Daily Bread for 9.25.22: Putin Rigs the Vote

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be windy with afternoon thundershowers and a high of 65. Sunrise is 6:46 AM and sunset 6:45 PM for 11h 59m 24s of daytime. The moon is new with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

  On this day in 1237, England and Scotland sign the Treaty of York, establishing the location of their common border.

Police officers detain a woman in Moscow on September 24, 2022, following calls to protest against the partial mobilisation announced by the Russian President. President Vladimir Putin called up Russian military reservists on September 21, 2022, saying his promise to use all military means in Ukraine was “no bluff,” and hinting that Moscow was prepared to use nuclear weapons. His mobilisation call comes as Moscow-held regions of Ukraine prepare to hold annexation referendums this week, dramatically upping the stakes in the seven-month conflict by allowing Moscow to accuse Ukraine of attacking Russian territory. (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

David L. Stern and Robyn Dixon report With Kalashnikov rifles, Russia drives the staged vote in Ukraine:

Officials in Russian-occupied territories in eastern and southern Ukraine were forcing people to vote “under a gun barrel,” residents said on Saturday as staged referendums — intended to validate Moscow’s annexation of the territory it occupies — entered their second day.

Voting is taking place in portions of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions and will last five days, ending Tuesday. The outcome is not in doubt.

The purported referendums are illegal under Ukrainian and international law and would not remotely meet basic democratic standards for free and fair elections. Western leaders, including President Biden, have denounced the process as a “sham” to prepare the ground for Russia’s theft of Ukrainian land.

In his nightly address on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke directly to the Russians, warning that “no tricks will help the occupier.”

The speed at which the referendums were announced and carried out and the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russian reserves, all within one week, reflect the Kremlin’s tacit acknowledgment of its deteriorating position in Ukraine. After invading Ukraine on Feb. 24 and failing to take the capital, Kyiv, Russian forces have been pushed back in the country’s northeast and are coming under pressure along the front lines of the war.

Hundreds more people were arrested Saturday during demonstrations in Russia against the mobilization.

People have lived on our continent for thousands of years, and there has been an American republic on this land for hundreds of years, yet some of our fellow citizens admire Putin’s and Orban’s dictatorships over our own constitutional order. One hears sometimes that one should not disrespect others, and that one should work across the aisle, but these entreaties would leave us in ruin for the sake of those who’d rather support or excuse than defend against

The Russian woman in the photograph above is incomparably more useful to the defense of liberty than a thousand from our own nativist horde, thirsting as they are to build walls, cage children, persecute minorities, spread lies, and rig our own elections.

Those few of us remaining in America who yet believe in free markets, individual rights, limited and open government, and free trade among peaceful nations would be nothing if we were not plain-speaking.

These Russians who protest risk incomparably more than we do. It is easier for us, and our obligation is to ensure that it remains easier for all of us. Even the smallest efforts to do so are meaningful and useful. 

Here’s what Hurricane Fiona’s surf looked like, from atop a 50-foot wave:

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