Putin’s Other War of Attrition

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Alexei Navalny, Russia’s opposition leader and founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, died today as a complication of Vladimir Putin’s trumped-up imprisonment.

Reports indicate Navalny died of an embolism, though no independent autopsy has been scheduled. Putin had previously tried to poison Navalny with nerve agent novichok, the same poison used against former double agent Sergei Skripal in 2018.

Navalny’s work documenting Russia’s corruption tweaked not only Putin but his underbosses and capos.

The example in the video above, centered on the family of Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, offers a reason why Putin targeted Navalny: the Russian emperor is an organized crime overlord whose henchmen have hollowed out Russia.

This is a key reason, too, why Russia is engaged in a war of attrition against Ukraine. It can’t muster the military might to take out Ukraine because its defense department has been riddled with leaks siphoning off the resources needed to build a first world credible military, just as Chaika and his family have bled Russia’s law enforcement and tax revenue structure.

While we can thank this hollowing out for preventing an absolute blow-out against Ukraine, the Russian military as it exists continues to offer the corrupt regime opportunities to vacuum more resources out of the country.

Navalny’s continued existence was a threat to what was yet another of Putin’s war of attrition – the one of organized crime against the Russian people.

It has not helped that the Republican Party has been aiding and abetting Putin’s antidemocratic efforts against Russians by supporting Putin’s useful idiots, most especially Donald Trump.

It has not helped that useful idiots like Tucker Carlson have been so eager to kneel down before Putin and kiss his ring.

Former ambassador and academic Michael McFaul was blunt in his assessment: “Putin killed Navalny, let’s be crystal clear about that.

Though Navalny had been declared a political prisoner by Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Putin certainly did nothing to ensure the safety and longevity of Navalny, who had been transferred to high security penal facility IK-3 in late December 2023.

How convenient for Putin to have Tucker Carlson interview him the week before Navalny died out of the public’s view in thinly-populated western Siberia, providing a synthetic gloss of western approbation over Putin’s criminality.

Navalny may have lost this war of attrition but he was right: “Listen, I’ve got something very obvious to tell you. You’re not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong.”

If Navalny had not continued to pose a threat to Putin’s regime, he would have been ignored.

205 replies
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  2. Rayne says:

    This is the kind of bullshit MAGA voters want — a Putin-wannabe who’ll institute the same kind of lawlessness and authoritarian system rampant with corruption.

    We already had a taste of it during Trump’s first term when he was still restrained. If Trump was willing to issue a Muslim ban his first week in office in 2017 without adequate advance review by Department of Justice, imagine what he’ll do on Day One if elected to a second term.

    • xyxyxyxy says:

      Every time a Republican administration gets voted out, Democrats have to fix things.
      If he’s voted in, MAGATs are going to look for Democrats to bail them out again.

    • Yohei1972 says:

      Meanwhile, Trumpers (or maybe sometimes paid simulations of such) are all over comment threads saying this is what Biden supporters want, comparing the court travails of Trump to those of Navalny. More of their strategy of denying the plainly visible truth over and over again, per Goebbels’ prescription.

      • Rayne says:

        DARVO writ large, across society. Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.

        — This isn’t what Trump wants;
        — This is what Biden and his supporters want;
        — MAGAts are the victims;
        — Biden commits these offenses against MAGAts.

        Meanwhile under their noses, the orange twatwaffle who was found responsible for sexual assault continued to defame his victim until held accountable for defamation to the tune of millions. Same tangerine bawbag found guilty of frauds cheating the public of tax revenues, held accountable for his ill-gotten gains.

        The level of denial is incredible.

        • dopefish says:

          I’m just starting to read the 92-page judgement against Trump and his sons and his companies.

          If only there were some way to make every MAGAt read it. Their orange leader has been getting away with so much, for so long, that he thinks he’s entitled, and that all of society should just grin and bear the costs he externalizes onto others.

          I hope his criminal cases go equally well for him. DJT deserves absolutely everything that is coming for him, and a whole lot more.

    • timbozone says:

      If Navalny was killed, this is definitely a message to others running against Putin and his faction in Russia’s upcoming so-called elections. Perhaps it is a sign that there will not be another election under the current Russian Constitution after this one…

  3. Fancy Chicken says:

    Damn Rayne, this is the first I heard of his death. What terrible, terrible news.

    I worry now for Vladimir Kara-Murza.

  4. vilesdavis says:

    Navalny’s death is an assassination, whether it was accomplished by direct action or intentional medical neglect. Putin deserves to be tried for this and other crimes. However, Navalny’s opposition to Putin should be understood in the context of his own beliefs. Navalny was a self-avowed nationalist and a xenophobe. He never disavowed his well-documented anti-migrant beliefs, and in fact confirmed them in interviews as recently as 2021. I am glad he opposed an authoritarian and a greater evil in Putin, and I am sorry he lost his life in doing so, but I don’t think that makes him a martyr.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks for parroting the anti-Navalny propaganda which has been spreading since his death was announced several hours ago. You’ve got it down right to the letter, too.

      What a coincidence this is your first known comment here as well. But I’ll cut you some slack since you must be sick having used a hospital’s IP address.

      • Ithaqua0 says:

        Actually, this take on Navalny has been around for at least a couple of years. I remember reading some similar stuff about the time he first got sent to prison. I’m sure it’s ramped up again today, though.

        • Rayne says:

          True, true. Each time there’s been some benchmark the trolls come out and push this stuff.

          The other refrain making the rounds is that Navalny was no friend to Ukraine. Well now the world will never know if the Russian people would have elected Navalny and whether his foreign policy would have pushed for the launch of a grossly ineffective blitz on Ukraine now, will we.

          • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

            For an American reading Ukraine Twitter is like being a blind man without taste buds eating a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get, and you’re not sure what anything was, but I do remember reading quite a bit of disappointment which seemed authentic in the early months of the war, when Navalny’s movement didn’t take to the streets.

            From the perspective of a Westerner who does not like being tortured, this is understandable, but from the perspective of Ukrainians whose families were being killed and tortured by Russia, I think it was very disappointing about Russia. Navalny gave his full measure, but I don’t think Navalny’s movement will recover because you disappear into the crowd and it makes you complicit in the genocide. Although it was the same with Denial of Peter and Jesus forgave him, but I don’t know if Peter ever forgave himself.

            • Rayne says:

              You realize Russians holding blank pieces of paper in protest against the war on Ukraine were being arrested and jailed, yes? I saw that in Ukraine and Russian Twitter quite a few times the first year while I was still on Twitter. A lot of protesters have been jailed. Christ, Putin swatted his own best boy out of the sky for protesting Putin’s conduct of the war, or have you forgotten Wagner Group?

              Further, you need to ask yourself who the entities have been inside Russia who’ve been helping blow up shit since Putin launched the attack on Ukraine. They weren’t Ukrainians. Just because they’re not making a big show for the benefit of the west doesn’t mean they’re not resisting.

              • Dark Phoenix says:

                Apparently, people who are putting out flowers and holding vigils for him are being told to go home or they’ll be arrested. Can’t imagine why no one would be protesting in THAT environment…

              • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

                The Russian people are terrorized by Putin. My point is that from what I can see Ukrainians do not sympathize as a general rule and don’t sympathize with the Navalny movement. The everyday Russian people in Navalny’s movement not been willing to die like Ukrainians, in the thousands and thousands. Maybe it’s not fair for Ukrainians to expect Russian intelligentsia to go to jail for twenty years to stop their government from genocide. I feel like Navalny and Ukraine were on the same side in an existential struggle, but from what I could see on Twitter, Ukrainians were genuinely disappointed in the Navalny movement’s response to the war at the start. When people saw that the few who did protest in Russia, were basically giving up their freedom for decades, but try arguing with Ukrainians to be sympathetic towards the terrorized Russian people. You tell them they are dehumanizing Russians.

                • Rayne says:

                  You’re expecting anti-Putin Russians to commit to a civil war for the benefit of Ukraine.

                  It’d be like asking liberal outgunned Americans to launch a civil war because Trump declared war on Mexico, except Russia has an internal surveillance culture which makes ours look insipid.

                  • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

                    Not for Ukraine. Overthrowing Hitler wouldn’t have been done for the benefit of the Jews, but because the atrocious spectacles of fascism are the eschatological constitution of damnation, an existential fallenness. So much propaganda denies this, but I think you can find this is true in human symbolic consciousness and love without a religious story, but why I brought up the Denial of Peter was to agree it is too much to expect the Russians to escape from damnation themselves. I don’t mean to proselytize. How could I? Why I mentioned Denial of Peter is that Jesus forgave Peter for hiding in the crowd. I think it is a very powerful part of the Bible that his most trusted disciples hid during the crucifixion.

                    • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

                      I was thinking about this question you asked:

                      “Further, you need to ask yourself who the entities have been inside Russia who’ve been helping blow up shit since Putin launched the attack on Ukraine.”

                      For my part I have been thinking those are mostly FSB operations. I have a dark view of Putin. For example, I think he wants to draw the United States into the Ukraine War, because war with the United States would never end because neither could ever win, but it will allow him to rebirth totalitarianism and carry out purges in Russia. That’s why I think FSB is behind the fires and bombings. I think those are a coordinated plan to establish the social conditions for a purge and to establish Russia as an Orthodox Christian terror state. That’s what I think is going on over there!

                      I remember reading Timothy Snyder about how Putin was the protege of a powerful KGB leader who was an opponent of Gorbachev in a powerful group who thought the dissolution of the Soviet Union had been because purge had been neglected during the Brezhnev years. Glasnost and Perestroika were a phenomenological crisis. It created a counter-revolutionary social reality like a tissue developing cancer. A nation needs to purge itself with its security apparatus like a body needs to purge cancerous cells with its immune system.

                      Stalin began the purges with genocide in Ukraine, and this instilled terror throughout Russia. I think Putin primarily sees the Ukraine war through the lens of building the right social conditions in Russia to turn the genocide inward and rebirth totalitarian terror. It is very hard to understand the meaning because Putin uses atrocity where the violence has a ‘real’ part, where Putin wants to take over this or that city in Ukraine, to conquer it, but then there is how something like Bucha, is a cleansing (zachistka) to make an atrocity exhibition for his own citizens to consume in the media.

      • JimmyAnderson says:

        Navalny’s past far-right, nationalist politics are well-documented Rayne.

        Let’s recall his bravery in broadcasting the filthy corruption of, and standing up against Putin’s genocidal regime – without depicting him as some sort of saint….. which he certainly was not.

        • Harry Eagar says:

          He was popular in Russia because he was a Russian nationalist. And promoter of a more open society.

          Whether Ukrainians were or were not disappointed because the Navalny group did not rise up, they should not have been surprised.

          They didn’t rise up when Putin moved into Crimea, either. (I ignore the question of why Crimea was ‘part of Ukraine.’

        • timbozone says:

          Links or references to show this please? Yeah, there’s been plenty of Russian and specifically RT propaganda about the Ukraine and the West being dominated by Nazis too. How much of that is true is hard to say, particularly when there are no verifiable sources. Where are your sources and references for what you are asserting about Navalny?

          • Lit_eray says:

            His history begs for examination.

            h ttps://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-evolution-of-alexey-navalnys-nationalismz ;
            “Navalny’s political views have developed in an unusually public way over the past decade. He has never apologized for his earliest xenophobic videos or his decision to attend the Russian March. At the same time, he has adopted increasingly left-leaning economic positions and has come out in support of the right to same-sex marriage. This strategy of adopting new positions—without ever explicitly denouncing old ones—is probably the reason the suspicion of ethno-nationalism continues to shadow Navalny.”

            h ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexei_Navalny :
            “Also in 2007, Navalny co-founded the National Russian Liberation Movement, known as NAROD (The People), which sets immigration policy as a priority.[64] The movement allied itself with two nationalist groups, the Movement Against Illegal Immigration and Great Russia.”

            h ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Russian_Liberation_Movement :
            “According to its manifesto, the movement upholds the following principles:
            • The main task of the Russian state is to stop the process of degradation of Russian civilization and create conditions for the preservation and development of the Russian people, their culture, language, and historical territory. The indigenous peoples of Russia are firmly inscribed in Russian civilization and have long since united their fate with the Russian people. National minorities have every opportunity, both for successful assimilation and for the preservation of national identity.
            • It is necessary to restore the organic unity of the Russian past, present and future, officially declaring today’s Russia the legal successor of all forms of Russian statehood – from Kievan Rus’ and the Novgorod Republic to the USSR
            … selective and arbitrary snip …
            • Self-defense is everyone’s right. Any law-abiding citizen of Russia has the right to free possession of short-barreled firearms.
            … selective and arbitrary snip …
            • “Big privatization” 1992-2006. was unfair and illegal. Revision of the results of loans-for-shares auctions, as well as the largest privatization transactions, should go through the purchase of enterprises by the state at the price of the original transaction.
            • Reasonable migration policy is a state priority. Those who come to our house, but do not want to respect our law and traditions, should be expelled.”
            … selective and arbitrary snip …
            “In 2008, the creation of the “Russian National Movement” was announced, which included the organizations Movement Against Illegal Immigration, Great Russia and NAROD. The co-chairman of the NAROD movement, Alexei Navalny, promised that the new association would participate in the next elections to the State Duma and had a chance to win. He noted: “I think such an association will receive a fairly large percentage of votes and will claim victory … Up to 60 percent of the population adheres to spontaneous nationalism, but it is not politically formalized in any way”.

            h ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movement_Against_Illegal_Immigration :
            ”The Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI; Russian: Движение против нелегальной иммиграции; ДПНИ; Dvizheniye protiv nelegalnoy immigratsii, DPNI) was a Russian far-right, nationalist and racist organization.[1] In addition to opposing illegal immigration, the DPNI targeted Russians from ethnic, religious, and sexual minority backgrounds.”

            and perhaps most interesting of all:
            h ttps://liberpedia.net/threads/Kamil-Galeev-Navalny2.pdf (22 short pages from a Russian who has followed him for years – you should read the whole thing if interested in Navalny)
            about Kamil Galeev: h ttps://en.liberpedia.org/Kamil_Galeev
            Putin propaganda? I do not think so, but who knows?

            • Rayne says:

              Please work on concision and using your own summaries where possible. At 538 words consisting of a lot of excerpted material, this is at least 238 words too long.

      • Discontinued Barbie says:

        This has been the “light” subterfuge BS talking points pumped into the progressive spheres since Navalny was considered a threat.

        One thing I will give the Russians is their ability to poison the well with their pysops game. It reminds me of how the FBI painted MLK as a philandering jerk, hoping that the church folk would reject him based on his indiscretions.

        Navalny has been anti-corruption from the get go and this is the only “talking point” they could float into thr left leaning circles to steer the conversations on the internet. Sad it still floats around as if that would negate this what this man has been able to accomplish in such a corrupt state.
        RIP, but may the fight continue on.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      It’s also not really relevant, since it sounds to me like you’re saying ‘Navalny deserved it’ because of alleged xenophobia. I’ve got some news, but the Russians in general are xenophobic at some level and have been for centuries.

      His personal views don’t change the fact that Navalny stood up to Putin knowing the risks (and surviving other assassination attempts) which is the cause we are concerned with here.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        Good luck waiting for the perfect angel to swoop in and save the world. Few people brave enough to make a stand in the face of authoritarianism such as Putin’s, do not have warts. But you are welcome to sit on your hands, waiting for perfection.

        What have You sacrificed to save democracy ?

        • P J Evans says:

          I think he was running the usual response in the US, as sarcasm. How often have we seen the GOP respond with that?

        • Rayne says:

          That. All of that. Navalny was capable of growing and maturing. Putin is not, never has been except for his greed.

          • Rugger_9 says:

            I usually describe him as an unreconstructed Soviet KGB agent because of the empire delusions. While Vlad sees himself as a Czar, he should recall what happened to the last one after military reverses due to government incompetence.

            • timbozone says:

              Putin joined the KGB for specific reasons. What those reasons were may or may not have morphed over time—it’s hard to say without actually talking to Putin directly about it…if you could even trust that source.

  5. Peterr says:

    If Navalny had not continued to pose a threat to Putin’s regime, he would have been ignored.

    It is also possible that some enterprising minion decided to earn the favor of Putin for ridding him of this meddlesome priest prisoner.

    • Rayne says:

      I thought that when I read resuscitation had been attempted for 30 minutes — as if somebody wanted him good and dead or no payout.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Or someone responded to a kingly – who will rid me of this troublesome priest? – lament, just in time for Putin’s next coronation, um, election.

    • SAOmadeLonger says:

      I’m not convinced that Navalny’s death was the result of any particular action yesterday, as opposed to being an not-uncommon effect of putting him in a brutal camp in the arctic in winter. Sentencing him there was, in effect, a death sentence, but the day and time was unknown.

      • P J Evans says:

        Embolisms happen, and they can kill you fairly quickly. I knew someone who died from one in his lung; he collapsed and was DOA.

      • dopefish says:

        Thats what I wonder as well.

        I vaguely recall a theory from some historian that Navalny would be used as a bargaining chip if and when Putin’s regime ever had to sue for peace in Ukraine. They could let him out of prison, install him in some government post to win some points in the West. …whether he would co-operate in such a plan, always seemed qestionable to me.

        But anyway, Navalny alive in prison was a message to anyone who would oppose Putin, and a potential bargaining chip he could use later. Now he’s a martyr instead.

        • timbozone says:

          That would never happen. If there’s one thing Putin’s regime will not be encouraging, it will not be encouraging others, more Russians or others, to destabilize Putin’s regime.

        • dopefish says:

          I don’t remember where I first heard that bargaining chip idea mentioned.

          I did just find this Nov 2022 article in The Guardian where Navalny’s chief aide Leonid Volkov, during a visit to London, described the conditions of Navalny’s solitary confinement and also mentioned the idea that his incarceration might have value to Putin as a bargaining chip in any eventual negotiations to end the war in Ukraine.

          So that idea was out there, at least.

          • Rayne says:

            Navalny was always one of the bargaining chips in theory — but it was the timing in this case.

            Recall when Putin made the most recent suggestion he’d negotiate over Ukraine.

  6. wetzel-rhymes-with says:

    Interesting how D’Souza, Gorka, and dozens of others on Twitter saying in unison what happened to Navalny is what Biden is doing to Trump. Putin had said he prefers Biden, so Navalny becomes a surrogate victim for Trump and makes Biden the murderer. I think this is very well thought out propaganda that works like archaic religion.

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      Because Navalny also got due process while campaigning for president of Russia and decompensating on public stages and social media. Oh wait….

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Very well-timed and orchestrated propaganda. It’s almost as if they had advance notice.

      The analog is cartoonish, but the lingering sensation it induces in the true believer is pernicious. It deserves to be picked apart. Joe Biden is not, for example, imprisoning, starving, or poisoning Donald Trump, or asking him to enjoy the view from a window, or inducing an embolism by way of beatings or an injection of air. But even as sarcasm, the analogy fails.

      Joe Biden’s DoJ and others are prosecuting him in the ordinary course of business for 91 alleged felonies. If the situation were reversed, Donny Trump might do such things to his critics. This sort of propaganda helps create the atmosphere in which he could do such things.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        This sort of propaganda, along with the kind where Hannity bases 80+ hits on the debunked FD 1023 from Smirnov. If you cover your eyes and your ears, you can pretend there’s no other story.

      • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

        The kind of claim being asserted here isn’t for Toulmin logic to pick apart, because that’s for looking at evidence and its warrant. How Trump has made himself impervious to Toulmin logic is the power propaganda claim that he is a fascist Great Leader who is an avatar of the law and the mediator of what is real. It’s a form of social ritual that asserts this understanding as empirical evidence.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          Interesting, I see “Toulmin Logic” in an emptywheel post. Stephen Toulmin was my brother-in-law. 😁
          His third and last wife, Donna, is my wife’s sister.
          R.I.P Stephen.

          • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

            That’s really cool. Please tell Donna her late husband’s analytical framework has helped me a lot with my work doing scientific QC of clinical trial submission documents. I’m sure it’s helped a lot of lawyers think straight about how evidentiary claims are justified or credible, whether they know it or not. I think about Toulmin whenever someone questions the use of philosophy.

            My wife’s great grandfather’s brother was Harry Houdini. My oldest son locked himself in the trunk of our Volvo 740 and almost died one time.

            • Alan Charbonneau says:

              He was a bright guy. I read a bit of his “Abuse of Casuistry” which begins with a discussion on abortion. It’d be nice to think of someone employing his framework to address abortion, immigration, etc., but shrill politics is what we get instead.

              Stephen’s been gone over 14 years now (December 4, 2009) — I can’t imagine what he’d think of the US today.

              Harry Houdini, huh? Sometimes having a famous ancestor can be dangerous to your health.😁

      • Marc in Denver says:

        “inducing an embolism by way of beatings or an injection of air” — or “accidentally” adding an air bubble to and injection of “vitamins” or other “medications”.

    • Matt Foley says:

      D’Souza and Fox News are awfully quiet about the bombshell that just came out: True The Vote admitted in court they have no evidence of election fraud on which 2000 Mules is based.

      • wetzel-rhymes-with says:

        He will still make a lot of money this year, which is impossible to attribute except that he is a perfect spokesperson for Trump, because there’s The Economic Law of D’Souza. There is always that guy, the O’Keefe’s or Mark Penn’s, but with D’Souza there’s no internal symbolic consciousness. He is 2000 mules carrying cargo 200. His constitution is the mimetic crisis of the Stalinist subject, like living your life staring into the black mirror after the movie stops.

        • Matt Foley says:

          MAGA sheep love to spend their money on Trump’s grifts while complaining about inflation. Personal choice totally owns the libs. Or something.

  7. scroogemcduck says:

    Start the countdown to Trump describing Putin as “smart”, “tough”, “strong”, “brilliant”…

          • Ginevra diBenci says:

            I hope Stewart resists the temptation to both-sides this into the maelstrom, with himself looking down from some mythically objective above.

            • Peterr says:

              The only time I’ve seen Stewart engage in bothsiderism is when he went after Congress as a whole for failing to fully pay for the medical expenses for those who cleaned up Ground Zero after 9/11.

            • Molly Pitcher says:

              Oh you mean like he did in his first show back equating Biden and Trump as equally too old to be President? I had genuinely missed him, but this was a shocking gut punch. I had to turn him off.

              It is time for the few remaining journalists to step up and expose the members of Congress who are owned by Russia. Take the damn gloves off.

              • Peterr says:

                I took that routine from Stewart to be “Methinks the Trump camp complains too much” – i.e., a Trump attack is a confession.

                • Molly Pitcher says:

                  The problem is all of the late night guys are scoring cheap laughs off of Biden’s gaffes. It is like the drip, drip drip of water that eventually splits the rock. The young voters, who are desperately needed, are already pissed at Biden for his support of Israel. We cannot afford for them to stay home on election day to ‘send a message’ the way the young voters did with Hillary.

                  Young voters do not have the historical context, or maturity to pinch their nose and vote for the person who is going to protect democracy even if he isn’t perfect. They have the self-righteous purity of youth driving their decisions.

                  • Just Some Guy says:

                    Among other things it’s far too early for regarding the presidential election *checks watch* nine whole months from now, blaming a particular demographic is sure high on the list.

                  • ExRacerX says:

                    1) Stewart’s a comedian and can joke about whatever he wishes.

                    2) The fact is, both Trump AND Biden are objectively old and frequently mis-speak, make gaffes, etc. That is NOT both-sidesism; it’s the elephant in the room.

                    I think Stewart parsed it just perfectly, and I’m older than he is.

                    • Alan Charbonneau says:

                      I’m hoping someone runs a “then and now” ad. Show a clip of Biden from 30 years ago, then one from his NATO Summit address. Then show Trump in the mid-90’s and compare it to a recent rally. I’ve seen old clips of Trump. He may have been lying through his teeth or not possessing real knowledge, but he sounded reasonably intelligent and almost likeable.

                      Over 30 years, Biden sounds older. But he sounds like a statesman. Trump sounds deranged, showing YUGE cognitive decline.

                    • Molly Pitcher says:

                      You are right. He can say anything he wants, (see Trump). I am just suggesting that there is a cost to society for recklessly doing that. And for someone who has espoused worthy causes, such as the Vets and the 9/11 first responders, this is pretty short sighted, self serving behavior.

                      All of the late night guys post on Instagram and TikTok and that is where younger demographic groups see them. Everyone knows that Biden is old, continuing to pick that scab only undermines an already tenuous situation.

                      If Biden’s age is really so egregious, why didn’t he start proposing someone new a year ago when a viable alternate candidate might have had the possibility of building enough support to mount a challenge ? Barring that, this is just gratuitous cheap shots.

                  • Harry Eagar says:

                    Oh, I dunno about that. I cast my first vote for Humphrey. Spock and Cleaver were also on the ballot in Virginia.

                    Looking back, I think HHH may have been the third-worst major party candidate of all time (close call with Wilson).

              • Tech Support says:

                I think there is a difference between “both-siding” which I think of as a lazy substitute for impartiality that projects a false equivalence, and doing a good job of actually being impartial.

                I didn’t watch the monologue so I can’t swag about where it falls, but I watched a lot of him back in the day and always felt like he was striving to be genuinely impartial. The criticism of Stewart from the right has always been connected to their demands for false equivalency from the media.

                While I think it’s true that criticism of the administration from the left can be taken out of context or be manipulated to weaken support for Biden among some people, I think it’s also true that there are others that are paying attention and can tell when someone is applying a double standard and not holding their own side accountable. If the message is “they are both old but only one of them talks about injecting people with bleach” then I think that’s fine to say.

  8. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    Anyone who can fog a mirror knows Trump and Tucker Carlson communicate with Putin and his organized crime syndicate members regularly.

    Someone should ask Tucker Carlson if he discussed Navalny off the record, hence not videotaped or audio recorded, with Putin when Carlson and Putin recently met in person.

    I doubt, however, if Tucker will accept or answer questions about Navalny.

    • CaptainCondorcet says:

      Right on. But i think it’s even more. You will never convince me until the day I leave this planet that Carlson’s “leadership means killing some people” wasn’t a telegraphed line to Putin that the GOP under Trump was a green light for offing Navalny. There are no coincidences in international politics, and when there somehow are, you see a flurry of panic from every angle. A major Trump verdict is expected today, the first of probably many, and this is the day Navalny dies after a walk? Pardon the French, but bull-fucking-shit.

      • Sussex Trafalgar says:

        I agree.

        Putin likely asked Carlson if the US public knew who Navalny was or cared about him. Tucker would say no and Putin would, therefore, terminate Navalny.

        I bet Putin conferred with Trump prior to invading Ukraine, too. And Biden surprised Trump and Putin by not only holding NATO together, but strengthening it.

        • ButteredToast says:

          I don’t doubt that Putin sat for this “interview” with Carlson as part of his ongoing effort to splinter Western support for Ukraine. But Putin doesn’t need to ask Carlson or Trump what the American rightwing reaction would be to killing Navalny or invading Ukraine. Those two idiots are useful indeed, but they can’t provide any insight into MAGA public opinion that can’t be gleaned from just watching Fox, Newsmax, Bannon’s show, etc., and examining precedent from the last eight years.

          Also, Putin has intelligence agencies that he probably regards as more reliable and thorough than buffoons like Trump or Tucker, whom he treats with barely disguised contempt. (Granted, there’s plenty of evidence that Russian foreign intelligence isn’t exactly faultless.)

          • Sussex Trafalgar says:

            It’s also possible Putin was interviewing Tucker Carlson to be Trump’s VP running mate for the 2024 Presidential Election. Tucker would be the perfect useful idiot for Putin.

            Trump needs Putin, Putin’s cash and Putin’s oligarchs’ cash, especially after today’s ruling.

            • Tech Support says:

              Putin mocked Carlson in Russian media following the interview. I don’t think we should underestimate the degree to which the interview was granted in order to promote Putin’s narratives with the Russian people in the run-up to his orchestrated re-election.

              • Sussex Trafalgar says:

                I agree. Putin has already convinced the Russian population that he controls Trump. Now, if he shows the Russian population that he also controls who Trump chooses for his VP running mate, that helps Putin in his election next month.

                • ButteredToast says:

                  In my opinion, you’re overthinking this. Putin’s obviously very conscious of his domestic image, but he doesn’t need Carlson’s help for the next controlled election. Putin has neutralized any viable opposition candidates or parties. Even were Navalny still alive, he wouldn’t be allowed to run. Just as importantly, Putin has suppressed what independent media still existed in Russia prior to the full invasion of Ukraine. Where Carlson can potentially help Putin is in solidifying Republican opposition to aiding Ukraine. And the horrible thing is that Putin doesn’t need to give secret orders or hatch a conspiracy to do this—just take advantage of Tucker’s ego, stupidity, and white nationalism, along with his hold on rightwing American voters.

                  Also, the idea that Putin was interviewing Carlson to be Trump’s running mate sounds downright conspiratorial. There’s no evidence for this theory whatsoever and many logical objections to it. (Apologies if you meant it tongue-in-cheek.)

                  • Sussex Trafalgar says:

                    No, no TNC.

                    Yes, Putin is always looking in the US for young people who support his causes and who can convince others, including Independents and Republicans, to support his causes.

                    Tucker Carlson is the perfect VP running mate for Trump because he is not currently in the House or Senate. Trump cannot afford to have the House or Senate controlled by Democrats.

  9. Old Rapier says:

    So has Governor Abbott or President Trump himself sent congratulations to the President? This should be the obvious question any writer of haver of opinions should ask. Seriously. It’s 40 years since Newt adopted and then established and institutionalized patently absurd slanders as due respect by our journalists and havers of opinions.
    I’ve heard that Putin sent best regards to Abbott for the border, and even offered troops to help. Pass it on. Yep, the Red Star over Texas. Too rich.

  10. dar_5678 says:

    I’d just like to point out that “embolism” is not differentiable from “bullet to the head” when disclosed by the Russian state. Nor, for that matter, are “dead” and “captive”.

    Even in the least culpable interpretation, and even if “embolism” is the true proximate cause of death, obviously this is a premeditated murder of intentional neglect — but why does Putin bother to pull the slightest of veneers over his crimes? It’s not like anyone is honestly confused. Defenestration, Novichok, aircraft failure, embolism, whatever.

    But the veneer lets his supporters and apologists (I’m most concerned about the US-based ones) equivocate. This is so far beyond plausible deniability, I don’t even know what to call it.

  11. earthworm says:

    Navalny: it boggles, and yet still, why did he go back?
    Did the man have a death wish?
    There was no uncertainty about what his fate would be.
    (In my mind anyway.)

    • CaptainCondorcet says:

      Because he could do more dying an extended martyr’s death in his country than falling out of a French window. Wouldn’t you prefer to die at home if your death was scheduled?

      • earthworm says:

        Navalny death: that may be so, for someone driven by ferocious principle, even to the extent of sacrificing his own life.
        It causes me to think that the US should look to its own reputation. Perhaps the Biden administration will pardon and release Leonard Peltier.
        i do not mean this to be taken as snark; more like the adage about first removing the beam in one’s own eye.

        • CaptainCondorcet says:

          I am going to choose to believe you have a long history of Native American activism and feel a deep sense of sorrow as a result of reading this article for all who are victims of historical trauma. Because otherwise I would almost think you are equating a troubled but convicted murderer to a nonviolent political activist in an attempt to muddy the narrative of Putin atrocities. And surely no troll would be dumb enough to try that here.

          • Error Prone says:

            Quite recently, it seems, there was attrition of Wagner mercenary leadership, a trifecta, in an unfortunate airplane crash. Another case of returning when a small voice within might have been saying, “What?”

            • Harry Eagar says:

              Returning to Russia for an unhappy end is practically a national tradition: from Kamenev (from internal exile) to Kapitsa, and many, many others.

              Trotsky was unusual in not returning.

              I have no insight into Navalny’s decision, but it was not as aberrant as Americans seem to think.

        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          Decades ago, I saw a lot of “Free Leonard Peltier”. I was tempted to print a “Fuck Leonard Peltier” bumper sticker for my own car. I’ve read about his case in multiple sources and one thing is clear—he’s a convicted murderer for a reason: he murdered two FBI agents..

    • Peterr says:

      He went back for the same reason Dietrich Bonhoeffer went back to Nazi Germany in the 1930s from his theological studies in NYC. It was his home, and he could not bear that others were struggling against the forces of oppression while he was in (relative) safety elsewhere.

      IOW, they both went home, because that’s where the fight was. Both knew what the likely result would be, and still, they went. Not because they had a death wish, but because of their love for their brothers and sisters back home.

      Picture a parent running into a burning building to retrieve their children from the flames.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        That’s exactly right, peterr. If we are not willing to sacrifice ourselves for what we believe in then we are not part of humanity and caring.

    • Marinela says:

      I see Navalny as a tragic figure, product of an archaic no-hope society.
      Returning to Russia, he was probably thinking there is enough support from the population to keep him safe and continue the opposition to Putin.
      The support is probably there, it is just difficult to channel that support to an effective opposition to Putin’s regime.
      There are no independent institutions left to function as arbiters of truth in Russia.
      For example the courts never pushed back on his bogus indictment.

      Was he better to mounting the opposition from outside Russia, was the Russian population going to support him as Putin replacement if he did that?

      If you grew up in US, it is not possible to understand the effects the Russian culture has on population. They just see the suffering as a given.

      His death is horrible news to any hope of democratic turns in Russia.

    • SAOmadeLonger says:

      Navalny returned to Russia because he cared deeply about the fate of Russia and had the guts to lay his life on the line for her. He could have gone to the West, given speeches, gotten a professorship, been a commentator on TV while Putin blithely continued to destroy Russia.

      Of Course, Navalny knew the risks. Look at what happened to Nemtsov, to Listyev, to Politkovskaya, to Lebedev, to Yuschenko. I’m sure the average Russian could add a hell of a lot more names to that list.

      Navalny had guts!

  12. MsJennyMD says:

    History proves that all dictatorships, all authoritarian forms of government are transient. Only democratic systems are not transient. Whatever the shortcomings, mankind has not devised anything superior.
    Vladimir Putin

  13. Alan Charbonneau says:

    “…it’s defense department has been riddled with leaks siphoning off the resources needed to build a first world credible military…”. I saw a YouTube video from Arthur Rehi (formerly “Estonian Soldier”) showing Russians taking a claymore mine and breaking it into bits with an axe. There was shrapnel inside, but no explosive. Everyone in the food chain is siphoning off money at every level.

    Unfortunately, Russia has adapted to a wartime economy and can produce lots of low-tech materiel such as trucks and armored personnel carriers. They put the museum-piece tanks that are on display in “great squares” across Russia into service. Plus, it is getting shells from North Korea. There’s not great quality control on the N. Korea shells and rockets, but even if 10-15% malfunction or even kill the crew, Russia doesn’t care about personnel losses and they still kill Ukrainians. Also, Russia uses its small amount of high tech strategically, like adding gps control to 500 lb. “dumb bombs”, of which they have plenty. The Russians pair low-tech with high tech and they can get a bomb that can get somewhat near the target; the payload does the rest.

    Ukraine continues to need help. I thought the aid package was dead in the Senate, not just the House and suddenly it’s in Speaker Johnson’s hands. How? I really missed something. It might be the opiates — I’m 16 days post-op for a knee replacement and I took Oxycodone for three days after surgery. Maybe I didn’t pay attention at the right time. But glad to see it go to the House and glad to see even an insurrectionist, Mo Brooks, say that Russia is an enemy of the USA.
    (2024 is surreal, in the last few weeks, I’ve agreed with Ann Coulter, John Cornyn, and, now, Mo Brooks. I feel like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone).

    • Steve in Manhattan says:

      That tank thing fascinates me – I believe it was Malcolm Nance who pointed out that they were pulling tanks off monuments to press them into service. Not as simple as just a jump start that …

  14. thequickbrownfox says:

    For those that have a (worthwhile) hour to kill, this is a video of a Finnish professor’s lecture (retired Finnish intelligence officer) explaining the present and historical structure of Russian government, and why Russians behave the way they do. It’s the most cogent explanation that I’ve seen, and from the Finnish perspective, which, considering the historical interaction between Finland and Russia, is a perspective that shouldn’t be discounted. The lecture was recorded in 2018, and is a deep dive into Russian corruption, and why the populace puts up with it. The lecture is translated with English subtitles. (I hope this link is ‘clean’ enough to pass moderation)


      • Rayne says:

        Thanks to thequickbrownfox for the video and to you for the transcript. This bit is resonant and painful:

        Another point is that when you reach a certain position, you are entitled to a certain amount of corruption. That is, a certain degree of power gives you the right to a certain degree of corruption, too. At a lower rank, you didn’t get to steal that much. The higher you get, the more you get to steal. It had rules. Those rules had to be followed, they weren’t written rules, of course, but everyone knew these rules of the game.

        This same system is currently in Russia. The nomenclature tells who is on what scale compared to everyone else and how much corruption he is allowed to take. These business oligarchs also belong to this group. The rules are as follows: You must not steal from the wrong guy or you’re not allowed to steal more than your position allows you to. You only steal the amount of your position in the hierarchy.

        This is what Putin wants on a global basis: he and his chosen oligarchs at the top of the ladder, stealing that to which they believe they are entitled.

        Nope, nope, nope.

          • Rayne says:

            He’s an abuser, and DARVO is an abuser’s behavior. He believes Americans are abusers like him or persons who should be abused.

            It’s a really sad worldview.

              • dopefish says:

                Trump’s attitude toward former and serving military is a great example of this. Its incomprehensible to him why anyone would sacrifice for their country, or why other (decent) people would respect them for those sacrifices.

                To Trump, they are just suckers and losers.. fools for doing something Trump himself would never do. He feels contempt towards them for not being as selfish and craven as he himself is.

            • Yohei1972 says:

              Yes, it’s a tragic worldview, for him and the people he abuses and exploits, which unfortunately is now the country and the world.

              I’ve recently been reading the book “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” by Bessel van der Kolk, as a way into understanding better a loved one dealing with complex PTSD from childhood abuse and neglect. I also found it often made me think of Trump, whose behavior fits to a tee the author’s description of adults raised without love and caring. His wild careening from desperately seeking approval to lashing out in paranoid hostility is a classic symptom. I was surprised to find the book has mildly increased my sympathy for Trump as a deeply damaged and unhappy individual. Doesn’t change my loathing for him as a public figure or my fear and disgust at his past, present, and future actions.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                The thimble filled with my empathy for Donny Trump tipped over some time ago. I understand how grasping and abusive his father was, how emotionally incapable his mother, how painfully cowed his siblings.

                But Donny flourished in it, not despite it. He’s not Gollum corrupted by the Ring. He’s a bad seed.

                • -mamake- says:

                  I agree w/ Earl. I’ve been immersed in traumatology for most of my adult life, have studied with the best researchers and clinicians.
                  I also practice deep compassion for those who are wounded and harm others in their attempts to annihilate their own suffering.
                  However, this person is so empty and so craven w/out an ounce of self-reflection that there is no microscopic remnant of humanity in him that might be redeemed, yes, subjectively, IMHO.
                  If there was ever an authentic crack in his concretized armour, there might be a few who would dribble out more sympathy for this devil.
                  However, were that to ever occur, it would be very telling if _anyone_ in his inner circle would be drawn to comfort him.
                  I doubt that we’ll ever see it – either the authentic vulnerable human, or the loving response.

                • coalesced says:

                  While I agree with you Earl, The above mentioned book “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma,” is a damn good one and highly recommended for potentially related reasons. While I also share very little empathy for Trump, empathy itself will be a cornerstone of the healing process following a still hypothetical Trump loss. And I don’t just mean an election loss.

                  I mean loss as in narcissistic collapse. His internal world is facing increasing injuries in both number and severity. His defenses will require escalating internal/external grandiosity and escalating external calls for those “truly responsible” to be held accountable (via increasing levels of violence.) The spouse of a malignant narcissist is at greatest risk when they proclaim their intention to leave, as rage immediately follows. Apply the same cycle/dynamics to a larger scale.

                  The entire infrastructure in place under his command is a hierarchy where other malignant narcissists have been rewarded, elevated and now thrive, applying the same cycles/dynamics. The literature in the realm of supporting those who have friends/family in an abusive relationship holds quite a few lessons in regards to how to approach the masses that have succumbed to the spell. Post trump win or lose.

              • Matt___B says:

                van der Kolk’s book became a best-seller and he has acquired somewhat of a reputation as the father of “trauma-sensitive” modalities that have been around since the Me Too movement surfaced around 2017.

                He and others (e.g. Stephen Porges etc.) have been lumped together as proponents of “Polyvagal Theory”, which some therapists and teachers in various “trauma-sensitive” fields (psychology, yoga, mindfulness etc.) swear by him and other (likely hardcore materialistic) scientists are calling “junk science”.

                Apparently there’s a duking it out going on in these communities nowadays. It’s not discredited, but not widely accepted either…

        • RipNoLonger says:

          Isn’t this, in a way, what raw capitalism also leads to? Thems that have will work with others like them and fence off the Others. Regulations and laws are the tools that help even the field a bit, but backroom deals will always be present.

          • Rayne says:

            This is why democracy is being attacked — it represents a means for everyone to have a say in governance including regulation to assure fairness in commerce and elsewhere, including distribution of excess wealth in the form of tax revenues used for services and infrastructure.

            This is why news media has not been saved by the wealthy but instead suppressed — because the democratization of news about governance means the wealthy will be pressured to pay a fair share in tax revenues or invest in a way which benefits the commons.

            The backroom may always be there but so long as we have an actual democracy we can force greater transparency on it.

  15. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    And the world is a little darker as of today…

    Navalny always came across as a really good guy…

    Not the least bit surprised at the outcome here…

    What’s that line from ‘Paradise Lost’?

    “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”?

    That always comes to mind when I find myself thinking about Putin…

  16. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Note that if Donny Trump wants to appeal the $364 million judgment against him by Judge Engoron, in his NY civil fraud trial, he’ll have to pony up about 110% of the award, cash or bond, to appeal it.

    I was disappointed Engoron decided not to appoint a receiver for Trump’s businesses, in effect, force them into dissolution. They have been running frauds for so long, and will continue to be with any Trump or Trump loyal executives running them, that barring them permanently from doing business in NY seemed like an appropriate response.

    I can’t imagine Donny not appealing this. But so far, he hasn’t ponied up the money to appeal his $84 million loss to E. Jean Carroll. Does he have the money? Will his friends rally round and do it for him? Or will there soon be a fire sale among a few Trump properties?


    • Tech Support says:

      I’ve read discussion (likely here somewhere) about the ability to get a bond where the defendant would only have to put up a small percentage of the award. Given the size of this judgement and the also impending EJC judgement, it seems like Trump might have some trouble finding an entity willing to take on the associated risk.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That discussion was probably about posting bond in criminal cases. Those can be obtained for a low percentage of the face amount, paid in cash as a nonreturnable fee to a bail bondsperson. Their purpose is to ensure that you show up for legal proceedings.

        Appeals bonds in civil cases serve a different purpose. They are meant to ensure that the winner receives the full amount of the judgment, with interest, pending the outcome of sometimes lengthy appeals. They are also to discourage appeals filed to delay payment, something Donald Trump would do in a heartbeat.

    • CaptainCondorcet says:

      Fair or not to the rest of us, that judgment was clearly delivered to be pretty damn hard to appeal. No receiver, not even a five year ban, and all the pundits being wrong about a 400+ judgment. Still harsh, but not a death penalty, and in light of the absolute lack of defense (literally in the first part) as well as the hanging specter of the perjury charges, i can’t see this being reduced very much if at all.

      As for money, he’ll undoubtedly legally and illegally raid the RNC coffers, launch a fundraising drive, and get the rest from some foreign financed loan with unspoken collateral from Russia

      • ColdFusion says:

        His business licenses are still cancelled as well. That was already ordered but won’t take effect until the appeals are over. So all the business assets will have to be sold, debts paid, Trump gets the leftovers. In 3 years he can try to start a lemonade stand, or something.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Page 92, third paragraph, of the Order says that the business licenses are NOT cancelled, and may be renewed, on recommendation of the monitor or on other “substantial evidence.”

          Engoron has, however, ordered the monitor to recommend to him the authority she needs to do her job for the next three years.

          He has also ordered appointment of an Independent Compliance Director, “to ensure compliance with financial reporting obligations,” and to establish “internal written accounting and financial reporting protocols.” That will really get Donny’s goat.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            It will be crucial to see what hybrid range of authority Judge Engoron gives the monitor and independent compliance manager. He will note that in an order on the public docket. The court doesn’t care what business they engage in; it wants them not to be running frauds.

            It appears that their appointments, and the Trumps’ continuing cooperation with them, are an implied condition for not yanking Trump’s business licenses. Egregious non-cooperation would lead to increasingly harsh sanctions.

          • dopefish says:

            Page 87 has this zinger of a paragraph:

            Moreover, the fact that the Trump Organization has refused to prepare SFCs, even though various loan covenants obligate them to do so, ever since the monitor was appointed, leads the Court to conclude that the Trump Organization cannot, or will not, prepare an accurate SFC that is GAAP compliant and that values assets at their estimated current values. That the Trump Organization has taken to manufacturing its own version of its assets, one that fails to include any valuations, is a telling admission that it simply cannot, or will not, prepare an SFC without committing fraud.

            (Edit: obviously, they won’t prepare a non-fraudulent SFC because it would reveal that Trump is much less wealthy than he claims, and might even trigger a default under his loan covenants.)

            That and other conclusions by the Court, lead up to this bit at the bottom of page 88 where the Court concludes that the independent monitor needs more authority, and will need to approve financial disclosures such as the SFCs before they are shown to third parties:

            The Court hereby concludes and orders that Judge Jones shall continue in her role as Independent Monitor for a period of no less than three years. However, Judge Jones’s role and duties shall be enhanced from those operative during the preliminary injunction, as her observations over the past 14 months indicate that still more oversight is required.
            In particular, the Trump Organization shall be required to obtain prior approval—not, as things are now, subsequent review—from Judge Jones before submitting any financial disclosure to a third party, so that such disclosure may be reviewed beforehand for material misrepresentations.

            The whole conclusions section is worth reading. (Even as a layman, the entire judgement was quite easy to read and understand. Various news articles refer to the penalties as “fines” but basically its just disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.)

      • Harry Eagar says:

        I’d like some historian of the law to tell us whether an appeal from a summary judgment has ever succeeded.

    • BobBobCon says:

      I’m sure you will be sorry to know your figure of $364 billion is wrong.

      Adam Klasfeld is reporting a number more in the neighborhood of $440 million. No doubt your heart will break to hear about the extra $70 something million.

      Engoron added interest to the penalty which is how it gets there.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If you’ll check p. 91 of Engoron’s order, you’ll see that the total award against all defendants comes to just under $364 million, with accrued prejudgment interest on certain portions of it.

        An estimate for post-judgment interest is added when the court calculates the amount of the bond Trump would need to post, in order to appeal the judgment. Hence, the estimated amount of the award plus about 10%.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Unless overturned on appeal, the Trumps will have to deal with Barbara Jones as monitor for three years. That means Engoron is retaining jurisdiction for three years, too, because the monitor is just his eyes and ears inside the company.

        That will limit their ability to transact business in the ordinary Trump course of business. The visibility of this debtor will also restrict access to help from less savory supporters. It also means the Trumps will have to hire executives to do the things they can’t do for 2-3 years. Sad.

        • CaptainCondorcet says:

          I’m unfamiliar with suspension laws. Could TFG just appoint someone like Kushner to “run” the business while the family is on timeout and happen to have more family vacations with him at MAL?

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            The monitor is there to observe and report, on behalf of the court over which Engoron presides, especially about transactions over $5 million, and material transactions inconsistent with GAAP.

            Engoron’s order only bars the named individuals from doing business in NY. So, yes, Trump can name virtually anyone to purportedly run the businesses he’s not allowed to run. Being Trump, he will want puppets to stand in for him and his two elder sons.

            Judge Engoron, however, who retains jurisdiction, will be watching to see that newly-appointed managers are not mere stand-ins for Trump, which would violate his order. I’d call that a developing story.

        • -mamake- says:

          I sincerely hope she has robust protection for herself and loved ones.
          Sad to have to say that but jeez he and his spawn are evil, and most of his followers live more in their reptillian brain than any other regions.

      • ColdFusion says:

        In possibly related news, Musk’s plane landed not long ago in West Palm Beach. Maybe he’s gonna bale Trump out, or drop him off in Moscow.

      • RJames0723 says:

        Is there anything to keep the Saudis from helping him out? I doubt him being in debt for nearly half a billion dollars to a foreign country would bother his followers.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          As a private citizen and assuming the Saudi source is not operating in NY state, sure, one or more Saudis could loan/give him the money.

          The character of the loan/gift would be subject to repeated scrutiny from various authorities, to evaluate whether it was a disguised campaign contribution, a bribe, etc.

    • Benji-am-Groot says:

      Big cashish to put up for an appeal – between the Carroll and fraud verdicts looks North of $440M.

      Is Alina Habba up to the task or has the Orange Florida Man had enough of her?

      Barry Zuckerkorn may be available…

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Habba-dabba-doo. Bmaz is being kind. I don’t think she has the legal chops to do his lawyering. But Trump seems to like her as a performance artist. But at over $4 million in fees, he may rethink that.

        The number for the Carroll and James lawsuits is about $550 million, plus post-judgment interest. He’ll have to post cash or bond for more than $600 million to appeal both. Not even billionaires usually keep that much in cash or liquid assets. Fire sale coming up.

        • Benji-am-Groot says:

          Ack-Acka-Dak indeed, and could a ‘loan’ from the Saudi’s replace a fire sale? In either scenario (not a legal type here) I cannot see Engoron’s judgement being cut too drastically if at all on appeal – it seems the letter of the law was observed ln his courtroom.

          Not certain if the Carroll judgement is going to be lessened but in all cases much liquidity will be needed post haste.

          Did I say loan? I really do wonder if the former turd has found a lucrative avenue for the top secret documents he absconded with.

          Pure speculation but would MBS or Putin recognize damaged goods and demand fire sale pricing in exchange?

          A mind is a terrible thing…

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Neither judgment will be reduced or overturned if Trump doesn’t appeal it. To do that, he has to pony up the full amount of the award, plus 10-20%.

            Most press coverage ignores that when it laments how long the appeals process might take, as it does the low odds that Trump would win any appeal. First level appeals, if made, could be decided quickly. Further appeals are discretionary and are likely to be refused.

  17. Mister_Sterling says:

    Question for any State Department or Foreign Policy experts out there. Why hasn’t State put travel restrictions on travel to Russia, like it does DPRK and Cuba? Why is there only a travel advisory not to go to Russia? Shouldn’t this be upgraded to something more appropriate given we are now in year 3 of a proxy war? Is Washington DC just full of creepy dudes who have business interests in Russia? Some context – I am sick of MSNBC addicts going on and on that Russia is pulling the strings of Senators and the Speaker. I admit, as annoying as they are, some of those accusations are true. So aren’t there more tools the Biden administration can use to intercept Russian influence? Get tougher, Joe.

    • Rayne says:

      Let’s say you are in intelligence and you need to send a spy to Russia. What’s the fastest, easiest way to do it? Send a US business person (by which I mean someone who looks like a business person with a good cover story)? Or a Russian American visiting family?

      There are reasons why the door’s left open.

        • Harry Eagar says:

          Any kind. I would not have described it as a proxy war, but thinking so is not absurd.

          I was reading Robert Conquest today, who reminded me that the expansion of NATO in the late ’90s was perceived by Russia as aggression, and that was pre-Putin.

          One can see why a Russian might think that way.

          • Just Some Guy says:

            “One can see why a Russian might think that way.”

            There’s a big difference between understanding and parroting.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            It’s not a throwaway line. What kind and whose proxy make a difference.

            The debate about Nato expansion always seems to elide the interests of smaller states, which may want help to counter the leverage of a traditional, powerful, enemy-neighbor. What does it mean that Russia is frustrated, when another sovereign state – which it doesn’t consider sovereign – makes choices it disagrees with?

            When reading Conquest, it’s useful to bear in mind that, apart from an apparently short association with the Communist Party in the mid-thirties, while at Oxford, he was a lifelong Cold warrior, associated for decades with Stanford, the Hoover Institution, and the Heritage Foundation.

            • Harry Eagar says:

              I was not endorsing the Russian view, just noting that they had and have real reasons to think that way.

              Few — very, very few — Americans know about our attempts to start an anti-Soviet civil war in Ukraine in 1950, but the Russians know.

              Conquest got his Cold War credentials in person: in Bulgaria for about 8 years. He is impossible to fault on his views about Sovietism; where I part company with him is his refusal to admit the degree that western capitalism was brutal.

              The book I was reading, “Reflections on a Ravaged Century,” written in 1998-99, predicted the ascension of Putinism almost exactly (while simultaneously predicting the failure of the EU).

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      There is a percentage of pro-Russia Republicans in Congress who are just idiots (see Tuberville, Tommy). But there is a percentage who are either fellow travelers with Putin (Rand Paul), or he has kompromat on them (looking at you Lindsey).

  18. pdaly says:

    What is up with CNN’s proofreaders tonight?
    I captured an erroneous chyron at 7:46pm ET tonight:


  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Russian officials claim Navalny died “after collapsing and losing consciousness.” Possibly correct, totally useless. As Hercule Poirot once said, in effect, when told a victim died of heart failure, “I have yet to meet a corpse whose heart still beats.” Poirot’s objection pinpoints the obvious: what made Navalny collapse and lose consciousness?

    • theartistvvv says:

      Not sure if it was Donald Westlake who wrote something to the effect of, “He died a natural death. He was shot in the head. And he died, naturally.”

  20. e.a. foster says:

    Woke up this morning, checked the news and it advised Mr. Navalny had died. Although not unexpected given the upcoming Russian election, it made me very sad. some may say its not bright to give your life for your cause. On the other hand, how many of us would do that. I am sure when Mr. Navalny returned to Russia, he knew how things would end. He was incredibly brave. Putin is such a coward, he can’t even leave his opponents alive. Putin is such a coward, his day will come
    Rayne, thank you the post.

  21. Ewan Woodsend says:

    Thank you for posting about Navalny, Rayne. And thank you for swatting down whatboutisms, and other silly claims about his views. He has shown personal courage, and has inspired many other Russian citizens. His messages, before prison and during, have been truly inspiring. That is what matters. His death makes a lot of people very sad, and it is the intended message of the Russian authorities, when they announced it : abandon all hope. But there is nothing that makes Putin unavoidable and invincible, nothing that makes a Russian victory in Ukraine a certainty, and nothing that makes a Trump victory in November a given.

    • Henry the Horse says:

      Thanks Rayne, I love the way you write! Your comments are both pointed and hilarious. Also, your moderation is first rate.

      Could it be I’m falling in love…lol.

      We spiked the ball when the wall came down. In typical American style hubris, we declared that we won and they lost and the US was now the only super power.

      This did not work out well. We assumed that every country wanted to be just like us, and that Russia would find a democratic leader and open up to the free world.

      But as an earlier commenter noted, it’s the Russian people that WANT the corruption because it’s the way you advance in their country.

      That is exactly what is happening here…the rot in the US system has lead.
      many to say “Fuck it, I am gonna get mine and the hell with everyone else “.

      This is America now the corruption has finally permeated the vast majority of our population.

      • Yohei1972 says:

        “it’s the Russian people that WANT the corruption because it’s the way you advance in their country” – I’d hesitate to paint an entire, enormous nation of people with such a broad and damning brush. And I’m the furthest thing from an expert in the topic, so I can’t delve into this in more detail, but I’ve read analysts who put some responsibility on the West, with its commitment to more or less laissez faire capitalism, for helping to turn over the country to oligarchs rather than supporting the growth of more robust democracy.

      • Matt___B says:

        I think it would be more accurate to say “It’s Russian oligarchs and/or Russian “wannabe oligarchs” that support furtherance of the corrupt system, not the Russian people as a whole.

  22. SMF88011 says:

    If there is any idiot that still says Putin didn’t try to kill Navalny, it was proven that it did happen. Navalny tricked a Russian agent into admitting it and how. Here is a link to the video of it taking place:

    People that try to stand up to Putin have a nasty habit of dying.

  23. Lit_eray says:

    Russian social norms:
    As preparation for hosting a conference for Russian scientists, there was a one day seminar on dealing with Russians – it was during the Glasnost period. The instructor had been one of Reagan’s translators during the START talks with Gorbachev. She described a fundamental feature of Russian society. Even for the simplest things one relied on one’s personal circle of contacts, not any official commercial route. If your circle plus the circles of your contacts did not encompass what you needed or wanted, you did without. Yes this is simplistic, but saying that some level of theft associated with rank is the motivating force of a complex society of homo sapiens is also simplistic and also likely nonsense. Most of the visiting scientists were from Sarov (Russia’s Los Alamos). The high point of their visit seemed to be shopping in Alburquerque.

    Navalny’s Bravery:
    The person who designed the first sarcophagus over the melted reactor building at Chernobyl gave a presentation during the conference. He described that during the diaster, firemen climbed several story tall vertical ladders to get to the burned through roof to fight the fire; they successfully put the flames out. As bad as Chernobyl is, it would have been immensely worst had they not succeeded. Those firemen knew that they would not be coming down, and most did not. Those firemen were likely local Ukrainians. Perhaps Navalny’s return to Russia was in the spirit of those firemen.

    Reagan or his staff did not come up with “Trust, but verify”. It is based on an old Russian saying.

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