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One Year Anniversary

January 20, 2022

Today marks one year since Joe Biden assumed the Presidency. I know it’s my job to comment on things like this, but I was brought up to believe that if you have absolutely nothing good to say about someone, you shouldn’t say anything. So I will try to think of something good to say about Biden’s first year in the White House…

Hold on, don’t rush me…

Okay, I’ve got something! As one gets older, the years seem to move faster. Time starts to rush by, and you wish you could slow it down a bit. Well, I can honestly say that thanks to the Biden Administration, the past year has seemed like an eternity. So, thanks, Joe, for that.

It seems depressingly appropriate that the first year of this snakebit Administration ended with a press conference that critics dubbed a “disaster” and that was occurring even as his quixotic attempts to eliminate the filibuster and nationalize voting laws were crashing and burning in the Senate, thanks to Joe Manchin, and on the filibuster issue, Kyrsten Sinema.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2022/01/19/joe-manchin-takes-to-the-senate-floorin-the-middle-of-bidens-press-conference-n2602082

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the double rejection of the Democrats’ efforts to kill the filibuster and voter integrity laws “the most important day in the history of the Senate as an institution,” adding that "America can breathe a sigh of relief" because "this radicalism will have been stopped. A good day for America.”

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/spencerbrown/2022/01/19/election-takeover-fails-filibuster-remains-as-schumers-nuclear-option-fizzles-n2602092

Meanwhile, back at the podium, President Biden was not having a good day. As one commentator put it, Biden hadn’t held a press conference in months, and now we all understand why.

The debacle ranged from attempts to undermine faith in the legitimacy of the upcoming election (wait, I thought that questioning election results was treasonous?); a shockingly soft comment about Russia that could encourage Putin to make a “minor incursion” into Ukraine; bragging about record “job creation and economic growth” that was mostly due to red states ignoring him and reopening their locked-down economies; insisting that store shelves aren’t empty and he doesn’t believe polls; lashing out at a reporter who accurately quoted his comparison of his critics to racist Democrats of the past like Bull Connor (he denied saying that, but yes, he did, on camera); and making a jaw-dropping claim that no other President has done as much in one year and that he’s “outperformed” what people thought he was capable of.

In the spirit of trying to find something good to say, I’ll just say that in a manner of speaking, that last claim might actually be true.

Here’s a good write-up of some of the most cringe-worthy moments of Biden's press conference and reactions to it.

https://www.foxnews.com/media/biden-press-conference-panned-critics-total-disaster

Laura Ingraham of Fox News, who doesn’t try to follow the “try to say something nice” rule, called this a “quicksand” presidency and described Biden as “completely delusional” and his team as “frighteningly stupid.”

https://www.foxnews.com/media/ingraham-biden-press-conference-incompetence-unmatched

Matt Margolis at PJ Media has some thoughts about Biden’s claim that he makes “no apologies” for the deadly botching of the Afghanistan withdrawal.

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2022/01/19/joe-biden-makes-no-apologies-for-botched-afghanistan-withdrawal-n1551023

The brutally funny writer Bonchie at RedState.com is always worth reading, and his analysis of Biden’s press conference includes some facts and statistics that prove all that spinning was an attempt to disguise a downward spiral.

https://redstate.com/bonchie/2022/01/19/joe-biden-pushes-deceit-and-division-in-angry-presser-n509168

Finally, as for everyone else who watched the press conference but is not a professional commentator, I think most of them were thinking the same thing: “How are we going to survive three more years of this?”

As we watch the DOJ launch investigations of concerned parents and 2020 election skeptics with the pretext of countering “domestic terrorism,” it’s easy to see how facile they are at creating issues essentially out of thin air. They do it over and over. Another example of this –- evident in President Biden’s Wednesday press conference –- is the fiction that Republicans, in their opposition to the so-called “voter rights” bill, are trying to suppress the minority vote. That is a detestable lie, made up out of whole cloth, but Biden just keeps saying it, anyway. He’ll say it as long as he and his advisers think he’s getting something out of it.

The Democrats have a singular talent for whipping up huge, complex narratives out of nothing, waving their magic wand to get the media obsessed with them, and keeping them going for years. It’s a make-work program for DC lawyers, keeping their political opponents busy fighting in court, and maintains for the public whatever fiction they choose to tell. They illustrate the accuracy of the statement that if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. That’s why many in our country actually believe that millions of Trump supporters are white supremacists and dirty Jim Crow-style segregationists. Just turn on MSNBC to hear that idiotic lie.

But there has never been a bigger and more consequential example of this flair for fiction than the Russia Hoax.

While President Biden has been busy this year failing to live up to even the lowest of expectations –- though he brags that he has exceeded them –- Special Counsel John Durham has been quietly looking into the origin of that Biggest of Big Lies, the lie that actually turned into an attempted coup against a sitting President. Aaron Mate at RealClear Communications has just written an excellent commentary that compares the unsatisfactory investigation completed by “Justice” Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz two years ago with the broader probe headed by Durham. The Special Counsel really is getting to the heart of just how ridiculously flimsy the “evidence” was that the FBI exploited to start spying on Trump’s people.

Horowitz, in his report of December 2019, faulted the FBI for its handling of the Russia probe but still, unbelievably, concluded that it was launched in good faith. If that seems laughable now (and it sure does), keep in mind that Horowitz was only conducting an internal investigation, so he was limited to speaking with “Justice” Department employees. That meant Hillary’s campaign and some of their most notorious helpers were essentially out of his reach.

His report taught us a hard lesson, too, about internal investigations in general. When departments investigate themselves, they tend to cut themselves a ridiculous amount of slack. (See “Capitol Hill Police Lt. Michael Byrd.”) In fact, to reach his conclusion Horowitz had to essentially disregard evidence that was included in his own report.

The media loved that conclusion, though, and danced with delight. As Mate tells it, “Horowitz’ report, wrote Mother Jones reporter (and early Steele media contact) David Corn, ‘concluded that the Trump-Russia contacts had been legitimately launched,’ thereby proving that ‘there was no hoax.’”

But we know differently today –- that they used fake information in the unverified “dossier” to launch the probe and later get their spy warrants. So the question is, who is ultimately responsible for the creation of that work of fiction?

“As he documents the role of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in generating false allegations of Trump-Russia collusion,” Mate writes, “Special Counsel John Durham has also previewed a challenge to the FBI’s claims about how and why its counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign began. At stake is the official reckoning within the U.S. government over the Russiagate scandal --- and whether there will be an accounting commensurate with the offense: the abuse of the nation’s highest law enforcement and intelligence powers to damage an opposition political candidate turned president, at the behest of his opponent from the governing party he defeated.”

Horowitz criticized the FBI for using the Steele memos --- taken together, the “dossier” --- but took them at their word that they didn’t use them to actually open Crossfire Hurricane. They had other evidence, he said, that met the “low threshold” needed for opening an investigation.

Recall that when his report came out, we were scratching our heads over that conclusion. How could there be a low threshold for opening an investigation on a major-party candidate RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT? That was not something to be undertaken lightly. It seemed that, if anything, there should have been a higher-than-normal threshold for the FBI to get involved in something that political.

But apparently Durham was scratching his head over it, too. When it came out, he announced that his office had “advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication [reason] and how the FBI case was opened.” And because Durham’s was not just an internal investigation, it was “not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department” and has instead obtained “information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside the U.S.”

The story about Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos telling Australian diplomat Alexander Downer that the Russians had political dirt on Hillary was so flimsy that it couldn’t have been the pretext for an investigation, as the FBI claimed it was. Besides, we know they got the names Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mike Flynn, who were all investigated, right out of the “dossier.” And while the FBI investigators claimed they didn’t see it until mid-September of 2016, we know that some at the FBI had seen “dossier” material prior to opening Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016.

In fact, Christopher Steele, working on behalf of the Clinton campaign through Fusion GPS, first contacted someone with the FBI on July 5, three weeks before Crossfire Hurricane was opened. That was Michael Gaeta, a senior FBI agent he had worked with before and who was now working as a legal attache in Rome. Gaeta was excited to receive a copy of Steele’s “report” and quickly passed it along to eager colleagues.

Interestingly, Mate reports that before Gaeta took off for London to meet with Steele, he got the approval for his trip from Victoria Nuland, who then worked in the State Department and is now Biden’s Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Those at the State Department who saw a few pages of what Steele had given Gaeta said, “This needs to go to the FBI.”

It’s hard to know why Horowitz took the FBI’s word when they said they didn’t use the unverified “dossier” to open their investigation, when he’d documented so many of their other lies. Mate outlines these under the subhead, “On Steele, a Pattern of FBI ‘Factual Misstatements and Omissions.’”

The Bureau has already been caught relying on Clinton-funded disinformation and lying about that. It could get a lot worse. Mate anticipates that Durham is in his “final months” of the investigation and is honing in on his ultimate targets.

https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2022/01/20/the_tension_over_truth_and_consequences_gripping_the_fbis_trump-russia_reckoning_812321.html

While our “leaders” in DC continue to ramp up the COVID fear and authoritarian anti-virus measures, other nations are starting to recognize that the time may be here to just learn to live with it. I reported recently on Israeli researchers who say too many vaccine shots may actually harm your body’s ability to fight the virus, and on the former head of the UK’s virus task force saying that Omicron is a mild variant, and Britain's mass vaccination effort is a "waste of time" and should come to an end. He said the government should focus instead on protecting the most vulnerable, such as unvaccinated elderly people.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/waste-of-time-to-keep-vaccinating-people-ex-head-of-uk-vaccine-taskforce_4216302.html

Apparently, that message sank in, because yesterday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Great Britain will be lifting virtually all of its COVID restrictions. Johnson said the Omicron wave has peaked nationally and infections are leveling off. So the UK will end mask mandates and requirements for vaccine passports. He said, “We will trust the judgment of the British people, and no longer criminalize anyone who chooses not to wear (a mask.)” Imagine that: trusting the judgment of the people! Why, it's almost like a free country!

https://www.westernjournal.com/boris-johnson-makes-massive-covid-announcement-forcing-biden-hot-seat/

Meanwhile, our leaders continue to make a bad situation worse by pressing more draconian mandates over strong public resistance.

https://www.westernjournal.com/truck-drivers-become-biden-trudeaus-worst-nightmare-disrupt-us-canada-border-protest-vax-mandate/

Which brings up an interesting discussion: what if the Omicron wave is doing exactly as predicted by spreading natural immunity and ending the pandemic? COVID would become just another endemic problem like the flu that people have to periodically deal with. Will our leaders be willing to give up the unconstitutional power they’ve seized in the name of the “health emergency?” How will Americans react if they don’t? What about Americans who’ve been so frightened of this disease that they’ve become addicted to wearing masks, hiding out at home and finking on their neighbors for just wanting to live their lives?

Dennis Santiago at RedState.com examines those questions and ponders what's next and whether people who’ve adopted a “bunker” mentality will ever be able to come outside, blink at the sun and go back to living normally again.

https://redstate.com/dennis_santiago/2022/01/20/if-omicron-creates-herd-immunity-then-what-n509435

This Friday, January 21st, marks the 49th annual March for Life in Washington, DC (January 22nd is the 49th anniversary of Roe. v. Wade.) Thousands of people plan to brave sub-freezing temperatures to peacefully protest (I make that clear so the FBI doesn’t brand them as “domestic terrorists”) and pray for the approximately 60 million unborn babies killed by abortionists since 1973 and for the Supreme Court to realize the terrible mistake it made.

What they will not be doing is eating at Busboys and Poets restaurant.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/rebeccadowns/2022/01/18/dc-establishment-confirms-its-fine-with-discriminating-against-prolife-group-in-name-of-creating-safe-space-n2601834

A group called Democrats for Life of America (yes, there still are some of those, not that you’d know it from the Party leadership) had a reservation there. But then, the restaurant found out that DFLA is pro-life and canceled their reservation, forcing them to hunt for another place. Busboys and Poets is a chain of restaurants/event spaces with a very “social justice” vibe (their website is plastered with pro-BLM graphics.)

A restaurant spokeswoman told Catholic News Agency that the chain “stands firmly on the belief that women have the right to make their own reproductive health decisions.” (“Reproductive health” is the current preferred vague, fuzzy euphemism for “abortion,” despite the fact that abortion providers often hide the potential dangers to women’s physical and emotional health, as dramatized in the movie, “Unplanned.”)

The spokeswoman continued, “While we welcome conversations from individuals expressing different viewpoints and pride ourselves on being a venue for respectful conversations between diverse groups, we are also a ‘safe space.’ As such, we cannot knowingly accept events designed to fund an agenda which our community members believe to be trampling on the rights of others.”

In short: we support diversity of viewpoints, as long as they’re viewpoints we agree with. And we oppose discrimination, except for people whose beliefs we discriminate against (like those who think that killing children in the womb tramples on their right to life.) So if you are pro-life, you might want to make a note to avoid this joint, as you are not welcome. It might make some poor sensitive soul feel “unsafe” knowing that someone who values life is eating a burger 20 feet away. Also, I don’t think I’d want to eat at any restaurant that dispenses bull manure on the side, as you can readily see in the paragraph above.

Fortunately, the DFLA found a new venue, a restaurant called Harriet’s, which welcomes a range of ideologically diverse groups. Say, is anyone else old enough to remember when liberals used to hold marches to demand that restaurants stop discriminating and serve everyone?

Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are under intense pressure to vote to destroy the filibuster and support the “Voting Rights Act” (aka, the “Legalize Vote Fraud Act.”)

https://www.foxnews.com/sports/nick-saban-others-urge-manchin-to-protect-voting-rights

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/emilys-list-refuses-to-support-sinema-for-reelection

Fortunately for America, these two appear to be the Party’s only actual remaining “adults in the room,” and they seem to be standing firm, which will likely deal both of these naked power grabs a defeat.

For the record: nobody is being suppressed from voting in America in 2022. It’s easier to vote than it’s ever been. It’s easier to vote under what Biden ludicrously called the “Jim Crow” voting laws in Georgia than it is in New York or Biden’s home state of Delaware. And a recent nationwide Rasmussen survey found that more than 80% of voters support voter photo ID requirements, having all ballots received by Election Day, requiring voting machines to be made in the USA, and removing dead people and those who have moved from voter rolls.

https://justthenews.com/government/white-house/bidens-jim-crow-20-tour-collides-reality-blacks-strongly-support-voter-id

Manchin also tried reasoning with his angry fellow Democrats. He said of the attack on the filibuster, "I just don't see how you break a rule to make a rule." And he said we already have laws and rules in place to protect voting, and nobody’s going to be obstructed from voting, “that’s not going to happen.” It worked about as well as trying to explain calculus to a rabid badger.

https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2022/01/18/manchin-we-already-have-laws-to-ensure-people-have-voting-rights-voter-obstruction-is-not-going-to-happen/

And as for the filibuster that Democrats have now started branding the “Jim Crow filibuster” (is anyone else offended that they keep eroding the gravity of that term by applying it to everything they don’t like?), they didn’t seem to think it was a tool of white supremacy when they were the minority during Trump’s final year. In 2020, Republicans used the filibuster one time and Democrats used it to block legislation 327 times.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/03/29/report-democrats-used-filibuster-327-times-while-republicans-used-it-once-in-2020/

For all their vilification of Manchin and Sinema, those two are doing the Party a huge service. They’re protecting one of the strongest tools of the minority, which, God willing, Chuck Schumer will soon be leading.

If you’ve watched the documentary CAPITOL PUNISHMENT, about the Capitol Hill rally and riot of January 6, 2021, you’ve seen the video of Ashli Babbitt smiling and happy, enjoying herself immensely as she participates in a march to the Capitol building. She is effervescent. Even on that cold, gray day, she exudes positive energy.

But you’ve also seen the video of her just a little while later, inside the building, caught in a crush of people on a stair landing and trying to crawl through a broken-out window to the other side of a closed door when she is shot to death.

How to reconcile these two visions? Could this smiling young (unarmed) woman suddenly morph into an angry rioter, a vandal, an insurrectionist, trying to breach the Speaker’s Lobby and prevent Congress from doing its job? Her husband, Aaron Babbitt, looking at a frame-by-frame analysis conducted by The Epoch Times, says no.

That is not what happened.

“After repeatedly forcing myself to watch the murder of my wife,” he told The Epoch Times, “I have come to my own conclusion that Ashli came to a point of realization that she was in a very bad situation and the police weren’t acting appropriately to what she was witnessing.”

He said, “I know my wife very well. She is not destructive. She was not there to hurt anybody.”

“It all comes down to which mental angle a person views it from,” he said. “If they hate Ashli because they believe the lies, that’s all they see: her being part of a mob. Us who love her, know her, know every action and emotion she was displaying --- she realized a minute before her death she was not in a friendly situation and something very wrong was occurring.”

In fact, the video strongly suggests that she was trying to stop the violence, not join in. She had gone up some stairs and, only about five minutes before she was killed, was casually talking and laughing with three U.S. Capitol Police officers. (She had served in the Air Force as a military police officer herself.) But then more people started coming up behind her. Members of a U.S. Capitol Police Containment Emergency Response Team rushed up the stairs as well, in response to a false alarm –- repeat, false –- of shots fired. (No shots were ever fired except by Ashli’s killer.) She was trapped in that mass of people outside the door.

It’s evident in the video that she was horrified by what was suddenly happening. She confronted a rioter identified as Zachary Alam, getting between him and one of the officers guarding the doors to the Speaker’s Lobby. He turned away from her and punched a window in one of the doors with his hand, then punched it again with a helmet to smash it. Her face registered alarm.

According to husband Aaron, an audio analysis of the video shows that she was shouting, “Stop! No! Don’t! Wait!”

Aaron says she was trying to climb through the broken glass because she was in fear for her life. She was trying to escape. U.S. Capitol Hill Police Lt. Michael Byrd shot her as she was partway through the window frame, and she fell backwards onto the landing.

The officers who were supposed to be guarding that door were not there. “The only way we’d ever know why Ashli felt the window was the only way out is if she had been detained by one of the countless police officers that abandoned their post in front of those doors, Aaron said. “That did not happen. She was murdered and robbed of the chance to tell her side of the story.”

There are conflicting reports as to whether Byrd shouted warnings before he shot her. It was so noisy in the stairwell, it’s likely no one could hear anyone else, so we might never know. And Byrd refused to be interviewed or even give a statement for the Internal Affairs “investigation,” which apparently was fine with the investigators ("investigators"?) because they no-billed him, anyway. “We have declined criminal prosecution of the above officer as a result of this incident,” wrote Acting U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips as part of a three-sentence dismissal.

But Ashli’s family is suing. Their lawyer, DC attorney Terry Roberts, said, “If you’re acting in self-defense, you have to tell somebody you’re acting in self-defense, or it should be quite plain from the circumstances. It clearly was not plain in these circumstances. I don’t believe the officer acted in self-defense at all.”

Another witness, Tayler Hansen, told The Epoch Times that Alam broke out that window because HE wanted to get to the Speaker’s Lobby. He said the only reason Alam didn’t climb through the window before Babbitt is that his glasses got knocked down his face in the scuffle and he had had to stop to reposition them. “He was about to go through that window,” Hansen said. “It was his idea. He was the one shattering it.”

Here’s more about Alam and how the FBI tracked him down. They say if you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all, so we won’t say anything at all.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9225389/Man-filmed-smashing-windows-Capitol-rioter-Ashli-Babbitt-arrested.html

In contrast, there’s a lot of good to say about Ashli. Hansen, an independent journalist who knew her and was walking close behind her inside the Capitol, echoed her husband in describing her. “The reality of it is, Ashli wasn’t a violent person. She was a good person, but they’ve demonized her to become this domestic terrorist that she has never been,” he said. “She served her country for 14 years. That’s just insane to me that they can get away with pushing this narrative. They’ve done that by suppressing first-hand witnesses like me.”

So, why had the Capitol Police left their posts at the door to the Speaker’s Lobby? One of them told Internal Affairs investigators that he left because he feared for his life and hadn’t wanted to have to use deadly force. If this was a situation in which officers were afraid for their own lives, it’s easy to imagine Ashli feeling the need to escape it as well.

According to a U.S. Capitol Police sergeant, Byrd and one other officer had taken positions on the other side of the door and had their guns out. This can be seen in the video, but it doesn’t appear that it was visible to Ashli. For her, the shot would have come out of nowhere.

Incidentally, the video that is providing so much detail was shot by the mysterious John Sullivan, also known as Jayden X, who has said he was there to “document” the event. Who he’s associated with and why he was there are questions for another time, but it’s fortuitous that we have his record of what happened.  Otherwise, all we'd have to go by was what the feds and their media minions told us.

The Epoch Times story is a premium report, but ZeroHedge has a detailed account.

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/stop-no-dont-babbitt-tried-stop-attack-capitol-speakers-lobby-video-analysis-suggests

Thoughts? Leave a comment below.

Correlating Incompetence

January 18, 2022

Col. Ken Allard, US Army (Ret), had a distinguished career that included serving as Dean of the National War College at West Point and as a military analyst for NBC.

In assessing potential battle outcomes or even deciding to go to war, Russian military science always seeks a “correlation of forces.” Put more simply, Bolshevik revolutionaries were taught, “If your bayonet strikes steel, pull back: But if it strikes only mush, then thrust forward.”

Despite the looming indicators, only Vladimir Putin knows for certain if Russia will really invade Ukraine; but so far, he has struck only mush. Haplessly presiding over the third Obama administration, President Biden appears shell-shocked by the sobering evidence amassed by those few Russian experts not yet re-assigned to studying climate change. Consulting dog-eared order-of-battle files airily dismissed by Democratic apologists, these analysts have watched with growing alarm as 120,000 Russian troops converged on Ukraine’s borders. They can’t be serious - or could they?

Like a slow-motion Cuban Missile Crisis, this ring of steel now surrounds Ukraine from three sides. Should Putin give the order, those forces will instantly roll forward to let the blitzkrieg begin. Russian armies are a well-honed network of “operational maneuver groups” - integrated, armor-heavy, fast-moving mechanized formations built to overwhelm border defenses before spreading out to seize key terrain and exploit any breakthrough. Organic Russian artillery and missiles invoke the proverbial “Red God of war,” indirect fires obliterating any targets or obstacles impeding the armored blitzkrieg.

At the strategic level, Russia’s potent air forces are designed for aerial supremacy, first neutralizing enemy air defenses before eliminating critical infrastructure targets - much as the US did in Baghdad thirty years ago. Lending their own distinctive character are the Russian airborne and Spetsnaz forces, wonderfully mobile, elite formations transported by helicopters or cargo aircraft to seize and hold strategic targets, often deep behind enemy lines. Those well-armed squads of “little green men” deployed to Crimea in 2014 controlled restive populations through direct intimidation. Also from their Crimean bases, Russian amphibious and naval forces can support either limited seizures of key territory or the nightmare scenario of Western analysts: An all-out, multi-phased campaign to end Ukraine’s existence as an independent country.

In their comprehensive study, “Russia’s Possible Invasion of Ukraine,” CSIS analysts Philip Wasielewski and Seth Jones recently identified no fewer than six major options available to the Russian military, ranging from more limited incursions to seize breakaway hot-spots (such as Donetsk) or belts of land connecting Crimea with Odessa, effectively severing Ukraine from any Black Sea ports. But their most comprehensive option is that nightmare scenario: “Seize all of Ukraine and, with Belarus, announce the formation of a new tripartite Slavic union…(Russians, Ukrainians and Belarussians).” The more military power Putin deploys, the greater his range of options, the only downsides being a re-energized US or NATO response. Even then, the fate of Ukraine would be grim: “Ukrainians in any occupied territory can expect forced Russification that the nation experienced under…Catherine the Great, Alexander II, Stalin and Brezhnev.” https://www.csis.org/analysis/russias-possible-invasion-ukraine? P.3

Should Ukraine manage to mobilize its population and deploy the limited “lethal aid” sent by the US since 2014, Philip Karber of the Potomac Foundation points out that “Ukrainian forces would be hard-pressed to cover a much broader front that stretches from Belarus in the north to the Black Sea in the south…(including) classic tank country where the Ukrainians do not have extensive prepared defenses” (Quoted by Warren P. Strobel, Michael R. Gordon and Nancy A. Youssef, “Moscow Bolsters Weaponry Near Ukraine,” Wall Street Journal, Jan. 15, 2022.

And as Russian diplomats have become more truculent, their information megaphones blare louder: Russian military units moving west, video footage of combat drills and even cyber-attacks against Ukrainian government websites with the warning, “be afraid and expect the worst.” Worst of all: Displaying sheer gullibility to Soviet-style dezinformatsiya, White House spokes-person Jen Psaki charged that, "Russia is laying the groundwork to (create) …a pretext for invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine." https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/expect-worst-ukraine-hit-by-cyberattack-russia-moves-more-troops-2022-01-14

With his innate Russian contempt for weakness, Vladimir Putin must take savage glee from having flummoxed the US and its NATO allies - all at comparatively little cost. By shrewdly guessing how far he can play his hand, Putin can either seize territories through pin-prick attacks or even reach for the whole enchilada, de-escalating for “peace” whenever tactically necessary. As always, the greatest danger is war through miscalculation, why former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld always maintained that weakness is provocative. Those provocations naturally befall a country like ours which no longer drafts its young men or even studies war. Instead, we cheerfully elect a clueless military cipher like Joe Biden to serve as commander-in-chief.

Hey man, what could possibly go wrong?