Can Russia Keep Up Their Attacks for More Than a Few Weeks? This expert says “no”

Justin Bronk of the Royal United Services Institute gives a painfully detailed analysis concluding with the observation that it’s hard to see how Russia can keep up the pace militarily for more than a few weeks. The video below shows the conclusion of the discussion. Rewind to 45:24 to see the start of the discussion:

Later edit: Well as of July 2022, Russia’s still going. So this prediction was off by at least an order of magnitude.

The Kleptocrats Next Door. The United States has a dirty-money problem.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2022/01/american-kleptocracy-kleptopia-united-states-dirty-money/620852/

Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming—nice, normal American states, full of nice, normal Americans—have created financial instruments that nameless investors can use to hide their money from the world

Why doesn’t the U.S., instead of abetting the elaborate arrangements, exert its leverage to help change the rules and eradicate the system? Part of the answer is obvious. Powerful people benefit from it, and they are intent on keeping it in place.

Anonymous purchases of Trump properties skyrocketed once he became the Republican nominee for president. As Michel writes, “We have no idea who the vast majority of these purchasers were, or where they came from, or where they got their money, or what they wanted—or how they impacted American policy.”

We Are Living in a Failed State The coronavirus didn’t break America. It revealed what was already broken

From the June 2020 edition of The Atlantic.

This article is long, brutal, and essential.

Normally, I try and paraphrase the article I’m referencing, but this article makes so many powerful points, I can’t do that.  Here’s the opening paragraph instead:

When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.

The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus—like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.

The Daily Beast’s Commentary on Trump’s State of the Union address

This is The Daily Beast’s take on what Trump really wanted to say at the State of the Union address:

The state of the union is…. pure, weapons-grade, uncut f**king chaos, and I am both unhinged and unbound from any consequence, ever. All the pretty words my speechwriters worked so hard on are a thin veneer over the seething mass of coming horrors. I have gambled our economy, compromised our security, and shredded our dignity, and I’ll do it again. My message to the American people: bend the knee. To my enemies: vengeance is coming.

“Bend the knee”   That summarizes it all.

Trump is a ‘successful sociopath’. A predator who lacks a conscience and strategic thought.

https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-sociopath-mental-health-harvard-psychiatry-professor-1468441

A retired Harvard psychiatry professor described President Donald Trump as “essentially a predator” and a “successful sociopath.”

Lance M. Dodes, MD, a former assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is yet another mental health expert to call into question the president’s state of mind

“His focus on his personal benefit at any cost is why he’s a successful sociopath,” Dodes told Salon, adding that he can “see Donald for who he really is.”

“It’s very hard to get this across to the public, because every time people talk about him, they start out with the unspoken unconscious assumption that he’s basically like the rest of us,” Dodes told Salon.

“But in order to explain and predict Trump’s behavior, you have to begin with awareness that he is essentially a predator.

“Once you keep in mind that Trump lacks a conscience and lacks empathy, he becomes very easy to follow. Unlike normal people, who are complex, he’s basically running on a very simple and very disordered program.”

John M. Talmadge, MD, a physician and clinical professor of psychiatry at U.T. Southwestern Medical Center, wrote that Trump’s “mental impairment means he cannot think strategically or in abstract terms.”

“Trump does not have a vision or a plan, because he can think only in concrete, elementary, childlike, one dimensional terms,” Talmadge, who was commenting in a personal capacity, wrote.

“He does not process an abstract idea like American forces stabilizing a multilateral conflict with geopolitical implications.

“This Trumpian brain failure is hard for normal people to understand because for normal people, abstract thought is natural, baked in, largely unnoticed. Normal people see the consequences, assess risk, make rational decisions most of the time.”

Why Christian Nationalism Is a Threat to Democracy

According to Nancy LeTourneau’s essay in the Washington Monthly:

We have to grapple with the fact that Christian nationalists are launching a “direct attack on democracy itself.” That is because real democracy poses a threat to the kind of authoritarianism they embrace. The roots of that were explained by William Barr during his speech to the law school at Notre Dame. He began by articulating his own view of human nature.

Men are subject to powerful passions and appetites, and, if unrestrained, are capable of ruthlessly riding roughshod over their neighbors and the community at large.

No society can exist without some means for restraining individual rapacity.

Barr goes on to suggest that, when the founders talked about self government, they didn’t mean what we think they did.

In the words of Madison, “We have staked our future on the ability of each of us to govern ourselves…”

This is really what was meant by “self-government.” It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislative body. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.

But if individual rapacity is the problem, what is the source of those restraints?

[T]o control willful human beings, with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on authority independent of men’s will – they must flow from a transcendent Supreme Being.

In short, in the Framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people – a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and man-made law and who had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

When you combine that with the belief among Christian nationalists that the only true religion is Christianity, you have the antithesis of democratic pluralism. Instead, you have authoritarian theocracy. That loops us back to Franklin Graham and the rest of the court evangelicals, who take it upon themselves to define who is on God’s side and who is doing the work of the devil.

Years ago, Sara Robinson captured what it takes to leave that kind of authoritarian mindset.

We must never, ever underestimate what it costs these people to let go of the beliefs that have sustained them…Externally, it always means the loss of your community; and often the loss of jobs, homes, marriages, and blood relatives as well. Internally, it requires sifting through every assumption you’ve ever made about how the world works, and your place within it; and demands that you finally take the very emotional and intellectual risks that the entire edifice was designed to protect you from. You have to learn, maybe for the first time, to face down fear and live with ambiguity.

While the loss of community can be traumatic, the prospect of “sifting through every assumption you’ve ever made about how the world works” is overwhelming. As she points out, the entire edifice is designed to protect you from fear and the threat of ambiguity. For most people, scaling that one is too much to ask.