Welcome to 1939. (Or is it more 1938, with worse to come?)

For weeks now, I’ve been wondering: Is this Ukraine business just something that will pass (just bluffing and maneuvering), to the point that a year from now we’ll hardly remember it? Or is this what it was like to live in 1939? Of course, I’ve fervently hoped it was the former.

So much for my fervent hopes on this front.

Oh, by the way, before I continue: All of you who hasten to jump on what you consider to be misguided historical allusions, just calm down. No, I don’t think Putin (or for that matter, Trump) is Hitler. I don’t think the MAGA phenomenon equals the Nazi party. I don’t for a moment consider the forces leading to this moment to be precisely the same as those that led Europe into its second conflagration in a lifetime. Nor do I know what will happen next.

You see, I actually am a student of history. I study it. I am constantly perplexed by it. Almost daily, I am stunned by something I didn’t know about it, and should have known. And I think about this, a lot.

What I’m talking about here is less about explaining this moment in a neat bumper-sticker encapsulisation. It’s really more about me still trying to understand 1939.

It’s always puzzled me. I grew up in the years in which the course of the 1930s and 40s were plain, and fixed, and obvious. I marveled at things: How was it possible that after the events of 1939, the vast majority of Americans believed this was something we could stay out of? I applauded FDR’s foresight and courage with the Lend-Lease Act and all the other ways he tried to keep Britain free until our own blindness ended. Which stunningly, did not happen until Japan, for its own complex reasons, attacked us and Hitler, demonstrating his madness to anyone who had not yet perceived it, declared war on us. It was one of history’s more remarkable turnarounds. On Dec. 12, 1941, Congress was planning on interrogating the director a film regarded as a bit too supportive of Britain’s war effort. The sentiment motivating that vanished in a flash in the days before the scheduled hearing.

But that wasn’t about just the American brand of isolation, not entirely. Britain had been just as attached to magical thinking in 1938, when it applauded Neville Chamberlain for bringing home such an awesome deal from Munich. During my lifetime, poor Chamberlain has been condemned as the ultimate appeaser. But he was doing exactly what the folks back home wanted. Britain had understandably had enough of war on the continent from 1914-18, and wanted to avoid any more of that sort of thing at pretty much any cost. A lot would have to happen before the voters wanted to exchange Chamberlain for that war-monger Churchill.

Oh, speaking of war mongers, there goes that Brad saying that what needs to be done in 2022 is just as obvious as what should have been done in 1938 would be 20 years later!

Nope. Try to keep up, folks. I don’t know what to do right now. I think my man Joe Biden has been doing fine, doing and saying the right things, even though so far we’ve seen that there is no “right thing” that will dissuade Putin from doing what every fiber of his being urges him to do. And I certainly don’t think we need to dig up George Patton and have him sweep in there with the Third Army posthaste. Even if we could.

It is precisely because I’m so uncertain about how to solve the problem that makes me think, “So this is what 1939 was like.” Those people, lacking omniscience, were also clueless. I’ve wondered all these years how they could have been so clueless, and now I’m getting a little insight into it.

Hence my headline.

I choose 1939 for obvious reasons, most notably I suppose the invasion of Poland. But what if what is happening is more of a prelude, more like the Anschluss than Poland? I got to thinking that reading Robert Kagan’s piece this morning, “What we can expect after Putin’s conquest of Ukraine.

After. As in, the Baltics. Assuming we can know the future. Which we can’t. But it was an interesting piece.

It’s hard enough to know the present. Oh, some things seem obvious enough. When The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that Putin wanted “muscle Moscow back to the superpower table,” I was all dismissively omniscient on Twitter, which of course is what Twitter is for:

Oh, I am so smart.

But I know so little about the complexities of what motivates Putin and the base he plays to, and about a thousand other relevant things. Sure, I think I understand the destructive power of a great nation that has been humiliated. It eats at Putin, just as it ate at those who lined up behind Hitler in the 20s and 30s.

But of course, it’s always more complicated than that, isn’t it? When I finally got around to reading The Guns of August several years ago, I was startled to read about the long-standing ideas that pushed Germany into war, and how much they read like something Hitler would have written 20 years later. The Germans had been into this master-race stuff for awhile.

And just this week, I ran into something that mentioned the West’s hero of the Cold War, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. OK, so he was kind of a cranky, back-and-forth hero, hard for us to always understand, but we applauded when he condemned communism exposed the gulag. Anyway, as so often happens, running across his name made me want to look up something about him, so I went to Wikipedia, where I found:

According to William Harrison, Solzhenitsyn was an “arch-reactionary”, who argued that the Soviet State “suppressed” traditional Russian and Ukrainian culture, called for the creation of a united Slavic state encompassing Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and who was a fierce opponent of Ukrainian independence

Of course, this Harrison guy also accused the author of “hankering after an idealized Tsarist era,” which doesn’t really seem consistent with his writings. So maybe we shouldn’t believe all Harrison tells us.

But it underlines how little I know about how Russians and for that matter Ukrainians think and feel about their own respective national identities, and what that might motivate them to do. Basically, I’m so ignorant I don’t know whether that Harrison guy is full of crap or not.

I need to read and study and think about this a lot more. Which seems like kind of a self-indulgent luxury right now, with Russian boots on the ground…

59 thoughts on “Welcome to 1939. (Or is it more 1938, with worse to come?)

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Of course, I’m diddling around the margins, with all my uncertainties. There are certain things that are clear here, as Mandy reminds us:

    1. Barry

      Our friend, the useless (and out of office because her own district didn’t want her) Tulsi attacked Biden and the Biden administration because they didn’t assure Putin enough about NATO expansion.

      She was viciously attacked- with good reason. She has yet to criticize Putin since Putin decided to start this war.

      I heard a good discussion this morning as Michael Smerconish interviewed Kathryn Stoner of Stanford University and she stated that assurances to Putin regarding NATO would not have prevented this invasion and to suggest so is naive.

      “What Putin fears in Ukraine is not NATO expansion on Russian borders. The last states on Russia’s border to join NATO were the Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in 2004. There is no security threat to Russia from Ukraine.

      But there is in Ukraine an existential threat to Putin’s personal and autocratic regime: the example of a resilient, robust, pluralistic democracy next door in a country whose history is intertwined with Russia’s own. Ukrainians have continued to cling to their imperfect but open political system with checks on the executive by an independent legislature and judiciary, vibrant civil society and free press. This system — not NATO — is the real threat”

      1. Doug Ross

        Can’t figure out who to believe – a former 4 term Congresswoman who volunteered and served 19 years in the National Guard including deployments in Iraq and Kuwait.. and sat on the Committee on Homeland Security (2013–2014), Committee on Armed Services (2013–2021), Committee on Foreign Affairs (2013–2019)…

        or a guy who listens to Sirius Radio. and transcribes other people’s ideas from his basement?

        Tough choice…

        Tulsi is my favorite politician of all time. Someone who serves and also doesn’t buy into the neverending war mentality.

        1. Doug Ross

          I mean, seriously, everything barry posts flows directly from the talking points of liberal media… the whole “attack Tulsi as a Russian plant” started with idiotic statements made by Hillary years ago. It proved what a partisan hack she was and why she never should have been president. Her incompetence gave us Trump.

        2. Barry

          Michael Flynn served in the military and was the national security advisor, and he’s a raging lunatic

          It’s ironic to see you impressed by someone because they got elected. Quite inconsistent of you.

          Getting elected doesn’t impress. Marjorie Taylor Green got elected. Paul Gosar got elected. Donald Trump got elected.

          Tulsi is as questionable as is Flynn- maybe more so

          Those that knew her best rejected her. They had good sense.

        3. Guy

          So, does that mean you agree with her assessment that Bashar Al-Assad did not gas his own citizens (a view not held by anyone but she and Assad…)?

          What a hero!

          1. Barry

            Tulsi is an Assad sympathizer. one of the many reasons her own district rejected her.

            I like making fun of her as much as the next guy, but it’s like fishing in a 5 gallon bucket from Lowes at this point.

            I am sure she’ll be enjoying the spotlight at CPAC in Florida this week with all of the other right wing nuts.

            1. Doug Ross

              I hope she can survive your brutal takedown.

              The difference between her and you is she stands out in the public eye and says what she believes. You cower behind a keyboard.

              She destroyed Kamala Harris in two sentences in the debates.

              It’s fine. Joe Biden is on the job…

              1. Barry

                She’s a right wing nut politician who ,when asked if Assad has committed war crimes cowered in the corner and couldn’t respond.

                She doesn’t care how much you like her nonsense Doug. LOL

                1. Doug Ross

                  The difference between you and me is that I don’t think I have some magical power to take other people’s ideas and spread them to other people (however small that group may be) to influence them. I don’t waste hours of my day on the task of trying to “own” mythical Trump supporters.

                  The fact that you think Tulsi is right wing says more about your brainwashing than anything else could. You’ve been activated into the MSNBC cult.

                  1. Mark Stewart

                    That Tulsi is your “favorite: politician of all time” says everything.

                    Discernment. It is something we need more of – across society.

                  2. Barry

                    It was interesting to see her blame Biden and the United States for Putin invading Ukraine though.

                    How very “putin” of her.

                    As many Russian experts have now said, Putin didn’t think NATO was adding Ukraine. There was no possibility of such a thing.

                    He has been consumed by Ukraine and citizens there moving toward the West enjoying freedoms that Russians do not. He could not live with that because Russians seeing Ukraine being more prosperous and free would undermine his entire philosophy.

                  3. Barry

                    The accused Russian agent identified in a DOJ complaint this week lived in the U.S. for decades, but gave to only one federal candidate.

                    Surprise: It’s Tulsi Gabbard.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    Yeah, it’s hard to see what to do when there aren’t any easily discernable solutions. It’s certainly a lesser of two weevils situation.

    As for your reference to the Great War, we also have to hope it’s not 1914, either.

  3. bud

    Or most likely its like 2003 with Putin playing the part of George W. For someone who constantly fashions himself as an expert in history Brad often misses big, obvious analogies. Putin is likely making a gigantic mistake that will cost the Russian people dearly. I see a coup in Russia’s future. It’s clearly not comparable to 1939. Nukes make that type of war impossible.

  4. Ken

    Just this:

    Yes, do believe what Harrison says about Solzhenitsyn. He was no western liberal. In his 1978 Harvard commencement address, he he excoriated the West, and, in particular, America, for its godlessness, materialism, and weakness of spirit. Traditional Russia remained his ideal. Russian scholar Richard Pipes, no lefty, is also critical: “He was not unhappy about Russia’s loss of its imperial possessions, yet he did not favor a state based on law and democracy. He disliked what he saw after his return to Russia in 1994, during Boris Yeltsin’s rule, but, strangely enough, he came to terms with then-President Vladimir Putin and his restrictions on both democracy and the free market.”

  5. Ken

    Rather than 1939, what comes to my mind is 1990.
    At the time I was a student working part-time at the reception desk at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
    And I clearly remember the day when one of the staff in the Ukraine Section (made up mostly of expat Ukrainians) ran down the main hallway yelling, “Ukraine has declared independence! Ukraine has declared independence!”
    That period of its history may now be ending.

    So, this particular arc of history is quite palpable to me.
    And it demonstrates that they do NOT always bend towards justice.

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Some good things to read on this subject from the last few days:

    Putin Is Making a Historic Mistake, by the indispensable Madeleine Albright. Published a day before the actual invasion, but no less insightful because of it. One of many good bits: “Mr. Putin must know that a second Cold War would not necessarily go well for Russia — even with its nuclear weapons. Strong U.S. allies can be found on nearly every continent. Mr. Putin’s friends, meanwhile, include the likes of Bashar al-Assad, Alexander Lukashenko and Kim Jong-un.”

    Putin Is Teaching Us a Brutal Lesson About History, by Frank Bruni. Excerpt: “I don’t know if it’s a boomer thing, a modern thing, an elite thing or some other thing, but in my lifetime, in this country, among many of my generational peers, there has been a sense that people had learned particular lessons and were evolving past extremes of pettiness and barbarism, certainly in the corners of the globe deemed more enlightened. In Europe, so devastated and so educated by World War II, sovereign nations wouldn’t be invaded just because their neighbors were mightier, meaner and more rapacious. That was a grandiosity and folly of the past — before the European Union and before all of our “advances,” a word we’ve used so frequently and clung to so tightly, as if the accretion of knowledge and the epiphanies of science were guarantors, or at least harbingers, of affluence and peace. This perspective wasn’t just overly optimistic about history’s arc. It was blind to the present — to the unabated factionalism in the Middle East, to the blood spilled on borders all around the world, to the enduring and enduringly potent strains of territorialism and tribalism, to human nature.”

    The Dark Century, by David Brooks. Lots of good bits. It starts here: “In the early 1990s I was a roving correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, based in Europe. Some years it felt as if all I did was cover good news: the end of the Soviet Union, Ukrainians voting for independence, German reunification, the spread of democracy across Eastern Europe, Mandela coming out of prison and the end of apartheid, the Oslo peace process that seemed to bring stability to the Middle East. I obsess about those years now. I obsess about them because the good times did not last.”

    Then it goes to the first rise of our liberal democracy: “Our founders were aware that majorities are easily led by ambitious demagogues. So our founders built a system that respected popular opinion and majority rule while trying to build guardrails to check popular passion and prejudice. The crimes of the constitutional order are by now well known. It acquiesced to the existence of slavery and prolonged that institution for nearly another century. Early democratic systems enfranchised only a small share of adult Americans. But the genius of the Constitution was in its attempt to move toward democracy while trying to prevent undue concentrations of power. The founders divided power among the branches. They built in a whole series of republican checks, so that demagogues and populist crazes would not sweep over the land.”

    To the development of the modern liberal order in which I grew up: “The postwar generation was a bit like the founding generation. Its leaders — from Truman to George F. Kennan to Reinhold Niebuhr — championed democracy, but they had no illusions about the depravity of human beings. They’d read their history and understood that stretching back thousands of years, war, authoritarianism, exploitation, great powers crushing little ones — these were just the natural state of human societies. If America was to be secure, Americans would have to plant the seeds of democracy, but also do all the work of cultivation so those seeds could flourish. Americans oversaw the creation of peaceful democracies from the ruins of military dictatorships in Germany and Japan. They funded the Marshall Plan. They helped build multinational institutions like NATO, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund.”

    To how that started crumbling: “Over the past few generations that hopeful but sober view of human nature has faded. What’s been called the Culture of Narcissism took hold, with the view that human beings should be unshackled from restraint. You can trust yourself to be unselfish! Democracy and world peace were taken for granted. As Robert Kagan put it in his book “The Jungle Grows Back”: “We have lived so long inside the bubble of the liberal order that we can imagine no other kind of world. We think it is natural and normal, even inevitable.” If people are naturally good, we no longer have to do the hard agricultural work of cultivating virtuous citizens or fighting against human frailty. The Western advisers I covered in Russia in the early 1990s thought a lot about privatization and market reforms and very little about how to prevent greedy monsters from stealing the whole country. They had a naïve view of human nature.”

    To where that takes us: “What happens when you don’t tend the seedbeds of democracy? Chaos? War? No, you return to normal. The 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were normal. Big countries like China, Russia and Turkey are ruled by fierce leaders with massive power. That’s normal. Small aristocracies in many nations hog gigantic shares of their nations’ wealth. That’s normal. Many people come to despise cultural outsiders, like immigrants. Normal. Global affairs resembles the law of the jungle, with big countries threatening small ones. This is the way it’s been for most of human history.”

    And finally, the only hope we have: “Will the liberals of the world be able to hold off the wolves? Strengthen democracy and preserve the rules-based world order? The events of the past few weeks have been fortifying. Joe Biden and the other world leaders have done an impressive job of rallying their collective resolve and pushing to keep Putin within his borders. But the problems of democracy and the liberal order can’t be solved from the top down. Today, across left and right, millions of Americans see U.S. efforts abroad as little more than imperialism, ‘endless wars’ and domination. They don’t believe in the postwar project and refuse to provide popular support for it.”

    Yeah, it was a long piece.

    I don’t know how we get back to being the kind of country that understands itself, and the world, again. I look at the debates we have over education between left and right, and it’s just all so idiotic. They don’t even talk about the things that matter…

    1. bud

      As usual David Brooks say absolutely nothing useful. At least we can count on some things to always stay the same. Take this for instance:

      Today, across left and right, millions of Americans see U.S. efforts abroad as little more than imperialism, ‘endless wars’ and domination. They don’t believe in the postwar project and refuse to provide popular support for it.”

      Does Brooks ever learn a damn thing from history. Of course the public doesn’t support endless war. Of course much of what we do is imperialism. Did Brooks learn nothing from Vietnam and Iraq?

  7. Ken

    My mother, don’t tell me. We will be in an evil hour, Oh, we’re in an evil hour. I don’t know where I’m going to die.

  8. Barry

    Senator Ben Sasse just said on tv what I was saying – that Russian elites in London and other countries should be “perp walked” by authorities out of their homes and sent back to Russia today.

    He mentioned they should be forced to live “in the hell hole” that Putin has created in Russia and not in Western Countries – where many of their family members choose to live in relative anonymity.

    Yep – this is what I was referring to the other day but apparently this is too mean. LOL. Too mean while Russians kill innocent people on tv.

    Apparently there is a bunch of them in south Florida and London. Kick them out today, take their property from them and take their money.

    I wonder why tough guy Ron DeSantis isn’t on tv creating a stink trying to kick them out. It is because they have a lot of money?

    1. Bryan Caskey

      “I hope President Putin will help us with respect to what we need to do to stay on track with the climate.”

      – John Kerry

      Vladimir Putin just launched the largest war of aggression in Europe since WWII. While every government in Europe is speaking out on the need to stand with Ukraine, Kerry is publicly pumping up Putin as a partner. Putin’s killing Ukrainians and destroying their country; he’s not a Western partner on anything.

      All I say to John Kerry is…bless his little heart.

      1. Ken

        This matters not one tiny bit — except in the right-wing blogosphere, which is exclusively where it is circulating.

        Besides, you are misrepresenting what Kerry said. He said nothing about partnering with Putin. But I suppose that’s the hazard of hanging out in that particular sphere.

        Pertinent clip:

        1. Bryan Caskey

          So things John Kerry says aren’t important because certain folks choose to ignore it? Ok.

          I didn’t misrepresent what he said. I quoted him. He said he wants Putin to “help us…stay on track with the climate“. That’s…you know…working together, as partners. You know, he wants Putin to be partners in fighting global warming, or climate change, or whatever we’re calling it now.

          It’s hilarious that Kerry thinks that Putin wants to “help us” with ANYTHING, the sad part is that he’s advising Biden.

          1. bud

            Oh come on. This is no big deal. I too HOPE Putin will work with us on climate issues. I don’t expect that he will. John Kerry doesn’t either. But hope springs eternal. I also HOPE Ron Desantis will take COVID seriously. I HOPE Donald Trump will soon stipulate that Biden won the election. I HOPE the SCOTUS will keep Roe V Wade as the law of the land. This is the type of endless nonsense spewing out of conservative circles. Just a couple of weeks ago all we heard was how Biden foolishly said he’d pick an African American woman for the supreme court. To hear the shrill rantings from the right you’d think Biden had declared the USA was now a Communist state. Take any little comment by a Democrat and make it into a HUGE deal. It’s a disgusting feature of the modern conservative movement. To be clear this does has propaganda value. So they push this nonsense. Since they have nothing on actual policy ideas this is what they do.

            1. Bryan Caskey

              I’m just glad that the President is taking every action available to deal with Russia as long as the actions are easy and safe.

            2. Bryan Caskey

              To change the subject back to the current war…The U.S. met with China over three months to present intelligence showing Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine and to urge Beijing to help avert war, U.S. officials said. Chinese officials rebuffed the U.S. and shared the information with Moscow.

              Great job, foreign policy experts.

              1. Ken

                Likely the same intelligence the Administration released to the world in recent weeks to counter Russian propaganda.

                Considering this post and the previous one, it’s sad and disturbing – but not at all surprising – that some here would engage in misdirection and distortion not dissimilar to Putin’s dezinformácia – all for such petty purposes. But it’s just as transparent as that – effective only with the gullible and the eagerly receptive.

                  1. Ken

                    Nonsense. Like the WPost, Reuters, Daily Mail and other responsible news outlets, they simply reported the comments — which were nothing more than a thumbnail of his speech at the American U. Cairo on Monday — without reflexively whipping up the spin like you and your fellow right-wing blogonauts have.

                    1. Bryan Caskey

                      Just figured I would let you know how the rest of the world sees it outside your left-wing echo chamber.

                      Have a good weekend, Kenny.

                1. Bryan Caskey

                  Well, at least with Biden having replaced Trump, the one thing we no longer need worry about is the White House being reckless with U.S. intelligence so it ends up in Russian hands.

          2. Ken

            Just goes to show: You can provide a source, but you can’t make people hear properly — especially if they like grinding axes.

            Because, listening to the line in the full context of the interview (which occurred before the invasion), it’s quite clear that Kerry is saying it would be better if Russia worked to reduce climate damage rather than add to it and distract from general efforts in that direction. Everything he says is reasonable. Because, like I keep saying, there is more than one problem in the world to deal with. Though I understand that trying to score political points is the MOST important game in town for some. Which is exactly why this gets so much traction in the right-wing blogosphere.

          3. bud

            I re-listened to make sure I heard correctly. Bryan you quoted Kerry correctly in your original comment but then you return to it by misquoting Kerry. He used the word HOPE not WANT. Then you further change his words by saying “Kerry thinks Putin wants to help us. That’s an important distinction. Kerry did not say Putin wants to help us. As an attorney you should understand the importance of getting words right. Here you fail to do so.

      2. Barry

        That is nuts. I’m real glad he was never elected President and his sole job is the climate crises.

        Also from the crazy file – of course this is a guy who you Conservatives just might elect – and I know you want to be fair and make sure you cover the nutty Conservatives in Florida this week trying to out “right wing extreme” each other


        … As Russian dictator Vladimir Putin sent troops into Democratic Ukraine, Gov. Ron DeSantis took the stage Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando and attacked authoritarianism not in Russia, but in democratic Australia, Canada and Europe.

        DeSantis did not mention Ukraine.

        More from the foolish speech…

        “I recently got a letter from Samuel from Australia,” DeSantis continued. “And he said quote: ‘There isn’t much hope right now here and many of us are fearful of what our leaders have in store for us. I look to you and your great state of Florida for hope during this dark time. Thank you for standing up for us.’ ”

        And we have done that,” DeSantis added. “Canadians are writing in, Australia, Europe, you name it, and I think they understand what the stakes are and they look to us” to see how to protect freedom.

        Nearly 69,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Florida, compared to roughly 5,000 in Australia and 36,000 in Canada, both countries that have larger populations than Florida.

      3. Barry

        Hey Brian- don’t know if you saw this from the leader of your party…

        “So Putin is now saying it’s independent — a large section of Ukraine. I said, how smart is that?” Trump said on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.

        Trump repeated his comments Wednesday evening as Putin was preparing to invade Ukraine.

        “I mean, he’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions,” Trump said during a political fundraiser at his home in Palm Beach. “I’d say that’s pretty smart.”

        Bless those Conservative, right wing wallets

          1. Barry

            The actual sad part is the story I read last night of all the Republicans they reached out to see what they had to say about Trump’s comments- including state level candidates across the country.

            Most didn’t return a call for a comment- or said they hadn’t heard his comments (everyone has heard his comments so those are lies).

            My favorite line from Republicans in 2015-2020 when asked to comment on his tweets was ” I haven’t read that so I can’t comment”

            Oddly though, many of those same Republicans seem to know what Biden ate for breakfast- but didn’t keep up with what their lord and savior had posted on Twitter.

            1. Doug Ross

              Barry keeps fighting imaginary Trump supporters… on a blog where there are no Trump supporters. Same for DeSantis… nobody but barry cares what DeSantis says.

              1. Barry

                They’t care so much that all the nutty right wing networks are covering the nutty right wing conservatives in Florida this weekend like its the super bowl.

  9. Phillip

    I was stunned—mostly at my own ignorance—to learn that Ukraine has a population of 44 million. Looking at the map I wouldn’t have guessed it was that large population-wise. That is going to be one indigestible meal for Putin. Yes Ukraine was subjugated by the Soviet empire as recently as 3 decades ago, but that was in the pre-internet-information-revolution age. Russia may occupy it, but it will be at a steady, ongoing, painful cost as Ukrainians keep up a guerrilla-type resistance. Will that lead to domestic unrest within Russia itself as body bags keep coming home? I know it’s a repressive regime in Russia, but as such protests as have already happened in Russia show, there’s not the same level of information-clampdown as exists in North Korea.

  10. Phillip

    Also, as tragic as the events in Ukraine are, Putin has merely succeeded in unifying the liberal democracies of the world (with a couple of exceptions) to the extent of repairing the damage done by Trump to those relationships and then some. Putin probably had this in the works for awhile hoping that Trump would still be President, but he couldn’t get it together in time. Like Trump, he may be so involved in the spinning of false narratives that he truly has come to believe them himself.

  11. Barry

    Did anyone see the pathetic performance of Conservative Republic Tom Cotton on ABC News Sunday?

    Pathetic is putting is nice. After Cotton commented extensively on Ukraine, he was asked about Trump’s comments on Saturday at CPAC. Specifically, Cotton was asked 3 times about what he thought about the leader of the Republican Party offering praise last week for Putin and calling him “smart.”

    Cotton stated he “didn’t speak for other politicians” and couldn’t comment. When reminded that he very often gave his opinion about what other politicians and former Presidents had done and what they should have done, he advised George Stephanopoulos to have Trump on his show. After repeatedly pressing him, George ended the interview by thanking Cotton for joining him. Cotton, sitting stone faced didn’t respond, clearly angered that he was asked to comment on the leader of his party just like he comments on everything else under the sun on Fox News every 2-3 days. What a huge hypocrite- and this guy is supposed to be some morally superior Conservative- he’s a buffoon.

    I use to make fun of Trump-Publicans and accuse them of worshipping their savior- Donald Trump. But it truly is deification. It’s no joke.

    I would not be surprised to learn that 30% of the churches across Republican states have a picture of Trump on the altar. In fact, I think it would be as common as the cross and candles on the communion table at some churches these days. Pathetic.

    “The only insurrection that happened on Jan. 6 was by the agent provocateurs, paid actors, and corrupt police.” said Murray Clemetson, a law student and father of 3 homeschooled children and a member of Patriot Church in Lenoir City, Tennessee.

    Murray is asked about his church and Donald Trump. “”I think it is a Donald Trump church. “Donald Trump represented what we stand for as a nation.”

    But another church in Tennessee takes a different approach. Church of the Savior —a liberal, inclusive congregation — is perched on a bluff overlooking Interstate 40 in Knoxville. A sign out front reads, “Immigrants & Refugees Welcome.”

    The youth pastor at Church of the Savior, Tonya Barnette says, in her view, Christian patriots are completely missing the true message of the gospel.

    “Wanting to gain power as Christian nationalists is in direct opposition to what Jesus taught. The goal is compassion, kindness, and care for the other. That’s what Jesus did.”

  12. bud

    Jesus cared for the poor and underprivelaged. He a man of peace. In other words the very antithesis of Trump. In other words Jesus was a liberal.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      In some ways. Not so much in others.

      I mean, he was always the antithesis of Trump, because Trump and Trumpism are all about worshiping the self, and Jesus was about putting others first.

      But no, he doesn’t fit into the boxes of either “liberal” or “conservative,” certainly not as they are popularly used today…

  13. Barry

    I’ve always believed the SC Judicial system and legal system was mostly corrupt (and I think many people agree) but the latest information regarding the Murdaugh case are quite interesting.

    ( I worked for over a year for a large law firm)

    Carmen Mullen
    Secret settlements that the family of the “victim” didn’t even know about

    A lowcountry business owner told me years and years ago that the law firm in that town was a group you didn’t dare cross- didn’t care disagree with and didn’t dare want to make mad. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I figured it was the rantings of someone that had lost a divorce custody fight.

    But I heard more and more about them over the years from people that had some credibility in the area in the business world and realized there was more to it than that.

    This sentence from FITS sort of nails it “Unfortunately, the state has long favored a system of judicial appointment that essentially allows politically connected lawyers to choose — and then control — those on the bench.”

    I had a state senator that went on to be a judge in South Carolina tell me one time that he had to play a rotten game to be a judge in South Carolina. He played it as little as possible but he played it and he hated it. I always believed he had to leave a bit of his morals and ethics at the door to do it. I still believe it.

    Of course the price is the profession is not respected by many in society, including me.

    I’ve mentioned it before but I was worried for a short while as I thought my oldest was going to try to go to law school. Thankfully, I talked him out of it and he’s moved on from that idea. He’s too talented and too smart for that.

    Never, ever put yourself in a position to need a lawyer.

  14. Barry

    Oh- just a reminder-

    Oil and gas companies made record profits last year- and many- including natural gas suppliers took Wall Street advice to keep production down to increase prices.

    But sure, take the easy approach and blame politicians




  15. Barry

    The modern Republican Party :

    “The Florida Senate voted Thursday to ban public schools and private businesses from teaching people to feel guilty for historical events committed by people of their race, addressing a top priority of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

    The bill, which passed the GOP-controlled state Senate by a vote of 24-15, would also prohibit instruction that says certain races or sexes are privileged or oppressed.”



    How does a government control how people “feel” about something that is taught?

    How does a government BAN a private business from making someone feel bad about history?

    When did the Republican party adopt the North Korean, Russian, and Chinese approach to government?

  16. Barry

    Don’t you just love those self described “good Christian” Conservatives? (Hint, they give Christians a terrible name. No wonder more and more young people are saying “sorry, not interested” to churches.)

    In Mississippi:

    Republican House Leadership in Mississippi has killed an extension of postpartum Medicaid benefits for new mothers.

    Currently, low income mothers lose their health insurance benefits 2 months after giving birth. The bill would have extended that for new mothers to 12 months.

    The Republican House Speaker is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council- a conservative group that provides templates for legislation to other Republican state legislatures. The ALEC is against expanding Medicaid benefits for low income mothers.

    Asked if the benefits would help new mothers and potentially save lives, the Republican speaker said “That has not been part of the discussions.”

    This bill was designed to assist mothers- and assist in case Roe versus Wade is overturned, which would outlaw many abortions in Mississippi.

    Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation and the highest rate of residents without health coverage.

    The Speaker and other House Republican leaders have been unavailable for comment after killing the legislation.

  17. Barry

    Conservative Republican news from Missouri:

    A republican in Missouri has filed a bill that makes it illegal to get an abortion if the patient has an ectopic pregnancy.

    Ectopic pregnancies are not viable pregnancies. They can be very dangerous to a pregnant woman. They are the #1 cause of death for 1st trimester patients.

    The bill is House bill 2810. The Federalist Society nuts are one group that has been behind this push. A member of the group famously said a few years ago that while such a pregnancy can be scary for a woman, that’s no excuse for killing your child. (Again, ectopic pregnancies are not viable).

    “It is malpractice to watch a patient who is at risk for a tubal rupture from an ectopic pregnancy” without offering termination, Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive services at the University of California, San Francisco. “There’s a real risk of death.”

    The bill also bans victims of sex trafficking from getting an abortion should the girl or woman decide that is what she wants.

    Another Republican in Missouri has filed a bill to make it illegal for a woman in Missouri to travel out of state to seek abortion services.

    Just add these nuts to the reasons both me and my wife are not longer Conservatives.


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