Monday, February 28, 2022

Uncommon Courage

 By Judd Garrett | Objectivity

President Biden called Ukrainian President Zelensky to offer transportation for him to evacuate from their Capital city of Kyiv. President Zelensky responded, “I’m here in the ground, we will not lay down our arms. We will defend our state because our weapon is our truth. Our truth is that this is our land, our country, and our children. And we will defend all this... The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.” This is what real leaders do. It was refreshing to see. He is displaying what we have not seen very much of in the western world, courage. For the last two years we’ve been told by our leaders to be afraid, to give up living our lives for fear of a virus. And that fear has torn our country apart as our leaders seek to destroy those who act courageously. Freedom loving people who want to be free to live their lives without government mandates have been vilified and destroyed by those paralyzed by fear, and those who pedal in fear.

We used to be a country built on courage. At the start of the Civil War, the Confederate army was already in Maryland, on the doorstep of Washington DC, and President Lincoln refused to abandon our Capital. He had the courage to stand his ground, and that show of strength emboldened the people to fight for his cause. At the behest of President Zelensky, the Ukrainian people are arming themselves for this fight. They are not running away. They are not surrendering. The contrast in the reactions between President Zelensky and President Biden illustrates why this is happening in the first place. Joe Biden and many of our Western leaders lack the courage to lead, and their weakness invites aggression. Vladimir Putin smells weakness, he exploits weakness.

It is predictable that Joe Biden would advise President Zelensky to run and hide in the face of this invasion. Biden’s lack of courage was on full display throughout the 2020 Presidential campaign, as he hid in his basement for 9 months. Did anyone believe from the way he conducted himself during the campaign that he would be a strong leader with the courage to stand up to someone like Vladimir Putin? But this is what you get when you allow big tech oligarchs to control the political narrative and censor political speech during an election cycle. This is what you get when you expose your election system to fraud. You end up with weak puppet-like leaders who are only concerned with protecting themselves.

Joe Biden will never stand up for America the way Zelensky is standing up for Ukraine. Biden has been selling out America to our enemies for his and his family’s enrichment for decades, so he would never risk his life to defend a country that he helped to corrupt. Every time Joe Biden sold access to the office that we, the American people, entrusted him with, he weakened America. Joe Biden’s inability to take a hard stand against Russia is also a result of him being compromised by the Russians. His son, Hunter, has received millions of dollars from Russian oligarchs in shady and possibly corrupt business dealings. Biden is hesitant to put the screws into Russia because the paper trail most likely leads back to him. This may have emboldened Putin as much as anything, having the goods on the President of the one country that could stop him.

Leaders like Biden only show strength when they are jailing grandmas who trespassed at the Capital, or crushing a trucker convoy, or forcing mandates on kindergarteners, but when it comes to having the courage to take on evil people like Vladimir Putin and President Xi, they shrink away. They disappear. They are too afraid to fight the strong. When Donald Trump put tariffs on Chinese imports, the left and many Democratic politicians were apoplectic. They called him reckless, dangerous, inviting a war. But strength doesn’t invite war, weakness does. That’s why Putin invaded Ukraine twice under Obama, and this time under Biden, but did not make a move when Trump was President.

The people of Ukraine, the Canadian Truckers, Abraham Lincoln, President Zelensky, and Donald Trump all have one thing in common – courage. They are willing to fight for their freedom, fight for their country against a more powerful enemy. And there is one thing that Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau, Vladimir Putin, and leftist thugs have in common – cowardice. They are all bullies, and at the heart of every bully is a coward. They love to beat up on weaker people but will always backdown to strength. That’s why Biden advised Zelensky to run from Putin and the Russians. And that’s why Biden targets parents who speak up at school board meetings, or nurses who don’t want to get vaccinated, but he is too afraid to stand up to Putin.

Joe Biden has placed more sanctions on the United States oil and gas industry than he has on Russian oil and gas production. And he is not going to change those crisis-emboldening policies in light of this invasion. Biden’s sanctions which were supposed to hurt Russia economically are having the opposite effect. They are driving up oil prices around the world which hurts American and European economies, but ultimately helps Putin because they also drive up the price of a barrel of crude oil Putin sells to us, which means everything Putin loses on the front end of these sanctions, he is getting back and then some on the back end.

Justin Trudeau sanctioned the Freedom Truckers for their peaceful protests in Canada, more than Biden has sanctioned Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. Trudeau froze the truckers bank accounts and shut down their ability to fund raise through crowd sourcing methods, denying them the resources to continue their protests. Biden could remove Putin and Russia from the international payment system known as SWIFT which would shut down his ability to finance this war, but he lacks the courage to do it. It is the same reason why we never freeze the bank accounts of George Soros, the leading sponsor of domestic terrorism in our country.

Putin, Russia, and other countries are emboldened by our unwillingness to stand up for what is right and stand against what is wrong. We have capitulated to the woke mafia, and it shows up throughout our government. Our military spent the last year training our soldiers to be “woke” while Russia has been preparing their military for war. Our leaders told us that the biggest threat to America was “domestic terrorists”, not countries like Russia or China. We spent more time tracking non-violent American citizens than deterring Russian violent expansion. When Putin sees us allow BLM and Antifa thugs to terrorize our cities, violent criminals to walk free, 2 million illegal aliens enter our country unabated, drug cartels to poison our communities, and climate activists to dictate our energy policy without a fight, he knows we no longer have the courage or the will to stop his aggressive expansion throughout the free world.


Judd Garrett is a graduate from Princeton University, and a former NFL player, coach, and executive. He has been a contributor to the website Real Clear Politics. He has recently published his first novel, No Wind.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Hunter Biden received $3.5M wire transfer from Russian billionaire: Senate report

By Emily Jacobs | New York Post 

Hunter Biden and Elena Baturina - Getty Images

Hunter Biden received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Elena Baturina, the richest woman in Russia and the widow of Yury Luzhkov, the former mayor of Moscow, Senate Republicans revealed in their report on the younger Biden’s work in Ukraine.

Baturina is referenced in the 87-page report, which was released Wednesday, addressing her payment to Biden’s investment firm in early 2014.

“Baturina became Russia’s only female billionaire when her plastics company, Inteko, received a series of Moscow municipal contracts while her husband was mayor,” it said in providing background on the businesswoman.

The report described her involvement with Biden as “a financial relationship,” but declined to delve deeper into why the wire transfer was made.

The probe also found that Baturina sent 11 wires transfers between May and December 2015 to a bank account belonging to BAK USA, a tech startup that filed for bankruptcy in March 2019.

Nine of those 11 wire transfers were first sent to Rosemont Seneca Partners, the investment firm founded by Biden and Chris Heinz, stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry, before being transferred to BAK USA.

All 11 transactions described the payments as “Loan Agreement” in the details section.

The report reads, “[B]etween May 6, 2015 and Dec. 8, 2015, Baturina sent 11 wires in the amount of $391,968.21 to a bank account belonging to BAK USA LLC (BAK USA). Nine of the 11 transactions, totaling $241,797.14 were sent from Baturina’s accounts to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton bank account, which then transferred to the money to BAK USA. The 11 transactions all listed ‘Loan Agreement’ in the payment details section.

“BAK USA was a startup technology company headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y., that produced tablet computers in cooperation with unnamed Chinese business partners. BAK USA filed for bankruptcy on March 29, 2019, with a reported loss of $39 million. These transactions were identified because of Baturina’s reported criminal activity,” it continues.

The probe and report’s commission were overseen by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Their investigative work found that in 2015, two Obama administration officials voiced concerns to White House officials about the possibility that the younger Biden serving on the board of Burisma could create the appearance of a conflict of interest, as his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, oversaw Ukraine policy.

The report states that the Obama White House knew that Hunter’s position prevented “the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine,” but that attempts by officials to raise alarms fell “on deaf ears.”

It also alleged that Hunter “formed significant and consistent financial relationships” with the founder of Burisma, Mykola Zlochevsky, and that his and his business partner Devon Archer’s firms “made millions of dollars from that association” while his father was vice president.

The committees also said they obtained records from the US Treasury Department that “show potential criminal activity relating to transactions among and between Hunter Biden, his family, and his associates with Ukrainian, Russian, Kazakh and Chinese nationals.”

The report adds, “The records also note that some of these transactions are linked to what ‘appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.’”

The younger Biden had no material experience to serve on the board of the energy and gas company, but was given a high-paying seat regardless.


Saturday, February 26, 2022

U.S. Officials Repeatedly Urged China to Help Avert War in Ukraine

By Edward Wong | New York Times

President Biden participated in a video summit with President Xi Jinping of China in November.Credit…Mandel Ngan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Americans presented Chinese officials with intelligence on Russia’s troop buildup in hopes that President Xi Jinping would step in, but were repeatedly rebuffed.

Over three months, senior Biden administration officials held half a dozen urgent meetings with top Chinese officials in which the Americans presented intelligence showing Russia’s troop buildup around Ukraine and beseeched the Chinese to tell Russia not to invade, according to U.S. officials.

Each time, the Chinese officials, including the foreign minister and the ambassador to the United States, rebuffed the Americans, saying they did not think an invasion was in the works. After one diplomatic exchange in December, U.S. officials got intelligence showing Beijing had shared the information with Moscow, telling the Russians that the United States was trying to sow discord — and that China would not try to impede Russian plans and actions, the officials said.

The previously unreported talks between American and Chinese officials show how the Biden administration tried to use intelligence findings and diplomacy to persuade a superpower it views as a growing adversary to stop the invasion of Ukraine, and how that nation, led by President Xi Jinping, persistently sided with Russia even as the evidence of Moscow’s plans for a military offensive grew over the winter.

This account is based on interviews with senior administration officials with knowledge of the conversations who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the diplomacy. The Chinese Embassy did not return requests for comment.

China is Russia’s most powerful partner, and the two nations have been strengthening their bond for many years across diplomatic, economic and military realms. Mr. Xi and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, two autocrats with some shared ideas about global power, had met 37 times as national leaders before this year. If any world leader could make Mr. Putin think twice about invading Ukraine, it was Mr. Xi, went the thinking of some U.S. officials.

But the diplomatic efforts failed, and Mr. Putin began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday morning after recognizing two Russia-backed insurgent enclaves in the country’s east as independent states.

In a call on Friday, Mr. Putin told Mr. Xi that the United States and NATO had ignored Russia’s “reasonable” security concerns and had reneged on their commitments, according to a readout of the call released by the Chinese state news media. Mr. Xi reiterated China’s public position that it was important to respect the “legitimate security concerns” as well as the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of all countries. Mr. Putin told Mr. Xi that Russia was willing to negotiate with Ukraine, and Mr. Xi said China supported any such move.

Some American officials say the ties between China and Russia appear stronger than at any time since the Cold War. The two now present themselves as an ideological front against the United States and its European and Asian allies, even as Mr. Putin carries out the invasion of Ukraine, whose sovereignty China has recognized for decades.

The growing alarm among American and European officials at the alignment between China and Russia has reached a new peak with the Ukraine crisis, exactly 50 years to the week after President Richard M. Nixon made a historic trip to China to restart diplomatic relations to make common cause in counterbalancing the Soviet Union. For 40 years after that, the relationship between the United States and China grew stronger, especially as lucrative trade ties developed, but then frayed due to mutual suspicions, intensifying strategic competition and antithetical ideas about power and governance. In the recent private talks on Ukraine, American officials heard language from their Chinese counterparts that was consistent with harder lines the Chinese had been voicing in public, which showed that a more hostile attitude had become entrenched, according to the American accounts.

On Wednesday, after Mr. Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine but before its full invasion, Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said at a news conference in Beijing that the United States was “the culprit of current tensions surrounding Ukraine.”

“On the Ukraine issue, lately the U.S. has been sending weapons to Ukraine, heightening tensions, creating panic and even hyping up the possibility of warfare,” she said. “If someone keeps pouring oil on the flame while accusing others of not doing their best to put out the fire, such kind of behavior is clearly irresponsible and immoral.”

She added: “When the U.S. drove five waves of NATO expansion eastward all the way to Russia’s doorstep and deployed advanced offensive strategic weapons in breach of its assurances to Russia, did it ever think about the consequences of pushing a big country to the wall?” She has refused to call Russia’s assault an “invasion” when pressed by foreign journalists.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Wagging The Brandon: What the Heck Is Biden Doing?


AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Early Friday morning, I’m sitting with Stephen Kruiser at our CPAC condo when the news breaks that Joe Biden has made his decision for his affirmative action Supreme Court pick. There was very little shock that he selected Kentaji Brown Jackson; she was widely considered to be the frontrunner.

The announcement was expected to happen at the end of February or the first week of March, but still, the announcement stunned me.

Did anyone tell Joe Biden that there’s a war going on?

There has been much speculation that the Ukraine/Russia conflict, which is now a war, was Joe Biden’s “wag the dog” moment. His approval ratings have never recovered from his botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and have even gotten worse. But, if Biden—or let’s face it, his advisors—thought that this Ukraine/Russia situation would get Biden out of his rut, there was a gross miscalculation. Putin has played Biden like a drum, and Biden’s past claims that Putin didn’t want him to be president sound like a bad joke.

“Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be President,” Biden tweeted in Feb. 2020. “He doesn’t want me to be our nominee. If you’re wondering why — it’s because I’m the only person in this field who’s ever gone toe-to-toe with him.”

Fast forward to the present, when Joe Biden went from thinking imposing sanctions on Russia would prevent Putin from invading Ukraine to backtracking after the invasion began because they clearly failed to accomplish what Biden said they would.

“If I were in Office, this deadly Ukraine situation would never have happened,” Trump said Thursday. And he’s right. Biden has proven himself to be the Putin puppet that the left claimed Trump would be, but Trump would have never allowed this to happen the way Biden has.

So now there’s a war going on, and Joe Biden decides that this is the time to name his Supreme Court pick?

Could he be more transparent?

So Biden’s foreign policy is an absolute dumpster fire. His ineffective leadership might lead us into World War III, and he’s trying to change the conversation to a Supreme Court nomination battle. Does he really think this will work? The end of the current Supreme Court term is months away, Biden should have put off this announcement to at least give the appearance of being focused on preventing WWIII, instead of trying to distract the public and galvanize his base with a Supreme Court nomination battle.



BREAKING: Biden Announces His Nominee for Supreme Court

Thursday, February 24, 2022

People in Ukraine describe the moment they awoke in a war zone as Russian forces bombed the cities where they live

By Joshua Zitser, Sophia Ankel, Bill Bostock and Bethany Dawson

Smoke and flame rose near a military building after an apparent Russian strike in Kyiv on February 24. Efrem Lukatsky/AP Photo

Russian forces invaded Ukraine by land, air, and sea on Thursday morning, in what NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned as a "brutal act of war."

People across Ukraine were jolted from their sleep by the sounds of sirens and explosions as Russian airstrikes hit the country's capital and several other cities.

Several eyewitnesses told Insider this was their first realization that a full-scale invasion was underway.

In Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, the airstrikes started before dawn, and across the capital city of three million people, the sound of explosions, gunfire, and sirens was heard, Reuters reported.

"I woke up at five in the morning to the sounds of the blasts," said Ivanna Klympush, an MP with the European Solidarity party, speaking to Insider from her home in Kyiv. "We all did."

Bryan Stern from Project Dynamo, a group helping evacuate American citizens out of Ukraine, told Insider that his "entire room shook" when a missile landed near his hotel room in downtown Kyiv. "It was pretty intense," he said.

Witnesses have also reported missile blasts in several other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odessa, per reports.

Just minutes after President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation on Thursday morning, per The New York Times, explosions were visible in Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv.

Makama Ezekial, a South African living in Kharkiv, told Insider the "crashing sounds" of missiles exploding made him jump out of bed. Ezekial immediately went to find his children, he said, because he became afraid for their safety.

His children were fine. But, according to Reuters, a boy was killed in Kharkiv after shelling struck an apartment complex, emergency services said.

In Odessa, a picturesque tourist hub in the southwest of Ukraine, a local journalist told Insider that he heard "roughly 20 rockets" explode near his home on Thursday morning.

"Then we saw the smoke from the balcony," said Ugo Poletti, the editor-in-chief of the Odessa Journal.

Regional authorities of Ukraine's southern Odessa region said 18 people were killed in a missile attack, Reuters reported.

But despite the "scary scenario," Poletti said the citizens of Odessa appeared to be "quite calm."

Yosri Lahouar, a Tunisian living in Ukraine, was also struck by the calmness of the locals in Odessa.

A missile landed about 10 meters away from Lahouar's apartment, he told Insider. He immediately grabbed his backpack and ran out on the streets to find shelter, as smoke engulfed him, Lahouar said.

Then, 10 minutes later, he continued, there was another explosion nearby. "I was on the ground and I started to cry," he said.

But, Lahouar explained, his reaction stood out from the crowd. "When I looked around, everyone was walking around normally, like nothing had happened," he said. "I was surprised."

The explosions, Lahouar said, were a moment of clarity for him. "At first, I was one of the voices who thought that war would never happen," he told Insider. But as of this morning, he said, he had to come to terms with the fact that he's living in a "war zone."


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

BREAKING: Russian Invasion of Ukraine Is 'Underway'


Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

According to reports on the ground, Russia is invading Ukraine tonight.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is the vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, tweeted that the invasion is now “underway.”

“In the hours to come #Russia will… conduct strikes on air defense systems… move to cut off #Kyiv from eastern #Ukraine… move to cut off Ukraine’s military forces on the line of contact in the east to prevent them from falling back to defend Kyiv,” Rubio tweeted.

In addition, Kan News correspondent Amichai Stein tweeted that Ukrainian airspace is shut down.

Stein also tweeted that Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an address tonight that he is launching “special military action” against Ukraine.

According to ABC News, a U.S. official has been informed that Russian military leaders are at their “command center” and “cyberattacks are underway.”

The United Nations Security Council is holding a meeting to discuss the situation, even though Russia is this month’s president of the council.

“President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a desperate attempt to avoid war, Fox reported.

“We are here tonight because we believe, along with Ukraine, that a full-scale, further invasion into Ukraine by Russia is imminent,” United States Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, according to CNN.

“Tonight we’re seeing the Russians close airspace, move troops into Donbas and move forces into combat-ready positions,” she added. “This is a perilous moment and we are here for one reason and one reason only, to ask Russia to stop.”

Black History Month Is Appropriate Time For The Truth

By Helen Louise Herndon

Can there be a more appropriate time for the truth about Black history than this month? Isn’t it an apt time to bring to light the long-held omissions that have skewed not only genuine history by promoting half-truths but most, unfortunately, have harmed and skewed racial relationships?

Our history education, as it’s generally taught from elementary to secondary classrooms, basically presents the institution of slavery as one of black and white with Black being the oppressed and White the oppressor. However, that is not the total history or story of the tragic institution of slavery. Before Africans set foot on America’s shores, there was more than just Whites enslaving and oppressing Blacks. The slave trade was multi-racial.

More than a decade ago, Dr. Sheldon M. Stern, John F. Kennedy Library and Museum historian, wrote that “It’s time to Face the Whole Truth About the Atlantic Slave Trade.” In it, he states:

Incomplete depictions of the Atlantic slave trade are, in fact, quite common. My 49 state U.S. standards revealed that not one of these guides to classroom content even mentioned the key role of Africans in supplying the Atlantic slave trade.

He cites various African leaders from Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Senegal, and Burkina Faso, all acknowledging the African role in slavery. Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Awoonor, wrote, “We too are blameworthy in what was essentially one of the most heinous crimes in human history.”

Dr. Stern looks to and quotes from Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery, a 1998 text by Charles Johnson, Patricia Smith, and the WGBH Series Research team, for the tragic fact that,

Historians estimate that ten million of these abducted Africans “never even made it to the slave ships. Most died on the march to the sea”—still chained, yoked, and shackled by their African captors—before they ever laid eyes on a white slave trader.

Besides what Dr. Stern has revealed, other Black historians and scholars have also contributed revelations that would shock and surprise many when it comes to the institution of slavery in the United States. Chief among these revelations is the fact that there were thousands of Black slave owners in the South—some of whom became quite wealthy and owned many slaves. According to some records, in the city of New Orleans alone, there were over 3,000 black slave owners. Indeed, in Louisiana, the wealthiest slave owner with the most slaves was Black. Additionally, Blacks owned thousands of slaves in the Carolinas.

Other sources reveal that the “Five Civilized Tribes” from the southeast (i.e., the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole—also owned Black slaves. Following the Civil War and the 13th Amendment, three refused to emancipate their slaves. It took signing a treaty with the U.S. obligating them to free their slaves.

One of my friends and colleagues, while living in France and Tunisia, was originally from Zanzibar. He was mostly Black African with some Arab hereditary features. Before he died, he informed his children that his Zanzibari family still owned slaves and were in the slave-trading business in the 20th Century!

Why are these historical facts important? They’re important because they bring accuracy, balance, impartial fairness, and truth to a history that continues to plague the nation. Should those values be important in our pursuit of history? Such facts do not in any way negate our nation’s guilt nor our government’s responsibility for harming or oppressing one race of people. However, they help diminish blame and fault totally directed at only one race—and worse, at the living generation of that race, people who had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery.

Several generations of children have been and are being taught that slavery is entirely black and white: Black victims and White oppressors. This one-dimensional and inaccurate narrative can only damage the relationships between Black and White children. And it is impossible to imagine that it does not affect those relationships through adulthood.

What if children of all races learned the truth at a very early age—that is, that America’s institution of slavery was created and maintained multi-racially? It’s probable that, if this history were taught more accurately and truthfully, there would be little reason for precious children to grow up with a sense of hurt or blame based on skin color because skin color wasn’t an issue when it came to the oppressors. The problem was one of values, with many races, not just the White race, complicit in a great evil.

Dr. Stern explains,

Failure to educate young Americans about the whole story of Atlantic slave trade threatens to divide our nation and undermine our civic unity and belief in the historical legitimacy of our democratic institutions. Education in a democracy cannot promote half-truths about history without undermining the ideal of e pluribus unum—one from many—and substituting a divisive emphasis on many from one.

Perhaps this issue is important to someone like me because, as a descendant of a man who was not only an avid abolitionist but also was Lincoln’s last law partner, I’ve always taken pleasure in an ancestor who was on the right side of both history and justice. He was also among the first Lincoln biographers with his book, Herndon’s Lincoln.

It’s time our history is corrected and updated to be on the right side of both history and justice. It might also be the very antidote needed today to stem the effort to divide us based on skin color. We can all pursue Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call that we give our children “a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Accurate and truthful history represents a firm foundation for accomplishing that lofty goal.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Putin Orders Deployment of Troops to Breakaway Regions in Ukraine

By Ann M. Simmons in Moscow, Yaroslav Trofimov in Kyiv, Ukraine, and Matthew Luxmoore in London | The Wall Street Journal 

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into two breakaway regions of Ukraine after recognizing their independence, a move that threatened to scuttle negotiations with the West over the future security of Eastern Europe.

His two decrees were published on the Russian government’s legal portal after a televised address late Monday in which Mr. Putin laid out grievances about the West’s support of Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Western arms deliveries to Kyiv against the backdrop of a massive Russian troop buildup near its borders.

A senior Biden administration official said that in response, the U.S. will impose new sanctions on Russia by Tuesday.

Mr. Putin said the unspecified number of Russian forces would act in a peacekeeping role once Russia has signed mutual assistance with the two regions.

“The situation in Donbas is becoming critical,” Mr. Putin said of the eastern area of Ukraine, where the two breakaway regions are located. “Ukraine is not just a neighbor. It is an inherent part of our own history, culture and spiritual space,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gathered his national security and defense council for a permanent meeting following Mr. Putin’s speech and was preparing a response, the council’s head said. Mr. Zelensky discussed the crisis with President Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

And in a late night speech to the nation, Mr. Zelensky said Russia’s latest actions amounted to a breach of Ukrainian sovereignty, but he continued to urge calm in the face of the threat.

“Truth is on our side. We will never hide the truth from you,” Mr. Zelensky said. “As soon as we see a change in the situation, as soon as we see an increase in risk, you will know all about it. There is currently no reason for chaotic actions.”

Condemnation from the international community was swift.

The White House said that Mr. Biden “strongly condemned” Mr. Putin’s decision to recognize two breakaway regions of Ukraine and said it planned to issue sanctions. Mr. Biden also “reiterated that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, in lockstep with its Allies and partners, to further Russian aggression against Ukraine.”

Mr. Biden also spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The White House said the leaders condemned Mr. Putin’s announcement and discussed next steps.

Mr. Biden issued an executive order that “will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons’’ in the breakaway areas.

Monday’s order bans new investment and financing in the separatist regions and U.S. trade with the areas. Investors or company executives that do business with the breakaway areas will have their U.S. assets blocked.

Press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House would also announce additional measures. She said those moves would be in addition to economic measures the U.S. has been preparing with allies.

A senior administration official said Washington will impose new sanctions by Tuesday.

“This wasn’t just a speech about Russia’s security, it was an attack on the very idea of a sovereign and independent Ukraine,” the senior Biden administration official said. “[Mr. Putin] made clear that he views the claim historically as part of Russia, and he made a number of false claims about Ukraine’s intention that seems designed to excuse possible military action.”

President Vladimir Putin announced Monday evening that Russia would recognize the independence of two Moscow-backed breakaway regions in Ukraine, a move Western officials believe could be used to justify an incursion into the territories. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool/AP

The White House on Sunday said that Mr. Biden was prepared to meet with Mr. Putin “in principle,” if Moscow refrained from further invading Ukraine. The senior official said that the White House can’t commit to a meeting “that has a predicate that Russia won’t take military action when it looks as imminently like it will.”

The official added that following Mr. Putin’s speech Monday, the administration received information that Russian troops deployed into the Donetsk and Luhansk regions “for so-called peacekeeping functions,” adding that U.S. officials are still assessing the situation.

“We are going to respond to any actions Russia takes in a way that we believe is appropriate to the action. There will be additional steps taken tomorrow, likely sanctions—if Russia takes further action,” the official said Monday. Russian forces annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Following Mr. Putin’s action, the remaining U.S. diplomats currently stationed in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv have been cleared to leave by land to Poland. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited security reasons for the move and added, “Our personnel will regularly return to continue their diplomatic work in Ukraine and provide emergency consular services,” he said. U.S. military personnel didn’t participate in the evacuation, defense officials said.

News of Mr. Putin’s decision to recognize the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which is expected to include financial assistance and help with infrastructure development and security, was greeted with cheers on the streets of the breakaway territories. Russian state media showed people waving Russian flags, embracing and hoisting bottles of champagne.

The celebrations came as Ukraine asked the U.N. Security Council for an urgent meeting to tackle the threat of a Russian invasion.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said he made the request Monday after a substantial escalation in military activity between Russian-backed forces and Kyiv government troops.

The United Nations Security Council, whose rotating presidency is held by Russia this month, met Monday night on the Ukraine crisis.

Deciding to recognize the two territories in Donbas would likely grant the Kremlin greater sway over these regions, already proxies of Moscow, and hand Mr. Putin an additional trump card in negotiations in his current standoff with the West.

Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, will consider the move to recognize the breakaway regions at a closed meeting Tuesday, the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported, a necessary move to formalize the decrees under Russian law.

In a statement Monday evening, the European Union’s top officials called the step by Mr. Putin “a blatant violation of international law.”

They said the EU “will react with sanctions against those involved in this illegal act.” No further details were provided.

The French leader, Mr. Macron, who holds the EU’s rotating presidency, called on Europe to respond with targeted sanctions.

“This is clearly a unilateral violation of Russia’s international commitments and an attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty,” Mr. Macron’s office said.

Mr. Macron also called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Tensions have been steadily rising across the region, despite signs that diplomatic initiatives had been making tentative progress.

Mr. Blinken has proposed a meeting with Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart, this week in Europe that could lead to a summit between Messrs. Biden and Putin.

But on Monday, Mr. Putin appeared to make the case for invading Russia’s smaller neighbor, describing Ukraine as a tool being used by the West for confrontation with Russia that “poses a very large threat” to the country, he said.

Sitting behind a large desk flanked by the flag of the Russian Federation and the Presidential Standard, his fingers pressed into the edge of the tabletop, Mr. Putin spoke directly into the camera to deliver a lengthy and at times rambling monologue. He shrugged and sometimes appeared irritated as he explained his interpretation of the intertwined history of Russia and Ukraine.

He questioned the territorial legitimacy of the former Soviet Republic, saying that “modern Ukraine was entirely created by communist Russia” in a process that “began immediately after the 1917 revolution.”

“Ukraine, in fact, has never had a stable tradition of its true statehood,” he said.

Mr. Putin also accused Ukraine of taking a hostile stance toward Russian-controlled areas of Donbas and said the government in Kyiv wasn’t willing to implement the Minsk cease-fire agreement signed after Ukrainian forces were routed in Donbas in 2015. Ukraine has rejected Moscow’s interpretation of the deal, which it says provides Russia’s proxies in the region a veto over any attempt to align Ukraine more closely with the West.

The Russian leader also repeated his objections to Ukraine being allowed to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, saying that Kyiv would use it as an opportunity to forcibly try to retake the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.

“If Russia faces such a threat as the admission of Ukraine to NATO, then the threats to our country will increase,” he said.

Biden administration officials said that Mr. Putin’s address “was a speech to the Russian people to justify a war.”

Markets were unsettled by the latest developments.

Russian stocks, the ruble and European shares fell, while oil prices rose, as investors grew nervous at signs of escalation between Moscow and the West.

U.S. stock markets were closed on Monday. The MOEX, Russia’s benchmark stock index, dropped 10.5%, which was the largest daily percentage decline since March 2014 during Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, rose 1.4% to $94.84 a barrel.

On Monday, Russia’s military said it destroyed two Ukrainian armored vehicles and killed five Ukrainian personnel inside Russian territory Monday, but offered no evidence of the alleged incursion, as Ukrainian and Western leaders warned Moscow was seeking pretexts to mount an attack.

Ukrainian military spokesman Lt. Col. Pavlo Kovalchuk said no such incident occurred. “This whole false claim of a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance team being caught somewhere near the Russian border is completely false,” he said.

Kyiv says it isn’t carrying out any offensive operations now that some 190,000 Russian troops have massed on Ukraine’s borders and that its forces have been holding back on returning fire to avoid giving Moscow any excuse for an invasion.

“Russia, stop your fake-producing factory now,” Mr. Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, tweeted on Monday.

Western intelligence officials said Russian forces have continued to build along Ukraine’s borders in the past 72 hours, including the deployment of its S-400 air-defense systems. They said there are now about 100 battalion tactical groups in the area of operations, with more on the way. Around two-thirds of the units are within 31 miles of the border with Ukraine and primed to make an offensive strike. One official described it as “a move from being postured for military operations to being poised for military operations,” with indications pointing to a possible large-scale invasion.

The official said it is believed that the final order to invade hasn’t been given and a window for de-escalation remains.

Also on Monday, a Russian-installed leader of a breakaway part of eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region asserted—also without offering evidence—that Kyiv had launched an offensive and said he would welcome financial and military assistance from Moscow.

Shelling all along the cease-fire line separating Ukrainian-controlled parts of Donbas from those held by Russian-installed administrations has escalated in recent days amid U.S. warnings of an imminent Russian invasion. On Monday, a major power station in the Ukrainian-controlled town of Shchastia stopped operations because of damage sustained from Russian artillery, according to local officials.

While Russia has aided and armed Donetsk and Luhansk since the Donbas conflict erupted in 2014, it has long insisted that its own armed forces aren’t directly involved in the fighting—which has claimed roughly 14,000 lives—an assertion ridiculed by Kyiv and the West.

Some 700,000 Donbas residents hold Russian passports and around one million applied for passports in recent days, Russian officials said. Mr. Putin has long put the defense of Russian citizens and Russian speakers at the heart of his assertive policies toward former Soviet neighbors. When Russia invaded the Caucasus country of Georgia in 2008, for example, it said it was defending its citizens from an attack by Georgia’s army.

If Moscow openly enters the fighting in Donbas, its overwhelming advantage in aviation and missiles could allow its forces to punch through Ukrainian defenses and potentially encircle some of the Ukrainian army’s best fighting units.

“Military assistance is needed, in different directions,” Eduard Basurin, one of the leaders of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, said on Russian TV on Monday.

The U.S. has told the U.N. that it has reliable information that the Kremlin plans to hunt down Ukrainians who oppose a Russian attack if Mr. Putin decides to invade the country.

“We have credible information that indicates Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation,” Bathsheba Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. office and other international organizations in Geneva wrote a top U.N. human rights official. “Russian forces will likely use lethal measures to disperse peaceful protests or otherwise counter peaceful exercises of perceived resistance from civilian populations.”

Dissidents from Belarus and Russia who have sought refuge in Ukraine would also likely be targeted, as would journalists, anticorruption activists, religious and ethnic minorities and LGBTQ individuals, Ms. Crocker wrote.

The letter, which was first reported by the Washington Post, was sent to Michelle Bachelet, the U.N.’s high commissioner for human rights.

Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk said that several civilians and troops were killed and injured by Ukrainian fire Sunday, and released footage of a severed leg of what they said was a Ukrainian saboteur who had an accident while trying to plant a bomb.

They also said Ukrainian forces tried Monday morning to break through front lines along the Azov Sea coast, heading toward the Russian border. Ukraine dismissed these allegations as a disinformation campaign.

Russia on Monday also said a Ukrainian shell hit a border outpost in its southern Rostov region, destroying the building. Nobody was hurt in the incident, according to Moscow.

Ukraine said its forces were far from that area, which abuts a part of Donbas controlled by Russia, and didn’t fire in that direction.

“They are in search of a casus belli,” said Ukraine’s national security adviser, Oleksii Danilov. “But the desire of the Russian federation to provoke us to begin active operations will fail.”

Lt. Col. Kovalchuk said Russian-backed forces were deliberately destroying civilian infrastructure on their own territory to escalate hostilities.

“Our positions and the Russian border are separated by the temporarily occupied territories, and our artillery is currently drawn back to the rear of our positions,” he said. “It would be absolutely impossible for us to shoot over the temporarily occupied territories to shoot all the way to Rostov.”

Monday, February 21, 2022

Progressives discredit Black Republican history

By William Haupt III | The Center Square contributor

Hiram Revels (1822-1901) served as Mississippi's Republican U.S. Senator from 1870-71. He was born free, educated in Indiana and Illinois, and became a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church. – Shutterstock

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as a separate American history. It is sharing experiences of all African Americans, famous or obscure, and how they helped strengthen and shape America. It’s about revisiting the past so we better understand society today. It is a healthy look at those who contributed to the socio-political health of America and what helped make us a great nation today.

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, a visitor-packed Senate gallery burst into applause as Senator Hiram Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, approached the Chamber to take his oath of office. Hiram Revels was about to become the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress.

Just weeks before this historic event, the Fifteenth Amendment had been ratified. It prohibited the states from denying anyone the right to vote, regardless of race or color. Republican Abolitionist Wendell Phillips proudly labeled Hiram Revels as "the flesh and blood of the 15th Amendment."

In 1870, as Mississippi sought readmission, the Republican Party firmly controlled both houses of Congress and dominated Southern state legislatures. The first essential order of business for the Mississippi state legislature in January 1870 was to fill the vacancies in the United States Senate.

Black legislators, representing one-quarter of the legislature, petitioned fellow Republicans to elect a Black man for Senator. Hiram Revels, who vowed to unify the nation, was chosen U.S. Senator.

"The legislature felt this would deliver a blow to weaken the color line of prejudice." – Hiram Revels

When Common Core was adopted by the Obama administration in 2010, text books were rewritten to "standardize education." But their real goal was to "rewrite history." And in doing so many of our most salient historical events were subordinated in the name of liberal "political correctness." Many history-changing accomplishments of Republican Black Americans have been entombed forever.

Common Core marks modern Black political history when Blacks joined Democrats in support of the New Deal. But it began 80 years earlier following the Civil War. Reconstruction ushered in a Black political wave that swept the South. Vowing to make a difference in America, 23 influential Black leaders were elected to the U.S. Congress. They were all members of the Republican Party.

In 1866, the Republican Congress passed the Civil Rights Act and the Reconstruction Acts, which dissolved Confederate state governments. And the 13th and 14th Amendments granted freedom and citizenship to former slaves. Former Confederate states had to ratify their constitutions to give equal rights to Black Americans or forfeit being represented in the U.S. Congress.

"We have now guaranteed the absolute rights of every U.S. citizen in America." – Sen. Lyman Trumbull (R-IL)

In several states, most notably, Mississippi and South Carolina, Black Americans were the majority of the population. They immediately joined the Republican Party, which controlled state legislatures. In 1870, Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first Black member of Congress elected to the U. S. House. In the next four decades, Southern Black Republicans followed him to Congress from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

In 1875, Blanche Bruce (R-MS) was the 2nd Black Republican to serve in the U.S. Senate. In 1966, Edward Brooke (R-MA) was the third Black American elected to the U.S. Senate. He authored the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and he was awarded the acclaimed Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.

"I can't serve just the Negro cause. I've got to serve all of the people in my state." – Edward Brooke

Common Core methodology created a new era of "Modern American History" to marginalize the achievements of Black Republican politicians between Reconstruction and the end of World War II. It also helped camouflage the Jim Crow era when Southern Democratic Segregationists disenfranchised many Black Americans from Reconstruction until the passage of the 3rd Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Contrary to progressive myth, it was not until 1935, when Chicago Mayor Edward Kelly convinced Arthur W. Mitchell to switch parties and run for Congress, that the first Black Democrat was elected to the U.S. House. Black Democrat William Dawson (D-IL) was elected eight years later in 1943.

"It was only because of Roosevelt's New Deal I switched parties, nothing else." – Arthur W. Mitchell

Progressives have successfully buried Fredrick Douglas' strong dedication to the Republican Party. The former slave became one of the nation’s most prolific authors and orators. Douglas was also a patriot. A close friend of Abraham Lincoln, he urged Black Americas to fight during the Civil War.

Republican Douglas pushed to upend the status quo with suffrage for all Americans, regardless of sex or color. At the time, the party of Lincoln received enormous support from Black voters for their work to improve the socioeconomic status of Black Americans before and after the Civil War.

"I am Black and a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and I will never join another party." – Fredrick Douglas

Since the Depression, the left has patronized Blacks for political gain. When President Joe Biden announced he'd only consider Black women for the U.S. Supreme Court, he negated the achievements of all Black jurists. Nominating anyone at the expense of their dignity, gender or race is disgraceful politics.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." – Martin Luther King Jr

Biden is setting the stage for progressive wokes to call the GOP bigots and racists in the national media. Progressives will portray any question for the nominee about her judicial philosophy or her professional record as racist and sexist. It will be worse than the way Democrats treated Clarence Thomas. As a Black conservative Catholic, Thomas knew Democrats would not discredit his color or religion so they attacked his character. And Biden was his biggest and most aggressive critic.

Vladimir Lenin told us, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth." For years, the liberal media and the progressive left have marginalized the accomplishments of Republican Black Americans. Many are not even a footnote in a Common Core textbook. To them, race and gender dictate politics. Our immutable characteristics do affect us in many ways, but race and gender are not the sum total.

It was Carter Woodson's dream to have a month dedicated to remembering the history of famous Black Americans. Yet progressives only choose to honor those who fit into the "liberal" parameters they've put them in. The left, the media and Common Core are doing an injustice not honoring the trail-blazing Black Republicans who made great contributions to American history.

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." – Martin Luther King