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Today's newsletter includes:
- Ukraine: Bloodier than expected
- AINSWORTH: Note from Texas before GOP primary
- Don't blame Trump
- And much more
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Ukraine: Bloodier than expected
A reminder: we can’t offer up-to-the-minute news on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, but Fox News has continuously updated bulletins here:
As Russia’s assault on Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv continues, it’s going slower and much bloodier than Putin probably expected. The hard fighting, reports of rising deaths (including children), and video of destruction of civilian areas of the city are also inflaming opposition to Putin, even among Russians who have been cowed and misinformed by their state media.
If Putin thought the Ukrainians would be awed by his mighty firepower and meekly surrender like a Russian TV reporter swooning over his bare torso, he gravely miscalculated. Many are staying to fight with personal weapons or rifles provided by the government, and the Ukraine military is also holding defense lines and drawing blood. It’s always risky to accept any breaking news from a war zone, particularly when both sides have good reason to spin the facts their way. But Ukraine claims they have inflicted casualties of 2800 Russian troops, 80 tanks and 516 armored vehicles just in the first two days, making it one of the costliest military actions Russia has ever suffered in such a short time.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is proving to be a brave and inspiring leader, refusing an offer from the US to help him evacuate. He reportedly told a senior US intelligence official, “The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride.” Meanwhile, Biden’s sanctions on Russia were so weak that the Russian stock market rose after he announced them. And he’s still resisting demands from Republicans that he restart our fossil fuel and pipeline projects he shut down, to take away the money and influence Russia has garnered by selling oil. Some US pundits are asking if we could trade Presidents with Ukraine, but I seriously doubt Ukraine would go for that deal.
It sounds as if the person who made the most accurate prediction of how an invasion might go down was Kurt Schlichter. In addition to being an attorney and humorous topical columnist, he’s also a retired military officer who served in Eastern Europe. He wrote recently that he knew Ukrainian fighters, and they were really tough and would not simply surrender and let Russia take over their homeland. Here are some heroic examples of what Putin is finding himself up against:
As Russia discovered in Afghanistan, it’s one thing to invade another country, but it’s quite another to hold it when everyone around you is willing to die to kill you.
AINSWORTH: Note from Texas before GOP primary
by Laura Ainsworth, staff writer/researcher
This Tuesday, Republicans in Texas will be casting their votes in the GOP primary. As early as it is this year, I’ll be glad when it’s over (at least for a brief respite, as run-offs take place in late March). And I’ll tell you why:
Conservative talk radio is wall-to-wall campaign ads right now for Republican candidates. This has been going on for some time, but in the last week or two, every campaign has doubled down. And I think the same ad agency must be writing and producing all these ads, or the same campaign consultant has used the same focus groups to help craft them, because they all take the same approach: “I am THE MOST conservative candidate you could imagine in your wildest dreams, and my opponent is a closet socialist who eats gourmet ice cream with Nancy Pelosi and whose secret mission is to turn Texas into Canada.” Then the opponent runs the same kind of ad, just turning it around!
After weeks of this, all these ads congeal into a confusing and ultimately meaningless mess. It’s impossible to choose a candidate by listening to ads like this, and I lose confidence in all the candidates who run them. I end up tuning them out as much as possible and suspect many other Republicans do, too.
As a writer, I would like to know: why can’t campaign ads be better?
Most of them already sound like parodies, but to make the point, I decided to write a parody that takes them just a little bit farther…
RADIO AD FOR DON SMITH
(Upbeat, patriotic music)
ANNCR:Don Smith is THE MOST conservative candidate running for any office in the Republican primary, or in any other primary that there has ever been in recorded history, or even before that. He'll fight to make SURE you never have a tax increase. In fact, he'll get rid of taxes entirely --- property taxes, ALL forms of taxation, and that's a promise. He'll fight to protect life; in fact, he'll give full civil rights to each precious egg and sperm, even before fertilization, and will kill anyone who stands in his way, as a strong supporter of our Second Amendment. And he'll fight to control our border; in fact, he'll get out there with a ladder and a shovel and finish the wall, all by himself.
(Music transition to dark, ominous)
Don’s opponent sponsored a bill to force all children to have gender reassignment surgery at age 6, use gender-neutral pronouns and read nothing in school but Marxist Critical Race Theory. He approves government mandates for YOUR BABY to be fully vaccinated for covid at the moment of birth and to make YOUR CHILD wear a mask --- even at home, sleeping in his own bed. But he drives a bus back and forth to the border, picking up illegal immigrants infected with covid, and brings them to Dallas, where he gives them fake IDs and shows them how to vote for him illegally on Tuesday.
(Upbeat, patriotic music)
So vote for Don Smith, the REAL conservative for Texas! This message was paid for by Folks For Freedom, a group you've never heard of that is not associated with any candidate or candidate's campaign.
The CDC quietly changed their vaccine recommendations this week. They now say that spacing out your first two shots by up to eight weeks instead of the two or four weeks previously recommended may provide longer-lasting protection in healthy people under 65. It could also help reduce the odds and severity of the heart inflammation that’s affected some young men.
Also, today, the CDC is expected to announce significant easing of mask guidelines and a new “holistic” and accurate approach to counting COVID cases which will take into account factors such as hospitalizations and hospital capacity, rather than just counting positive cases.
All well and good. It’s also nice that we’re able to tell you all this because up until now, even suggesting that the vaccines could have heart inflammation side effects, or that masking should be eased, or that cases were being over-counted, or pointing out that the unquestionable edicts from the CDC keep changing all the time – any of that could get us banned for spreading "dangerous misinformation."
But today, it's just the news.
Interesting background by Justin Haskins at Fox News on how the mishandling of Russia and Ukraine stretching back to the ‘90s by Presidents Clinton, Obama and Biden made a big contribution to the tragic situation happening there now.
But why strain your brain with all those complicated facts when Hillary Clinton knows who’s really to blame. Can you guess? If you said “Donald Trump,” give yourself a cookie.
RIP SALLY KELLERMAN By “Huckabee” pop culture guru Pat Reeder
I’m sad to have to report that Sally Kellerman, the beautiful, lanky actress with the smoky voice, died Thursday at 84 after a five-year battle with dementia.
She made her movie debut in 1957 in the crime drama “Reform School Girl,” and over her long career, appeared in many TV shows, movies and plays, from “That Girl” and “Star Trek” in the ‘60s through “Columbo,” “Evening Shade” and “Murder She Wrote,” all the way up to “The Young and the Restless,” for which she scored a Daytime Emmy nomination in 2015. Her movies included “The Player,” “Brewster McCloud,” “A Little Romance,” “The Boston Strangler” and “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.”
But of course, she will always be remembered for her two most famous roles: Maj. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the original movie version of “M*A*S*H” and the teacher Rodney Dangerfield fell for in the classic comedy, “Back To School.” She said when fans saw her in public, they either yelled, “Hey, Hot Lips!” or Rodney’s famous pickup line, “Call me when you have no class!”
Since you count on me for the information other obituaries leave out, here are two cool stories about Sally Kellerman: She recalled being nervous about doing the famous nude scene in “M*A*S*H” where Hawkeye and Trapper dropped her shower tent as a prank. To help capture a genuine look of shock and surprise on her face, when the tent fell, Gary “Radar O’Reilly” Burghoff (the only actor to repeat his character on the TV series) was standing beside the camera, also naked.
Also, of special interest to me, since I co-wrote “Hollywood Hi-Fi,” the history of celebrity singer records (http://www.hollywoodhifi.com), is that Sally Kellerman was a terrific singer. That was her original ambition, and her smoky voice was so good, Norman Granz of the legendary jazz label Verve offered her a contract when she was only 18. But she was too young and lacking in self-confidence to sign. After establishing herself as an actress, she returned to singing in jazz clubs and cabarets and put out two albums, "Roll With the Feelin''' in 1972 and "Sally" in 2009. One of her biggest regrets was rejecting a role in a Robert Altman movie that later turned out to be "Nashville" and would've given her both a prestige role and a chance to sing on screen.
To read more tributes by Pat Reeder, visit my website here.
Don’t blame Trump
For anyone foolish or desperate enough to try to blame Donald Trump for Vladimir Putin choosing to invade Ukraine while Biden is in office (looking at you, Hillary), here’s some video from a 2018 NATO summit meeting where then-President Trump called out European leaders to their faces for not contributing enough to beef up NATO defenses and for enriching Putin by letting themselves be so dependent on Russian oil and gas.
FYI: If you’d like to know who’s really responsible for Putin’s well-stocked arsenal and his sway over European nations through control of their fuel supply, read this:
It’s about how the environmentalist Green Party movement became so powerful in Europe that grown-up politicians quaked when Greta Thunberg said, “How DARE you” to them. They started shutting down clean nuclear power plants and relying on windmills and sunbeams. And when Biden decided the climate was a bigger threat than Russia and shut down our energy industry, Europe (and, incredibly, the US) were left dependent on Russian oil.
And here’s Mark Thiessen with the American perspective on how Biden’s war on fossil fuels has weakened America and strengthened Putin. I’m amazed that this appears in the Washington Post.
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