Thursday, March 31, 2022

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept.


A short, but apt, letter to the editor in today's Washington Post:

Freedom is a rallying cry for conservatives. Law professor Melissa Murray’s March 27 Outlook essay, “Ketanji Brown Jackson and the culture wars,” clarified what freedom means to conservatives. It means the freedom to restrict the freedom of others who don’t think like they do.

Donald M. Goldberg, Chevy Chase

... as in women's reproductive rights, "don't say gay" legislation, banning books, etc., etc.

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Tom Stiglich,@EandPCartoons -- from 2017)

(David Horsey, The Seattle Times)

(Robert Ariail, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, SC)

(Stuart Carlson,

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Clay Jones,

(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)

(Rob Rogers,

(R.J. Matson, CQ/ Roll Call)

(Chris Britt,

(Joe Heller,

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

Tweets Of The Day

Trump's "partner" Putin did this --


Get ready --


The latest Fox culture war target:  Disney (which has vowed to help repeal DeSantis' "don't say gay" bill) --


Les têtes roulent --


Another Wisconsin nutter Republican candidate --



Pussygrabber says what --


Really long ago and really far away (12.9 billion light years away that is) --




DOJ Focusing On January 6 Planners

Over one year after the seditionist attempted coup by MAGA rioters at the Capitol, the Department of Justice is expanding its investigation and subpoena powers to the people behind the Trumpist rally on the day of the insurrection and before. According to the Washington Post, in recent weeks a Federal grand jury in Washington has been subpoenaing organizers and funders of the violent insurrection to determine the depth and extent of the conspiracy to overthrow the 2020 election results:

"Many Jan. 6 defendants appear to have self-organized and paid their own way, or raised money online to pay for travel in groups as large as a 60-vehicle caravan, according to court papers.

But in the run-up to Jan. 6, pro-Trump groups behind the protests supported and promoted caravans, including March for Trump, which was largely organized by Women for America First, a group chaired by former Tea Party Express leader Amy Kremer; and Stop the Steal, organized by Ali Alexander. Both groups have denied wrongdoing. [snip]

The Justice Department’s interest in the details of planning the rally dovetails with previous subpoenas issued to some rally organizers by a House committee that is separately investigating Jan. 6. But the grand jury’s work involving the Justice Department subpoena requests is a criminal investigation, far different from lawmakers pressing for public accountability."

Starting before the election, which the Malignant Loser planned to declare "rigged" if he lost, a widespread network of MAGAnuts and radical right-wing activists began to lay the groundwork for a lawless takeover of the government by force if necessary. The network's more prominent figures were Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, Peter Navarro and others, like Julie Fancelli, the heiress to the Publix grocery fortune who donated $650,000 for the Trumpist rally on the Ellipse on January 6.

The violent thugs that stormed the Capitol shouldn't be to only ones facing justice while the plotters and financiers of that day's shameful events are forgotten. Each and everyone needs to be held to account for the coup against democracy.

(photo: The Malignant Loser sending his cult up Capitol Hill. Tasos Katopodis/Getty)


Self-Sabotage And A "Fighting Withdrawal"

A few notes on the shitstorm that is Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

If you were a conscript in a military hierarchy that lied to you about your mission and led you into a meat-grinder in which you were expected to slaughter fellow Slavs, how would you react?  Maybe like this:

Russian troops deployed to invade Ukraine are undermining their own offensive by rejecting orders and destroying their equipment, including aircraft, according to Jeremy Fleming, the head of British intelligence agency GCHQ. [snip]

“Short of weapons and morale,” the Russians downed their own aircraft by mistake, he added. Fleming also confirmed that Moscow has deployed mercenaries and foreign fighters as part of its operation. [snip]

Russian forces are enduring many more casualties in their ongoing bid to capture the strategic port city of Mariupol, according to a March 30 assessment of the war from the Institute for the Study of War think tank in Washington.

“Russia is withdrawing some elements of its forces around [the Ukrainain capital of] Kyiv... for likely redeployment,” analysts Mason Clark, George Barros and Kateryna Stepanenko wrote. “But Russian forces will likely continue to hold their forwardmost positions and shell Ukrainian forces and residential areas.”

The purported withdrawal/ redeployment of Russian troops around Kyiv could well result in a further shitstorm for the incompetent army:

An army executing a fighting withdrawal must (among many other things) reverse half of its logistical train without screwing up the other half, maintain rigorous control of its road and rail network, carefully and thoroughly brief officers at all levels over secure and robust communication channels, perform an orderly disengagement and reconfiguration of the larger part of its forces from “attack” to “withdraw” modes—making them combat-ineffective—and designate, deploy, and coordinate a rear guard tasked with force protection that continues to fight, covering the withdrawal, constantly receiving supplies, echeloning in orderly fashion as they withdraw, giving the enemy the big “bugger off” while the rest of the force packs up and leaves.

Does any of that sound to you like a set of achievable goals by the Russian army as we have come to know it over the course of the past five weeks? Yeah, me neither.

The good news is that the Russians are on their heels in large areas of Ukraine (the south and Donbas regions are more of a bloody stalemate at this time).  The bad news is that when the Russians are frustrated in achieving their objectives, they shell and bomb indiscriminately in order to bludgeon a population into submission.  So, as they redeploy, it's easy to predict more wanton killing and destruction from Putin's invaders.



(Photo: Where all Russian armor belongs/Anatoli Stepanov/ AFP via Getty Images)

Colbert Fingers Ringleader Of Republican Orgy Ring


Part of Stephen Colbert's monologue last night dealt with the revelation by far-right seditionist Rep. Madison Cawthorn (Orgy-NC) that he was invited to Republican drug and sex orgies.  Colbert has some thoughts about that and about who's the ringleader (allegedly!).


It's revealing what will get you a scolding from the head House Republican weasel, Rep. Kevin "Q-evin" McCarthy;  not racist, homophobic, or seditionist comments, but blabbing about drugs and sex among your rotted out peers (which Cawthorn now disclaims).




Wednesday, March 30, 2022

QOTD -- "Journalistic Malpractice"


"From mid-December 2018 through early March 2020, Mick Mulvaney, a former member of Congress from South Carolina, served as President Trump’s acting chief of staff.

"On Mulvaney’s watch, the White House took a wrecking ball to checks and balances by vowing to defy all congressional subpoenas.

"On Mulvaney’s watch, the Trump administration launched an unconstitutional attack against the process to conduct a fair census.

"On Mulvaney’s watch, at least 25 administration officials received security clearances that should not have been granted based on the recommendations of intelligence officials.

"On Mulvaney’s watch, Trump ignored numerous warnings from health experts about the severity of the coronavirus. More than 970,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

"And yet, in spite of this record, CBS News made the decision to reward Mulvaney with a gig as a paid contributor. I’d expect this move from a Trump-aligned propaganda medium like Fox News. But from CBS News? Give me a break.  [snip]

"... Let’s be clear: Democracy doesn’t die in darkness, it dies because of stuff like this." -- Kurt Bardella, advisor to the DCCC and former Republican House staffer, in a Los Angeles Times op/ ed yesterday, on CBS News giving discredited former Trumper Mulvaney a paid contributor gig.  The on- going memory- holing of the Trump years continues in our broken media.

Tweets Of The Day


Can't emphasize it enough: Trump's a traitor and a would- be dictator --







Trump's "partner" Putin did this --


Smoking burner phones (November 2021) --



A modest proposal --




Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Michael de Adder, Washington Post)

(Ed Hall,

(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)

(Jeff Stahler,

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Jeff Danziger, The Rutland Herald, VT)

(Andy Marlette, Pensacola News-Journal, FL)

(Walt Handelsman, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

(Rob Rogers,

Mid-Week Song: My Love


British pop duo Florence + The Machine (singer Florence Welch and multi-instrumentalist Isabella Summers) have a new album coming in May, and they've released some tracks from it.  The ever-dramatic and demonstrative singer Welch could have been a star in a long-ago period with her neoclassic looks and style of singing and movement, as she shows in this video, "My Love." Enjoy.

Ukrainian Who Told Off Russian Ship Gets Medal

In some good news coming out of the Russian attack on Ukraine, the Ukrainian border guard who radioed back to a Russian ship's order to surrender early in the invasion of Ukraine by telling it "Russian warship, go fuck yourself," has been released from captivity and been awarded a medal for his service:

"Roman Hrybov, the author of the famous 'Russian Warship, Go F*** Yourself' phrase, returned from Russian captivity to his native Cherkasy region,' Ukraine's defense ministry tweeted on Tuesday. 'Glory to the Hero!'

Thirteen Ukrainian State Border Guard Service members were stationed on the tiny Zmiinyi Island in the Black Sea, known in English as Snake Island, on February 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine. 

Aa apparent audio exchange quickly spread online of a Russian warship near Snake Island ordering the men to surrender via radio. One of the island's defenders, now identified as Hrybov, could be heard responding, 'Russian warship, go fuck yourself.' [snip]

Hrybov was given an award for his services to the Cherkasy region, according to a government video of the interaction posted to YouTube on Tuesday." 

The 13 border guards on Snake Island were first believed to have been killed by the Russians, but they were taken captive instead.

The insult has received such positive and widespread attention it won't surprise you that t-shirts and other merch can be found with the phrase on them. His phrase has also appeared on billboards across Ukraine, and has been immortalized in a postage stamp released by the Ukrainian Postal Service showing a border guard giving a Russian warship the finger:

(photo: Hrybov receiving his medal)

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The good:

Former president Donald Trump’s Truth Social app is seeing a 93% drop in signups and similarly steep decline in traffic after a rocky rollout last month fraught with technical issues and an extensive waiting list for new signups to actually use the service.

After going live on President’s Day, the Twitter-lookalike app saw installs decline by more than 800,000 since its launch week, according to Sensor Tower. Installs on the Apple app store this month have fallen to about 60,000 per week, based on early estimates.

“This is down 93% from its launch week, when it saw 872,000 installs during the week of Feb. 21,” Stephanie Chan, mobile insights strategist at Sensor Tower, told TheWrap. “We estimate that Truth Social has so far reached approximately 1.2 million installs since its launch.”

And there is no data about how many actually use the site, which is not yet available to Android customers.

The bad:

Jurors on Tuesday saw chilling social media posts by two people charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor, including references to hanging public officials and attacking authorities, even if it might end in death.

“The government has stolen enough from me,” Brandon Caserta said on Facebook in late March 2020, a few weeks after Covid-19 hit the state and around the same time that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer began a series of economic restrictions to fight the spread.  [snip]

In the months that followed, Caserta and others trained to snatch Whitmer from her vacation home, according to evidence, before the FBI arrested the antigovernment extremists in October 2020.

Digital maps of the Elk Rapids area were saved on the phone of Adam Fox, 38, an alleged leader of the scheme, agent Chelsea Williams told jurors Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors are poised to finish their case Wednesday, which will be the 13th day of trial in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They’re trying to show in the final stretch that four men charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer were firmly committed to a plan without influence by informants or undercover FBI agents.

The ugly

Facebook parent company Meta is paying one of the biggest Republican consulting firms in the country to orchestrate a nationwide campaign seeking to turn the public against TikTok.

The campaign includes placing op-eds and letters to the editor in major regional news outlets, promoting dubious stories about alleged TikTok trends that actually originated on Facebook, and pushing to draw political reporters and local politicians into helping take down its biggest competitor. These bare-knuckle tactics, long commonplace in the world of politics, have become increasingly noticeable within a tech industry where companies vie for cultural relevance and come at a time when Facebook is under pressure to win back young users.

Employees with the firm, Targeted Victory, worked to undermine TikTok through a nationwide media and lobbying campaign portraying the fast-growing app, owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance, as a danger to American children and society, according to internal emails shared with The Washington Post.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

"Our Partner Trump"


It's all out in the open now: the collusion, the quid pro quo:


"Partner," or "asset," or "useful idiot," same thing at this point.  

Garland Fiddles While Democracy Burns


That's the headline in the latest Vanity Fair article from Bess Levin that expresses the exasperation that tens of millions of Americans feel in varying degrees about the Justice Department's slooooow pace on handling the House Select Committee on January 6's recommendations for prosecutions. Here's Levin's lead graph:

"More than 14 months after the events of January 6, 2021, many Americans are pretty frustrated with the fact that, so far, there appears to be absolutely zero consequences for trying to overthrow the results of a presidential election. That Donald Trump has been spending his days crashing weddings and memorial services, filing frivolous lawsuits, launching ridiculous social media networks, writing unhinged coffee-table books, threatening to run for office in 2024, and, we assume, cheating at golf, makes the people who think he should be in or on his way to prison want to scream. Scream what, you ask? Things like, “How the hell is this guy still a free man?” and “Will he ever be held accountable for anything?” and “I guess plotting coups and inciting insurrections is fine” and “What are you doing Merrick Garland?” and “HAS THE WHOLE WORLD GONE CRAZY? AM I THE ONLY ONE AROUND HERE WHO GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THE RULES?” And apparently, members of the January 6 committee share those same frustrations!"

Last night, as the Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full House vote to refer criminal contempt of Congress charges for die-hard Trumpers Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro, several members virtually pleaded with Attorney General Merrick Garland to move their referrals along (it's been about 105 days since a referral was made for Mark Meadows to DOJ, and so far nada). With Federal District Court Judge David Carter saying that the Malignant Loser was "more likely than not" to have committed felonies regarding the plot to overthrow the 2020 elections, it's hard to fathom why Garland is so timid and hesitant to bring charges to a grand jury for indictments. Evidence is obviously not the problem.

(photo: Getty Images / iStock)

QOTD -- Republican Values


I look at all these people, a lot of them that I’ve looked up to through my life, I've always paid attention to politics.  Then all of the sudden you get invited to, ‘Well hey, we’re going to have kind of a sexual get together at one of our homes, you should come.’”

“I’m like, 'What did you just ask me to come to?'  And then you realize they are asking you to come to an orgy.”  -- Far- right Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn (Sedition-NC), on the "Warrior Poet Society" podcast, March 24.  Über weasel Rep. Kevin "Q-evin" McCarthy (QAnon-CA) is planning a sit down with young Cawthorn to remind him not to wash Republicans' dirty laundry in public or he won't get invited anymore.


Tweets Of The Day


"Russia, if you're listening..." --


He's also a pathological liar --


With God on their side --


Biden's billionaire tax proposal --



The Republican- wired media, CBS News' new liar, er, hire edition --




"Cognitive decline" 😄 --




Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)

(Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

(Michel Kichka, Tel Aviv, Israel)

(John Cole,

(Stuart Carlson,

(Robert Ariail, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, SC)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(R.J. Matson, CQ/ Roll Call)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Ellis Rosen, The New Yorker)

Report: Russia Shifting Forces From Northern Ukraine


In a potential sign that Russian thug and war criminal Vladimir Putin is facing the reality of his failure to conquer Ukraine after nearly 5 weeks of bloody loses and heroic Ukrainian resistance, Russia's deputy defense minister Alexander Fromin confirmed today that Russia would reduce "military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv."  If this proves to be the case, Russian forces are expected to be shifted to eastern and southeastern Ukraine to the Donbas region and the land bridge between that and Crimea, which was seized by Russia in 2014.  Putin has recognized the "independence" of the separatist, largely Russian-speaking Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas as an illegal foothold in Ukraine.

Russia's withdrawal from the area around Kyiv and Chernihiv are potential concessions to facilitate negotiations with Ukraine for a cease- fire which are underway in Istanbul, Turkey. It would signal that Russia's expectations of quickly turning Ukraine into a vassal state, like Belarus, have been dashed for now.

BONUS:  Meanwhile --




The 7 Hour Gap

Nothing to see here, move along:

Internal White House records from the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol that were turned over to the House select committee show a gap in President Donald Trump’s phone logs of seven hours and 37 minutes, including the period when the building was being violently assaulted, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.

The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on Jan. 6, 2021 – from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. – means the committee has no record of his phone conversations as his supporters descended on the Capitol, battled overwhelmed police and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety.

The 11 pages of records, which consist of the president’s official daily diary and the White House switchboard call logs, were turned over by the National Archives earlier this year to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

The records show that Trump was active on the phone for part of the day, documenting conversations that he had with at least eight people in the morning and 11 people that evening. The seven-hour gap also stands in stark contrast to the extensive public reporting about phone conversations he had with allies during the attack, such as a call Trump made to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) — seeking to talk to Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) — and a phone conversation he had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).  (our emphasis)

There's much more at the link concerning this likely criminal coverup of the coup conspiracy as it was unfolding on January 6.  It would also be a violation of the Presidential Records Act to remove or destroy logs of phone calls;  but what's not known is whether the Malignant Loser used one of his many phones that wouldn't be identified as his to evade the record- keeping system. 

The fact pattern is already largely established, however, given the assertion yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Carter that it was more likely than not that "Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct" the transition of power on January 6.  What's revealed in the 7- hour gap is the desperate attempt -- a "consciousness of guilt" -- to hide what every sentient person could tell was happening on that day.  What can be gleaned through other means (i.e., e-mails, texts, and testimony) is who were the key actors involved.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Tweets Of The Day


How are things going again, war criminal Putin? --



"It's in the plan, batboy!" --



Our puerile, Republican- wired media (cont.) --



Israel's democracy is strong enough to go forward with the prosecution of its corrupt former leader.  Is ours? --



Lara Logan's anti- Semitic devolution -- 


The on-going fight for democracy here --




Court: Trump "Corruptly Attempted To Obstruct" Congress On Jan. 6


Trumpist coup planner and delusional Constitutional law crank John Eastman tried to keep his e-mails related to the events before and during the January 6 Capitol insurrection from the House Committee investigating it. U.S. District Court Judge David Carter disagreed, and this morning ruled that Eastman's 101 sensitive e-mails had to be turned over to the Committee, writing in his decision that:

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021."  (our emphasis)

Carter also called Eastman's and Trump's efforts related to the January 6 events "a coup in search of a legal theory."

As the Committee's work proceeds, the clear evidence of a conspiracy to obstruct the Congress and to defraud the U.S. government becomes stronger, more extensive and closer to the Malignant Loser.

BONUS:  The Court's ruling should also expose the direct involvement of Eastman friend, the smarmy seditionist Texas  Sen. "Cancun Ted" Cruz, in the coup plotting.

Freedumb Truck Nuts Ending DC Circle Jerk

The anti- government, Trumpist truck convoy is ending its largely ignored display of aggrieved ignorance circling the DC beltway and heading west!

The People’s Convoy encamped at Hagerstown Speedway for the past three weeks is leaving to return to California, at least temporarily, organizer Mike Landis announced Sunday night.

The group has used the speedway as a staging area for nearly daily trips by a parade of big rigs, cars and campers to the Washington, D.C., area to protest mandates meant to control COVID-19 and seek a repeal of the pandemic state of emergency.

During a livestream of its nightly rally Sunday, Landis read off a list of strict COVID-control measures that he said were pending in California.

“These 10 bills that I just read are up for a vote next week in California,” he said. “To me, they are the reason that we are here.

“I think stopping those is more important at this point in time than getting the emergency declaration repealed because that’s already in place and we need to stop stuff like these bills from getting in place,” Landis said, “otherwise, the rest of us that don’t live in California are going to end up subject to the same situation.”

So, not- a- public- health- professional Landis will be wasting more time and fuel in his crusade to keep measures to blunt a future pandemic from interfering with his and his fellow numbnuts' Freedumb!!

So, roll on, Freedumb fighters!  Hope you won't have to pee your pants in California or ever have to be admitted to an ICU in your quest to relieve humanity from the scourge of public health measures!

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon: Clowns


(click to enlarge)

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was subjected to slime from the fever swamps of the far-right during her confirmation hearing. Cynical and hypocritical Republican hacks like "Cancun Ted" Cruz, "Hee Haw" Hawley, Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham, and Marsha "Hair Tree" Blackburn hammered on all of the cultural war issues, infused with low IQAnon quackery and racism: child porn sentencing, gender identity / definition of a "woman," and non-present critical race theory in schools. Playing to the cameras and for time on the disgraceful Fux Channel which serves as both their megaphone and their message crafter.


Monday Reading

As always, please go to the links for the full articles/op eds.

David Rothkopf remembers Madeleine Albright:

I remember recounting to her my unease the first few times I found myself in the Situation Room during my time in the Clinton Administration; telling her how out of place I felt. She responded, “Let me tell you something, everyone in that room has impostor’s syndrome. We all think we don’t belong. We all remember who we were in high school and wonder how we got to where we are now.”

It was a great leveler. It was also the kindest and most helpful thing she could have said.

But, of course, I knew when she said it that she was anything but an impostor. She was one of those rare leaders who are set apart not just by their hard work or public achievements, but by their humanity.

For those who knew her, that is undoubtedly why she will be most missed. But for those who did not, it is also why her actions—as a diplomat, a teacher, a champion of women—will resonate with so many for so very long. She had the strength to translate compassion, decency, and values into action. In a moment as fraught as our current one, we can only hope fate sends our way more leaders like her.

We can hope, but...

Will Bunch discusses the Supreme Court's ongoing legitimacy crisis, heightened by the Ginni Thomas- Mark Meadows cuckoo coup texts:

There was an endless stream of chatter on social media this weekend about the Ginni Thomas file, yet folks had a hard time pinning a name on the great angst they were feeling. I’ll take a stab at it. The majority of Americans — the people who gave more votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and even more to Biden in 2020 and put the Democrats back in nominal control of Congress — are still, despite those victories, watching the car careen off the cliff, and we are unable to find the brakes. There seems to be no way or no will to hold our staggeringly corrupt leaders accountable — whether it’s Trump defrauding the banks or plotting an attempted coup from the Oval Office, or a Supreme Court justice ruling on his wife’s bat-guano crazy political crusade. And there’s seemingly no way to stop the crazy, like QAnon, from getting crazier. I’m in a total funk over the state of the union, and when I wrote that on Twitter hundreds of people agreed with me.  [snip]

It felt fitting that the high court’s legitimacy crisis was reaching a crescendo right in the middle of the fraught confirmation for a new justice, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Her ascension — likely to occur on close to a straight party-line vote — could have been a reaffirming moment, with KBJ bringing experience, a sharp legal mind, and, most important, new perspectives as a former public defender and as the first Black woman in Supreme Court history. Instead, the hearings were a tawdry showcase for Republican senators to spout some of the same QAnon-flavored nonsense that seems to have poisoned Ginni Thomas’ brain — and a reminder of how a toxic right-wing movement has been slowly infecting our justice system for decades.

A good read, as usual.

Margaret Sullivan explains how, even after Putin shut down Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's operation in Russia, it only increased the level of traffic to the private non- profit's other outlets:

In the first three weeks after the invasion, page views from Russia to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty sites skyrocketed to 26 million, more than 50 percent more than an earlier corresponding period. Video views from Russia to their YouTube channels more than tripled to 237 million. And this was happening despite sites being blocked within Russia.

“Despite the Kremlin pressure, people are still hungry for the truth,” Fly told me. “To some extent, they see through the propaganda, and they want to explore broader sources of information.”

He and his colleagues are particularly proud of the on-the-ground reporting in Ukraine, such as a March 10 video headlined “Ukrainian Troops Attempt to Drive Russian Forces from Village Near Kyiv.” There have been thorough reports about civilian deaths in Mariupol and about mortar fire directed at Ukrainian interior minister and journalists.

Many listeners and viewers are getting around Russia’s media barricades through the use of VPNs (virtual private networks) and “mirror sites” that duplicate content but use a different URL.

Putin's attempts to turn Russia into a hermetically sealed North Korea are doing about as well as his army in Ukraine so far.

El Salvador's 40-year-old presidential bro is getting ready to crash his country's economy:

The president of El Salvador is making a huge bet on bitcoin with his country's treasury. President Nayib Bukele is hoping to launch bitcoin-backed bonds to raise $1 billion for the country.

Bukele wants to raise the funds through international cryptocurrency traders, and to avoid his critics in the United States, including at the International Monetary Fund.

Last year, Bukele got El Salvador to become the first nation to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, right alongside the national currency, the U.S. dollar.

The bitcoin bond launch would mark another first of its kind. But while these moves are welcomed by crypto enthusiasts, they've raised concerns among detractors of the popular, unregulated asset market.

El Salvador's finance minister had announced the launch would happen in mid-March, but on Tuesday, he said it was postponed because of Russia's war in Ukraine and cryptocurrency volatility, Reuters reported.

What could possibly go wrong?

Finally, we recommend a visit to Infidel 753's link round-up for a collection of links to some of the most interesting posts from around the Internet. You likely won't agree with every point of view, but the scope of what he does every week is impressive.  Also, he has another good summation of "Putin's failed war" this week.