Rally for Ukraine


in front of church
We rallied in front of the Unitarian Church on Lincoln Drive in Germantown, Philadelphia.

The UN Human Rights Office testified to civilians being wantonly slaughtered in the city of Bucha, just outside of Kyiv. Nothing really changes. Back during World War II, Nazis would rape non-German women and if the women had earrings, would tear the earrings out, so that their corpses would be found with torn earlobes.  Russians are doing that to Ukrainian women now. Germany kept their short-wave radio interceptors that were used to intercept Soviet communications after other countries had decided short-wave radios were obsolete. Germans were able to intercept conversations about, for instance, a soldier who shared stories about him and his buddies "chasing a litle Ukrainian girl, shooting her in the legs - just for fun."

Does this make Russian soldiers uniquely evil? Actually, this sort of thing has been going on for as long as armies have ventured far from home. A ship would set out from Norway, travel several hundred miles to England, and when the men get there, they start ravaging and pillaging. People know, of course,, that "The Vikings" did terrible things, but would have no idea who specifically did what. The Vikings would commit atrocities, but they'd do so far from home, so they'd never have to answer to anyone they knew. Russians are in the same situation, they're in a foreign land where there's no accountability. I suppose it demonstrats a little bit of conscience, or at least some level of consciouessness of guilt, that Russia is moving mobile crematoriums into occupied cities.

What this means is that there will be no peace until all Russian troops are forcibly ejected from Ukrainian territory. As long as any Ukrainian civilians are under Russian control, there will continue to be atrocities.

the church

Very interesting piece tells of how NATO used a military base near Lviv left over from the Soviet days to transform the Ukrainian Army. One of its most transformative things was that the Russians don't really have Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) or, as they're called in the Navy, Petty Officers. Over the years since the invasion and occupation of Crimea in 2014, the US Army has been creating an NCO corps for Ukraine. Expertise is developed in people, who are them no longer simply conscripts who just follow orders, but are considered professionals who can make decisions and take the initiative.

There's a debate among progressives today about the expansion of NATO since the fall of the Soviet Union. Does the above story tell us about NATO aggresively expanding to the point where Russia felt threatened?  Or does it tell us about how Ukraine felt threatened by Russia and gladly accepted NATO assistance? I think it does both.  The Russian-born newsperson Julia Ioffe described how Finland, Sweden and even Bosnia have reacted to the war against Ukraine. "Hey NATO, what's up?" Y'know, like "Gee NATO, you sure are looking handsome today!" Note: Finland and Sweden have now been fomally accepted by NATO. Update: Finland and Sweden have begun the process of entering NATO. Should be done in a few months. Russia's own mini-NATO, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, is collectively refusing to join the war. One of the CSTO's members, Belarus, is too close to the conflit to simply refuse, but gee, they just somehow can't seem to get their troops into the fight.


This is after "the war was fabricated" by NATO. A piece in which the author makes the point that NATO did a number of things after the collapse of the Soviet Union that were aggressive and pushed into the area that was previously Soviet or Warsaw Pact territory. There was clearly a deliberate plan to fill the power vacuum that was left by the Soviet Union's demise. But as the above piece on transitioning the Ukrainian Army from an officer and conscript force to an officer and NCO army makes clear, Ukraine decied after the invasion and occupation of Crimea that they had to prepare for Russia's eventual attempt to finish the job that they began in 2014. Th attack of 2022 was anticipated and NATO prepared Ukraine to meet it.

Is facism a problem in Ukraine? They have a single battalion, the Azov, which is definitely dominated by fascists. They're accepting all applicants thes days. But generally, they're a pretty small problem. There are no political parties that are explicitly pro-fascist and there is testimny that the Azov Battalion fought bravely in 2014.


President Biden has never been a rigid ideologue. He's always been a finger-to-the-wind consensus seeker. This is a good stance to have right now as he's now doing just what the public wants. The public is very unenthusiastic about going to war against Russia. Democrats are perfectly happy not sending troops and Republicans don't trust Biden, even though they like his specific policies of sanctions and of sending weapons. Fine by Ukraine. Al Jazeera reports that "Ukraine’s army has been dramatically expanded as reservists and volunteers swamp recruitment stations." Ukraine has the people it needs. It just needs weapons.

more folks

*Sigh!* The "Hunter Biden laptop" story didn't begin with an actual, physical, laptop computer. It was always just a collection of files. It was first reported on by the right-wing New York Post.

Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Trump, told The Post about the existence of the hard drive in late September and Giuliani provided The Post with a copy of it on Sunday.

Shortly before this batch of files was introduced, a fake "intelligence firm" was pegged as trying to put out false information about Hunter Biden and his then-presidential candidate father. A serious problem from the very beginning was that the batch of files contained photos and emails that were very likely genuinely from one of Biden's devices, whether that was a phone or an actual laptop computer. It's not terribly difficult to imagine that a group of people with spy-type resources could illicitly obtain such files. The NY Post emitted shouts of joy when the NY Times and then the Washington Post verified what we knew from the start, that at least some of the emails in the batch of files were very likely genuine. Both Facebook and Twitter thought the material was stolen from Biden and they've never been proven wrong. But did the two papers verify the important question? Did either the WaPo or the NY Times show that nobody added incriminating-looking files to the batch? Of course not. That of course raises the extremely good question of what these papers thought they were accomplishing when they had the files examined. As it is, they've given this BS story undeserved life.  Granted the issues concerning journalists and hacked material is a legally tough one.


In some thankfully good news, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the first Black woman Supreme Court Justice! Essentially, the to-be-replaced Justice Stephen Breyer appeared to have accepted the liberal argument that if the GOP gained control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm election and he were to pass away before Democrats regained control or before a Republican president took office, then there would simply be no replacement, as any nominee the Democrats put forward would be blockaded as Judge Merrick Garland was in 2016. From Axios;

While Democrats succeeded in getting Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to commit during an Axios interview to filling any more seats if he becomes majority leader next year.

Interestingly, McConnell, in the same interview, appeared to be baffled by the concept of "moral red lines." Apparently Donald Trump's boast during the 2016 campaign was entirely accurate, that:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

McConnell made it crystal clear that for the Republican Party to gain power was THE objective!