The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.

The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.
The scholar


Infrmal summary - War for Ukraine Day 725


Yeah! Yeah! Ukraine has a simple ask. “Artillery shells and aviation. Rest we do ourselves.”

More Shahed drones and another Russian SU-34 shot down.

“20 Days In Mariupol” wins the BAFTA award for documentaries.

The US House takes a two-week vacation while Denmark sends ALL of its artillery to Ukraine! ONE of these is SERIOUS while the other is not!

Zelenskyy meets American Representatives at Munich Security Conference.

The Lithuanian Foreign Minister is gloomy about Ukraine ever getting aid from the US.

Masha Gessen’s interviewed by WNYC. Gessen notes that Putin seems obsessed by Poland. Poland appears to be his target after Ukraine is finished. The significance of the timing of Navalny’s killing. Gessen also looks at the Tucker Carlson interview. Putin’s wars are always the fault of the other side. Putin “seemed to borrow from Hitler’s speech on the annexation of Sudetenland.”

Eastern Europe is listening very carefully to what the Russian leadership is saying. Our blogger: “And they are drawing reasonable and responsible conclusions from the empirical reality they are observing and acting appropriately.”

A massive attack results in 18 destroyed Russian armored vehicles.

Russians figure they lost 16k men and around 300 armored vehicles taking Avdiivka. The official death toll of the Soviet-Afghan War (1979-1989) was only 15k.

Russian volunteer Murz documents losses from Avdiivka and probably gets himself into trouble by doing so.

An American vet serving in Ukraine pleads for more ammunition for Ukraine.

Informal Summary of "War for Ukraine Day 724: Did I Mention that the House of Representatives Went on a Two Week Vacation?"


Three Russian jets shot down.

The House has scheduled an insane amount of work if they want to do anything other than a continuing resolution. Are they going to try and place a “poison pill” in the bill in order to blame the Senate/President for delaying and thereby shutting down the government? I wouldn’t put it beyond them.

Speaker Johnson appears to be taking the work of the House very, very casually. He’s just got ALL the time in the world! I’m in complete agreement with the blogger as to Biden’s legislative strategy for aid to Ukraine. It was a terrible strategy, based on an over-optimistic reading of the House majority.

Upon hearing the House was taking a two-week break, Zelenskyy reminds them “that dictators do not go on vacation.”

Zelenskyy looks back to see how Ukraine has managed to hold on for so long. He looks at the many myths that were debunked.

Czech Republic thinks it has a way to gt artillery shells to Ukraine.

The 110th separate mechanized brigade has been holding in Avdiivka for the past two years, but now that city has fallen. Ammunition had to be rationed as US aid was cut off. If the US can’t supply Ukraine, then our blogger has lost faith in the US. He doesn’t have much use for US Psychological Operations as they’re currently being conducted. “...we are incredibly bad at this in addition to being in denial that we are at war with Russia.”

Russian disinformation operation egged on firing of the Ukrainian Commander in Chief of the Army.

"The strategists advised developing “a network of Telegram channels in combination with Twitter and Facebook/Instagram” as the most effective way of penetrating Ukraine’s media space."

A look at the significance of Navalny. His death signals the collapse of any internal opposition to Putin.

"Navalny’s death came hours after Republicans in the US House of Representatives went on holiday rather than vote on aid passed by the Senate to fund Ukraine’s defence."

Ukrainians gt back stolen camera. Russians filmed themselves committing war crimes.


Trump: “Make a deal!”

Because Donald Trump (ghost)wrote “Art of the Deal,” he’s fond of saying “(so and so) should just make a deal!” as though everything was negotiable and everything could be haggled over. But in the case of Israel after the horrifying massacre of October 7th by the group that’s been running Gaza since during the younger George Bush Administration, that’s just what Israel needs to do. Israel doesn’t necessarily need to bargain with Hamas itself, the group that’s currently running Gaza, but they need to come up with a bargain that will satisfy the Palestinian people.

Palestinians occupy Gaza, the West Bank, areas of Jerusalem and a diaspora in neighboring countries. Many of them live as refugees as they still desire to return to the lands that are now occupied by Israelis. Problem with a demand of Palestinians, that they be granted the “Right of Return,” is that their population has greatly expanded since the “Nakba,” the “catastrophe” that caused them to lose their land in the first place. If they were to return and re-occupy lands that used to be theirs, Israelis would be, more or less, “pushed into the sea.”

Is there a “One-State Solution?” a single, democratic state where everyone could cooperate and live in peace? Hmm, maybe. If Arab states were generally democracies, that would be a more compelling promise. A “Two-State Solution?” That’s more compelling and the Biden Administration has been pressing for that. In the first years of Israel’s existence, at least until the war of 1967, Israelis feared that a Palestinian state would be the launching point for an Arab country to invade and “push them into the sea.” There’s less threat of that today, though, as Israel has proven itself militarily and has nuclear weapons. I do agree that Israel needs a defensible border, so I think it would be good for Palestinians to occupy a single chunk of Israel like, say, the whole Northern section, as opposed to the weirdly-shaped West Bank. It would have to be negotiated though, so as to prevent Israel from just claiming all of the good parts for itself and laving Palestinians with the dregs. 



Okay, the first thing to notice is that the tone is objective. We don’t get emotional or blame anyone.

Second, I start off with a particular individual and again, I take a neutral, factual tone towards him. It’s good to start with an individual because that gives readers a solid handle. It doesn’t do to get abstract right away. This view of Trump is that he’s a businessman and businessmen make deals. Once he’s served the purpose of introducing the piece, we're finished with him and do not return to him.

Even though liberals (including me) frequently gripe that a story is a “BothSides” story, this really IS just such a story. Both Israelis and Palestinians bear some share of the blame for the situation they’re both in. Notice that when I attribute any decision to either side, I can go back to my sources and show the reader that my assertion is justified. That’s what links are for. If you feel you’ve made an assertion that might be controversial, you can link back to a source that shows readers you know what you’re talking about.

The overall objective in any piece is to lead the reader to be able to see WHY an event is occurring. As much as possible, you want to lead them to the conclusion through the objective presentation of facts. You want those facts to be solidly grounded, that is, you want there to be good evidence for them. Sometimes, you really can’t draw conclusions. You want to make it clear to readers that the facts don’t allow you to make serious conclusions.


Response to Senator Mike Lee


We’ve known all year that government funding would run out on September 30th, and yet—even as recesses (long and short) came and went—spending bills weren’t being aggressively moved and scheduled for votes on the floor of either chamber of Congress until the last few weeks. Even then, Congress continued to recess every weekend. 

I dislike the "BothSides" approach here. The problem isn't "Congress," the problem is the Republican-controlled House which has spent all of its free time holding hearings that go nowhere. 

We could have easily had this debate months ago, but the Law Firm (currently organized as “Schumer, McConnell, McCarthy and Jeffries”) has long preferred to wait until the last minute to make an aggressive push to pass spending bills. When we approach the end of September (or any other spending deadline), The Firm then insists on writing its own legislation in secret, often revealing it to members of Congress for the first time only 48 hours before a long-scheduled shutdown window. 

I really don't think this is accurate. Republicans are in favor of less government spending and more tax breaks for the wealthy. Democrats are in favor of spending government money in order to solve problems. Not the same, even if results are similar. Who is responsible for delays this year? Yeah, let's look at the people who did fruitless investigations instead of their jobs! 

This pattern has repeated itself over and over again. It always ends the same way—avoiding a shutdown, but producing deficits in the trillions of dollars, and empowering The Firm each time it happens. This, in short, is perhaps the single biggest reason why we’re $33 trillion in debt. It has also effectively excluded most members of Congress, along with the Americans who elected them, from arguably the single most important thing Congress does each year. 

Actually, in 2009-2010, the whole government, from the House to the Senate, to the presidency, was putting in long hours and lots of effort to pass the ACA/Obamacare. Why did Democrats feel the need to do that? Because there was a necessity to handle medical expenses for the regular citizen. There had been a need to do so since Harry Truman was the President, but the expense of health care was reaching crisis proportions under Clinton and was absolutely intolerable under the younger George Bush. Why couldn't Bush handle the problem? Republicans demonstrated during the first two years of Trump (2017-2018) that they simply didn't have any sort of practical answer as to how to handle health care without the government spending a lot of money. Private enterprise was useless. 

I’ve long said that this ugly cycle will keep repeating itself “until it no longer works” for The Firm—that is, until members stop reflexively voting for such bills, under duress and mild protest. 

As I point out above, "cycles" have nothing to do with anything. 

This could be the year when “it no longer works.” Enough members of Congress are fed up, along with those who elected them, with a corrupt system that empowers the few at the expense of the many.

Being "fed up," is fine, but Republicans simply don't have practical answers. My recommendation is to throw out useless hearings and focus on how government can actually save money.  We can also establish how much more the wealthy can pay in taxes.  

If a shutdown results from this year’s iteration of The Firm’s manipulative scheme, there will be many who will blame those who are speaking out against it. If you’re one of those people, please stop and ask yourself: “could I be blaming the wrong people?”

Well, yes! "those who are speaking out against it" simply don't have practical answers. All they have is the vague desire to "do something." 

To his credit, Speaker McCarthy has promised House Republicans that he won’t subject them to any omnibus spending package, much less the kind of rushed, abusive omnibus that The Firm has long been known to force through Congress. 

Passing a whole series of smaller bills WOULD have been a great idea, had the process started several months ago!

But promises to avoid an omnibus aren’t enough—especially if they aren’t backed up by scheduling decisions that back up the Speaker’s long-asserted desire to have a “regular order” spending process, whereby each of the twelve spending bills (organized by government function) are considered individually. 

Again, a dozen separate spending bills are a great idea, but where was the Republican House for the last nine months? Holding hearings to try and bust President Biden!

3:44 PM (Link to original piece) Sep 26, 2023





Israel/Palestine for the last several years


From March 2009 to June 2021, Benjamin Netanyahu was Prime Minister of Israel. His policies can be described as continuing the policies that were in place when he came in, slowly squeezing the Palestinians in general. Gaza in particular has been under siege for 17 years. Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, Fatah/Palestinian Authority (PA) took over the West Bank at the same time. Over the years, Gaza has been controlled solidly by Hamas, the West Bank has been increasingly cut up by walls and checkpoints. PA authorities cannot travel through Israeli checkpoints at will. Their travel permits can be revoked by Israel.

Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank entails onerous physical barriers and constraints on movement, demolition of homes and other physical infrastructure, restrictions on political rights and civil liberties, and expanding Jewish settlements that are widely considered to constitute a violation of international law.

For a short time, Netanyahu was replaced by Prime Ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. In their coalition government, the United Arab List, with four seats, was able to get Bennett and Lapid’s coalition to majority status (The Knesset is 120 seats, so 61 is the magic number). The driving force behind the coalition though, was “personal animus for the Likud leader (Netanyahu) and the concern at the threat he may pose to Israeli democracy.”

One good thing that happened during Naftali Bennett’s brief tenure was that “budget money that had been approved by the previous government and earmarked for developing the economy and improving the infrastructure of Arab communities inside Israel’s Green Line borders, while combating rampant crime there.” Unfortunately, the Israeli Finance Minister under Netanyahu canceled that money.

Significantly though, the Israel-Palestinian peace process ran into a brick wall under Bennett with his “Six No’s,” which rejected BOTH a two-state solution AND a one-state solution! And of course, Bennet didn’t want to stop Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Settlements there are illegal under international law.

Israel, lacking a constitution, depends for separation of powers on informal arrangements. Netanyahu decided he wanted to remove “the power of the Supreme Court (and lower courts) to cancel government decisions deemed ‘extremely unreasonable.’" The reasonableness rule was summarily tossed out. Up to 200k Israeli citizens have been protesting on a regular basis ever since.

Some nights have turned violent – with police clashes, counter-protests and cars ramming into the crowds. It can feel like the country is unraveling.

Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly anyway.

Israel and Saudi Arabia in talks right now.

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) stands with the majority of the fraternal people of Saudi Arabia in its overwhelming condemnation of the normalization efforts between the Saudi dictatorship and apartheid Israel.

One of the big events lately has been the Jenin raid. It was the most devastating strike on the Jenin refuge amp in about 20 years. Israelis say they need to “clean out” the camp regularly, otherwise terrorists gather there. Several Israelis died in the battle as well. Israelis claimed that terrorists had been living in the camp and used the civilians there as cover after committing raids in the vicinity. The camp also saw fighting back in 2002. But Israel’s response punishes every resident who’s in the vicinity, thereby again, violating international law.

As various folks have pointed out, Is Israel defending a pure and true democracy? Ehh, depends on which ethnic group you’re talking about. Israel practices apartheid, so it’s only democracy if you’re speaking of the Jewish population, not if you’re speaking of Palestinians. 


Christian-Jewish Allies – I meet regularly with this group. We have an active mailing list on everything affecting Palestinians.

Combatants for Peace – Members of this peace group have spoken at FUMCOG a few times.

Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture – Arab arts, including writing, dancing, singing. I attended an outdoor festival with short film clips of theirs a few months ago.


Latest Ukrainian Update

 First whole part of this is on conspiracy theories about the Wagner Group's Prigozhin. Pretty wild stuff. 

Second part brings to mind a German word I learned a long time ago, schwerpunkt. It means focus of effort and is often the difference between success and failure. The invasion of France in 1940 was a marvelous example of a successful application of schwerpunkt. The German army focused upon the Ardennes (it was thought that armored vehicles couldn't penetrate the thick forests, oops!) and the German army stayed together until it hit the English Channel. The German army acted as a single armored fist that succeeded rather quickly.

The Soviet Union was NOT a good example. Der Fuhrer split up the invading army into three more-or-less equal groups and focused first on this area, then on that area, until winter caused the army to stop. The Stalingrad campaign was okay, but by then the army had been weakened, the Soviet army had regained a lot and the Germans really needed to account for the winter calling a halt to everything. 

In 2022, the Russian strategy of having four axes of advance showed rather quickly that it was simply too many axes. The Kyiv and Kharkiv axes were abandoned, and the Donbas and Crimean axes met and formed a "bridge" and then tried to advance Westward. 

According to the blogger, Ukraine has left trying to re-take Bakhmut and has focused all of its efforts to Melitopol in order to break that "bridge" between the Donbas and Crimea.  This approach is very heavily guarded but promises the biggest effect on Russian forces. 


Conversation with a QAnon supporter

 To take his last question first, do I think Qanon is evil? Granted, “Q nevr divulged classified info or spoke abt violence or insurrection” So no, I just think Q and his followers are all completely devoid of any credibility.

Rocco first responded to my takedown of Tom Fitton's continued insistence that the former President Trump had every right to keep all of the documents produced by his administration with

There’s no case It’s just shh itt charges made up by leftist loo sirs in order to interfere in the elections…again The leftists will do whatever they have to in order to ensure Trump doesn’t win his 3rd straight presidential election

Guiterman asked “What if he had just given the documents back?”

To which Zag said

If he had, it would have diminished the executive power of the president to the point it was below NARA. It is the president's job, not NARA's job to determine which records are the president's. We should not elevate our librarian to have more power than the POTUS. POTUS>NARA

To which I responded:

Utterly ridiculous. The president does not have any authority to determine which records are private and personal versus which ones belong to the government. If he did, then the law that was passed after Nixon left office would have no meaning.

Rocco chimed in with

Again, I love it when condescending leftists pretend like they know what they’re talking about regarding the law…like all of a sudden we’re going 2 forget that dems don’t care that the bidens are all serial law breakers Read abt the Clinton Sock Drawer case u giant doo shh bag

I enjoy playing the role of the grown-up in the room, so I responded

I'm quite aware of the Clinton sock drawer case. It established that certain records count as the president's personal and private possession. It does NOT mean that the president can arbitrarily designate any records he pleases as being his. There's a very specific definition.

Later on, I was struck by a comment Rocco made

Don’t b distracted by their flailing They don’t care 1 bit abt the law Pay attention 2 what makes the cabal most desperate They scream the loudest when we expose their assaults on our children It’s always been abt the children

That struck me as something a follower of Qanon might say.

Yes, pedophilia was the favorite accusation of QAnon. Funny how they were completely oblivious to REAL pedos. We respect the law. When Hunter Biden was found guilty, we said "Oh, okay" and carried on. None of us made excuses, the way right-wingers have been doing for Trump.

Rocco asked

Rich, what do you mean Q & the Anons “were completely oblivious to REAL pedos”?


Jeffrey Epstein and Josh Duggar were both discovered to be pedophiles during the time QAnon was well-known for accusing people of pedophilia. Both cases took them completely by surprise.

Then Rocco made it very clear where he was coming from

There’s no such thing as QAnon There’s Q & there r Anons Typical leftist dum bass…arrogant yet ignorant The cabal overlords u worship wud still b abusing, torturing, selling, sacrificing & E ting children on Epstein Island if it weren’t 4 DJT & Q like u care abt pedos


Yeah, I saw a picture of Q after people tracked down who he actually was. Some skinny dweeb with glasses, no one you'd have ever heard of. Problem is, nothing he's "revealed" has ever been backed up by actual facts.


            Sure u did Rich

I added

QAnon DID, however, baselessly accuse Wayfair Furniture of having pedos within it. This was not harmless. Real problem with that was that people who believed them clogged up the phone lines where people were trying to report REAL pedophilia.


Baselessly? U r so clueless Wayfair was selling items for thousands of $’s that u can get for $20 down the street & the items were named after missing children At the same time secret Twitter accts had catalogs of kids 2 order as sex slaves w/the exact same names

I found a USA Today piece here and reproduced the opening paragraph.

"Last weekend, an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that online furnishings retailer Wayfair is trafficking children through listings of products with inflated prices and human names erupted on social media."


U think the CEO of Wayfair gave up millions & resignd in disgrace b/c of these 2 weirdos? I wouldn’t believe anything in the USA Today othr than the date It’s fully ownd/operated by the Clowns In Action Rich U need 2 figure out that almost everything u think u kno is a lie

I figured that the CEO of Wayfair resigning was easy to check and, sure enough, found a Reuters piece.

It takes just a few seconds to check on things like "Did Niraj Shah actually resign?" And the answer of course, is no. Seriously dude, you're deeply embedded in a cult.

“Posts circulated on social media make the claim that Niraj Shah, chief executive officer of Wayfair, resigned from the e-shopping home retailer amid child sex trafficking allegations against the company. This claim, and the trafficking claim, are both false.”


Reuters is owned by….wait 4 it….the Rothschilds U hav prolly never seen the adverts in Wayfair, yet u already kno everything abt Q Shah wasn’t only a stooge of the Rothschilds he was a Fed Resrv board member You’re so ignorant & proud I’m sure u r beyond the point of return

Which is interesting, but kinda beside the point. So I went to the Wayfair website, drilled down a bit and within a few minutes

BTW, I checked the Wayfair website and found that the fellow identified as CEO of the company is still the CEO. Meaning your analysis of their motivations may be good, but your conclusion is half-baked. Reuters was correct. He never lost his position.


U r a sheep U still believe what u read/see in the cabal controlled media Sad Did u kno Google, FB, twitter & othr soc media platforms were startd by the CIA funded DARPA program? 100’s of thousands of children go missing in the USA each yr Where do u think they go?

So it's pretty clear that a follower of Q can't pass the most basic fact check. They just make up whatever “facts” they think might win the argument.


Parsing J.D. Vance and his defense of Trump


Senator J.D. Vance defends Trump.

The question of whether Trump should have kept those documents is fundamentally a political question.

No, it isn’t. The bulk of the 37 charges are “31 counts of willful retention of classified documents.” When off-going presidents depart the White House, the on-coming president routinely grants them top-secret security clearances so that the former president can provide advice to the current president. The clearance is granted “ a perk granted by the current president (which Biden hasn't done for Trump)."

Such access is therefore only granted at the discretion and explicit permission of a sitting president. Beyond that, as the Presidential Records Act states, "Presidential records automatically transfer into the legal custody of the Archivist as soon as the President leaves office."

So yes, Trump has broken the law and it is a legal question.

Vance’s political opponents “...have taken this position: unelected bureaucrats can throw the elected president in prison...”

When a president’s term in office expires, his or her legal status is pretty much just like that of any other citizen. He gets Secret Service protection, but I’m not aware of any other official perks. Interestingly, Vance agrees that Biden is not using the legal system to prevent Trump from running again. The Justice Department is acting independently and not as a tool of the current president.

Maybe you think he should have kept the documents in a safe. Fine.

Heh! If you look at the photos of the boxes and boxes of documents, keeping them secure would have required first moving them all to a, or to multiple, commercial storage unit(s) (At the usual maximum, they come in 10’ x 30’ or 20’ x 20’). After that, had I been an adviser to Trump, I would have recommended that Trump build a separate building, perhaps the size of my one-bedroom apartment, up to SCIF standards, to hold the documents and to allow detailed sorting and indexing.

What Trump said about his legal ability to hold onto documents from his presidency, whether classified or not, is important as it shows “state of mind.” Those statements matter because they show that he was fully aware that he did NOT have the legal right to hold onto ANY of the documents that the National Archives took back.

...if the opposition can use the legal system like this with no consequence…

This contradicts Vance’s earlier statement that “unelected bureaucrats” were picking on the former president.