Individual Americans show Vladimir Putin how tough we can be

“More than 1,000 gather at SF’s City Hall to protest Russian invasion of Ukraine” (SFGate, 2/4/2022) will no doubt strike fear in the hearts of the any foreign military. The accompanying photo shows that a handful of the Followers of Science are equipped with hearts brave enough to go outdoors without a protective cloth mask (our 6-year-old pointed out, however, that “one has a chin diaper”):

The bellicosity of this partially masked Army of the Righteous is described in the text:

Many waved blue and gold Ukrainian flags, and there was a sea of signs within the crowd. Some read “Russians Go Home,” “No USSR 2.0” and “Support Ukraine.” Expressing both sadness and anger, the crowd chanted “Stop Putin” and “Hands of Ukraine.”

“The reason I’m here is to raise awareness of Putin’s war and show the world that Ukrainians in America stand with those in Ukraine,” said SF resident Andy Soluk, who held a flag.

While the shooting war raged and folks in San Francisco were sending thoughts and prayers, what other foes were significant enough to get the attention of the Army of the Righteous? Were they, perhaps, fighting to provide housing for the thousands of their brothers, sisters, and binary resisters who live in Bay Area tent cities? Working with Barack Obama to continue the planet healing that began in 2008? Here’s a February 25, 2022 letter from administrators at University of California Berkeley:

The campus leadership recognizes that it’s hard to adjust to the reality of masks no longer being required (even if they’re still recommended in some settings). That’s why our campus will be one of the last places in the Bay Area to still require masks prior to when our mandate is lifted on March 7. These changes are indeed difficult and I encourage anyone who would feel more comfortable wearing a mask to continue to do so. But I also encourage you to grapple with the fact that the consensus within the public health community is that it is no longer necessary to mandate masking.

Imagine the tenacity and inner strength of a person who can surmount the trifecta of (1) adjusting to reality, (2) coping with the difficult mask order change, and (3) grappling with the new facts of Science!

(Separately, regarding the impending mask-optional vaccine-and-booster-required Berkeley campus, Science tells us that (1) mask orders and vaccine coercion were highly effective at reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections and (2) the virus will be with us forever, including in potentially dangerous new mutants, Combining (1) and (2), it makes logical sense to drop these proven-effective-by-Science policies and let any future plague rage exponentially. Now that those who Follow Science know exactly how to fight COVID-19, they aren’t going to bother to exert any effort in that fight.)

And, in case that you think the valorous are limited to San Francisco, a friend in Colorado sent me the following today:

I sat in on the Zoom call our public health dept had on ending mask mandate a week ago. When asked why if they decided to end it on Monday the end wouldn’t go into effect till Friday they said they had to give people time to absorb and adjust to the new reality.

I also loved that they are voting on, and agreed to, ending a mask mandate on a zoom meeting because it was still too risky to meet in person.

Fortunately, many local business have followed the science and kept their own mandates in place.

On a vaguely related theme of cultural difference, can readers who speak Russian please tell us what the Russian recruitment video says? And, if military service is compulsory for Russian males, why do they have recruiting videos at all?

And our state-sponsored media (NPR) reminds us to curl up into the fetal position. From “5 ways to cope with the stressful news cycle” (2/25/2022; URL: “anxiety-tips-self-care”):

Russia invaded Ukraine this week, … don’t forget to care for yourself in other ways … Breathe … Nourish yourself. The kitchen is a safe space for a lot of us.

36 thoughts on “Individual Americans show Vladimir Putin how tough we can be

  1. As a 2nd Amendment supporter who lives in the Woods, an early-vaccine adopter, boosterized and “fully vaccinated” Massachusetts Health Care system denizen who also wears fresh Aegle N95 masks and dutifully follows the Nonaggression Diktat billboards at the entrances to many of my health care venues in the Poor Mines™ I can tell you this:

    I take absolutely ZERO SHIT when it comes to MY safety and I know just how hard and tough these repentant-for-their-privilege UC Berkeley students really must be. What mind-blowing turmoil! They are suffering and grappling indeed!

    Not only that, I have learned to accept the New Facts and Methods of #Science – at least in terms of my exhibited behaviors – with almost complete obedience and fidelity. I do meekly question them from time to time, though. But don’t tell anyone I said that!

    It’s like a bit of déjà vu with with Bill Clinton when Republicans once dared to question his true Belief and church attendance (I’m paraphrasing): “If it’s just an act, at least it’s a consistent act.” I have to say that must have learned something from the Best of Him.

    Carry on! I feel about as tough as a three day old wad of gum squashed into the sizzling asphalt of a hot New York City Street.

  2. Democrats have compared Trump to Nazis ( The Canadian PM accuses a Jewish MP of “standing with swastikas” ( during his totalitarian crackdown on truckers.

    In the case of Putin, however, the woke seem to have figured out that he uses Nazis as an excuse (

    If this is an indication of some learning process, let them wave the Ukrainian flag instead of the Rainbow flag for a while. People are also bravely displaying the Ukrainian flag on Twitter and in forums.

    (The real bravery, as you mention, is of course going maskless outside!)

    • Anon: I noticed this as well. A lot of Progressive expansions of government power in the U.S. and private-sector unpersonings are justified on the basis that the U.S. is packed with Jew-haters, white supremacists, etc. Therefore, we have to abandon some of our former principles, e.g., valuing freedom of speech and diversity of opinion, in order to fight the unprecedented threat of Nazis on our home soil. That Donald Trump was the father of an Orthodox Jew (via conversion) and chose to live among Jews in NYC and Palm Beach did not engender any skepticism among Democrats regarding his Nazi party affiliation. By skimming headlines, I’m getting the impression that saving Ukraine from neo-Nazism is one of the justifications for the latest military action. But, as you say, the same folks who are quick to label 25-50% of the U.S. as Nazi territory are now saying that the standard for labeling a Ukrainian a “neo-Nazi” should be very high.

    • @Philg: Yes. The “This Invasion is about Countering the Fascist Neo Nazis in Kyiv that Zelensky has Harbored and Supported” intellectual argument was all over the BBC World Service radio yesterday courtesy of an interview with one of its proponents in Russia.

      He sounded quite literally rabid and almost insane as he ranted that story out semi-incoherently, along with a string of other mistruths and outright lies, to the British interviewer – who was so taken aback by the violent intensity of this guy’s propaganda that he almost had to cut the interview off at several points. I thought it was great that he let him sustain it, because he demonstrated quite clearly how crazy he was, all by himself.

    • @Anonymous, @Philg:

      Also, what I take to be one of the origins of the “Truckers are Nazis” story began for me with a description of another guy in Canada who was giving a TV interview when one of the Trucker/Protestors photo-bombed the background carrying an UPSIDE DOWN Canadian flag emblazoned with a swastika. Later the interviewee claimed he didn’t know anything about the protestor or his origins because it was clear that the Official Narrative was developing along the lines of labeling the protest movement – in nearly its entirety – as Neo-Nazi.

      Of course, that protestor was flying an UPSIDE DOWN Canadian flag – signaling distress, for himself and his country – with the swastika representing what he was protesting *against.*

      As we know, however, the Nazi Swastika is rotationally symmetric at 90, 180 and 270 degrees, so it always looks the same when rotated. This guy evidently hadn’t realized, therefore, that spray-painting a swastika on a flag and then rotating the flag 180 degrees leaves the swastika “intact.” Trudeau must have thought: “Well, he’s dissing my flag and his swastika looks right, so he’s 50% Nazi and 50% Anti-Canadian. To the GULAG!”

  3. Still no-one protesting to get Biden to work on Saturday. Quite a difference between a country which is just fighting for the right to question a dictator & a country which is just focused on free preschool for all. The lion kingdom tried to imagine what would happen if Ukraine elected Biden.

    • Careful Senorpablo, Pavel is a foreigner who has admitted to stealing our election. You have no idea who you are dealing with! Toy with him at your own risk. When will the menace from the North stop?

    • You assume that it’s not staged beforehand or in some studio. These days it’s an unwarranted assumption.

    • averros, Do you have evidence that this was staged or are you part of the Putin Propaganda Machine (PPM)?

    • Yeah, sure, the mighty Putin Propaganda Machine, LOL. They elected Trump, ah-ha. Boris and Natasha are stealing lunches from black school kids and cooking meth in the boonies, too.

      Try to read some actual Russian news. Hint: they are a lot less pro-regime butt-licking parrots than any mainstream Western outlet and at least try to make motions of separating reporting from opinions. They also don’t seem to have the charming habit of referring to statements from some anonymous “officials” as facts.

      BTW, I got into habit of reading from Russian press back when Russia Today was the only English-language mainstream outlet giving any time to Ron Paul during primaries.

    • Pavel:

      The other day I described my rather strange experience of dealing with many conservative leaning people who consider Putin (and by extension Russia) a savior and protector of traditional values. It is an interesting,and sad phenomenon at the same time, as the majority of those lost souls are quite smart and educated. Post Feb 24,2022, někteří z nich prozřeli/some of them saw the light as did my PhD friend from Olomouc, some are still under the spell of their messiah. In a sense, this religioous vision of Russia as a savior of the Western tradition is a mirror image of wokism, and wokism is what feeds this kind of adoration, at least partially.

      It is unlikely in my opinion that averros is a Putin paid propagandist. He appears to be a true believer just as those people I mentioned in my previous message on the subject. Of course, their position today is morally repugnant.

  4. A translation, more or less literal, (mainly drivel):

    “This is the first day of your new life. What existed yesterday does not matter any more. Nobody cares who you were before. Now, what is important who you are going to be today, what you know about yourself, what you are capable of. These questions may never be answered, but will you be able to sleep peacefully afterwards ? To know yourself, to know the limits of your abilities… To hell with the limits, are you ready to push yourself to utter exhaustion? Every day here, pain will strengthen you, your scars are everyday occurrence, it’s you who decided to prove something to yourself, your leader here is your enemy because without an enemy there is no fight, and without a fight there is no victory.
    But in reality, your main enemy is yourself of yesterday. Your task is to track the enemy, catch up with him, excel him, become better than him, and come back as a victor because tomorrow is the first day of your new life”

    Very zen.

    As to the video recruiting value, here’s a link clarifying the difference between a conscripted serviceman and a contractual one (контрактник vs. призывник). The video is targeted at the latter, clearly :

    Unfortunately, the site is now under a DOS attack from a hostile entity, therefore it is inaccessible at the moment.

    • Thanks, Ivan, for that translation. I think it is fair to say that the U.S. soldier is closer to being a superhero because we get an origin story and every superhero needs an origin story.

    • Ivan, it also mentions that recruit’s commander should be looked at like his enemy and at the end he, the recruit himself, is the main enemy. That part is just Orwellian. Either creators of Russian clip were never in the military themselves or Russian military has developed neither decent drill sergeant culture nor sergeants as important hierarchy band in the military.

  5. None of the advertisements follow my favorite paradigm that was succinctly framed by Theodor Roosevelt: “speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.” When I read I was instantly converted into Americanism, it crystallized beliefs that I attained through my own sweat and blood in the school of hard knocks.
    Putin, with his insistence that he is mostly fighting neo-nazis in Ukraine that elected president with Jewish roots in a land-slide and his requirements that all Russian government officials had to take an invasive covid test just before meeting him and separating from his own cabinet by at least ten yards or so (see, belongs at this SF gathering, just with different flag. Do not forget that he cancels everyone who says something he does not like (Russian artists expressed their opposition to Russian aggression and had to resign immediately) . Also his minions (and maybe he) call Ukrainian Jews who support Ukrainian independence and fight for Ukraine a combination word consisting of slur for Jews in Russian and last name of Ukrainian Nationalist rebels during WWII period, similar to how US woke left calls Jews like Ben Shapiro and Mark Levin white supremacists.
    His drafted p[art of military is not much better: all male citizens aged 18–27 supposed to be drafted for just one year of service, and those who are better off are usually skip it all together.
    There is also professional and paramilitary parts in Russian military, but looking at performance of their paratroop units they are not much better. While Ukrainians are not militaristic, they were significant part of professional military in former USSR (officers and especially warrant officers) and one of the most feared part of it. I seriously afraid that thermobaric bombs that were use by USSR with little practical effects against mujahedin could be used by Putin on city targets in Ukraine, another escalation of his incompetency and to make all command chain complicit in the crime and thus burn their bridges.
    US promo is scary in its own right, a person zombiefied by “popular” culture intensively multicasted through broadband channels, manages military drones. I wonder what could go wrong?

  6. Philip, I appreciate any support at all for Ukraine, however small. Showing them that their invader has no friends and that they do emboldens them to hang on.

    Make no mistake, that’s what the Ukrainians are doing, hanging on against all odds through miracle after miracle. 100 trained and equipped BTG (battalion tactical groups) are no joke.

    I don’t even care about Western politicians trying to divert the issue to their own pet horses, as long as they give some, any support at all.

    I believe helping others be free is the highest freedom one can exercise. The fact that some support – with many exceptions, thank God! – is so feeble says more about the giver than the cause itself.

    To end on a agreeable note, this song fits Putin’s intentions perfectly (replace king George with Putin):

    > And when push comes to shove
    I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love!

    When you’re gone, I’ll go mad
    So don’t throw away this thing we had
    ‘Cause when push comes to shove
    I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love

    • …another clown caring more for “Ukraine” than for Ukrainians.

      The real question is wheter rank and file people will be better off under Russia than under Western marionette regime composed mostly of kleptocratic oligarchs and their pet neo-Nazis — the real ones, complete with swastikas and SS runes, and heavily armed with modern weaponry courtesy of American taxpayers).

      Given that Russians in Russia enjoy MUCH higher standard of living than Ukrainians do in Ukraine (Russia per-capita PPP GDP is 3 times higher, unilateral economic warfare by US and EU notwithstanding), I think the answer isn’t as simple as CIA propaganda for ignorant simpletons paints it. Oh, and being allowed to speak you native language should count for something, too. So is not having your houses shelled by the armed forces of “your” country. Do any of you ignorant clowns even realize that there are million to two million Ukrainian refugees living in Russia?

      Now, as for “autocratic” regimes, methinks people taking side of states in which millions of people were placed under de-facto house arrests and deprived of livelihood on the whim mandates of some shady bureaucrats should just STFU about autocracy. At least the evil autocrat Putin saw it fit to obtain proper specific authorization from the elected representatives before sending in the troops.

    • averros: We know that the mainstream media are unreliable, but I don’t buy the Nazi story. Left wing media, right wing media, Israel media, independent YouTubers say that the problem is confined to about 3% of the population. Additionally, Zelensky is Jewish.

      Here is a perspective on Ukrainians who migrated to Russia, which cites Russian demographic problems that eerily resemble the West’s:

      Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state-controlled broadcaster RT, posted on Facebook that if nothing is done, the population would change so much that by 2040 Russia will be a “Muslim country.”

      (Note that is woke like NPR and would not voluntarily invent stories against Islam.)

    • averros, if you watch clips of defenders of Kharkiv all of those who burned Russian armored vehicles comment in good folksy Russian. I guess they did not get message from Zelensky’s neo-nazis that they could not speak Russian. You should listen to full interview of Russian Colonel General (equivalent of 3 star US general) Leonid Ivashov warning against attacking Ukraine, it is a sad day when he, a Russian nationalist and an ardent stalinist, and retired Russian/ Soviet military brass that he represents speak more sense that Russian/American technology entrepreneur.

    • Averros: do you have family in Ukraine ? I do. Have you spend significant time there ? I do.

      The Ukrainians could have chosen at any time to join the Russian Federation for the famous higher living standard, but most of them didn’t.

      I wish Ukraine can be proposed what countries like Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria got: a chance to join Nato, the EU and develop. Romania, who has always been much poorer than Russia and Ukraine, has a higher GDP per capita nowadays (thank you, UE! keep up, averros)

      None of the facts you have brought up, like the significant UA population in RU, is new to me either. There is a significant UA population living in Western Europe next to me. There are Russian-born people I know living in UA, and they consider themselves UA today.

      Finally, one must acknowledge the masterful accomplishment of all the long term goals of US foreign policy in Europe by the Biden administration (severing ties with Russia, stopping NS2, rearming Germany – the fools!). The Euros praised the same demands that they scorned from the mouth of Trump. That EU economy will be hobbled for decades (less trading partners due to the crippling of RU and UA, more expensive energy) is also something we must realize.

  7. I’ve armchair-wargamed it out with a few friends over the years, both city-dwellers and “country folk” and my baseline guess is that if a hostile enemy attempted an armed invasion of the US they would be able to cripple and take effective control of a large American city relatively quickly with relatively few losses – given really good operational planning, execution, pre-positioned operatives with a coherent plan (i.e., “first we cut off the GWB, capture and hold 10,000 people at gunpoint, including VIPs.”

    They would meet fierce and lethal resistance from the U.S. military but could a lot of “shock and awe” damage with relatively small “cells” of attackers, particularly in coastal cities, but the U.S. military would try its best to contain them and take them out.

    If they tried to venture between big cities into other parts of the countryside and connect several large population centers under their control, they would begin to encounter very fierce and determined civilian and paramilitary resistance, including a lot of ordinary citizens. Some of that would be haphazard and disorganized but quite dangerous and lethal. They would need to disable the power grids and control the highways and expressways between cities and would face the prospect of 1:Many armed resistance the farther they got from Boston, for instance.

    Let’s say they were able to quickly take Boston. To spread west they would have to pass through Worcester and then through relatively vast and tangle areas of Pure Deplorables whom they would find know how to shoot very well and know the land very well. Achieving “victory” over large land areas like the entire state of Massachusetts would take a great deal of effort and heavy losses unless they were able to mount a very successful counterinsurgency campaign and it would be a protracted and bloody fight for every objective – unless they used truly fearsome and overwhelming firepower.

    Obviously it’s a big country and large, relatively sparsely populated areas would fall rather quickly. But I was talking about this the other night with a Rod ‘n Gun Club friend and he said: “Well, around here they would find there are a lot of well-armed people who also know how to survive and know how to shoot and help each other. Some places like [town name] would be pushovers, though, and they could set up a network of small command, control and logistical supply areas there if they chose them well.”

    In other words, I still think a lot of Americans are quite “tough” and, especially in the Deplorable Zones, would resist with a lot of ferocity. I think Berkeley, CA would last about two hours and need to be rescued.

    • Addendum: Just controlling the large highways/interstates would not be complete, though: They would also have to be very selective and destructive in specific locations to older roads that predate the Eisenhower system – which can still get you from A –> B city, but are only two lane roads that pass through the countryside. Those would be a lot tougher to completely control and cut off because of the people who live right next to them and the kinds of vehicles they have. If those vehicles run out of gas and power, though, it’s a tough situation. My point is that it wouldn’t be straightforward or easy to disable all the ways to get from Springfield to Worcester on two-lane back roads.

      I think they’d find that achieving air superiority over large areas of the country would be HARD because the first thing the U.S. military would do is presumably defend even the smaller regional airfields to prevent the enemy from using them. So protracted air -> ground warfare taking out Deplorables in their pickup trucks using helicopters at night would be very difficult to do – I hope!

    • Alex, considering that shooting deaths in many American cities exceeded loss of lives of American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan during many years of US trying to control those countries I would say that American cities will be a little tougher to conquer. In many cities even US is giving up.

    • > enough pre-positioned armed operatives to hold 10000 people at gunpoint

      This plan can achieve anything easily – but this starting premise is quite far-fetched. I don’t see how you can achieve this post-911.
      Look up the number of NYC police officers. There are countries with smaller armies.

    • @Anonymous: With a relatively small amount of money and some persuasion and promises of protection, there’s also scant evidence that the people you’re referring to could not be convinced to fight on the side of the invading force! They might be convinced that their situation would improve under New Management, if you will.

  8. > enough pre-positioned armed operatives to hold 10000 people at gunpoint

    This plan can achieve anything easily – but this starting premise is quite far-fetched. I don’t see how you can achieve this post-911.
    Look up the number of NYC police officers. There are countries with smaller armies.

    • @OC: What I presented here is a thought experiment and a very rough sketch of some ideas, and not meant as an operational plan for a real adversary to use. However, I do estimate that creating significant chaos and mayhem to effectively control a large costal city is possible – given advance planning and the element of surprise – using a relatively small number of people.

      In addition to its large police force, NYC has the “benefit” (depending on how you look at it) that it is also a de facto Surveillance City thanks largely to the efforts of Michael Bloomberg, who introduced and proved out many ideas regarding “predictive policing” – and those began well over a decade ago.

      In this space I won’t dive deeply into ideas regarding how those systems could be effectively neutralized, confused, disrupted and/or subverted and “repurposed.”

  9. @OC: I also realize that I’m kind of an throwback in my thinking, since I tend to think that major powers like the United States and Russia employ large numbers of Smart People in their respective intelligence agencies who can produce solid analysis that effectively informs the decisions of the leadership.

    I’m kind of a Hermann Kahn/Norbert Weiner armchair aficionado – almost a dinosaur! – in that sense, because recently I’ve come to seriously question whether any of that is working well! Do these people know how to correctly anymore? Did they ever know? Is it just the recent “post-truth-via-instantaneous-gratification-on-the-Internet” thinking that has degraded that capability? I’m starting to wonder! Lol.

    • Sorry for the typos above and the misspelling of Herman Kahn’s name. I wasn’t using Notepad++ for editing!

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