Putin announces a new weapon capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to Florida, and Trump responds by attacking Alec Baldwin

Saying “no missile defense system will be able to withstand it,” Valdimir Putin, this past Thursday, informed the world of Russia’s new hypersonic Sarmat ICBM. Standing in front of a video showing how a Sarmat missile could successfully deliver a nuclear warhead to Florida, Putin said, “I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development… you have failed to contain Russia.” Here, by way of the Russian embassy’s Twitter account, is video of the announcement, which was shared along with the ominous warning, “No one listened to us before, so listen to Russia now.”

Trump, to his credit, was quick to respond, firing off a nasty tweet to the American actor Alec Baldwin, referring to his career as both “dying” and “mediocre”.

Seriously, Vladimir Putin stood on a stage in Moscow, during his state of the union address, and bragged to great applause about how, if he wanted to, he could drop a warhead on Mar-a-Lago, and our president responded not by enacting the sanctions passed almost unanimously by Congress, but by going after the actor who did the voice for the wisecracking baby in the animated feature Boss Baby.

But the problem goes much deeper than Trump and his misdirected anger on Twitter. Last week, as you’ll recall, we learned from NSA Director Mike Rogers that he has still not been granted the authority by either the President of Secretary of Defense to “disrupt Russian cyber threats where they originate”. And, today, we learned that the State Department has yet to spend even $1 of the $120 Million that have been allotted to fight Russian election meddling. Here’s a excerpt from today’s New York Times.

As Russia’s virtual war against the United States continues unabated with the midterm elections approaching, the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy.

As a result, not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts.

The delay is just one symptom of the largely passive response to the Russian interference by President Trump, who has made little if any public effort to rally the nation to confront Moscow and defend democratic institutions. More broadly, the funding lag reflects a deep lack of confidence by Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson in his department’s ability to execute its historically wide-ranging mission and spend its money wisely.

Mr. Tillerson has voiced skepticism that the United States is even capable of doing anything to counter the Russian threat.

“If it’s their intention to interfere, they’re going to find ways to do that,” Mr. Tillerson said in an interview last month with Fox News. “And we can take steps we can take, but this is something that once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to pre-empt it.”

The United States spends billions of dollars on secret cybercapabilities, but these weapons have proved largely ineffective against Russian efforts on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere that simply amplify or distort divisive but genuine voices in the United States and elsewhere…

This is not normal. None of this is normal.

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23 Comments

  1. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 4, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Who voted for this clown?

  2. anonymous
    Posted March 4, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    What, Trump didn’t immediately call Putin “Rocket Man”?

  3. Sad
    Posted March 4, 2018 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Yeah but that piece Baldwin did last night was classic! Providing material like that for comics, priceless. At the same time as Trump is hob-nobing with the journalistic elite, priceless.

    They’re stingy with the bread but generous with the circus. I’ll give them that.

    Maybe I’ll try to worry less and laugh more.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Don’t Worry, Be Happy, SAD. It worked for dudes like you in the 80’s when we were setting the stage for this nightmare we are loving now.

  5. Sad
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    The 80’s were a good time for sissies like me? Do tell. I’d always heard that was a terrible time.

    One good thing about the olds Natty is that they can bring first hand knowledge of long ago times. I thought JH and IL would like it back then? Isn’t that when globalization really started to take off? Isn’t that when they started to dismantle the progressive tax scheme from the new deal? ( a tax scheme born of populist outrage and the politics of revenge)

  6. Sad
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    I was just reading about the 80’s , this guy Paul Adolph Volcker Jr. raised interest rates to 20%. Can you believe that? History is crazy. I can’t wait to find out what else happened. I only knew the music.

  7. wobblie
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Let’s not forget it was the US that abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. That it is the US which has been surrounding Russia with interceptor missile bases. That is was the US that supported the invasion by Georgia, and the coup in Ukraine.

  8. Sad
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    The 1980s

    The Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 slashed the highest rate from 70 to 50 percent, and indexed the brackets for inflation.

    Then, the Tax Reform Act of 1986, claiming that it was a two-tiered flat tax, expanded the tax base and dropped the top rate to 28 percent for tax years beginning in 1988.4 The hype here was that the broader base contained fewer deductions, but brought in the same revenue. Further, lawmakers claimed that they would never have to raise the 28 percent top rate.

    The 28 percent top rate promise lasted three years before it was broken.

  9. Citywatch
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    “…..and I’m back”, said the Cold War.

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    SAD— I can assure you that neither I nor IL (whom I knew sorta at the end of the decade) were fans of either the 80’s or Reaganism or Thatcherism. (Volcker was a smart dude though). It’s common for young people to imagine that Clinton and the Reagans are the same. This is perhaps due to the inaccurate application of the term neoliberal (originally referring to neo-cons like Thatcher) to refer to anyone who engages in global concerns and is not protectionist. I wish protectionism worked to improve lives here and abroad. That’s a super simple answer to a complex problem. Protectionism makes sense from a simplistic dogmatic (and US myopic) pint of view that sees the US as the sole source of global poverty, dysfunction and war. I’m in no way excusing colonialism here. Or US responsibility for the forever war; I’m suggesting that taking responsibility for the damage we caused involves more than turning out backs on the mess we made. This really could not be further from Thatcherite or Reaganite foreign policy perspectives.

    PS my impression is you are closer to my age than young. Based on you musical tastes, reading of Peggy Noonan, and a few other details that seem distinctly un-millennial. But I could be wrong. That’s always a strong possibility. Still, I think your general tone is detachment from and amusement about the current political scenario coupled with a degree of righteousness about progressive politics indicates Genx or Boomer white liberal male privilege that doesn’t know it’s privileged, because it identifies with progressivism.

  11. nattybooboo
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    ^^^listen to that jean

    100% certified grade-a 24-karat #woke

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    ‘Woke’ implies that awareness is a static state rather than a process. As such, it’s an ideological cudgel against other perspectives and form of denialism, not to mention hubris. ‘If you believe you are enlightened, you have only reached the limits of your capacity to see.’ – the Buddha (roughly)

  13. nattybooboo
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    mind blown

  14. Sad
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    If I was detached I wouldn’t be Sad. If I couldn’t laugh I’d cry.

  15. Sad
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Why can’t IL speak for themselves? Did you do something to them?

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    IL musr have better things to do.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Back to subject at hand, Marsha Gessen is speaking Friday night at UM. The subject is how Putin suppresses historical information but my guess is the Q & A will cover this ground. She’s brilliant on totalitarian creep, both historic and contemporary, but also has expressed reservations about the Russia investigation. https://events.umich.edu/event/48520

  18. nattybooboo
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    #woke

  19. Iron Lung 2
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I felt as if I were polite to Mr. Sad.

    I suppose not. Oh well.

  20. Sad
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    You were, a complete gentle man , it was appreciated.

    I just didn’t understand your statement about political revenge and outrage in relation to more substantially taxing the wealthy.

  21. M
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Yesterday, Russia expelled 60 US diplomats and tested the missile system that Putin said during his state of the union address could reach the United States. Trump has yet to mention any of these things.

  22. Proton
    Posted March 30, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    M:

    1. Russia expelled 60 US diplomats, yes, in response to the U.S., U.K. and others’ expulsion of an equal number of Russian diplomats, based on a poisoning incident that has all sane and intelligent observers scratching their heads and muttering disbelief (of either all, or part, of the official story). What is Trump supposed to say about this? The truth? That would be out of the question for a POTUS at this juncture.

    2. Regarding the “missile system that Putin said during his state of the union address could reach the United States” — of course, for decades Russia has had many thousands of missiles that can “reach the U.S.”; but I assume you speak of his announcement regarding advanced hypersonic weaponry, underwater drones, and the like. Here again: what is Trump supposed to say about this? The truth? Not a chance. Putin’s announcement is a late response the U.S. having unilaterally pulled out of the ABM treaty in 2002, combined perhaps with residual annoyance over being double-crossed by NATO. Do we really think that Russia should take endless provocations lying down? Who do we think Russia is? Yet another Western/NATO vassal? Yes, I guess that’s what we think, and as such we are out of touch with reality. Hence, yet again: what is Trump supposed to say? The truth? Impossible! He would be assassinated the next week; that is, assuming that the guy is even capable of knowing and telling the truth, which is doubtful. (Actually, on a few occasions that I can recall, he DID utter important truths. However, these utterances are so unusual that they could be written-off as unintentional, accidental.)

    If you want truth, you’ll find much more of it on alternative news sites than from U.S. politicians, MSM, etc.

    e.g.:

    https://thesaker.is/newly-revealed-russian-weapons-systems-political-implications/
    “Russia needs to continue to walk a very narrow path: to act in a sufficiently evasive manner as to avoid provoking a direct military confrontation with the USA while, at the same time, sending clear enough signals to prevent the US Americans from interpreting Russia’s evasiveness as a sign of weakness and then doing something really stupid. The Russian end-goal is simple and obvious: to achieve a gradual and peaceful disintegration of the AngloZionist Empire combined with a gradual and peaceful replacement of a unipolar world ruled by one hegemon, by a multipolar world jointly administered by sovereign nations respectful of international law. Therefore, any catastrophic or violent outcomes are highly undesirable and must be avoided if at all possible. Patience and focus will be far more important in this war for the future of our planet than quick-fix reactions and hype. The “patient” needs to be returned to reality one step at a time. Putin’s March 1st speech will go down in history as such a step, but many more such steps will be needed before the patient finally wakes up.”

    http://www.unz.com/article/the-implications-of-russias-new-weapons/
    “Russians, as the events of the last 19 years showed, have no illusions anymore about the possibility of any kind of reasonable civilized conduct from the combined West, least of all from the United States which still continues to reside in her bubble which insulates her from any outside voices of reason and peace. The American global track record of the last few decades does not require any special elaborations—it is a record of military and humanitarian disasters. Vladimir Putin’s March 1st, 2018 address to Russia’s Federal Assembly was…about coercing America’s elites into, if not peace, at least into some form of sanity, given that they are currently completely detached from the geopolitical, military and economic realities of a newly emerging world.”

  23. Proton
    Posted March 31, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Mark quotes the NYT: “The delay is just one symptom of the largely passive response to the Russian interference by President Trump, who has made little if any public effort to rally the nation to confront Moscow and defend democratic institutions.”

    Jesus MFH Christ. Trump is supposed to “rally the nation to confront Moscow”?! The NYT is insane. The nation HAS BEEN rallied to confront Moscow, 51 ways from christmas, for decades, right up to the present moment, and has been asked to ignore the ongoing destruction of “democratic institutions” worldwide, wherever they attempt to express themselves in ways inconsistent with U.S. corporate and military objectives. The entire Western world has been rallied to confront Moscow for centuries, and has done so repeatedly, resulting in scores of millions of Russians dead, and incalculable other damage. But the NYT, in its blind chauvinistic mania, skips over all that, and calls for MORE rallying to confront Moscow.

    Mark says: “This is not normal. None of this is normal.”

    Damn straight. It is insane. And it is impelling the world to war. Bigtime war.

    ………………………………..

    http://washingtonsblog.com/2018/02/russian-meddling-gagging-irony.html
    Russian Meddling: Gagging on the Irony
    Posted on February 19, 2018 by Charles Hugh Smith
    “The irony of the Deep State’s obsessive focus on “Russian meddling” in the precious bodily fluids of our hallowed democracy is so overwhelming that it’s gagging. The irony is a noxious confluence of putrid hypocrisy and a comically abject terror at the prospect that the citizenry may be awakening to the terrible reality that America has lost its soul as well as its democracy.
    The foul stench of hypocrisy arises from the long and sordid history of America’s meddling in the internal politics of virtually every nation on the planet— a deeply entrenched policy of meddling on such a vast scale that the Deep State minions tasked with projecting a wounded astonishment that some foreign power has the unmitigated gall to attempt to influence our domestic politics must have difficulty restraining their amusement…”

One Trackback

  1. […] While I suppose it’s possible that Tillerson was fired for other, unrelated reasons, it does seem odd that, within hours of promising a response against Russia, should it be determined that they’d perpetrated this chemical warfare attack on British soil, he’d be fired. Again, it may be a coincidence, but it does seem odd, doesn’t it, that Trump has yet to speak out on the first chemical warfare attack on British soil since WWII, or, for that matter, the fact that, a few weeks back, Putin announced a new missile system capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to Florida? […]

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