God help us how did one party come to this?

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Watching today's events unfold and being a student of WWII history, I say stand tall America. Fight Putin and his aggression now. And in the process purge America of Trump, Bannon, Stone, Murdoch and all the internal enemies of our democracy.

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1) This is terrible, and I fully support using any and all means to defend Ukraine, even if it exposes us to a lot of risk.

2) I felt the same way about Iraq. Has Putin cited that "misadventure" yet? Have conservatives looked in the mirror on that one?

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I very seldom, if ever, comment on Tucker Carlson. In fact, some time ago Charlie published a letter I'd sent to Mail Bag ( well before the comments section was up & running) saying pretty much that, while I understood the necessity of understanding what a powerful mouthpiece and enabler Fox News in general and Carlson in particular were for the nefarious people and forces assaulting and undermining our democracy, I thought the subject of Carlson himself came up much too often, that we all knew what he was, and more attention should be paid to other people and things. I believe this is the first direct thing I've had to say about him since then: mea culpa.

Back then, as low of an opinion of this man as I had, I did not foresee that I would soon come to view him in a way much different than the one I did when I wrote that letter: a sleazy snake oil salesman plying his trade in a squalid carnival show for the show's and his own financial gain, and to feed his voracious and pathetic need for celebrity and self-importance. Alex Jones with a bigger bullhorn, an enemy of this country in a metaphorical sense, but not by strict definition of the word. Words matter. And now the word is appropriate.

Tucker Carlson, and those who have espoused the same ideas and sentiments as him regarding Putin and the immoral debacle that is at this moment unfolding on the sovereign soil of the democratic nation Ukraine, have made their allegiances and loyalties clear. And they are clearly not only not bound to democracy and the rule of law - either international or domestic - they are not bound to this country itself beyond any ties that may benefit them personally. They are no longer only trading in nonsense, misinformation, lies and hate. They are declaring themselves aligned with a hostile foreign power, one that might do the same harms to us as those being done in earnest to a smaller, weaker democracy, if it were to fit Putin's purpose and he thought he could get away with it. They are not traitors by strict definition. But they are betrayers of the country that, through its noble laws and until now liberal culture, affords them the right to be snake oil salesmen in the marketplace of speech and ideas without having to answer for it from a prison cell. Or worse. And they have now crossed the metaphorical line. What they are doing now is aiding and abetting not an adversary of this country, but a clear and all-but-formally-declared enemy, which is what Putin and Putin's Russia are. They give comfort through their praise, and enablement through their continued promotion of division within the very house in which they prosper. The fact that Mr. Carlson or the rest of his ilk have not picked up a gun and committed and outright act of violence against that house only mitigates his fitness for the application of the word enemy by a legal degree, not a moral one.

Is Tucker Carlson an American? Sadly, yes. An American who is an enemy of the very country that gives him the right to be called one, and to enjoy the freedoms and liberties that that hallowed name bestows. He is the worst and perhaps most dangerous kind of enemy we face...the one within, the one hiding in plain sight, untouchable by anything other than his own conscience.

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"They give comfort through their praise, and enablement through their continued promotion of division within the very house in which they prosper. "

I love that line! It sort of goes along with my thinking that many of the MAGA's have no idea of what put the "G" in MAGA in the first place. The Putin fan club is a great example of how they shout MAGA but act in direct opposition to it.

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The west claims Putin is irrational. I don't doubt that. So, now that Putin threatens anyone imposing sanctions to be potential nuclear targets, what's next?

The oligarchs may wish to step up with an "Ides of March" solution Trump says Putin is a genius. That's how he also has described himself but apparently Trump is "stable one."

I think blowing up the yacht in the Carribean would send a message.

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There is a lot of talk about the legitimate defense interests of Russia. I am not hearing a lot of talk about the legitimate defense interests of the Ukraine, for some reason. Aren't their interests just as legitimate as the Russians?

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Feb 24, 2022·edited Feb 24, 2022

The U.S. is not in any sense responsible for this mess, but we did inadvertently set the stage for it. George Kennan explained why in 1998. Quoting Thomas Friedman:

. . . His voice is a bit frail now, but the mind, even at age 94, is as sharp as ever. So when I reached George Kennan by phone to get his reaction to the Senate's ratification of NATO expansion it was no surprise to find that the man who was the architect of America's successful containment of the Soviet Union and one of the great American statesmen of the 20th century was ready with an answer.

''I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,'' said Mr. Kennan from his Princeton home. ''I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever. No one was threatening anybody else. This expansion would make the Founding Fathers of this country turn over in their graves. We have signed up to protect a whole series of countries, even though we have neither the resources nor the intention to do so in any serious way. [NATO expansion] was simply a light-hearted action by a Senate that has no real interest in foreign affairs.''

''What bothers me is how superficial and ill informed the whole Senate debate was,'' added Mr. Kennan, who was present at the creation of NATO and whose anonymous 1947 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, signed ''X,'' defined America's cold-war containment policy for 40 years. ''I was particularly bothered by the references to Russia as a country dying to attack Western Europe. Don't people understand? Our differences in the cold war were with the Soviet Communist regime. And now we are turning our backs on the very people who mounted the greatest bloodless revolution in history to remove that Soviet regime.

''And Russia's democracy is as far advanced, if not farther, as any of these countries we've just signed up to defend from Russia,'' said Mr. Kennan, who joined the State Department in 1926 and was U.S. Ambassador to Moscow in 1952. ''It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expanders] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are -- but this is just wrong.''


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There is nothing more glorious than a psychopathic poodle licking the boots of a psychopathic lizard.

Just ask MAGA.

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I am very much against 'us or them' framing in most cases, because in my view, it is rarely helpful. However, we have reached I think, a time for choosing. In my view, whatever the views of the pro-putin set were before, there is now a real cost to pushing their narrative. If they simply did so because there were no stakes, because it would hurt their domestic enemies, then so be it, but that time has ended. It is now, in my view, impossible to be both pro-america and pro-putin.

An enemy now threatens everything America has built. Not the enemies we were told of in the past, like the middle eastern terrorist groups. Not like Iran or North Korea. A real enemy who threatens every single thing that allows America to have real prosperity in the world. It threatens our livelihoods, if not our lives. It threatens everything that has allowed America to be great in the last century.

Whatever one's words were before, what matters is their words now. I would accept those that repented, admit they were wrong, admit that they now support America. It is, as I said, a time for choosing. Those that continue to support Putin are supporting the destruction of America itself, no less than the Taliban did.

Indeed, I believe we must bring down the hammer of patriotism upon those who would side against America, the same way conservatives often wrongly did against liberals after 9/11. And there wasn't a political party cheering on the Taliban back then the way there is for Putin now. Let them feel the sting of shame for their anti-American fervor.

But for Democrats, it is imperative that they speak plainly and clearly. I have argued here before that plain talk is required of our leaders now, not rhetoric. And every Democratic leader, from Biden on down, needs to explain and argue that Putin threatens not just American prosperity but American lives. He threatens everything Americans hold dear, and he threatens their economic prosperity. Those that support him support the destruction of the very systems that made America great.

However, I think the greatest transformation will be on the European continent. The EU will need to have a military force if it is to survive. It cannot survive with a bunch of different ones, though those will be needed too. The Baltics, the Scandinavians, the Poles, the Romanians; all will need far greater military presences.

Because Putin struck not just from his own borders but from Belarus. And that means all of Europe is now threatened.

It is, I think, a time for choosing. This is not the first time someone has pushed the world like this, and it will not be the last. To quote the Americans who faced the first wave of British soldiers during the war for independence, and who themselves were quoting the book of Job: 'thus far shalt thou go, and no further.'

I am not swayed by 'never again.' I am swayed by 'no more.'

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I totally agree with your post. It really doesn't matter that we've already been through the "war to end all wars" thing. We either stand up to Putin and his ilk or we don't. He doesn't really care what we think...he's made his decision. He may change it based on our response, but he's not going to willingly stop this effort. I emphasize the term WILLINGLY.

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Why hasn't anyone examined the possibility that [T]ucker Carlson is being paid (quietly, offshore) for his pro-Russia, pro-Putin rubbish.

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I think he makes enough money via his day job that I have trouble believing that he's being bribed. Honestly...I think it's more about him always looking to "stand out" with his commentary....so he pushes the envelope. I don't disagree that there does appear to be some sort of Russian influence but it seems to me that perhaps it's a marriage of convenience at the moment.

Between he and Trump though...I think they are both playing with fire when it comes to Russia. They both are in denial about who Putin/Russia truly is.

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Today is a dark day for Europe and the rest of the world. Putin is a petty tyrant - and like all tyrants, is threatened by freedom and democracy. May God bless, protect and fortify Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

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Thank you for this, Charlie. As I’m sure you agree, this is the most menacing development globally since the end of WWII. I take Putin at his word that he is ready to respond to countries getting in the way of his invasion of Ukraine. He said:

"Whoever tries to interfere with us, and even more so, to create threats for our country, for our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences that you have never experienced in your history.“

If Putin decides to escalate this conflict in response to sanctions or whatever excuses he devises, the difference between today and prior eras is that he can disrupt communications and infrastructure and land missiles in cities all across Europe in a matter of minutes. And, speaking of “consequences that you have never experienced in your history,” Putin can also hit the US with the same, and now can also hit New York or DC, or Boston with supersonic conventional missiles that there are simply no defenses against.

We in the US are used to being too far away from Europe or most any flashpoints to suffer harm to our homeland. This no longer applies. Putin has become unhinged. Don’t think he wouldn’t like an excuse to cause blackouts and bring down IT and information systems throughout the US and send a missile or two into the US and watch the America people panic.

Our homegrown authoritarians are on Putin’s side in this. Expect Putin’s actions to embolden them. It already has if you read what Trump and others are saying.

Yesterday, we stepped into a whole new era that we are not going to like. And the democratically-aligned everywhere are going to have to fight the authoritarian juggernaut both at home and abroad.

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I’ve read and listened to many who share your opinion that Putin has become unhinged. I’d hope that would cause concern in his own circle, maybe enough for them to take action? He’s suddenly that most dangerous animal; cornered. Oddly, I think he cornered himself. He has the affect of someone with nothing to lose.

It won’t be the first time, and probably not the last time, that the world is brought to its knees because of a mental health crisis in one person. But it’s excruciating to witness and experience.

How do so many psychopaths rise to positions of high power? We barely survived our own four years of it, and we are still experiencing the wrath.

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Another rumor I’ve heard is that Putin has a serious, life-threatening illness and so has even more motivation and less to lose by striking out in this way . . . But only a rumor.

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I encourage everyone to call their senators and representative to support crippling sanctions against Russia as well as Putin’s friends parking money and assets in the West. Furthermore, I suggest asking for gas tax reliefs to help offset the price hikes.

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People underestimate three reasons why the right has morphed on Russia. First, once communism went away, Russia = atheist went away and the Christian right is very pro-Putin because Putin uses the Russian Orthodox Church as a cloak to trumpet his pro-religious credentials (even though as a person he is far from Christian. Second, Putin does not like any dissention and has cracked down on "the gays", which the American Christian right not only loves, but actually advocated for in Moscow. Third, the right has always been very drawn to rugged men and Putin presents himself this way (there is a book about the American religious right and John Wayne that makes this point quite well).

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You mean pseudo rugged men. They only play cowboys.

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The extremes of the political spectrum have always loved strongmen and small groups of dedicated actors (revolutionary or reactionary vanguards). This stems from the understanding that what they want is not popular (despite their pretending it is popular). That in order to GET what they want a man or group of will and willing to take extreme measures is necessary.

They understand that the system is their enemy and needs to be destroyed. They understand that force works and is necessary to their goals--either to get into power (though it is preferable these days to steal power) or to get what they want once in power.

Enemies need to be eliminated, not merely silenced. Silencing doesn't work and eliminating them has a chilling effect... especially if you extend that elimination to friends and family. The only safe enemy is a dead enemy.

Lenin and Stalin were masters of this, as was Hitler.

1) You pick an enemy and dehumanize, demonize them;

2) You collect or graft or steal (the Bolsheviks used to rob banks) enough money to fund your action and propaganda arms (actually contemporary propaganda arms make pretty good bank and the overhead is lower)

3) You use the fear of people of the Other to gain legitimate power and you couple this with campaigns of violence and intimidation against your enemies (who exist both inside and outside your movement)

4) Once you have gained power, you create an emergency to take full control;

5) Once you have full control you eliminate your internal enemies (that helped you get power) by having your own version of the Night of the Long Knives--because these people are dangerous and foolish and you do not need them now.

All you Proud Boys and whatnot? You will be the first to the wall--once you have control of the military those idiots are no longer needed. Ask Ernst Rohm or Lev Trotsky how things went for them.

This is something we have seen played out multiple times--it is strange how few people pay attention to the process and end up standing in front of a wall or in a concentration camp or somehow just dead.

Putin represents the prime example to emulate these days for any western group on the right. Strongly ethno-nationalist, a fascist version of religion that is controlled by the state/Putin and is subservient, the right visual and rhetorical image.

They feel FAR more affinity for him than their domestic opponents.

Scripture always talks about loving your neighbor as yourself. There is a reason for that word choice. It is easier to love or just tolerate an enemy that is at a remove. It is very hard to love the neighbor who is in your face irritating you every day, letting their dog poop in your yard.

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Part of the equation too is that the Right finally...after decades of mind numbing conservative media propaganda....have come to the determination that the Left is worse than Russia.

Actually...it appears the formula is as follows: The Left is worse than <blank>

There's simply nobody worse in their world.

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They have replaced Communism with The Left. Putin isn't woke, ergo Putin is their ally.

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A war in Europe in the era of social media. My guess is that the horrors of war will be a lot less abstract in all our minds. Predicting how this plays out is a fool's errand.

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The long game is difficult to see, the short game not so much. In the short term, the Ukrainians lose because they will not be able to stand off 100k plus Russian troops regardless of how good or bad the Russians and their equipment are.

There will be a puppet regime. The dislocation/removal/elimination of people. There may be a resistance movement. I doubt it lasts long.

Does the West have the ability to work in the longer term? Especially if the GoP gets power in 2024? I have major doubts. Lots of cyberwar, especially if the sanctions get real. Disruption of European and US networks, Infrastructure attacks, especially power distribution. You won't see military attacks against NATO members--too risky.

Think of this as a test run for WW4--which will likely have more of that kind of stuff than out in the open fighting.

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Feb 24, 2022·edited Feb 24, 2022

I'm really having trouble this morning attempting to see how this invasion will end well. The best I can come up with is that it's going to get REALLY bad followed by better, but never better than the point where the invasion started.

I think that the NATO alliance will be tested to the maximum....and it's going to take some blood and flesh in defending it.

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