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UPCOMING EVENTS

Hey Tucker Carlson, You’re Wrong about Ukraine

President Biden made a surprise trip to Kyiv last week, marking the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While I disagree with many of Biden’s policies, he is, on the whole, correct to support Ukraine, as should the global community of nations.

Perhaps the loudest voice criticizing U.S. policy in Ukraine is Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson. He maintains that Biden will get the U.S. into WWIII. Tucker, you’re wrong! Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has been clear that he believes the break up of the Soviet Union was a mistake. In 2008, during the waning days of George W. Bush’s administration, Russian-backed separatists took two provinces from Georgia. Then, in 2014 while Obama was president, Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Putin won’t stop after Ukraine. He will continue through the Baltic States. If not stopped now, Putin will reconstitute the Soviet empire, causing deaths and immeasurable suffering.

China is watching closely too. President Xi Jinping is testing Biden. Is the U.S. merely a paper tiger? China has designs on Taiwan. If America shows weakness, bet on China to move on Taiwan.

It’s a new world order that doesn’t bode well for the United States.

History demonstrates weakness, not strength, and starts world wars.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin believed that he could appease Hitler. In 1938 he signed the Munich Agreement, which gave Hitler the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. Hitler broke the pact six months later and, less than a year afterward, invaded Poland, marking the start of WWII.

Protected by oceans on the East and West and with peaceful neighbors on the North and South, many Americans not yet fully healed from the Great War (WWI) or the Great Depression advocated for neutrality and isolationism.

Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, was one of the most well-known figures of the era. He became the spokesperson for the America First Committee (AFC). Formed in September 1940, the America First Committee (a familiar sounding name) membership reached over 800,000.

The AFC was against measures to aid the British, such as the Lend-Lease Act, which supplied Allies with food, oil, and other materials before the U.S. entered the war. They believed it would not endanger the United States if Germany defeated the British.

In a speech less than three months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lindbergh sounding remarkably similar to what Carlson says today about U.S. support for Ukraine, said: “The Roosevelt administration has been carrying this country toward war. They have used the war to add unlimited billions to a debt which was already the highest we have ever known. We are on the verge of war, but it is not yet too late to stay out. It is not too late to show that no amount of money, or propaganda, or patronage can force a free and independent people into war against its will.”

Many leading politicians thought events occurring in Europe did not concern us and, therefore, the United States should focus on domestic problems and remain neutral.  

We’ll never know how much easier and less deadly it would have been to stop Hitler in 1938. By the time of the Blitzkrieg invasion of Poland, the die was cast.

I have gained first-person insight into the Ukraine situation from a friend living through challenging circumstances. I called it a nightmare, but she wouldn’t have it. She says, “others have lost their homes, businesses, and families; those are the people living nightmares.” Here is the story of a brave woman living in Ukraine.

Svetlana (32) and her husband Volodymyr (40) live, or did live, in a suburb of Kyiv. They have a business called Cottongin Atelier. They tailor high-quality cotton t-shirts made with a specific type of rare cotton. Before the war, they had a 12-person team producing about 500 shirts monthly. Here is her first-hand account of the war:

Ukraine is my home.

Although I was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, I have lived with my husband in the suburbs of Kyiv since 2015.

Before the war, my team and I tailored men’s handcrafted t-shirts from the world’s rarest cotton and sold them worldwide. We were making plans for the coming year. We were getting ready to sign contracts with new partners in the U.S. and buying new equipment that hadn’t arrived yet. Then everything changed.

At 4:15 a.m. on February 24, 2022, we awoke to explosions. We live a few miles from a military base. So, we didn’t just hear the sounds of rockets; we felt them. Outside was the haze and smell of rocket fuel. I will remember the smell and the sound of those explosions forever.

We feared the cell network would be lost, so we called relatives and friends to find out if everyone was safe. I remember calling my parents in Vilnius (Lithuania). I said, “mom, dad, don’t worry, Russia attacked us, but everything will be fine.”

I don’t know if it was adrenaline, but there was no panic or paralyzing fear at that moment. We were processing information and looking for options. Instinctively, we rushed to the nearest gas station to fill the tank to be ready to evacuate. We saw more rockets striking, and explosions continued nearby as we filled with fuel. Surprisingly, the gas station staff did not run away. They did their jobs servicing people rushing for fuel. Most people were in survival mode. Everybody was taking the first necessary steps, and nobody was panicking. Fear came later.

We decided to stay in Ukraine but move further from Kyiv as it became clear by the end of the day that it was the Russians primary target.

Standing at the gates of our home, we said goodbye to our past, not knowing if we would ever see it again. We took only the most essential items and headed Southwest to the Vinnytsia region (central Ukraine) to stay at a relatives house. What usually is a four-hour trip took 14. Russian bombs made parts of the road impassable. Therefore, we had to continuously look for alternative routes along with thousands of other people escaping the city. 

That’s when the new reality hit us. The little worries and troubles of our peaceful days were gone. Now it was the time for real challenges and swift actions. We equipped the basement of the relatives house as a bomb shelter. We slept in our clothes and took turns on duty at night, watching and listening for air raid sirens.

We had to constantly follow the news so we wouldn’t miss any unexpected Russian advances in the area. We had to have enough time to move further into the country in case of approaching danger. 

A few days later, we sat together and planned what we could do to help our fellow citizens and soldiers. Our main work for the first months was humanitarian assistance: Together with our partners in Europe, we collected everything necessary for our soldiers, delivered food, hygiene products, and warm clothes for families who suffered from the war, hosted at some point 25 people in the house and helped to find housing for people who lost their homes. We assisted in opening volunteer centers, blood donation centers, and overnight stays in schools and administrative buildings in the city.

Because of constant Russian missile attacks on oil depots, we faced a fuel crisis. Sometimes there was no fuel for weeks! When fuel was available, prices doubled, and we had to wait four or five hours in lines at gas stations.

In August, after a six-month forced suspension of business, my team and I decided to try to resume work and return to Kyiv.

When the war began, we had to abandon our warehouse. Some of our fabrics were lost because the warehouse did not receive ventilation, temperature, or humidity controls.

Some of our Ukraine suppliers were still not operating. Several members of our team joined the army. Others left the country.

We had to start over again. We made a successful comeback via a Kickstarter campaign. We are very grateful to all the people who believed in and financed us. To complete all the orders,  some days we had to live in our atelier. We spent three to five hours a day in nearby bomb shelters waiting for the air strikes to end before we could continue working.

Today, we have a team of five people, producing a few dozen t-shirts monthly. In Kyiv, we sell them in the TSUM department store. Worldwide they can be ordered from our website: https://cottonginatelier.com or via email [email protected].

The situation remains tense in Kyiv. Because of the Russian attacks on critical infrastructure, we faced constant blackouts, sometimes lasting a few days. Imagine what it’s like to be in complete darkness and cold, without water and at temperatures sometimes reaching 40 ° F, several days in a row. In addition, there is a curfew from 11 pm to 6 am, so sometimes it is necessary to stay in the workshop for the night to continue working, taking naps on the floor in sleeping bags. 

The Russians were confident when they came to Ukraine. The military experts said we would last three days. But nobody knew how brave, fast-learning, and creative Ukrainians are. They didn’t know the mindset of the Ukrainian people, for whom freedom is an absolute value and which they are ready to die for.

In the first few days, thousands of men lined up to join the army to fight for their land, slowing Russian advances. When Russians approached Kyiv and were about to enter the city, the local military announced that they would hand out 25,000 rifles to anybody who would defend the city and show up with a valid ID. In a few hours, all these weapons were in the hands of young men and women ready to defend their city. This unprecedented step helped Kyiv repel the first Russian brigades to enter the city. Most of the Russian military got stuck in the suburbs of Kyiv and had to retreat a few months later.

Since their retreat, we constantly live with rocket attacks on residential buildings, schools, and hospitals. There is news daily about the theft or destruction of Ukrainian historical and cultural sites. Putin hates Ukrainians and wants to wipe out any record of our existence.

Putin has declared genocide on an entire nation. He can do this without any show of emotion, without moving a muscle on his stone face.

But Ukraine has stood up to him. Our mission is to preserve Ukraine’s future and Europe’s future. That is our path. Thanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine – our soldiers are our heroes.

We thank all allies for their support and help along the way.

Links to help Ukraine: 

Charity Fund ‘Come Back Alive’ – https://savelife.in.ua/en/donate-en/ 

Support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine – https://bank.gov.ua/en/about/support-the-armed-forces

Telegram channel with the latest news about the war in Ukraine – https://t.me/UA_struggle

Svetlana paints a striking picture of what is at stake in Ukraine.

Here are additional thoughts:

The charities are not 501(c)(3) organizations and are not tax deductible. They are also not listed on Charity Navigator. However, none of the Ukrainian charities they list directly aid the Ukrainian military. If that is your goal, these may be worth investigating.

As for the t-shirts Svetlana and her Cottongin team make, I’m the proud owner of one. I can’t wait for summer here so I can wear it! I receive no compensation or discount for this plug.

Finally, I’ll close with the opening premise. I disagree with most of the Biden administration’s policies. There could be a better accounting of the resources we send to Ukraine. But if the goal is preventing WWIII, history suggests, helping Ukraine ward off Vladimir Putin and the Russian invasion is better than waiting until he swallows up Eastern Europe. Tucker Carlson should reread the history books.

Andy Bloom
Andy Bloomhttps://barrettmedia.com
Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.

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