putin-on-a-bearReading time – 1:49 plus 44 seconds for the Bonus Section; Viewing time – 2:31  .  .  .

Timothy Snyder is a professor of history at Yale University and he penned a most interesting essay in the New York Times entitled How a Russian Fascist Is Meddling in America’s Election. It is a worthwhile read if you want to understand a bit of Vladimir Putin’s anti-America behavior. It seems that Putin, the object of Donald Trump’s heart-pitty-pat bromance, is much enamored of the now deceased Ivan Ilyin, whom Snyder described as “a prophet of Russian fascism”.

Ilyin was all about the demise of individuality and democrace, which he saw as evil, both of which he saw as evil. He believed in some idealistic oneness of Russia ruled by a “national dictator” who would be “inspired by the spirit of totality,” whatever that means. If you are an ordinary Russian citizen and a hammer and sickle Russian fanatic, that might sound pretty good to you, And it will stay that way until the commissars snatch you from your home in the middle of the night and send you to a Siberian labor camp. And why wouldn’t they do that if individuals – you – are evil and have no individual value?

It’s so very Soviet Union yesterday.

Which isn’t the main point for us, but it does provide context. Snyder writes,

“For a decade, Russia has been sponsoring right-wing extremists as “election observers” – most recently, in the farcical referendums in the Crimea and in the Donbas region of Ukraine – in order to discredit both elections and their observation. Since democracy is a sham, as Ilyin believed, then it is right and good to imitate its language and procedures in order to discredit it. It is noteworthy that the Trump campaign has now imitated this very practice, supplying both its own private “observers” and the advance conclusion about the fraud they will find. [emphasis mine}

“The technique of undermining democracy abroad is to generate doubt where there had been certainty. If democratic procedures start to seem shambolic, then democratic ideas will seem questionable as well. And so America would become more like Russia, which is the general idea. If Mr. Trump wins, Russia wins. But if Mr. Trump loses and people doubt the outcome, Russia also wins.” [emphasis mine]

How in the world can Donald Trump be about making America great when all that he says and all that he does rips at the very fabric of our democracy?


Mr. Trump, before and during this campaign you have said ugly things about women, including calling them dogs and worse, as well as fat-shaming one of your own Miss Universe winners. You have steadfastly refused to moderate your comments and you have refused to apologize to people you have harmed with your cruel words, much less to the rest of the women of America. Now we have seen a video of you clearly objectifying women, making cruel and lewd statements about them and claiming with pride that you are free to commit sex crimes with women because you’re a star. You responded to the unveiling of your horrific statements with a limp apology.

Given that your words and your actions loudly proclaim your disdain for women, explain to all Americans why we should even consider the possibility that as president you would care about and respect over half of us – girls, women, daughters, spouses, mothers, sisters, friends – and look out for their welfare. And don’t tell us yet again that you respect women, because it’s manifestly clear from your words and actions that you don’t.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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2 Responses to Insidious
  1. John Calia Reply

    It is imperative for Russia to gain access to the sea. It is essential to the movement of goods throughout the world. (Moving cargo over the water is now and always has been the least expensive method.)

    In that context, it’s easy to understand their interest in carving off the eastern part of Ukraine (access to the Black Sea), their alliance with Syria (which puts Turkey in a squeeze), and their focus on launching ice breakers in the Arctic Ocean.

    Putin builds a following within his country by appealing to Russians’ sense of history. His bullying tactics have taken their measure of the western powers. He seeks to disrupt the balance of power by extending Russian influence geographically.

    US response should be to use our economic power to persuade those on Russia’s borders to be our trading partners. We must back that up with the threat of a sanctions regime and military assistance. Moreover, we must do that consistently without creating the fear that the political winds of western democracies will reverse course.

    The post-WWII international framework — UN, IMF, NATO, etc. — needs reform and update to withstand the new pressures of a post-9/11 world. Those institutions must continue to be seen by the industrialized world as a bulwark against the policies of those who seek to disrupt it.

    Global capitalism has lifted vast numbers of the world’s population out of poverty. Powers like Russia and China seek to disrupt it. The US earns nearly a quarter of global GDP and has an obligation to provide support to those in the crosshairs.

  2. Allan Shuman Reply

    “But if Mr. Trump loses and people doubt the outcome, Russia also wins.” Given the likelihood of this scenario haunting the electoral process (prior to two days ago), we have the fortuitous timing of the release of the 2005 videotape to thank for diminishing it among all but the most committed of Trumpeters. It (the video) provides an excuse for many of the Righties who may have become increasingly uncomfortable in their disingenuousness to get off the Trump train as it goes off the rails and over the cliff (pardon the poor metaphor).

    I believe that Mr. Trump’s fate is sealed with regard to this election and his response to your question is an item for speculation, but electorally irrelevant, or nearly so. My speculation is that notwithstanding your ruling out an “I respect women (and women love me)” response, that is what we will get (also, “I’m a changed man”), followed immediately by a frontal attack on the Clintons. The significant question is how much will this (dare we call it “P***yGate”?) affect “down-ballot” races?

    The actual important questions are not those we ask Mr. Trump, but those we ask his heretofore supporters, those prominent Republicans who long ago abandoned their integrity to support a candidate whom they knew, above all of the other accurate descriptions (misogynist, racist, xenophobe, charlatan, et. al.) to be totally incompetent, unprepared for the job, and apparently ignorant of its place within the government of the United States.