Russia, are you listening?

John Hanno, – 2-22-22

No one seems to know why your President wants to invade your sovereign neighbor to the West. Maybe Russia has run out of riches Vlad and his buddies can siphon off and send over to Democratic nations to be laundered.

Reports are that Vladimir Putin is one of the richest Kleptocrats in the world, with between $85 and $100 billion in net worth. That’s quite an accomplishment on a reported government salary of about $250,000 a year, even after a 20 year run as Pillager in Chief.

Although that seems like more than enough money for any one person to squander for at least a couple of hundred lifetimes, some people are just not satisfied with any amount of wealth. We have someone in America who’s exactly like that, and is a matter of fact one of Vlad’s best buds.

America’s deposed ex-president, Donald J. Moneybags, has been bragging about his worth, for as long as he’s foisted his material ego on the American public, even before the Apprentice T.V. show. But news flash, the Donald’s accounting firm Mazars USA just trimmed his sales and his purported net worth, claiming that the last decade of financial statements they prepared were, not surprisingly, unreliable. His accountants rude awakening probably had something to do with the investigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James and a hearing this week in a Manhattan court.

A.G. James is investigating whether Trump or the Trump Organization falsified asset values to obtain loans, to bamboozle investors, and to pay lower taxes.

During the hearing, state Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. to comply with the A.G’s subpoenas and to testify under oath about the Trump organization’s business practices.  

Engoron stated in the ruling, that when a state Attorney General investigates a “business entity, uncovers copious evidence of possible financial fraud, and wants to question, under oath, several of the entities’ principals, including its namesake,” they have a right and a duty to do so. Apparently Mazars sees the writing on the wall, has unceremoniously kicked trump to the curb and is going into full self preservation mode.

Maybe Vlad Putin is just a school-yard bully who wants to beat up on the neighborhood weakling and take his lunch money, because well, he just can.

Vlad Farkus

Vlad’s Cousin Skut Farkus

This reminds me of the movie “Christmas Story”, in which Ralphie and his school-mates Flick and Schwartz are tormented by the neighborhood bullies Scut Farkus and Grover Dill.

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Scut Farkus and Grover Dill waylay Ralphie and his friends on their way home from school

Ralphie, his little brother and school-mates are confronted by Farkus

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Ralphie and his mates are terrified of the bullies.

But Ralphie eventually decides he’s taken the bullying and a beating once too often. He finally snaps and beats up Farkus, giving him a black eye and a bloody nose. The Ukrainian people might have reached that same juncture, living under the thumb of their Russian bully.

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Ralphie surprises even himself when he stands up to Farkus.

America, NATO and the European Union have emphatically stated that should Putin invade their sovereign neighbor, they will help Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his country men and women, give Putin and his 190,000 lackeys two nasty public black eyes and a world-wide size financial bloody nose. Those threatened sanction have as yet not dissuaded Putin from his military buildup but may still avert a war that no one can win.

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Vlad, er Scut will rue the day they pick on the weakling.

It’s hard to discern what goes through the head of a megalomaniac like Putin. The world has been under assault from the coronavirus pandemic for more that two years, almost a million Americans have perished and more that 6 million world-wide, but Putin has decided this is a perfect time to start World War III. The civilized world wonders what kind of a human being is this.

We’re trying to dissect the addled mine of our own egomaniac ex president Donald J. Trump. After losing handily to Joe Biden in 2020, and in spite of more than 60 U.S. courts (including our Supreme Court) having ruled against his efforts to challenge that fair election, he conspired to illegally overturn the election by inciting an insurrection, by firing-up his MAGA storm-troopers to attack our Nations Capitol, assault it’s defenders and hang his own vice president.

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And trump’s lackeys in the U.S. Congress still fawn over him with unwavering devotion.

We must apologize to the Russian people for not doing a better job of prosecuting their Kleptocrats who violate international money laundering laws, but it’s not for the lack of trying. Unfortunately there are some business and political leaders in our country who flaunt those laws and hinder the prosecution of those criminals enterprises.

I believe the primary reason Putin has decided now is the time to invade the Ukraine, is because their burgeoning Democratic Westward leanings are a threat to his tight grip on his Russian monopoly and money train. If the Russian populace can sort through the propaganda maze enough to see what life could be under a more Democratic governance, we might witness another Russian revolution.

We understand it won’t be easy. Putin holds ultimate control over your elections and the media. When Putin is routinely reelected with more than 90% of the vote, it’s virtually impossible for any opposition candidates to win anything. And anyone who stands up to Putin ends up in prison, in a hospital or in a cemetery. We understand that once the right to vote is usurped and the ability to protest against an Autocratic government or criticize a tyrannical despot is stifled, it may be impossible to regain any slim thread of democratic choice.

That’s why our Democratic Party, some true Republicans and those bracing the pillars of our democracy and democratic institutions, are staunchly defending American’s ability to vote and our ability to fairly count those votes. Unfortunately, trump’s Grand Old Party has relinquished constitutional and conservative Democratic principles to an Autocratic self serving cult leader who demands slavish allegiance. The right to vote in America is under assault in dozens of states and endorsed by most of the cowardly republi-cons in Congress.

We know one thing for sure, if trump would have prevailed over Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Vlad and his 150,000 – 190,000 storm troopers would have already set up camp in Kiev, already begun rounding up opposition leaders, religious leaders and activists who preach Democracy. They would have already begun pillaging Ukraine’s wealth and national treasures, quickly transferred most of it westward for safekeeping and extinguished all civil opposition and inclination towards Democracy.

But in spite of Putin’s stranglehold over every aspect of your society, we know the Russian people are capable of courageous opposition.

Putin blamed the 200,000 protestors who flooded the streets of Moscow in 2014 on Hillary Clinton, but a thirst for Democracy was the real impetus.

Anti-Putin Protests

Britannica: Silencing critics and actions in the West

“On February 27, 2015, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down within sight of the Kremlin, just days after he had spoken out against Russian intervention in Ukraine. Nemtsov was only the latest Putin critic to be assassinated or to die under suspicious circumstances. In January 2016 a British public inquiry officially implicated Putin in the 2006 murder of former Federal Security Service (FSB; the successor to the KGB) officer Alexander Litvinenko. Litvinenko, who had spoken out against Russian government ties to organized crime both before and after his defection to the United Kingdom, was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea in a London hotel bar. Britain ordered the extradition of the two men accused of carrying out the assassination, but both denied involvement and one—Andrey Lugovoy—had since been elected to the Duma and enjoyed parliamentary immunity from prosecution.”

Boris Nemtsov
Flowers, condolence messages, and a memorial photograph marking the spot in Moscow’s Red Square where Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated on February 27, 2015.
Ivan Sekretarev/AP Images

In January 2021, protests against Putin took place across Russia for imprisoning Alexei Navalny. Navalny, 44 year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner who has dedicated himself to toppling Putin’s reign of terror, has stood fast in spite of being intimidated, poisoned, doused with dye and jailed. Navalny has accused the Russian president of using state cash to enrich himself and his family, including building a £1billion palace at Gelendzhik on the Black Sea.

Russian police are arresting protesters demanding the release of top Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Russian police are arresting protesters demanding the release of top Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Credit: AP:Associated Press

The Sun reported in January 2021: “The Kremlin has denied being “afraid” of Navalny and his pro-democracy campaigners but are concerned to act tough to prevent mass support growing for a Ukrainian-style revolution.”

Alexei Navalny and his Supporters

Navalny’s eye will take months to recover after surgery

Alexei Navalny Poisoned
What does Russia represent? How do the Russian people want to be viewed by the entire civilized world.

The latest intelligence reports released by the White House yesterday claim that Putin fully intends to invade their sovereign peaceful neighbor Ukraine and then target activists, journalists, religious leaders and others for extermination or prison camps. This sounds exactly like Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Is this what the Russian people want to be remembered for in history? Hitler’s plan for world domination caused between 20 and 27 million Soviet Union citizens to perish in WW II, from all war related causes, a terrible toll. Where does Putin’s plans for empire stop?

In the U.S. and most of the West, Russia is viewed as a tyrannical Kleptocracy who’s despots stalk and murder civil activists around the world, who imprisons peaceful protestors, and as an international bully who infiltrates and overthrows democratic nations, who engages in cyber warfare in Democratic countries, including meddling in our own democratic elections. Russia represents a failed nation, with an economy less that half of our state of California, less than Italy, a much smaller country. What does Russia manufacture, besides weapons of war? What does Russia export except fossil fuels that pollute the world and contribute to global warming. It seems like the only other things Russia exports is pain, grief, terror and doped athletes, including a talented and tragic 15 year old Olympic skater who probably had no say on what went into her body.

Editorial cartoon

Putin couldn’t care less for anyone or anything but himself and his own ego. Is he attacking his countries own enormous social, civil and financial problems? No, he’s attacking a peaceful neighbor.

We had our own Putinesque Kleptocratic leader who couldn’t care less for his country, its Constitution, it’s laws and institutions, it’s reputation around the world or it’s people. Trump’s “I alone can fix it” motto was as hollow as his promises to MAGA. His main goal was enriching himself and his family.

America came to its senses and kicked it’s Autocratic want-a-be bully to the curb in 2020. He’s not quite gone yet but our Democratic institutions and courts are working around the clock on that. The Republican enablers in our Congress are in full defense mode behind trump’s assault on our Democracy but we have an election this year and another in 2024, so maybe the less radical right trump sycophants will take note of Putin’s Russia death wish and vote for more Democracy minded candidates.

Trump’s MAGA faithful cry “Freedom” at every turn, but they have no idea what real freedom is until they live under a despot like Putin, Hitler or trump. These self-serving Autocrats steal your voice, your vote, your opinion, your thoughts, your humanity and your treasures and wealth.

What a large majority of America’s voters are wondering is, how much better off our country, the world and even the Russian people would be if Hillary Clinton had been elected instead of Donald Trump. Can we even count the ways? A few jump off the page of history; our withdrawal from The Iran Nuclear Treaty and their renewed race for nuclear weapons, ditto The Paris Accord and worsening global warming, and just as important, the assent of Autocratic governments and sympathizers who disdain Democracy, free choice and a real authentic “Freedom.” And Trump’s admiration for Putin only encouraged his expansionist ambitions of Russian empire.

To all the Democratic leaning Russians, activists and empathetic citizens, it’s obvious Putin listens to no one but himself, not his flunkies, his neighbors, the European Union, NATO, the United Nations and especially not the United States, but maybe he’ll listen to the Russian people. He’s amassed almost 200,000 soldiers on your far Western border, more than half of his entire army. This would be an extremely opportunistic time for the Russian people to engage in civil disobedience and peaceful protests. Save the Ukrainian people from a catastrophic invasion, blood bath and refugee crisis. Ukrainians, especially the younger generations dream of a more equitable and Democratic future. Save your Ukrainian brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins from a more tragic history. And save your own soldiers from coming home in body-bags. Stand up to Putin and change the direction of your Nation, civil society and economic well being. Save the Ukrainians, the Russian people and the entire world from Putin’s diabolical plans of empire.

I did a 2 1/2 year U.S. Army tour in Germany during the height of the early 60’s cold war. I was a Sergeant stationed in a nuclear artillery unit as a communications section chief. We had our nuclear missiles aimed at the Soviets and they had theirs aimed at us. We were on high alert 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I sometimes feel like I went to sleep almost 60 years ago, just woke up and nothing has changed with Russia; a once great nation with a back-ward looking leader stuck in the 19th century.

I remember one night out with friends; I guess we had too much to drink and I got lost driving. We ended up near the East German border. The thing I remember most vividly was the darkness; very few lights were visible on the East German side. Bleak would be an understatement.

We have too many people in our own country who want to turn off the lights on America’s Democratic experiment; many of them are republi-cons in the U.S. Congress. Courageous American’s will not let them succeed.

The world is wondering what he’s thinking, or if he’s thinking?
Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin on Saturday, February 19 alongside his ally, Belarusian president Lukashenko watched the Russian military perform nuclear drills, while the U.S. announced that Russian forces were ‘poised to strike’ Ukraine. The nuclear bomb drills were carried out simultaneously from the sea, land and the air. 
I’m surprised Putin didn’t use a big fat Sharpie to sign the documents and then show it to the cameras, like Trump’s televised spectacles.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin signs decrees to recognize independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed decrees to recognize independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk. Moscow ordered troops into these areas on Monday, escalating the prospect of outright war between Russia and Ukraine.Alexei Nikolsky/TASS via Getty Images

Note to Mr. Putin: Your false flag operations in Eastern Ukraine aren’t fooling anyone; hopefully the Russian people can see through your propaganda.

Starting a war under false pretenses never turns out well; we proved that by invading Iraq and are still paying the costs and consequences.

And you Mr. Putin should have learned that in Afghanistan; the beginning of the downfall of the Soviet Empire.

You claim the West is against the Russian people, so you believe you alone must reconstitute the Soviet empire in order to save it from the dust bin of history. That’s nonsense. Were against your reckless assault and invasion of sovereign Democratic nations and your disregard of human misery and death.

You want to go down in history as the great leader who brought Russia back from the dead, but the only thing you’ll accomplish is to strengthen the EU, NATO and the worlds resolve in Defending Democracy. You will live in infamy as a radical lunatic who started a needless war and destroyed his country.

Russia are you listening; America are you listening?

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.