelensky set a process in motion. This process will take some time.”

Putin’s personal crusade

The way that Putin has single-handedly pushed his country into war, crushed internal dissent and berated apparently bemused national security aides on television has underscored how much of the Ukraine war is a personal crusade.

His unhinged and ahistorical speeches about the war – including his false claims he is trying to denazify Ukraine – have sparked concern about whether a leader once seen as a ruthless and cool broker of Russia’s national interests has slipped into a parallel mental reality. That, along with his nuclear threats, have caused concern about how far a desperate Russian leader, who has effectively made his own political survival contingent on a war that is turning into a quagmire, might go.

“He is now engaged in a conflict where he’s either going to have a costly military victory, followed by a costly occupation that he can’t afford, or he’s going to get caught in a long-term military quagmire, at the same time as he’s facing a second front, which is an economy in free-fall in his own country,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said on “State of the Union.”

“So, the combination of these two things, I think, puts us in a very dangerous place. And that is, he’s going to have to do something, some escalation, some amplification of this crisis, in order to restore strategic balance, in his view, with the West. And I’m worried about what those things could be.”

So far, in the two-and-a-half weeks since the invasion, Putin has done nothing but escalate, despite a calm Western reaction to his nuclear provocations. It remains unclear how he would react to the possibility that Poland or Romania might provide fighter jets to Ukraine – a step that appears to drag two ex-Warsaw Pact nations closer to indirect conflict with Russia.

The record of the invasion, however, shows that regardless of how much pain new Western steps might inflict, they are unlikely to stop Putin playing out his obsession that Ukraine must never be allowed to join the West – even if that means blowing it and its people to smithereens.

As Zelensky put it in a new video message Sunday evening, “The aggressor’s audacity is a clear signal to the West that sanctions imposed against Russia are not enough.”