Russia, Crimea, Putin, and Trump (plus Tweets)

I was about to go back to work on a Proper Post. Then I remembered I wanted to change my Pinned Tweet (see below in Cat Tweets). On opening Twitter I found some pretty cool tweets and decided I’d like to share them with you.

We’ve been discussing Trump’s attitude to Russia and Putin a lot in the comment threads in the last few days. The reason is obvious of course – Trump is becoming a bigger Putin man than ever.

It seems that the closer the Mueller investigation comes to a conclusion, and the more likely it looks that Trump is guilty of something, the more he sucks up to Putin. His latest pronouncement that he wants Russia back in the G7 is one of the most outrageous yet.

At least I thought it was until I saw the video in this tweet. It is un-effing-believable. Donald-fu€king-Trump is saying that it’s Obama’s fault that Russia took over Crimea! WTF!

I’m not even going to bother discussing how stupid this suggestion is. It’s on a par with his comment that Andrew Jackson could’ve stopped the Civil War.

Russia, of course, was kicked out of the G7 for annexing Crimea. He was only made a member of that group in the first place as a face-saving exercise. He broke multiple agreements and treaties, and his invasion of Crimea was the last straw. Russia is an international pariah because they invaded and took over a sovereign nation just because they wanted to. It’s not the first time they’ve done that either. Check out their activities in Georgia and Transnistria.

By saying the G7 should allow Russia back in, Trump is saying they should just forget about all the international laws, rules, and norms that Putin breaks on Russia’s behalf.

So why is Trump doing this? What benefit is there for the US? Well, none. What benefit is there for Trump personally? Now, that’s the question.

(Tweet via Ann German.)

We don’t know for sure of course, but people who are expert in such matters including James Clapper (former Lt. Gen. and director of both National Intelligence Agency and Defence Intelligence Agency), James Comey (former director FBI), Ralph Peters (former Lt. Gen. with expertise on Russia) and others, all think that Trump’s behaviour points to Russia having embarrassing or compromising information on him, aka kompromat.

I agree. There is no other explanation for Trump’s behaviour. Russia is an enemy of the US. They wanted Trump as president because it was obvious he would increase civil disruption within the country, damage relations with other countries, make democracy appear dangerous, and increase jingoism.

Trump has done just that. He pulled the US out of TPP, creating an opening for China. (He’s now realizing his mistake there are trying to get back in, but it’s too late.) He’s made a mess of renegotiating NAFTA and wrecked relations with Canada and Mexico. He pulled the US out of the Paris Accord, despite it making no requirements of the US. His lies and criticisms of NATO are music to Putin’s ears. Then there was pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Agreement which, among other things led to an increase in oil prices. Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem last month fanned the flames in the Middle East, and fanned the religious fervour of his Evangelical Christian base.

Despite all this, I heard Sarah Sanders telling Chris Cuomo on CNN the other day that Trump has made the US more respected around the world. He demonstrably hasn’t. In fact, that’s one of the things I’m writing a Proper Post about. In the meantime, check out this Facebook photo from Robert Reich (Economist; served presidents Ford, Carter, and Clinton):


As Reich says, they speak volumes.

(Tweet via Ann German.)


This is actually quite funny coming from someone so tall …

Political Tweets

Sean Hannity a hypocrite? Surely not!


Economics Tweets

Told ya so Trump!
(Via Ann German.)


Healthcare Tweets

Not a tweet, but a message for USian readers from Robert Reich via Facebook.


Scenic Tweets

One of the good things about the Kilauea eruptions is the plethora of beautiful images it’s producing. (I apologize if that’s upsetting to anyone reading this. I do understand people are suffering and lives are being ruined.)


Science Tweets

Very cool!


Fun Tweets


WTF is Wrong With These People Tweets

Another one from Facebook I couldn’t resist. These people are in VENICE on a GONDOLA and look what the fu€k₩it$ are doing!


This one’s a bit more serious …


Other Animals Tweets



How cute is this? Fawn friends.


I added the next three about 2½ hours after first publishing this post. I couldn’t resist!




Bird Tweets

The late Blake the Kakapo, who did his best to keep his species alive before his death.


Dog Tweets

I suppose I can have ONE dog tweet …

Cat Tweets

My new pinned tweet:


Yes, I know there are two dogs and only one cat, but the cat is on top!


Your stuff is in my way.


It’s so young it can barely walk! So gorgeous!


An oldie but a goodie …


Gorgeous animals.


Kids and consequences. Now you’ve got to get back down.


Facebook again, one last time, brought to you by Diana McPherson …



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41 Responses to “Russia, Crimea, Putin, and Trump (plus Tweets)”

  1. Randall Schenck says:

    If there is any doubt of your report on the G6 + 1 I think you could just call it the 6 now. Nobody wants that jerk in the room. On his way to the next disaster he rips into the Canadians again. What we are seeing now is the real Trump, the one who’s mental abilities are nearly gone as if he ever had any. Time to wake up Congress and do your job…

    • He doesn’t like his allies because they expect him to act like a proper leader. Saudi Arabia, China, Philippines, Russia, North Korea, and even Japan, treat him how he wants to be with deference etc.

  2. nicky says:

    “They wanted Trump as president because it was obvious he would increase civil disruption within the country, damage relations with other countries, make democracy appear dangerous, and increase jingoism.” You can say that again. I admit it took me surprisingly long to reach that conclusion, but Mr Trump’s actions speak for themselves, there’s no denying. That it took so long is because it is so unbelievably surreal: the POTUS is a Russian shill…. I still have difficulty to accept it.

    Re Crimea, I think that the ‘West’ was wrong there. Crimea is overwhelmingly Russian, at least since the Tartars were deported. It was frivolously ‘given’ to Ukraine by Mr Khrushchev (an Ukrainian himself, and an absolute ruler, the USSR just got rid of Mr Stalin) in 1954. Since it remained in the USSR, this change had no real importance at the time.
    The 2014 referendum that overwhelmingly supported incorporation into Russia was admittedly controversial, but in all probability reflected the will of the majority. As mentioned, the majority of Crimeans <is Russian, after all. The West could possibly (?) have made a deal with Russia along the lines of: we’ll recognise your sovereignty over Crimea if you leave the rest of Ukraine alone, and we’ll keep you in the G8, or something along those lines.
    [Note, I do not blame Obama for the way the events turned out. I’m far from sure an ‘amicable’ solution would have been possible]

    • It’s not that simple re Crimea, but it would need a whole post to discuss. I’ve done couple that touch on the topic, including my very first ever.

      As for saying most are Russians, that’s like saying Hitler was correct to invade Sudetenland. And the Tatars are back after their forced removal, and still being treated like $hit by the Russians. B

      • nicky says:

        I agree that it is not that simple, and I agree that the military action by Russia was unconscionable. (The comparison to Sudetenland is not really apt though, since Czechoslovakia’s main military defenses were in Sudetenland).
        I’m no expert, I did not even know the Tartars were back, for example, although I doubt in great numbers, I hasten to add. I still think the West -and Ukraine- could/might have ‘conceded’ Crimea in a kind of deal as described above. Ukraine would probably have been better off.

        • The Tatars all came back. Many if course had died in the meantime because of where they were sent, how they got there, and their treatment there. On their return, the Russians who had been given the Tatars’ land naturally wouldn’t give it up, so they had nothing. They were starting to get reparations from the Ukrainian government, but that’s over now. Since the Russians took over, several Tatar protesters have mysteriously disappeared and others have tales of torture and the wounds to prove it. The Russian government denies involvement, but there is proof they were involved.

          It’s not just the Tatars who are suffering. The UN Human Rights reports that have been produced since the Russian takeover make interesting reading.

          The fact that Russians live in the Crimea is not a reason for Russia to annexe it. It’s reasoning dictators etc have used in the past. Why should Ukraine give up a whole lot of its territory just because the Russians want it and a few of them live there? Does that mean any country should be able to do that? Russia got away with it because Ukraine isn’t a member of NATO, and Putin knew the US and Europe wouldn’t start a war over the situation, especially if he presented it as a fait accompli, which he did. The whole thing was planned so no one would realize what was happening until it was too late.

          And this isn’t about Russians living in Ukraine anyway. It’s about oil, and a warm water port close to the Middle East (where Putin is extending his influence) and the ability to attack Europe in the water on two fronts.

          • nicky says:

            It is, IMMO, much more about a warm water port than oil. If it were about oil they should have annexed Azerbaijan. I would like to stress that Ukraine has nothing lost in Crimea. As said, it was just ‘given’ to Ukraine by the whim of a Soviet dictator who happened to be Ukrainian. Not a solid base for sovereignty, I’d say.
            My point about Tartars not being back ‘in great numbers’ is that they are a small minority in Crimea. There is no good case for a Tartar Khanat in Crimea. Yes, I’m sure Stalin’s ‘deportations’ ‘reduced’ their numbers.
            Despite the Russian occupation, and yes, one should call it that, Crimea still is basically Russian -has been for quite a long time- , and atrocities carried out by the Russian faction does not change that demographic fact.
            In Eastern Ukraine Russians are a majority in many areas. My point was that Crimea could have been used as a chip to reduce the -Russian stoked- ‘civil’ upheaval in eastern Ukraine. Without support from Russia it is unlikely the situation there would have deteriorated into the de facto civil war we’re seeing now.
            Note, I realise there would have been no guarantees, Mr Putin is not one to be particularly bound to agreements, but still, the Crimea and G8, it would have been a Great Carrot.

          • Oil has been discovered under the Black Sea.

            There may be a case for Ukraine to go back to Russia. It is not okay to just take it.

          • nicky says:

            I guess you meant there maybe a case for Crimea to go back to Russia. Yes, I think so. But I fully agree that it was not okay to just take it. It could/should have been done in a much more ‘win-win’ way.
            Maybe I’m a bit naive or too optimistic, but it just might have prevented the civil war in Eastern Ukraine.

          • Unfortunately, I’m not sure that could have been prevented. Anti-Ukrainian feelings were ramped up by the Russians including one of their ubiquitous social media campaigns. They made Ukrainians think Nazis would take over if it wasn’t for Russian protection when the truth was only 1% of winning candidates were far-right and a majority in the region were pro-Russian. Russia even blocked the TV signals from Kiev and had Russian news dominating. The equivalent of only having Fox News available as your news source in the US.

            Russia also supported the rebels with high numbers of embedded Russian soldiers, munitions and equipment. There’s a Vice News video of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles heading to support the rebels. They also show (used) mortars and other munitions that clearly come from Russia.

            Ukraine would have won the civil war long ago if it wasn’t for the rebels constantly being bolstered by Russian support.

            Russia needs a land corridor to Crimea, as I explained in that first post I wrote 3 1/2 years ago.

  3. nicky says:

    On a very different note (I know you’ll allow me, since you’re rugby fan). In the Rugby Sevens, England beat Fuji (17-19), setting up the ‘Blitzbokke’ for retaining their title. The final in Paris is between England and the Bokke. If the Blitzbokke win they are the overall winners again, but if England wins it is not clear, then it depends on who wins in the Fiji v USA match (Fiji is supposed to win that), with Fiji ending 5th, but gaining the title. If Fiji loses, the Bokke may lose the final, they will be champions no matter what. In an hour or two we’ll know.
    The ‘Blitzbokke’ have been plagued by lots of injuries and a change of coach this year, but I still think they deserve the title.
    I hate it I have no TV link.
    Note, in the Rugby 15’s NZ trashing France after being behind at rest by 52 -11 is the greater feat, but the match yesterday between Engand and SA, the Bokke trailing 24-3 after 20 minutes, but winning 42 -39 was more nail-biting.

    • nicky says:

      I’m sorry for you that the ‘Blitzbokke’ trounced the ‘Blitz All-Blacks’ by 24-12 in the semi’s, but NZ was out of the race for the overall title anyway.

    • nicky says:

      As expected Fiji beat USA , 21-7. Now all depends on the final.

      • nicky says:

        They did it! Beat England 24-14 in the final, they win the Paris tournament and retain the series title!
        I think they are the best 7’s team for the last few years, and despite all difficulties (Injury, new coach etc) they won. All the best to them. At least there is one area in rugby where the ‘Bokke’ still reign supreme.

        • Very cool! Well done. They are a superb team.

          • nicky says:

            I still think Cecil Africa is the greatest sevens player of them all (the last 5-6 years at least). Norton (UK), Injera (Kenya), Senatla (SA) or Mikkelson (NZ) may have scored more tries, but Africa is the ‘ Great Architect’ of the SA seven’s team.
            He may not have changed the seven’s game as much as Johan Cruyff changed football, but for me he’s right up there among the greatest sport stars.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        I probably learned more about what’s going on in Rugby than I ever knew before. The USA plays rugby? But just barely. I’m waiting for the F1 race to start in Canada but that is another story.

        • My brother, who used to play rugby in the US at university, (and also in SA and England) says there are more rugby players in the US now than in NZ.

          • Randall Schenck says:

            Probably right, quantity but not so much quality. Tons of kids here playing soccer, that’s football to the rest of the world, but again, at the college level and above it is not there. So a team at world cup level or in rugby at international level, not going to happen. I must say the women in soccer are up there with the rest of the world. College here is just the training ground for the big leagues in football, basket ball and baseball.

          • Yeah, we have a lot more kids playing soccer (us and Australia call it that too) than rugby, but we’ve only made it to the world cup twice in that sport. Hardly anyone carries on and plays as an adult. Rugby is much better organized.

          • nicky says:

            Yes Randall, that reminds us of John Cleese’s rant, can’t find his Hand egg video, but his soccer v football rant is great.

        • nicky says:

          In the rugby 7’s the USA ended 6th three times in the last 4 years , and last year 5th. Not bad at all.
          NZ has won most overall titles by far, but not the last four years. However, they still ended 3rd 3 times and were 4th last year. So they are far from ‘finished’.
          NZ won 11 of the nineteen titles, and were runners up only once . Contrast that to the second best team over 19 years: SA with 3 titles and 7 times runners up, or the third best over 19 years, Fiji, with 3 titles and 4 times runners up. The only other team to win the title was Samoa in the 2009-10 series.
          Those three first teams, NZ, SA and Fiji, are also the only three that ended in the top 6 in all 19 series, England in 17 of 19, Australia in 13 of 19 series, Samoa 12 of 19 series, Argentina 7 times , USA 4 times, Kenya twice and Canada and Wales once each (ending in the top six). Strangely enough France -like Scotland- never made if further than 7th. The Sevens game clearly is not their favoured dish.
          In other words the USA is ranked 8th overall if we consider no of times in the top 6 from the beginning of the series (1999-2000). However, all their top six places came within the last four years, an upcoming team it appears.
          If we consider total population size, Fiji is undoubtedly the most successful team of them all.

    • I was pleased to see SA win on the weekend. I was surprised to see they were 7 in the 15s standings before the weekend matches. I assume they’ll go up.

      I haven’t checked the results, but I hope it was SA in the 7s since it couldn’t be us.

      • nicky says:

        In the 7’s SA successfully defended their title for this year (see above).
        For the 15’s SA were 7th indeed (considered a humiliation here) , but a few good matches may change that quickly. In the 15’s format the All Blacks still reign supreme.
        Apart from NZ with 93.99 points and Ireland with 89.11 , the next 5 teams are quite close (this is before the SA over England win, so the 3 to 7 placings will even be closer now) from 3rd England (86.23) to 7th SA (82,77) , the others inbetween are Australia, Wales and Scotland. No 8 , France, is a bit further behind with 79.10.
        And Randall, FYI, the USA are ranked 15th, with 69,23 points, higher than Samoa (a traditional powerhouse).

        • nicky says:

          After this weekend’s 15’s games SA still are 7th, but the UK dropped to 4th, while the Wallabies are third now. The spread of points got even narrower, Only NZ and to a lesser degree Ireland are secure in their no 1 and 2 positions. The next 5 are closer than ever.

          • It’ll be interesting to see what happens after this weekend’s games.

          • nicky says:

            After this last WE’s games NZ and Ireland are still no’s 1 and 2 (and are likely to stay there in the near future).
            Wales is 3rd with 85.94 points, Australia 4th: 85.41, SA 5th: 84.65 and England 6th with 84.35, Scotland dropped to 7th, a bit further behind, with 81.83. 3 to 6 are very close now. Not a single team between 3 and 7 remained in the same position. Wales (5 to 3) and SA (7 to 5) climbed 2 positions, England dropped 2 (4 to 6). Scotland and Australia dropped one each.

          • Go the Boks! We’ve got another week to see what happens in that 3-7 range. SA could still improve their position. They’re playing really well. I’m just hoping the next All Blacks v France test can be played without controversy! It’s reflecting badly on us even though it’s the refs that are screwing up. My mother and I got into quite an argument because I didn’t think the red card was deserved, even though it looked really awful. I thought yellow. I wonder what she’ll say next time I see her? ::-) Thanks for looking all that up.

  4. Randall Schenck says:

    Thanks for the bit with John Cleese. One of my favorites along with all the others from the circus. When they first started back in the late 60s I was fortunate to be in England at the time and watched them on TV. That is also when I learned about real football and a little on rugby.

    • nicky says:

      Yes, John Cleese is kinda brilliant. Even when not doing comedy, but in serious interviews, he appears to be such a brilliant, balanced, thoughtful and kind person. A kind of anti-thesis to your POTUS. A pity there are not more like him, ‘sad’.

  5. Randall Schenck says:

    I think he is an atheist as well. I was living for a time in a little town of Watton, England way back in the day when Monty Python was on the Television. Many years later he did a comedy show Fawlty Towers and that was a great show also.

    • nicky says:

      You think right, he is an atheist. Note that in Europe that is not a particularly frowned upon stance anymore. What is frowned upon by some (few, I’d say) is to be actively promoting atheism, as he has been doing.
      “The Life of Brian” or ” The Meaning of Life” maybe less direct than, say, Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” or the Hitch’s “God is Not Great”, but it carries the same message in a humorous way: they (Monty Python) just made fun of religion.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        Not actively promoting atheism. Well, at least they won’t get killed for it over there. Just as a couple of headlines since last night – one Senator who is not sticking around kind of calls the republican party a cult. I think that’s about right. Also, things are starting to move on the Michael Cohen saga. He is getting rid of his current lawyers and the speculation is he is getting ready to flip. If that happens, it could be all over for Trump.

        • Yep. I saw the use of the words ‘Trump Cult’ by a departing Republican too. It’s too early here for me to remember properly. Was it Stanford after losing the primary? Or a senator commenting on his loss?

          I see the Trump folks are saying Cohen won’t flip, but the opinion seems to be that a change of lawyers means that’s what he’s doing.

          I’d like to know how Cohen can flip on Trump if Trump did nothing wrong? (Sarcasm alert!)

          • Randall Schenck says:

            Hey, there at the end you sounded a little like Trump. No collusion…
            The first I heard the cult was Senator Corker, I think Tennessee. He said cultish. He is not running so he is one of the few who talks sometimes. Stanford was the pathetic one from South Carolina who ran off with a girlfriend and said he was hiking in the Mountains. A real family man.
            Latest – the Trump family charity is being suid by the New York attorney general. They used lots of charity money to pay off legal expenses. Also to put in campaign, you name it. Look for Manafort to head to the slammer tomorrow.

          • Manafort in jail! Yes! I hate the thought of anyone in jail tttt, but when someone keeps acting like they’re above the law I think it’s necessary. Trump should’ve been there years ago, but I doubt it would have changed his behaviour. He’s too much of a narcissist and completely incapable of looking at himself and thinking he might be wrong. Even when he says he’s wrong, you can see he doesn’t really believe it, or there’s some convoluted reason why it’s not his fault.

          • nicky says:

            I guess Mr Manafort will not ‘flip’, he’s probably infinitely more afraid of his Russian bosses than of a US low security jail. – And there is always the hope for a pardon.

          • To get Manafort to flip, he would have to be offered a high level of protection for the rest of his life. People with that protection elsewhere have still died. And Putin isn’t one for a quick death either. He wants his victims to suffer and know it was him who arranged it. That’s also “better” for propaganda purposes.

  6. Randall Schenck says:

    Not so sure the Russians want Manafort dead. If so, you would think they might have done it before now. Lots of folks seem to think he waits for a pardon but that really makes no sense. Many of the changes on him are from the the State and Trump cannot pardon those. Also the fact that other Russians are indited including Konstantin Kilimnik (he was even included in the witness tampering). This means even if something happened to Manafort, the prosecution lives on.

    A neat bit of info on the witness tampering. They did not get him on this by listening in or wiretapping. Nothing fancy. One of the witnesses went the the prosecution and turned him in. I don’t know what Monafort is going to do but now he is doing it in jail. Sometimes guys like him are so twisted they don’t think they did anything wrong. After some time in Jail and if he really has a lawyer that is worth anything, he will sing just like Gates. He is nearly 70 and is likely to spend the rest of his life in Jail.

    • I don’t think they want him dead. I think they are threatening him they will kill him if he drops Putin in it.

      • Randall Schenck says:

        I get that. Anyone who crosses Putin is usually on the dead list. Trump really admires that. There is probably a better likelihood that Cohen flips. Trump may get his chance to kill some down on the boarder.

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