There is only one reason to not vote for Mark Robinson for Lieutenant Governor this fall.
And that reason is racism.
There is only one reason to not vote for Mark Robinson for Lieutenant Governor this fall.
And that reason is racism.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Democrats contemplate asking the National Guard to seize firearms from citizens. And the leader of the Guard doesn’t rule it out.
Leaving aside the irony of Democrats endorsing one form of sanctuary city (illegal immigrants) while threatening to crush another form of sanctuary city (guns), this might make an interesting test case.
Will Virginians who serve in the National Guard take up arms against their friends and neighbors who decline to give up arms? Will Virginia National Guard members shoot homeowners who object to having their firearms confiscated?
If the answer is “Hell, yes, the law is the law and we obey orders even if we disagree with them,” then Second Amendment activists must rethink things in a big way. We’ve been confident the military won’t obey gun grabbers, won’t open fire on civilians, won’t act the part of British Redcoats at Lexington and Concord.
What if we’re wrong? Might be a good time to find out, before we pledge our lives, and the lives of our families, to a losing battle.
More on the VNG Adjutant General’s comments later today.
For my part? I believe most of the military, being overwhelmingly drawn from the same part of society that “gun culture” grows in, will side with The People…
…which is why I think the real attack on our freedom will be a lot more subtle than Governor Blackface McMinstrel’s japery.
And that’s the danger – too many people will think “attacks on our freedom” will be this sort of comic book foolishness.
There’s the danger.
Goons disrupt a showing of Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla’s No Safe Spaces, in – where else – California:
“After all of the previews and ads were over and the movie was just starting, two thugs sporting hoodies, masks, sunglasses and carrying huge duffel bags ran, not walked, up the aisle and sat at the back of the theater right behind us. They looked like bank robbers, home invasion criminals… they were trying to act scary,” a moviegoer named Vanessa, who asked for her last name not be used, told Fox News.
“As you can imagine, I was nervous that they were planning something even more nefarious than just visual intimidation,” Vanessa said.
Vanessa and other moviegoers complained to the theater and called the police. She said she was issued a refund and left.
“When the manager went in to check on them they had removed all intimidating items. They knew what they were doing,” Vanessa said. “Potential criminals got to stay while we had to leave because we were afraid they might do something violent. My son did not want to leave because he didn’t want them to succeed in their plan of intimidation and free speech suppression. But I told him a movie was not worth our lives in case they had weapons or something.”
I figured this would happen. The movie commits, to Big Left, the ultimate sin: it tells the truth about it.
By the way – I highly recommend you see it. I caught a screening a few weeks ago – and it’s everything I’d hoped. I may have to do a proper review.
In re this incident? The cops never filed a report.
“They came full sprint to the top of the theater with bandanas on their face,” another attendee, Scott Stroud, confirmed to Fox News.
Stroud said that he pressured management to call the police, and they eventually obliged after initially downplaying the situation and assuring that the backpacks of the men were searched. Stroud said he explained the subject matter of the movie to theater workers in an effort to be taken seriously.
Stroud said police told him theater management didn’t think it was necessary to investigate further, but he disagrees.
It’s California. Progs get a pass. Sort of like Saint Paul.
Not that I want to see anything terrible happen, but it’d be just a shame – a shame – if one of those wannabe thugs gave someone just enough reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm to get his face legitimately blown into the next county.
No, I said a shame. We just do not want this to happen.
Who am I talking about?
Am I referring to America’s universities and public education system!
Well, yeah – but not just them. It’s not quite that simple.
Freedom to Talk Freedom: If you’ve read this blog any length of time, you know I’ve had a longstanding fascination with the history of underdog nations and peoples – the land of most of my forefathers, Norway, as well as Israel, Finland, the Baltics (particularly Estonia), Denmark, Taiwan, and of course Poland.
Now, in Poland’s case, it’s not a story of absolutely unalloyed heroism; the Communist reign in Poland was administered and run by Poles – and there were wartime observations that some of the rural Poles living around the extermination camps were every bit as antisemitic as the Nazis themselves. And antisemitism didn’t end there; after the war, waves of antisemitic violence killed many of those who’d survived (including the leader of a heroic extermination camp breakout); in 1968, the Communist government of Władysław Gomulka expelled many of the remainder. While many Poles are represented among the “Righteous Among Nations”, they truly did face an uphill battle in large, rural swathes of the country.
Like all collections of humans, there are good ones and evil ones, and a whole lot in the middle that just wanted to survive, let along prosper, under atrocious circumstances.
That being said, Poles have for for freedom – theirs and others – since the 1700s. Poles were among the first Europeans to fight for what we now call liberal democracy, in their own homeland and ours (the American Revolution owed a debt to Kosciuszko and Pulaski). And the first tangible cracks in the Iron Curtain happened in Gdansk – in 1956 as well as 1980. There is much in the Polish heritage to balance the evil that popped up, here and there.
Poland is currently ruled by an electoral majority for the “Law and Justice” party – a party the media call “right wing”, although along with their rather fervid nationalism they have established one of the most expensive social welfare states in the European Union – which doesn’t protect them from the hatred of the Big Media, who links them, not completely inaptly, to Orange Literal Hitler Man.
And, as befits a nationalist party, they’re leading with the things that make their nation proud, and de-emphasizing the parts that don’t. Law and Justice is exerting political clout on controlling the narrative about Polish history that gets presented – via some means that should give First Amendment supporters critical pause. They’re not above a little Polish jingoism.
“On the Media” – which is to New York’s “elite” media what Pravda was to the Politburo – “tackled” the story over the weekend, with a series by reporter Laura Feder on the rise of Law and Justice, and the way they’ve exerted their control over the official history.
And it’s not all bad – it certainly helps that it’s not produced by the show’s usual hive enforcers, Bob Garfield and Brooke Gladstone. There are certainly some questions worth asking of Law and Justice, if one is a Polish voter (as I definitely am not). And a few that could be asked of “On the Media” and Ms Feder; while she covers Gomulka’s forced expulsions, she softpedals the notion that that was as much Communist policy as Polish nativist bigotry.
I actually recommend giving the pieces, above, a listen, albeit a critical one; the progsplaining and the “liberals wear the white hats” schtick gets a little galling at times.
But here’s my real question: It’s a bad thing that Law and Justice is blocking free speech to spread their preferred narrative, squeezing out the honest, complete telling of the story.
So when will “On the Media” report on the very similar effort on the part of the American Big Left in media, academia and politics to similarly control, and dishonestly skew, their own narrative?
The mainstream media – specifically, the New York Times’ – coddling Joseph Stalin, including the genocide in Ukraine? The Times’ embrace of Hitler, and the burying of the origins of the Holocaust? Their extended french kiss of the Soviets during the Cold War? The modern left’s strong-arm take-over of the American narrative in academia?
It’s a rhetorical question, I know.
“Progressives”, 2005 – “Question Authoritah! Speech is the greatest of rights!”
“Progressives”, 2019 – “I’m from the non-profit/industrial complex, and I’m here to protect you from all that ‘freedom'”.
I’m waiting for the first of them to say free speech is “against peoples’ best interests”.
A global debate over democracy and Hong Kong’s relationship with China boiled over at the University of Minnesota on Friday, as Hong Kong protesters marched through campus in the state’s first known organized event.
The organizer of the march, a Hong Kong native and university student who remained anonymous due to fear of retribution, said he hopes to raise awareness in Minnesota about Hong Kong’s democratic struggle. The demonstrators spent the afternoon chanting and carrying signs that read “FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, STAND WITH HONG KONG” and “SUPPORT THE HONG KONG HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY ACT.”
Amazingly, the counterprotest wasn’t actually upper-middle-class white kids with “Anti”-Fa banners, but rather students from the “Peoples’ Republic”. Never mind them, they’re on the payroll for just that sort of thing.
“Liberals”, 2004: “Question authority! Free speech is *the* most essential right!”
“Progressives”, 2019: “Free speech is too dangerous for people without tin ‘journalist’ badges to be using”
In the old Soviet Union, citizens used to joke that when a shortage of butter was anticipated, the state media would start running stories on how *bad* butter was for you.
I couldn’t help but think about this over the weekend. And not *just* because our media is resembling the old Soviet media more and more, either.
Following on the NYTimes’ op-ed on free speech being too “dangerous” for mere proles, NPR’s “On the Media” – which is to the big media what a fawning mall cop is to your local blue-and-white – took up the same refrain, giving Marantz a full hour to reiterate his claim (and in so doing giving a whole new spin on “physician, heal thyself”).
Oh, they wrap it in a dirty-sounding word, “absolutism” – but like the NYTimes piece…
…it’s all a rationalization for turning speech over to the “professionals”, to whittle that right (or “right”) down to a size that proles can handle.
And we’re seeing a *lot* of this lately; how checks and balances are just tooooo haaaaard, and the Bill of Rights is just tooooo complex for the herd to deal with.
Makes me think of Soviet Radio. Apropos nothing.
Just saying, Democrats – I liked y’all better 15 years ago.
Pass this article along to a friend enamored of stupid First Amendment arguments.
I had the rare treat of listening to the utterly ironically named “MPR News with Keri Miller” earlier this week. And by “treat” I meant “update of the notion that Keri Miller is the one “journalist” in the Twin Cities that’d be ill-advised to tell Esme Murphy “dial back the shilling for the DFL and Big Left, you Big Left Shill, you””.
Anyway – she had a show on Tuesday featuring a Hindi woman talking the co-option of Yoga by non-Hindi. Not “decrying” it, per se – just urging people to be aware of, and perhaps learn something of, its Hindi roots.
Pull quote: the woman, Suhag Shukla, describing the various non-Hindi permutations of Yoga, including…:
SHUKLA: “…even Christian Yoga!”
MILLER: (In the background) (Disgusted, mocking snork)
Now, Ms. Shukla has a point – part of her culture has been appropriated. Like solstice trees and Chow Mein and polyrhythm and virtually everything else about every culture in the world that hasn’t been isolated from every other culture in the world, “appropriation” is a two-way street.
As someone who’s lost eighty pounds and wants to gain some flexibility and joint resiliency, I’m interested in yoga (although I haven’t done it yet). As a Christian, I have only intellectual interest in Hinduism. You wanna talk, Ms. Shukla? We’ll talk.
But since Keri Miller – and by association, the modern progressivism for which she shills – is the venue that brought me and Ms. Shukla together, let’s talk appropriation.
Big Left, like a suburban housewife going to an agnostic Hot Yoga class in a strip mall in Minnetonka, appropriates the convenient parts of the American experiment – the fun parts, like free speech and privacy. Like that housewife, or the Cafeteria Catholic, or the Allah-carte Muslim (actor, comedian, and observant but not fundie muslim Rami Yusef’s term, and I love it), they leave out the inconvenient parts – the citizen as self-sufficient atomic political unit, with the same rights, powers and responsibilities in microcosm of actual states are. The whole “government by consent of the governed” and “Free Association of Equals” bit.
If you want to practice the fun parts of the American experiment – immigrating to a country with freedom and opportunity, getting paid to be on the radio, free speech and waving signs about? Then pay some thought to the complex stuff – the tension between order and liberty, the moral right of the free market versus the stifling moral decay of socialism.
It’s a fine day for that, isn’t it?
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Not all government safety regulations are an idiotic waste of time. A window washer just fell off our building.
The platform is attached by ropes to a metal contraption on the roof, but the metal contraption didn’t have enough weight so when the worker went over the edge, the contraption did too. The harness caught, swung the worker into the window, then dangled upside down until a ladder could be brought to lower her to safety. Yes, the window washer is a woman. Banged up her leg but the EMTs who took her away said she seemed okay. I guess my job doesn’t suck so badly after all.
I…Woman is damn lucky to be alive, that safety harness saved her life.
Laws that directly affect public safety? Good.
Laws that direct affect who you can have haul your trash away? Not so good.
I don’t think it’s all that complicated. Which is why I”ll never be an elected official in Saint Paul.
When you’re a civil liberty supporter, it’s easy to get discouraged. And with most libertarian issues, sometimes it seems as if the train has left the station for good.
But to borrow a cliche, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees, especially when the Big Media and Big Left (ptr) are bombarding you with weed elms.
Gun rights are winning – not just the legislative, judicial and demographic battles, but the biggest battle of all, the social battle.
Even with polls like this, claiming 90% of the people support gun control?
Even with states like California and New Jersey doubling and tripling down on gun control?
Not only is it “even with” them; their radical gun control is a symptom of and reaction to the near complete victory in the courts, legislatures, Congress, the marketplace of ideas, and society as a whole.
Even outside the traditional “white male conservative” groups?
Especially outside those groups.
The conclusion of the piece, by Kareem Shaya:
On one hand you have an idea that has been growing for almost 30 years across almost all demographic groups; is more popular with young people than ever; spread permissive carry laws from just nine states in 1986 to 42 states and DC today; grew the installed base of its dearest shibboleth by a factor of 30 since the 1990s; and by its nature grows exponentially after reaching critical mass, because it spreads via the same natural laws that drive social networks, compound interest, and nuclear fission (see Kevin Simler’s incredible “Going Critical” for more on how that works).
Definitely check out “Going Critical”.
On the other hand you have an idea that went from grand national ambitions to eking out compromises in a small minority of states, and which gets less popular the more people learn about it. (That’s also compound interest, but with a negative sign in front of it.)
That’s one thing that is missing from the “debate” most people see, the one in the media – the sense of history.
Shaya’s piece points out that 35 years ago, complete bans on handguns and national registration of hunting rifles was the mainstream, pushed by groups like “The National Coalition to Ban Handguns” and “Handgun Control Incorporated”.
Today – barring polls taken after emotionally wrenching events like mass shootings – gun rights tends to outpoll gun control, and the grabber groups have had to continuously scale back not only their ambition, but their marketing: “Handgun Control Inc.” became “The Brady Organization”, among others.
Read the whole thing. Pass it along.
Last night, the Reverend Nancy Nord Bence called out to the frenzied hordes of “grassroots”activists with “Protect Minnesota”; a “rally” was needed to support the DFL’s gun grab bills, and a rally they got.
Behold the might of “Protect”Minnesota:
This was at 7:05 PM – five minutes after the rally started.
Or, as people who watch “Protect” Minnesota refer to it, “peak frenzy”.
The thing about “progressivism” is that while it flaps its jaws about “helping” the vulnerable, it inevitably ends up harming them.
Give them a $15 minimum wage and mandatory sick time? Get them laid off!
Attack landlords for the “quality” of housing they provide? Make housing unaffordable!
Kamala Harris, in her celebrated (by the media) record as a prosecutor, did more than her fair share of being unfair.
. Her crusade against the scourge of parents whose kids skip school, for example:
The good news is that post-CNN town hall, although much of the media lauded Harris and posted adoring articles about her acumen and likability, several took it upon themselves to resurface videos of Harris’s recent support for cracking down on truancy violations.
In 2010, for example, video shows Harris saying, “I believe a child going without an education is tantamount to a crime. So I decided I was gonna start prosecuting parents for truancy.”
“Well, this was a little controversial in San Francisco,” Harris noted, with a folksy giggle.
Another video showed Harris bragging about her power: “As a prosecutor in law enforcement, I have huge stick. The school district as a carrot. Let’s work together in tandem…to get those kids in school.”
Have I ever mentioned how much I love prosecutors who are drunk with their own power?
Her policies involved $2,000 fines, and even jail time, for parents whose kids missed “too much” school.
Which, people who actually pay attention to this issue will tell you, is a stupid, stupid plan, unless your goal is to paint yourself as “tough”:
…the people hurt by this carceral approach are the very people who are most likely to be financially crippled by a few fines. We’re not talking about wealthy people here, and generally speaking, criminal justice reform advocates fear using punitive means to “help” poor people because it can be so easy for them to get trapped in a cycle of unpaid fines that leads to jail time, which leads to time forcibly taken off of work, which leads to even less money and even less ability to pay outstanding debts.
None of this, you can imagine, helps children get a more stable home life with more attention from parents.
With junior high and high school kids, truancy often isn’t something parents can control (while still holding down jobs, anyway).
With younger kids? If they’re missing school regularly, it’s usually not a matter of “truancy”; it’s problems at home, more often than not problems stemming from one personal or social pathology or another.
In what other area of society do we try to address this sort of thing with fines and jail time?
Kamala Harris is a public cancer.
Four Houston cops were shot (and another sustained a non-gunshot injury) serving a warrant against a couple of drug dealers.
That’s bad enough.
Houston Police Officers’ Union President Joe Gamaldi was upset:
“We are sick and tired of dirt bags trying to take our lives when all we’re trying to do is protect this community and our families,” he said. “Enough is enough.”
I get that. It’s downright understandable.
This next part – where he apparently declares war on anti-police thoughtcrime? A little more troublesome:
“If you’re the ones that are out there spreading the rhetoric that police officers are the enemy, just know we’ve all got your number now, we’re going to be keeping track of all of y’all, and we’re going to make sure that we hold you accountable every time you stir the pot on our police officers.We’ve had enough, folks. We’re out there doing our jobs every day, putting our lives on the line for our families.”
I’m curious what level of criticism
…calls for a repeal of the First Amendent:
We cannot allow the financing of misinformation campaigns to shape our democracy.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 28, 2019
We can disagree on policy, but climate change is real. Period.
Proud to have joined @chelliepingree on this letter asking for greater responsibility to our democracy and planet. https://t.co/5hLsg1FmgT
There’s really no other way to put it.
Beto O’Rouke – flirting with the idea of running for president with all the grace of an elementary school choir singing a medley from Les Miserables – discusses his take on the Constitution.
Caveat: I did not make this up. Emphasis added by me.
“I’m hesitant to answer it because I really feel like it deserves its due, and I don’t want to give you a — actually, just selfishly, I don’t want a sound bite of it reported, but, yeah, I think that’s the question of the moment: Does this still work?” O’Rourke said. “Can an empire like ours with military presence in over 170 countries around the globe, with trading relationships . . . and security agreements in every continent, can it still be managed by the same principles that were set down 230-plus years ago?”
More and more, I’m starting to believe those who do believe we can, and must, govern ourselves by those principles should seek an amicable divorce from those who can’t.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Trump plans to withdraw the 2,000 US military members from Syria. Neo-Cons are upset. Defense Secretary Mattis is resigning. The establishment consensus is Trump is making a horrible mistake. Is he?
George Washington warned against entangling alliances. That’s pretty good historical precedent for Trump to bring our troops home. Yes, the neo-cons reply, but the world has changed since Washington’s time. We need to police the world. Failing to do so is isolationist. Failing to fight every battle means people will die, nations will fall.
So? The world, to Americans, means Christendom. True, that world has changed. Rome ruled for 500 hundred years before it fell. A thousand years later, England, France and Spain were the great powers; then the Axis Powers for a decade; then the nuclear nations calling themselves the Security Council; power constantly changing.
But England is no longer a great power (despite having nuclear weapons). It contributes a few hundred people to each global conflict, not enough to tip the scale. As a power, they’re a has-been. So are France, Spain, Rome.
We’re headed their direction. The economic and military domination we enjoyed after WW II is gone. We should stop pretending, stop over-extending. We should pull back to our own shores, fortify against the coming global crash, hope to ride out the long night while the rest of the world burns.
Socialism is a disease and we’re facing an epidemic. The treatment for an epidemic is quarantine: save the ones you can, let the rest die. Isolation is not a bad thing for a nation, it’s the responsible thing. Put America First.
I’m starting to think we’ll need that internally.
Build a wall around California, Illinois, and the mid-Atlantic states. And make them pay…
…well, no, let’s not get fancy . Just build it.
America has survived many external enemies – but “progressivism” is one internal enemy that has the potential to actually destroy it.
And the “Administrative State” – which, along with the Non-Profit-Industrial complex is where the regulatory rubber hits the road – is in many ways the spear point of the “progressive’ attack on everything that makes America worth living in. Nothing saps America’s resilience, vitality and prosperity like the Administrative State, which exists largely to transfer wealth from taxpayers to “progressive” stakeholders.
Recent weeks have been marked by the whining and caviling of “progressives” about the actions of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin state assembly, which acted to greatly reduce the power of the incoming Democrat governor.
Lost in all of the sore-losering – or intentionally concealed in it – is the fact that over the past eight years, Wisconsin has taken steps to curb the excesses of the Big Administrative State that the rest of the country, and the nation, would do very well to emulate:
In 2011, much attention was given Act 10, Governor Walker’s signature reform to public-sector collective bargaining. Less well-known was Act 21, which can rightly be considered the beginning of an administrative-law revolution in Wisconsin. In 2017, Acts 39, 57, and 108 added to those reform efforts. And this past summer, the Wisconsin supreme court issued a significant decision in Tetra Tech v. Department of Revenue, creating a stricter framework for courts to apply when considering the amount of deference to provide agency interpretations.
Much of what we now consider the standard rule-making process in Wisconsin was first set out in 2011 Act 21. At its core, Act 21 provides that no agency may implement or enforce any standard, requirement, or threshold (including as a term or condition of any license it issues) unless such action is explicitly required or permitted by statute or rule. Gone are the days of implied or perceived authority.
Additionally, for each proposed rule, the act required agencies to submit a “statement of scope” to the governor for review and prepare an economic-impact analysis relating to specific businesses, business sectors, public-utility ratepayers, local governmental units, and the state’s economy as a whole.
You should read the whole thing – and pass it on.
And lest one think our veterans only bought our freedom, there are a lot of people around the world free today to remind you otherwise.
Poland became independent 100 years ago today. The events were not unrelated:
Freedom isn’t free, and recent history shows it’s not contagious, either. But it can certainly splatter.
Yesterday, I started telling the story of Dr. Massoud Amin – a man who came to the US as a teenager with his parents after the Iranian Revolution, became a citizen, and rose to the highest levels not only of academia, but of national security, as one of the nation’s foremost experts in cybersecurity.
And then, in the middle of a rancorous divorce with more than a whiff of academic backstabbing mixed in, an overzealous prosecutor turned a paperwork discrepancy in a civil divorce filing into, literally, a criminal case.
Pursuant to that case, the prosecutor and the police searched Dr. Amin’s house, and confiscated Dr. Amin’s firearm collection, planting the story of “The Iranian professor who collected a bunch of guns and swindled his soon-to-be-ex” – simultaneously defaming him to the left (“Serves the gun nut right!”) and the less-bright parts of the right (“Probably a terrorist!”).
The trial? It was a comedy of errors – but not remotely funny. All exculpatory evidence was suppressed, and that was just the beginning. The ending? A conviction – aided by bizarre courtroom antics and some sketchy lawyering on both sides.
The prosecution is asking for a ten year prison sentence for a conviction that normally carries a years’ suspended sentence and probation for a first-time offender – which Dr. Amin, who held a top-secret security clearance until the conviction, most assuredly was.
Why so much irregularity in what started as a typical ugly American divorce?
We’ll be talking with Dr. Massoud about that this Saturday on my show. Tune in, and call in if you havre questions.
Let’s give credit where it’s due – David French at National Review has been on fire lately, with his coverage of the Guyger shooting, his sweeping change in his coverage of police shootings, and the concomitant broadside – with copious fascinating legal cites – at the way Qualified Immunity is practice today.
I’m not going to pullquote them. There’s just too much. Go read them. Then discuss.
Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Senator Feinstein’s driver didn’t have access to sensitive information, so who cares that he was a Chinese spy?
Dang, I was just getting ready to buy an iPhone SE. But if they won’t allow hate speech, I couldn’t talk to anybody.
Pretty soon, all speech that isn’t banned will be mandatory.
New York Governor Cuomo is popping off shots at the Bill of Rights no less than Gen. Beauregard at Fort Sumter:
The NRA accuses Cuomo of running a campaign of “selective prosecution, backroom exhortations and public threats.” It claims the government seeks to halt its defense of the Second Amendment.
“Simply put,” the NRA alleges, Cuomo and New York regulators “made it clear to banks and insurers that it is bad business in New York to do business with the NRA.
The Government of the state of New York; like the Medellin Cartel, only in cheaper suits.
While Trump plies his wiles trying to get the feckless Germans and Dutch to pay their share of defending their stagnating continent, at least part of free Europe doesn’t need reminding of the consequences of not standing up for their own freedom.
The Poles need no reminding about keeping their defenses strong.
And to their north, the Latvians, Lithuanians, and especially Estonians, in the wake of Obama’s debacle in Ukraine, seem to grasp the need to defend their freedom. Four percent of Estonia’s entire population is in the military or the (voluntary) reserves – not bad for one of the more libertarian states in Europe.
Like almost all Estonians of his generation, what drives [Estonian special forces Colonel Riho] Uhtegi is intensely personal, and tends to be tied up in the history of his country.
“We all had one grandparent that remembered independence,” said Uhtegi, speaking of growing up during the Soviet occupation, “and they filled our heads with stories of it.” He shifts his very blue Estonian gaze back from the distance. Unspoken is the fate of all the other grandparents—the ones who were executed by the Russians or died somewhere in a gulag. Wartime casualties aside, more than 10 percent of Estonia’s population was deported before Stalin’s death in 1953.
And it’s not even a little bit abstract:
“You know why the Russians didn’t take Tbilisi in 2008?” Uhtegi asked me. “They were just up the road, 50 kilometers or so, and nothing was stopping them.”
Having spent many years in Georgia, I knew the answer to this one: because Georgians are crazy. Uhtegi barked a laugh. “Yes. Exactly. Georgians are crazy, and they would fight. The idea of this unwinnable asymmetric fight in Tbilisi was not so appealing to the Russians.”
He continued: “There are always these discussions. Like, yeah. The Russians can get to Tallinn in two days. … Maybe. [The Estonian capital is about 125 miles from the Russian border.] But they can’t get all of Estonia in two days. They can get to Tallinn, and behind them, we will cut their communication lines and supplies lines and everything else.” That dead-eyed Baltic stare fixes me again. “They can get to Tallinn in two days. But they will die in Tallinn. And they know this. … They will get fire from every corner, at every step.”
Read the whole, fascinating thing.