29 April 2022

Image round-up for 29 April 2022

Over the years I've collected tens of thousands of images from around the internet.  I'll be posting collections like this now and then.

He probably votes, too

Tough guys

Girls and their #@*$!% pets

Temple in Chennai, India

That's a vicious disease-carrying wild animal, you moron -- even if you think it's "cute"


York, UK

That red spot is larger than our whole world

Florence, Italy



The bright dot toward the lower right is Earth, photographed from the Cassini space probe near Saturn in 2013

Personally I'd be interested in what he has to say

What's that thing to the left?

Defying taboo in fascist China

27 April 2022

Standing athwart history, yelling stop-and-go-back

What did Putin think he was doing when he invaded Ukraine?

The steady improvement in the human condition over the last few centuries has been frustrating for authoritarians.  Kings watched their hoary "divine right" evaporate; religious institutions saw increasingly-educated populations stop groveling before the superstitious nonsense in which their power was rooted; "supreme leaders" of every stripe fumed as their pompous slogans and puffed-up charisma met with suspicion or outright mockery.  In particular, the period since 1945 has been marked by a new kind of history, with international borders frozen in place, wars (except in the least-developed regions) far fewer and less bloody than they were before, and democracy and secularism becoming global norms to such an extent that even most tyrannies pay hypocritical homage with words like "democratic" and "republic" in their official names.

Dictators, would-be dictators and toadies, and in general that dying breed of clench-asshole who thrills to the vision of some pompous jut-jawed Glorious Leader basking in glory and adulation after gloriously vanquishing some demonized foreign nation or group, hate this kind of thing.  They can't stand the thought of the ordinary millions just living out their own lives their own way in peace and quiet instead of being conscripted into some great (and glorious) common project, finding their heroes in the arts and sciences instead of in ranting demagogues demanding crackdowns on the Jews or homosexuals or whatever.  They want mass mobilizations and herd conformity and chanted slogans and hysteria and collectivism and the Two Minutes Hate.  Individualism and freedom and irreverence and pluralism are boring to them.

This post at the Daily Kos (found via Green Eagle, who has had some excellent posts on the Ukraine crisis recently) argues that Putin -- who obviously falls on the authoritarian glorious etc side of the above divide -- has been deeply troubled by this change in the nature of history, and launched the futile invasion of Ukraine in a nihilistic effort to reverse it and drag the world, or at least eastern Europe, back into the blood-stained pre-1945 way of being.  That he realized that after he was gone, Russia too would drift closer to the new consensus of how things are supposed to be, and he could not endure that.  So he decided to go with a Samson-pulling-down-the-temple option, wrecking the new to let the old rise again in the ruins.

I wouldn't concur that this is the full explanation.  I don't agree that he knew in advance that the invasion would fail; it seems clear that, like most dictators, he was not getting accurate intelligence information and believed his military to be far more effective than it turned out to be, while grossly underestimating the Ukrainians' national feeling and will to resist, as well as the West's determination to meet the threat.  He really believed he could bring Ukraine under his rule quickly and at an acceptable cost, and is now winging it in frustration after getting smacked in the face by reality.

But there is probably some truth to the Daily Kos post.  Putin definitely yearns to unfreeze the map, repudiate individual freedom as an ideal, and return to the pre-1945 order.  And there are others like him.  Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un come to mind.  One could, with much more reservation, cite Erdoğan or Orbán or perhaps even Modi.  No, not the hopelessly phony Donald Trump, who is far more Gilderoy Lockhart than Adolf Hitler, and is too shallow to engage in philosophical thought even on a nihilistic level.  Most American far-right politicians (Boebert, Cawthorn, Palin, etc) are clowns, not thinkers.  But someone like Bannon or Miller might be a plausible American Putin if circumstances brought them to power (fortunately, that seems very unlikely).  And some more serious figures such as Mike Lee have expressed disdain for "rank democracy".

Like mold or dry rot, the pre-1945 mentality keeps cropping up in odd nooks and crannies long after being mostly eradicated.  We will need to be vigilant for some time yet.  The response to Putin's Ukraine atrocity, at least, offers reassurance that democracy and freedom are vigorous and aware.

o o o o o

Related links:

Now that Putin stands revealed as both more evil and weaker than we thought, the US hopes to diminish the threat he poses.

References to Ukraine are being censored out of Russia's school textbooks.

The liberated Kyiv suburbs are yielding more evidence of Russian atrocities, including mass rape.

Exhaustive analysis here of the whole Russia-Ukraine situation (found via Earth-Bound Misfit), including the risk that Western resolve may erode if the war lasts into the winter.

The Azovstal steelworks, where Ukrainian forces in Mariupol still hold out, is a vast underground fortress of tunnels.

Like old Nazi and Soviet propaganda, Putin's propaganda today uses dehumanizing language to legitimize the mass murder of its victims.  Ironically, today one of the most effective ways to dehumanize a target group is to smear them as Nazis.

Dissidents in Belarus have been working to sabotage Putin's war effort (found via Hackwhackers).

Finns are preparing to fight, just in case.

Person-in-the-street interviews in Moscow suggest that most Russians accept the prospect of Finland joining NATO.

The war has brought a new word to the Ukrainian language.

Green Eagle dissects another vomitous pro-appeasement MSM article.

25 April 2022

Video of the day -- enemies of democracy

I don't see how people who explicitly reject democracy and the right to vote can legitimately hold political office in the US.  How can they credibly swear to uphold the Constitution while rejecting some of its most critical provisions?

24 April 2022

Link round-up for 24 April 2022

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

Stormtroopers always miss.

Understand the sign.

Penguins get through their day (actually better with sound off).

Embezzle $182 million without even breaking any rules.

Religious services can be fun.

Conquer your fear of monsters in the dark at night.

A classic cinematic pursuit concludes at last.

There's a word for expertise at identifying birds.

Woah, here she comes.....

He gazes into the abyss.

Giant psychedelic toads eat smelly beetles.

What exactly do they do at this "Christian center"?

Strandbeests roam the beaches, or even take flight.

This statue exists.

He's got a keen eye for spotting lions.

A long-suffering cave man explores home improvement.

Storytelling is important.

You've escaped from Plato's cave, but.....

Lady M celebrates Zombie Day.

Annie Asks You has a poetic paean to springtime.

It's a personal decision.

And all the records he sets are totally valid.

It's the best of three options.

Philosophy and a dead parrot don't mix well.

This abomination exists.

This relationship couldn't last.

The Sumerians invented metaphor but not subtlety.

Easy trick here for deterring bugs.

Watch out for the avalanche (this is in Iran).

I know most of what you get in church is a croc anyway, but.....

If you want to write realistically about pre-modern times, pay attention to lighting.

Welcome to nightmare world.

Serve Putin some hot soup.

These monstrosities existed.

Well, this house is certainly unique.  I'm not sure I'd want to wake up with a hangover in it.

Happiness between Tails blog wants to know what you celebrate.

Believe it or not, Tucker Carlson has made a film documentary about masculinity.

The system will eat itself.

He's got the right idea, though he doesn't know it.

Monopoly capitalism contributes to the shittyization of movies.

Here's a powerful poem about Jesus.

"For we shall only achieve true diversity when everyone thinks the same way as me."

If you're thinking of moving, consider Maryland.  Here's a taste of the local culture.

The "before" pictures look a lot better.  Why do people do this?

There is no virtue in suffering.

The Perseverance rover drives past artifacts on Mars.

Atheist Revolution has a collection of Easter posts.

The New York Times is still crap.

More info and links here on reporting a politicized church to the IRS.

Management just keeps coming up with new ways to shittyize the workplace.

Even some English teachers embrace the retreat from mass literacy.

Who is God?

Ethical businessmen aren't the ones who become billionaires.

The wingnuttery just goes on and on.  There's even a cobra venom conspiracy theory now.

Sex shouldn't hurt.

If you're an ideologist, you likely have a version of Morton's demon living in your head.

The hard-line right is now openly rejecting democracy.

The Bible accounts of the resurrection are riddled with contradictions.

"It turns out that many Latinos identify more as 'working class' than as 'Latino' and their concerns are more about inflation and other kitchen table issues than about immigration."  If the Democrats can't get their heads out of their identity-politics asses and focus on the class issues, there's no hope.

Green Eagle assesses fascism as a sort of shoddy, bargain-basement successor to the divine right of kings.

Ask a straightforward question, get a straightforward answer.

Louisiana pastor Tony Spell believes that the government should be subordinate to "prophets" such as himself.  He also believes Biden is possessed by Satan.  Leadership for the 21st century!

Cancel culture exists and is doing real harm to innocent people.

Alaska is becoming the scene of a proxy war between McConnell and Trump.

Censorship of libraries is having insane results (this is a public library, not a school).

If you didn't want people to attack the Bible.....

Men tend to have a false sense of invulnerability.

It's best to simply not engage with haters and fanatics -- "debating" them is a waste of time.

Communism seems to require a dictatorship to work.  Socialism doesn't, but it seems best suited to ethno-states, which the US is not.

Whatever the brand of evil, obsessive hatred of Jews will usually be part of it.

Part of the reason why our society tolerates ghastly "gender-affirming" surgery on minors is that most people don't know or don't believe it's happening.  But there's less and less excuse for not knowing.

Severe covid-19 increases the risk of dementia.

Even as a kid, this blogger saw through religion pretty well.

Even in deep-red states, wind energy is booming.

Should atheists refrain from mocking Christian observances?

Don't be shy about calling groomers groomers.

"Opponents dubbed the law 'Don't Say Gay', arguing that barring lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades would marginalize LGBTQ people."  They are actually, literally defending the concept of "lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades".  The Republicans don't need to even do anything.  The left is committing electoral suicide.

Last month's much-hyped Disney walkout protesting the law was actually a huge flop.

Amazon employees suffer injuries at several times the rate of other workers in comparable jobs.

You can't save democracy if you aren't in power.

Congressional Republicans are delaying the federal legalization of marijuana, even though the majority of their voters support it.

A life centered on work is not worth living.

Some right wingers have plans to effectively ban abortion even in blue states, eventually.

Christian assholes harass trapped plane passengers with noise.  Don't they realize that this kind of behavior actively turns people off of what they're trying to spread?

That NC medical student who implied she mistreated a patient because he expressed "wrong" opinions has been placed on extended leave.  The school should also expel the student newsletter writer who demanded that the patient be witch-hunted.

She's just asking questions.

Green Eagle responds to CNN's disgusting, craven essay in support of appeasing Putin.

In April 1943, the Belgian resistance against Nazi occupation carried out a daring rescue mission on a train carrying Jews to Auschwitz.

Those who attack people's children are awakening a sleeping giant.

Up in Nova Scotia, Procrastinating Donkey isn't happy with mask mandates being lifted.

Looks like Assange will be extradited.  Here's a reminder of who he is.  But he was cautious about some information.

It's just a sex show for five-year-olds.  Perfectly normal.

Cas d'intérêt has a detailed assessment of today's presidential election in France.

Religious mobs are waging a violent war against free speech in Sweden.

Here are some pragmatic reasons why Ukraine is important to the world at large.

Pictures from Ukraine here.

"Hide the girls" -- when the Russian army comes to town.

You can't rely on polls showing that most Russians support Putin's war on Ukraine.

Here's what to expect in the battle of Donbas.

The frozen Russian state assets in the US amount to tens of billions of dollars.  Perhaps we can make good use of them.

Russia's military incompetence goes back to the 1990s (sourced to this BBC report).  Here's how bad it was when they occupied Chernobyl.

Japan is getting more aggressive about the Kuril islands, which Russia seized from Japan at the end of World War II.

India is serious about saving endangered rhinos.

Most Asian countries are becoming more supportive of the US, less supportive of China.

It's nightmarish being an unmarried woman in China.

Elon Musk plus China equals as shitty as it gets.

Lawyers in Haïti struggle to get the legal system to take rape seriously.

More links at Fair and Unbalanced, The Honest Courtesan, The Psy of Life, and Miss Cellania.

o o o o o

My posts this week:  some thoughts on my own mortality, the effects of sanctions on Russia, and a game-changing new anti-projectile defense.

[Image at top found via Cas d'intérêt]

21 April 2022

Video of the day -- Iron Beam

Israel has been testing a new anti-projectile defense system, the "Iron Beam", which has proven remarkably effective at destroying targets as diverse as shells, rockets, anti-tank missiles, and drones.  It uses a laser beam, not projectiles, so the cost of each interception is a ludicrously-low $3.50 -- far cheaper than Israel's existing "Iron Dome" anti-missile system.  The tests were conducted in the Negev desert; the above video shows some of them.  More details here.

One can imagine how much difference a system like this could make for Ukraine, if widely deployed there.  Unfortunately, Iron Beam units are unlikely to be available in sufficient quantity soon enough to make a difference in Ukraine.  It will take years to deploy them to fully protect Israel itself.  But in the future, this technology could make countries almost invulnerable to attack -- especially if a more powerful version can be developed to destroy incoming nuclear ICBMs.

20 April 2022

Russia -- the sanctions

It has taken some time for the sanctions on Russia to do real damage, but that stage is being reached now, both in the civilian economy and in military manufacturing (both of those links have worthwhile details).  It shouldn't be surprising that there was delay in the sanctions' true bite being felt.  For example, much of Russian industry depends on parts imported from the West; for some weeks they were able to make do with parts in stock, but as those are used up, no replacements are coming in.  (Perhaps they can get substitute parts from China, made in accordance with China's normal industrial standards.)  With tanks and missiles being destroyed or used up at a startling rate in Ukraine, the crippling or shutdown of the capacity to produce replacements will place the regime under added pressure.

The question arises -- under what circumstances could sanctions be lifted?  The obvious answer is when the invasion ends, meaning that Russian forces have completely withdrawn from Ukrainian territory and the regime has made a clear declaration that it will not attack again.  The question of whether this would include withdrawal from Crimea and eastern Donbas, which were seized by force in 2014 but which Russia now does not recognize as part of Ukraine, would have to be decided at the time.  There is also the issue that Russia has been forcibly deporting Ukrainian citizens from occupied areas to Russia, for reasons which are not yet clear.  It's estimated that at least forty-five thousand Ukrainians have been abducted; here is the story of one, who eventually escaped.  Conditions for lifting the sanctions will surely need to include the return of all these kidnapped people.

Unfortunately it's not realistic to expect that Putin and other leaders would be handed over to be tried for war crimes, even if by then the regime has been overthrown and replaced.  Historically, war criminals have only been tried when their countries are occupied by the victors after being conquered, which is not going to happen to Russia.

A few more relevant items:

The most effective weapon of all against Russia would be a complete boycott of its fossil-fuel exports, which so far Europe (the main market for those exports) has been unwilling to implement because the impact on its energy production would be too damaging.

However, Putin can't be happy with how things are going in Europe.

The bullying and thuggery of the Russian (and Chinese) regimes are waking up the democracies to reality.

The Russian army isn't professional; it's not even amateur.

Russia is moving troops to the Finnish border, but Finland doesn't seem too scared.

In France, new polling shows Macron solidly ahead of Le Pen for the final presidential election this Sunday -- in part due to increased scrutiny of her stance on the Ukraine war.

Nationalistic Russians are touting native substitutes for Western social media which are now banned there.  This popular Russian YouTuber is unimpressed:

19 April 2022


The last few months have inclined me, more than usual, to ruminate upon the possibility of my own death.  I increasingly have a feeling that my remaining lifetime may be considerably shorter than I once hoped (there are a variety of reasons for this, which I prefer not to discuss).  Most recently, of course, there is the war in Ukraine -- creating the ever-present possibility that some error or emotional decision by either Putin or Biden might lead to the direct involvement of NATO forces in combat with the Russians, which in turn would likely lead to an all-out nuclear exchange which would kill me along with almost everyone else in the US, Russia, and Europe.

Thoughts of one's death inevitably inspire an assessment of one's life.  How have I done?  Have I made worthy use of the gift of existence in this world?

Like everyone, I have made my share of mistakes.  Yet I believe that on the whole the balance is very much positive.

I have had plenty of good experiences, in relationships with people and in traveling to various parts of the world.

I have approached life with an open mind and have learned, I believe, much more than most people do, even those with similar opportunities.

I've used such abilities as I have to attack religion in every way I could.

I have avoided developing the kind of cold, judgmental, compassionless personality which is increasingly common these days (especially among the ostentatiously religious, ironically enough), despite early in my life being inclined to ideologies which foster such traits.

I did right by the person who meant the most to me during the last nine years of her life, when she truly needed me the most, however difficult it so often was.  I will always know that I successfully met the most important challenge I have ever faced, or ever will face, even if I live to be a thousand.

After decades of effort I can truly say that I have learned to live on my own terms, relying on my own judgment, not in thrall to the criticisms and standards of others.  A life lived on terms set by others is not worth living at all.

I hope, of course, that my life does continue a great deal longer (and remember, living to be a thousand is not entirely out of the question).  I would like to see what humanity's continued progress brings, and what discoveries await us in the various realms of science.  I want to be here when we learn, finally, whether there are other self-aware minds out among the stars, or a tenantless cosmos awaits humanity's own future expansion.

But however my story ends, I will be able to say with confidence that I have not done badly.

17 April 2022

Link round-up for 17 April 2022

Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week.

o o o o o

Appropriate placement is everything.

No slut-shaming, please.

This store display exists.

It's a fierce battle for survival.

Got your costume on backwards, I think (found via Hackwhackers).

OK, but why did they look there?

Doctors must validate kids' identities.

This cat is unstoppable.

Stir carefully.

She found the job she was destined for.

Well, it probably did get rid of the ants (found via Hackwhackers).

Clearly the troll is the victim here.

We all sometimes feel like this couch looks.

See the last picture of the Russian ship Moskva.

Visual gimmicks in headlines are sometimes a bad idea.

Elevating oneself above others can come at a cost.

Encourage the young hunter.

Praise Jesus!

See things from a queen's point of view.

Being highly determined isn't always good.

Vampires are inefficient.

These dogs don't mind water.

"Peeps" work well in "Easterween" crafts.  Just don't eat the damn things.

Jacksonville airport has weird bathrooms.

For Easter, Far Corner Café commemorates the resurrection of Jesus.

Take intellectual steps.

Isn't this Mordor?

It's still more than six months, but plenty of artists and events are celebrating "halfway to Halloween".

A heroic secularist cat joins the struggle against religion.

This is what English would be like without all the foreign loan words.

Giraffes in Kenya walk under a bridge.

An NFT is perhaps not such a good investment.

Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

Tremble before these bunnies of terror.

Daal at Happiness between Tails is calling for guest posts.

Their dreams came true -- or did they?

Sixty-nine is good.

The right toys can help your kid prepare for the class struggle.

I'll keep my bullshit-free 1999 car, thanks.

He represents us all.

Russian soldiers just ain't what they used to be.

Books are safe.

This person exists.

The Finnish language is pronoun-proof.

In a relationship, be ready to respond to "emotional bids".

I'm so glad I got out of academia.

This is what machismo looks like.

Why are these places so great?

God sent prophets to every nation.

In 1783, two portraits of Marie Antoinette elicited odd public reactions.

The Ukrainian goddess of death awakens.

Salvia can send you on a temporary trip to Hell.

Here's why you can't monetize works on AO3.

People don't want to work?  Why would they?  (found via Yellowdog Granny)

Stop using Airbnb to help Ukrainians.  There's an issue with the Red Cross as well.

The pope is a weirdo.

If you wanted to keep using it, you shouldn't have gotten rid of it.

These assholes exist.

Only one side is allowed to use threats.

God, or at least this preacher, is bizarrely obsessed with women's hairstyles.

It's a perfect confluence of sex and stupidity.

"Cock rings" can cause serious injury (very NSFW pics, as one might expect).

They raped a lizard???

Anti-shippers are an example of convergent evolution.

She fell two miles, spent ten days alone in the jungle, and survived.

I think a store manager who received this letter would take notice.

Tips here for dating a person with chronic pain.

Real tyrannosauruses were much slower and more ridiculous-looking than Jurassic Park led us to believe (found via Miss Cellania).

This is nothing to do with the KKK.

Apparently there is such a thing as "critical social justice" -- it's about as bad as it sounds.

If you're vaccinated for covid, then even if you get the disease, you'll be much less infectious to other people.

The "Satanic panic" hysteria of the late twentieth century led to awful psychological cruelty to children.

Bruce Gerencser debates a pastor who can't even be honest about his own academic credentials.  He also addresses anti-abortion crazies, with links to some more abortion-related posts.

Quit bitching about Merrick Garland being too slow pursuing Trump (found via Progressive Eruptions).

Even in Massachusetts, parents are now suing over gender grooming of their children in school.

Wear your damn helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle.

There's a range of views on how to treat teenagers.

The fiasco of René Blondlot's "N-rays" exemplifies how science is a self-correcting enterprise.

At least two inmates in New Jersey's state prison for women have been impregnated by a male prisoner also housed there.  Then there's this guy, who was just placed there.

"You believe in DNA?"

In the US, homelessness is increasing among the elderly because our system is fucked up (found via Miss Cellania).

Autistic people value the rich world of the imagination over dreary reality.

Ideological control freaks want to stop this book from being publishedMore here.

The first post-covid TED conference focuses on defeating government censorship of the internet, including Russian censorship of Ukraine war news.

Women voters over fifty -- almost a third of consistent voters -- are largely undecided and unhappy with their options.

Rhode Island is considering ways to decriminalize sex work (found via The Honest Courtesan).

Putin isn't the only one who overestimated the Russian military.

Wokespeak-to-English translation guide here.

You can do something about politicized churches.

Being held accountable is "triggering".

God is a war criminal.

68% of Americans blame the oil companies for high gas prices; 71% blame Putin, 51% blame Biden.

Florida, long a haven for women from neighboring states who need abortions, has imposed a restrictive new law of its own.  It's part of a widespread Republican campaign.

This racist horror from twenty years ago illustrates the roots of the problems we have today.

Wall Street is seeing a battle between the past and future of work.

The craven toady grovels before the oppressor.

A 19-year-old should not have been allowed to do this to himself.

Believers value belief, not people.

Tribalism and name-calling don't solve problems -- or win elections.

Life expectancy in the US continued decreasing in 2021, though it recovered in other advanced countries.

They charged her with murder for having an abortion -- but then dropped the charges.  The glare of publicity does help to curb such outrages.

Don't support books that trivialize the Holocaust.

Democrats' previously-strong support among young voters is getting shaky.

Worldwide, people who tell the truth about Islam face imprisonment or murder.

The "Vision Zero" plan for reducing traffic deaths works in Europe, but not in the US.

Never underestimate women's ability to organize, especially under severe provocation.

The same vermin who opposed Brexit are now bitching about Boris Johnson's trip to Kyiv, for some reason.

House-price greed kills communities.

What's a little teenager rape among friends?

Men who are mad at a woman often childishly resort to insulting her appearance.

As a voter you have every right to vote for your own interests.

Sweden, at least, has stopped performing Frankensteinian surgical and hormonal modifications on delusional minors.

In Finland, popular support for joining NATO has gone from 25% to 60% since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Spain has banned harassment of women entering abortion clinics.

Collection of photos from the Ukraine war here.

Ukraine's neighbors understand, due to their own history.

What would happen if Russia invaded Finland?

Here's an eyewitness report from a resident of Bucha.

One rural mother's story exemplifies the horrors Russia has brought to Ukraine.

A Russian soldier's girlfriend encourages him to rape Ukrainian women.

Families of Russian soldiers are selling loot from Ukraine.

Will the Donbas campaign be Putin's Waterloo?

An American blogger living in Shanghai reports on the increasingly chaotic covid lockdown there -- which is not working to contain the disease.

More links at Fair and Unbalanced.

o o o o o

My own posts this week:  some humorous images, China's demographic disaster, Marine Le Pen coming out as too supportive of Putin, and a Lone Animator video based on a Lovecraft poem.

16 April 2022

Video of the day -- Star-Winds

A brief flight of fancy by The Lone Animator, based on a poem by the great HP Lovecraft.

14 April 2022

I was wrong about Marine Le Pen

France's nativist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen yesterday stated her opposition to sending any more weapons to Ukraine, and appeared far too eager for a reconciliation with Putin's gangster-regime as soon as the war is over.  She also wants to withdraw from NATO's military command, undermining military cooperation with other democracies.  Such a rupture would be a huge prize for Putin, especially since France is one of the West's three major military powers (along with the US and UK).

Europe's nations desperately need leaders who will re-assert their national identity and sovereignty, but as the post-Brexit UK shows, it is possible to do this while still practicing close cooperation with other democracies, including most recently vigorous support for Ukraine.  The Western world in general needs leaders who will listen to working-class people's concerns instead of lecturing and scolding them for having "wrong" opinions on issues like immigration, as the political establishment reflexively does.  The establishment's arrogance and blindness have driven alarming numbers of voters into the arms of dangerous figures like Trump and Farage.  But a major country turning its back on other democracies to kowtow to Putin would be even more dangerous.  Moreover, French voters evidently don't want this.  Le Pen's rival nativist candidate Eric Zemmour saw his support collapse because he remained supportive of Putin even after the Ukraine invasion began; hopefully those same voters will note the implications of Le Pen's own statements yesterday.

More news from the Ukraine war:

As Russia's offensive in Donbas gets under way, the US is sending a massive new shipment of heavy weapons.

Russia's failure to capture Kyiv was an epic defeat.

The invasion is foundering on the un-glamorous but critical issue of truck maintenance.

Putin's ignorance, arrogance, and isolation led him into this disastrous mistake.  Apparently he doesn't even use the internet.

Dissent and opposition to Putin's rule are spreading in Russia.

Finland and Sweden are moving rapidly ahead with discussions on joining NATO, the starkest example of Putin's invasion bringing consequences exactly opposite to what he wanted.

Women raped in Ukraine who escape to Poland can't get abortions there because of the country's strict Catholic-Church-inspired laws against the procedure.

In compiling my Ukraine war posts and links, I've specifically avoided anything that relates or compares the Ukraine situation to US domestic politics.  This isn't about us.  But when Russia's own state-controlled media are openly talking about punishing the US by supporting Trump for president again (more details here), they're rather forcing my hand.  Get ready for more 2016-style election meddling, if Putin is still in power in 2024.  Some Russian commentators also enthuse about Tulsi Gabbard as a running mate for Trump, even calling her a "Russian agent".  With an endorsement like that, how could she lose?