Tag Archives: Kremlin

‘Sham?’ Uhh, yeah!

Brittney Griner is serving a nine-year prison sentence for committing a crime that in most civilized nations would be considered a misdemeanor.

Not in Russia. The Russians have locked her up and have denied an appeal to have her sentence reduced to suspension.

Griner is the former Baylor University basketball star, a native of the Dallas area and a star in the WNBA. She got caught with vape canisters and cannabis oil in her luggage while trying to leave the country via Moscow’s airport.

The White House calls the decision to uphold Griner’s prison sentence a “sham.” Do you think?

It just goes to show the world what kind of “justice” is practiced in Russia, where its leader — thug and goon Vladimir Putin — longs for a return to Marxist doctrine in the Kremlin.

The White House is demanding Griner’s release so she can join her family and resume her life. The decision to keep her locked up, though, bodes poorly — in the short term — for Griner’s release.



Ukraine scores big on the battlefield

You may count me as one cheap-seat observer who isn’t totally surprised that Ukraine’s armed forces are repelling the advance of the illegal invaders from Russia.

After all, when the Russians invaded Ukraine six months ago, I noted that the Ukrainians are far from “defenseless.”

However, I am stunned at the level of success that Ukraine has scored. We hear from the battlefield that Russian forces are in full retreat and that Ukraine intends to take back territory captured by the Russians.

Does any or all of this mean that Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin is going to surrender? Hardly. It does open the door, though, for Putin to look for some sort of way to negotiate his way back to the Kremlin and get his forces out of danger.

We had heard from a number of key U.S. military geniuses who said at the outset of war that Russia’s conventional military force was overrated, that Russia was little more than a third-rate conventional military power. The Russians, though, do possess a substantial nuclear arsenal and there have been concerns expressed that Putin could deploy some of it to put down the Ukrainians.

He’s already a war criminal, given the casualties his forces have inflicted on civilians in Ukraine. I am not going to buy into the notion that he is utterly stupid enough to use nukes and prompt a response from Ukraine, which has a hefty nuclear arsenal of its own.

I am astounded, though, to see that U.S. and allied response in the form of military aid is paying huge dividends for the heroic Ukrainians who, after all, are fighting for the survival of their country.


Send in The Donald!

Did I just hear that the Kremlin published a list of public officials Russia has banned from entry? And do I also understand correctly that Donald J. Trump is not among the names on the list of individuals who would be denied entry into Russia?

Interesting, yes? Of course it is!

With that, let’s all hope The Donald decides to visit Russia. That he decides to arrange for a meeting with his pal Vladimir Putin. That TV cameras take pictures of the two of ’em smiling, laughing and getting along so famously.

What a marvelous PR “opportunity” that would present. Don’t you agree? Please, Donald. Go to Russia!


Putin: war criminal?

This would be an incredibly difficult case to prove in an international court of law, but there could be evidence mounting that Russian thug/tyrant/despot Vladimir Putin has committed war crimes in his so-far-unsuccessful effort to subjugate Ukraine under the alleged might of his armed forces.

Russian troops are withdrawing from previously held territory in Ukraine and are leaving behind mass graves with the corpses of hundreds of civilians killed shot to death with single bullets in the back of their heads. They appear to have been executed by the Russian invaders.

Then comes the question: Were they acting on orders from the Kremlin?

Accordingly, I suppose one could ask whether there could be rogue commanders in the field acting on their own. Whatever the case, it all — or most of it, at least — falls on the lap of the former KGB spy master who now runs Russia as its commander in chief.

The despicable level of violence is being revealed now as Russian forces pull back from Kyiv and other key Ukrainian cities. Whether they merely are repositioning themselves for a new round of attacks remains to be determined. Whatever the intent, it is clear the Ukrainians are waging one hell of a fight against a force believed at the beginning of this conflict to be so powerful that it would steamroll its way into Kyiv.

They ain’t steamrolling anything.

The Russians, though, appear to have engaged in egregious crimes against humanity. Someone at the top of the Russian chain of command needs to be held accountable.

Let’s see. I believe that would be Vladimir Putin.


Cakewalk becomes struggle

Russia’s expected breezy stroll into Kyiv — Ukraine’s capital city — has run into something, well, that looks more like a mortal struggle, a fight to the death.

The fight has taken its toll on Russians as well as Ukrainians, so much so that media are now reporting a possible draft peace treaty might be in the works as Ukraine struggles to fend off the invaders from Russia.

It is impossible to predict whether this so-called “draft treaty” will end up with signatures from the warring sides and that the fighting will cease. Or that there ever will be any semblance of stability in a region dominated by the thug who runs the Russian government, Vladimir Putin.

My cheap-seat perch in North Texas only allows me to speculate that (a) the Russians are not dedicated to the mission they were sent to complete, (b) the Kremlin misjudged Ukraine’s resolve to defend itself, (c) the Russians’ command and control is a collection of incompetent boobs who cannot find their rear ends with both hands.

It is a strange feeling that overwhelms me as I actually find myself rooting for the Ukrainians to defeat the Russians on the battlefield. I realize fully that the Russians aren’t likely to wave a white flag of surrender and then allow Ukraine to declare victory on the field of battle. The war won’t end that way.

It well might end the way the media are reporting, that both sides might be able to negotiate a settlement. Ukraine might be persuaded to declare its neutrality vis a vis Russia and the Russians might be persuaded to end its assault on helpless civilians in an effort to subdue Ukraine.

My prayers are flowing. They are continuous. I want the Russians to continue to struggle for as long as this conflict drags on and, yes, I will continue to root for Ukraine.


War won’t end well for Putin

Make no mistake about it: whichever way the war in Ukraine ends — whether it’s a total Russian victory or somehow Ukraine manages to broker some sort of standoff — the conclusion won’t end well for Vladimir Putin.

I say that because of the reports we are hearing from the battlefield of atrocities being committed by Russian troops against Ukrainians.

Putin stepped in it big time with his unprovoked attack on Ukraine and his phony assertions about the peril felt by Russian citizens living within Ukraine’s borders, or his bizarre claim that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is some sort of neo-Nazi. It has only gotten worse for Putin.

His troops have shelled soft targets, killing civilians, including women and children. He should stand trial for war crimes when the fighting stops. If the Kremlin killer unleashes chemical weapons, well, that would produce another atrocity for which he must be held accountable.

Putin is losing the propaganda war outside of Russia. Indeed, he might even have a tenuous hold in the country he governs with his iron fists and boots … given the street protests that have erupted in places like Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The end might produce a military victory — of sorts! — for Putin and his thugs, but it is looking all the more to me as though he will finish this aggression as a net loser among the worldwide community of nations.


Trump parrots Kremlin line on Afghanistan

It’s impossible to believe that Donald Trump has said anything that, by itself, would doom his presidency. He has said so much, so often and with such idiocy that he should have been shown the door long ago.

Get a load, though, of what blurted from his pie hole during a 90-minute press availability in the Cabinet Room. He said the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 because “terrorists” were entering the USSR and that the Soviets were justified in responding as they did in invading the neighboring nation.

It’s been said already by others, but I’ll reiterate it here: The only other place where that fiction has been told has been in the Kremlin, where the Russian government is headquartered. No one else on Earth has ever said out loud and in public that terrorist incursions were the reason that the USSR invaded Afghanistan and fought the Afghans for a decade.

Which begs the question: What in the name of revisionist history is the president doing here? Some have suggested he is speaking the Russian line because he actually believes it, that the Russians have penetrated his skull with propaganda that no one else actually believes. Others suggest that Donald Trump, whose astonishing ignorance takes our breath away, simply doesn’t know what he’s saying, but that he is in love with the sound of his own voice.

The Wall Street Journal, with its right-leaning editorial page, has skewered the president with an editorial today. It said, “We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American president.” Just think: The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a friend and ally of Trump who also owns the president’s favorite cable TV network, Fox News.

I do not know what prompted Trump’s utterly ridiculous assertion. The best case is that it is the product of blind ignorance. The worst case is that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has something on the president, that Trump is now officially frightened to the point of reciting Russian propaganda regarding one of the signature episodes of the Cold War.

Whatever the case, for the president of the United States to so egregiously mischaracterize one of the world’s darkest moments is frightening on its face.

Donald Trump is unfit to occupy his high and exalted office.

Grist for propagandists …

Take a good look at this picture. I don’t know who these fellows are. I only know that they’re wearing clothing that can be used as grist for propagandists.

The shirt says “I’d rather be Russian than a Democrat.”

Funny, huh?

Do you think Vladimir Putin, sitting in his Kremlin office in Moscow, is going to use this shirt as a way of declaring victory in his effort to sow discord, distrust and despair among Americans?

Yes. He undoubtedly is enjoying the sight of guys like these two fellows and the sound of the anger being expressed throughout the United States of America.

If Hillary needed to be ‘locked up’ over e-mails …

Let’s assume for a moment the very worst about Jared Kushner, son-in-law and senior adviser to Donald J. Trump.

The Washington Post is reporting that Kushner suggested to Russian government officials that the Trump transition team set up a secret line of communication between the Russian embassy to the United States and the Kremlin.

OK, to be completely fair — the story might not be true. My sense, though, is that it’s there is something significant happening to the Trump administration.

So, if the Post is correct and Kushner was able to secure a back-channel line between the Trump team and the Kremlin — using Russian communications equipment — how does that compare with what the Trump campaign alleged about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of her personal e-mail server?

Do you remember the chants of “Lock her up!” coming from those Trump campaign rallies? Do you recall that disgraced former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn helped lead those chants himself?

What Kushner is reported to have sought makes Hillary’s use of personal e-mail accounts look so, so quaint.

Think of this. The Post is reporting that Kushner wanted to use Russian intelligence equipment to transmit communications between the Trump team and the highest level of government in Moscow. Did this young man have a clue that Russians monitor carefully all communications between their embassies and the Kremlin?

I guess we now can understand a good bit more clearly why the FBI had declared Kushner to be a “person of interest” in its investigation of what the president called “the Russia thing.”

The Russia thing is growing a lot of legs.

What? A back-channel phone line with Kremlin?

I know Donald Trump’s son-in-law is entitled to an innocence presumption.

Jared Kushner has now been shoved to the front row of a growing investigation into what the Trump presidential campaign may have done in connection with the Russian government.

The latest live grenade to explode deals with a report that Kushner and the Russians sought to set up a secret line through which the Trump team could communicate with the Kremlin, the seat of the Russian government in the heart of Moscow.

If it’s true — and I’ll presume that special counsel Robert Mueller will make that determination in due course — then it’s fair to ask: What would Kushner seek to keep secret from normal communications channels?

Some analysts are suggesting that this latest report might be a “game change” in the growing controversy. (I am going to refrain from calling it a “scandal” until we know a whole lot more.)

The Mueller investigation is going to determine whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump says “no.” His buddy, Russian President Vladimir Putin, says “nyet.”

If this latest revelation is a game-changer, then I’m believing that Donald J. Trump’s tenure as president is about to enter some seriously tenuous territory.