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Pat Hughes on his bond with Chicago Cubs fans, being a voice for generations, and how long he still wants to call games – The Denver Post

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Pat Hughes On His Bond With Chicago Cubs Fans, Being A Voice For Generations, And How Long He Still Wants To Call Games – The Denver Post
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When Pat Hughes joined the Chicago Cubs’ radio broadcast team ahead of the 1996 season, he already had visions of how his time as a play-by-play announcer would unfold.

“I’m already uprooting a first grade girl. And you know how traumatic that can be,” Hughes said after being hired in November 1995. “I’m happy to be here the rest of my life.

Hughes’ words proved prescient. Now in his 27th season as the radio voice of the Cubs, the 67-year-old has become synonymous with North Side baseball.

The organization recognizes Hughes’ contributions to the franchise by inducting the longtime broadcaster into the Cubs Hall of Fame on Saturday. The Class of 2022 includes Hughes, National Baseball Hall of Famer Buck O’Neil and former outfielder José Cardenal.

Each inductee’s plaque will be unveiled in the left field bleacher lobby. Hughes and Cardenal, along with Andre Dawson, Randy Hundley, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith and Rick Sutcliffe, will receive Cubs Hall of Fame jackets at Saturday’s unveiling.

In a chat this week with the Tribune, Hughes discussed his broadcast journey, his connection with Cubs fans and how long he plans to continue in that role. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What made you fall in love with the radio side of broadcasting?

Pat Hughes: I think it goes back to my childhood. Television was not as followed. If you were a sports fan, you had to listen to the radio to get your daily sports news. So I started listening to the Giants games (from San Francisco) and then I was listening to the Dodgers games (from Los Angeles) with Vin Scully on the microphone, and it seemed incredible that guys could actually make a living covering ball games.

I mean, I love playing games. I’ve played in every football, basketball, and baseball league I could possibly be in, even recreational leagues in addition to organized youth baseball leagues, but I realized when I was about 17 or 18 as much as I liked it and as much as I wanted to keep playing, I wasn’t good enough. The only thing holding me back was talent, that’s all. So I thought the best thing to do would be to go game-by-game, and I still feel that way 40 or 50 years later.

What do you enjoy most about the play-by-play element of broadcasting and what are the challenges that people don’t know about the job?

Hughes: It’s exhilarating. It’s really fun. I have a terrific stand here. I think Ron Coomer is the best analyst in the business when you think about his knowledge of the game, his experience in the major leagues, the fact that he was a Cubs fan. He has a great sense of humor. He’s fun to be around and he’s a great team player. Zach Zaidman has got to be the best third man I’ve ever seen. He is also a great team player. It’s just such a good mix.

I love the everyday experience of covering a baseball game. We try to get to work when necessary, but we also have fun, and I’ve always thought that no matter the sport, when you go to a game, you have to have fun. You should laugh out loud. Belly laughs three, four or five times a day and if you don’t, I think you’re missing the point of the sport and are where everyone has chosen to come today.

My mother said that many years ago before she passed – I wish she had been there for that – but she said, ‘You know, Pat, you’re very lucky to be able to work where people go as an option of their day. They want to be there. Very few people go to a job where this is the case.

When I first found out about (this honor) when (Cubs President of Business Operations) Crane Kenny surprised me a few weeks ago, I thought of my mom and my dad and I thought of my older brother John who got me into broadcasting, and then I thought a lot about Ron Santo, who was my first partner here. I constantly think of each of them.

Challenges? Just the simple act of being a live performer without a script day after day, and you’re on the air for 3 hours, 3 and a half hours. Don’t complain, but if you ask it’s not easy. People think, “Oh, I know baseball. Of course you hit the ball and pass first, count 1-2-3 outs and four balls and three strikes. I know baseball. OK fine. You play a game of 4 hours and 31 minutes and it lasts 13 innings. And it’s a night game. And by the way, you have a day game the next day at one o’clock and you have to be just as sharp. And you do it day after day, week after week for 162 (games). Now I’m down to 150 this year, but that’s still a lot for anyone.

Just make the games and try to get as many things as possible. And you will make mistakes. It will never be perfect. You try to minimize errors, reduce them and not turn one error into 10.

These are some of the things that I kind of learned myself, but it’s not easy to speak off the cuff without a script. When you start a game, you have no idea what you are going to see. I didn’t think Hayden Wesneski was going to pitch five shutout innings and win his major league debut nor did I expect the Reds pitchers to walk 11 batters (Tuesday) night.

How would you describe your bond with Cubs fans?

Hughes: It is something that grows over time. I think it had a lot to do with Ron Santo. Ronnie went out of his way to accommodate me because he thought we had instant chemistry, which we did. It was undeniable, it was fun. We couldn’t have been more different. But sometimes it creates a kind of unique chemistry. So he took me in and Ronnie was a huge icon long before I came to town.

I think a lot of listeners said, “Well, if this new guy is OK for Ron Santo, then he’s OK for me.” So that went a long way to initially establishing a connection. And then I think day after day, year after year, and I’ve been blessed to be there for some exciting and historic Cubs games. (Everyone) gives me complete freedom to do whatever I want and I thrive on freedom. I will be ready for every game. I don’t take any game lightly. So part of the bond is just to live, exist, and last for 27 seasons.

How did you settle your home run? Did it come naturally or was it something you worked on when you did a season on television for the Minnesota Twins or worked on Milwaukee Brewers radio shows before joining the Cubs?

Hughes: One night I was in Milwaukee, I said, “A deep reader, get out the tape measure…” It might have been for Rob Deer or Robin Yount, but I thought, you know, I like that one. And then once I got here in Chicago. I said, “This ball has a chance…” and kind of extended the word chance. And there was nothing smart. I was just buying time because I knew the ball was hitting well. You see the defender near the fence, you don’t know if he will catch it, if he will miss it, if he will hit a wall or if he will go over the wall. So a lot can happen on any deep drive. I just started using it and it was quite natural.

These are the two I use. “He’s got a chance, he’s gone,” and I try not to say that unless I’m sure it’s going to go away. Every once in a while, I’ll mess this up. And I don’t like to do that because I want the audience to think that if they start hearing that, it’s time to start saying, “Yeah! So I try to abstain. It was a natural thing to just buy two seconds or whatever I needed to see what was going to happen.

As a baseball broadcaster in a long season with games almost every day, how would you rate your performance yourself, whether over the course of a season or more frequently?

Hughes: I don’t do a lot of that because I mostly focus on the future. For example, as soon as we are done talking, I will look for the queues. I will start to put them, put in the defensive table, the referees. I was listening to the White Sox game against Seattle as I walked in. I know Milwaukee already lost their game against Colorado. Milwaukee only has six games left on the road, which I found very interesting. We are approaching the finish line. So no, I try to continue to prepare every day. And again, I don’t take any game lightly. It’s always a nice job getting ready for a big league baseball game. I still appreciate it. I do. They are the best players in the world. We have the best fans in the world. They deserve the best.

What does it mean to have gone through generations of Cubs fans and know that people associate their love of baseball in part because of your voice?

Hughes: I think that’s a very cool thing. It’s almost beyond a generation now. It’s definitely a full generation, maybe even blending in with the second. But it’s a cool thing.

I still fondly remember the announcers I listened to in the Bay Area. Bill King was the voice of the Warriors, Raiders and later the A’s. Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons made the Giants. I used to listen to Vin Scully at night. So I think that’s a good thing.

It’s really cool that people say, “I’ve listened to you all my life” and say, “You inspired me to get into broadcasting. It’s really special. And so I try to help people as much as I can. If they send me a demo, I’ll listen to it. Men or women, whatever the sport. I may not know anything about women’s field hockey, but I know a little about the spread, and just the tempo and the rhythm and the inflection, and the vocabulary and the preparation and all that.

I don’t take the job lightly. It’s a privileged position, really, and I think you should give back and I tried to do that. And I tried to give back by providing the best game possible every day. It’s another form of giving back.

You mentioned the grind of a big league season – have you thought about how long you want to do this job?

Hughes: I feel good. I work a lot. I have a wonderful wife, Trish. She prepares me good healthy dinners. Today I ran two miles. I did the rubber bands, and I feel pretty good. I’m 67 and some days I think, “Oh man, everything hurts,” but I take care of myself. I have this great situation and, really, they give me total freedom. Money is good. I appreciate. Wrigley Field with the Cubs and with the Cubs fans is something special, and I really feel like I can go on for a while. You take nothing for granted at a certain age, especially in the world we all live in right now.

But I still have two years on my contract. I certainly feel I can fulfill them. Beyond that, it may not be my decision. Maybe someone will say, “Pat, I think we’ve heard enough about this. I hope that won’t happen. In fact, seriously, I’d like to date on my own terms. Not everyone does. But I really would and I think I will know. I’ve heard older guys say, “I’ll know when it’s time to go. When I start making mistakes and forgetting guys’ names, forgetting what the score is and who we’re playing against, then that’s the time. I don’t think I’m there yet.



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Another month of solid US hiring suggests more big Fed hikes

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Another Month Of Solid Us Hiring Suggests More Big Fed Hikes
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WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers slowed their hiring in September but still added 263,000 jobs, a solid figure that will likely keep the Federal Reserve on pace to keep raising interest rates aggressively to fight persistently high inflation.

Friday’s government report showed that hiring fell from 315,000 in August to the weakest monthly gain since April 2021. The unemployment rate fell from 3.7% to 3.5%, matching a half-century low.

The Fed is hoping that slower job growth would mean less pressure on employers to raise pay and pass those costs on to their customers through price increases — a recipe for high inflation. But September’s pace of hiring was likely too robust to satisfy the central bank’s inflation fighters.

In September, hourly wages rose 5% from a year earlier, the slowest year-over-year pace since December but still hotter than the Fed would want. The proportion of Americans who either have a job or are looking for one slipped slightly, a disappointment for those hoping that more people would enter the labor force and help ease worker shortages and upward pressure on wages.

The jobs report “was still likely too strong to allow (Fed) policymakers much breathing room,” said Matt Peron, director of research at Janus Henderson Investors.

Likewise, Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, said she didn’t expect September’s softer jobs and wage numbers to stop the Fed from raising its benchmark short-term rate in November by an unusually large three-quarters of a point for a fourth consecutive time — and by an additional half-point in December.

Last month, restaurants and bars added 60,000 jobs, as did healthcare companies. State and local governments cut 27,000 jobs. Retailers, transportation and warehouse companies reduced employment modestly.

The public anxiety that has arisen over high prices and the prospect of a recession is carrying political consequences as President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party struggles to maintain control of Congress in November’s midterm elections.

In its epic battle to rein in inflation, the Fed has raised its benchmark interest rate five times this year. It is aiming to slow economic growth enough to reduce annual price increases back toward its 2% target.

It has a long way to go. In August, one key measure of year-over-year inflation, the consumer price index, amounted to 8.3%. And for now, consumer spending — the primary driver of the U.S. economy — is showing resilience. In August, consumers spent a bit more than in July, a sign that the economy was holding up despite rising borrowing rates, violent swings in the stock market and inflated prices for food, rent and other essentials.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has warned bluntly that the inflation fight will “bring some pain,” notably in the form of layoffs and higher unemployment. Some economists remain hopeful that despite the persistent inflation pressures, the Fed will still manage to achieve a so-called soft landing: Slowing growth enough to tame inflation, without going so far as to tip the economy into recession.

It’s a notoriously difficult task. And the Fed is trying to accomplish it at a perilous time. The global economy, weakened by food shortages and surging energy prices resulting from Russia’s war against Ukraine, may be on the brink of recession. Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, warned Thursday that the IMF is downgrading its estimates for world economic growth by $4 trillion through 2026 and that “things are more likely to get worse before it gets better.’’

Powell and his colleagues on the Fed’s policymaking committee want to see signs that the abundance of available jobs — there’s currently an average of 1.7 openings for every unemployed American — will steadily decline. Some encouraging news came this week, when the Labor Department reported that job openings fell by 1.1 million in August to 10.1 million, the fewest since June 2021.

On the other hand, by any standard of history, openings remain extraordinarily high: In records dating to 2000, they had never topped 10 million in a month until last year.

Friday’s report underscored how resilient the job market remains.

“The U.S. labor market continues to decelerate, but there are no signs that it’s stalling out,’’ said Nick Bunker, head of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab. “Payroll growth is no longer at the jet speed we saw last year, but employment is still growing quickly.”

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GBPUSD’s latest decline attempts to break and stay below the 200 hourly MA again

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Gbpusd'S Latest Decline Attempts To Break And Stay Below The 200 Hourly Ma Again
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GBPUSD is trading above and below the 200 hourly moving average

Focusing on the hourly chart above, the pair is back below the 200 hourly MA and is currently trading at 1.1109.

GBPUSD tested the broken 38.2% retracement and the former trendline

Last week, GPBUSD closed at 1.1183. This week’s high price stalled just before the 1.1500 level before reversing lower over the past few days. Current prices have moved lower over the week, but still well above last week’s low which hit 1.0353.


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Proud Boys member pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy in Capitol Riot

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Proud Boys Member Pleads Guilty To Seditious Conspiracy In Capitol Riot
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A North Carolina man pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring with other members of the far-right Proud Boys to violently prevent the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election, making him the first member of the extremist group to plead guilty to a charge of seditious conspiracy.

Jeremy Joseph Bertino, 43, has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation into the role Proud Boys leaders played in the Jan. 6, 2021 mob attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, a prosecutor has said. federal.

Bertino’s cooperation could increase the pressure on the other Proud Boys charged with the siege, including former National President Henry “Enrique” Tarrio.

The guilty plea comes as the founder of another extremist group, the Oath Keepers, and four associates separately charged in the January 6 attack stand trial for seditious conspiracy – an offense rarely used in wartime civilian that requires up to 20 years behind bars.

Bertino traveled to Washington with other Proud Boys in December 2020 and was stabbed during a fight, according to court documents. He was not in Washington for the Jan. 6 riot because he was still recovering from his injuries, according to court documents.

Bertino participated in planning sessions in the days leading up to Jan. 6 and received encrypted messages as early as Jan. 4 that Proud Boys were planning to storm the Capitol, authorities say.

A statement of offense filed in court says Bertino understood the Proud Boys’ purpose in traveling to Washington was to prevent certification of Joe Biden’s victory and that the group was prepared to use force and violence if necessary to do so.

Bertino also pleaded guilty to an unlawful possession of firearms charge in March 2022 in Belmont, North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly agreed to release Bertino pending a sentencing hearing, which was not immediately scheduled.

Justice Department prosecutor Erik Kenerson said the sentencing guidelines for Bertino’s case recommended a prison term ranging from four years and three months to five years and three months.

A trial is due to begin in December for Tarrio and four other members charged with seditious conspiracy: Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola. The charging document for Bertino’s case names these five defendants and a sixth member of the Proud Boys as his co-conspirators.

The indictment in the Tarrio case alleges that the Proud Boys held meetings and communicated via encrypted messages to plan the attack in the days leading up to January 6. On the day of the riot, authorities said, the Proud Boys dismantled metal barricades set up to protect the Capitol and mobilized, directed and led members of the crowd into the building.

Bertino’s video testimony was shown in June during the first hearing of the House committee investigating Jan. 6. The committee showed Bertino that the band’s membership had “tripled, probably” after Trump’s comment during a presidential debate that the Proud Boys should “step back and be ready.”

Tarrio was not in Washington on January 6, but authorities say he helped spark the violence that day. Police arrested Tarrio in Washington two days before the riot and accused him of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic black church during a protest in December 2020. Tarrio was released from prison on January 14 this year after serving his five-month sentence. for this case.

More than three dozen people charged in the Capitol riot have been identified by federal authorities as leaders, members or associates of the Proud Boys. Two – Matthew Greene and Charles Donohoe – pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct an official process, the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote.


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UPSC Recruitment 2022: Golden opportunity to get job in these posts in UPSC without examination, apply soon, salary will be available according to 7th pay

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Upsc Recruitment 2022: Golden Opportunity To Get Job In These Posts In Upsc Without Examination, Apply Soon, Salary Will Be Available According To 7Th Pay
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UPSC Recruitment 2022: Golden opportunity to get job in these posts in UPSC without examination, apply soon, salary will be available according to 7th pay

UPSC Recruitment 2022 Sarkari Naukri 2022: Before applying, candidates should read all these important things given carefully. Also, under this recruitment process, candidates can get jobs in UPSC (Govt Jobs).

UPSC Recruitment 2022: There is a good opportunity for the youth who are looking for a job (Sarkari Naukri) in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). For this (UPSC Recruitment 2022), UPSC has sought applications for recruitment to other posts including Assistant Professor, Specialist Grade-III (UPSC Recruitment 2022). Interested and eligible candidates who want to apply for these posts (UPSC Recruitment 2022), they can apply by visiting the official website of UPSC, The last date to apply for these posts (UPSC Recruitment 2022) is 13 October.

Apart from this, candidates can also directly apply for these posts (UPSC Recruitment 2022) through this link Also, by clicking on this link UPSC Recruitment 2022 Notification PDF , you can also see the official notification (UPSC Recruitment 2022). A total of 43 posts will be filled under this recruitment (UPSC Recruitment 2022) process.

Important Dates for UPSC Recruitment 2022

Last date to apply: 13 October

UPSC Recruitment 2022 Vacancy Details for

Serious Fraud Investigation Office Prosecutor(SFIO)-12

Specialist Grade III (General Medicine)-28

Assistant Professor (Ayurveda)-01

Assistant Professor (Unani)-01

Veterinary Officer-10

Eligibility Criteria for UPSC Recruitment 2022

Candidates should have the relevant qualification given in the official notification.

Application Fee for UPSC Recruitment 2022

Candidates will have to pay Rs 25 as application fee.

The post UPSC Recruitment 2022: Golden opportunity to get job in these posts in UPSC without examination, apply soon, salary will be available according to 7th pay appeared first on JK Breaking News.

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Adam Carrington: The illegitimate attacks on the Supreme Court’s legitimacy

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Adam Carrington: The Illegitimate Attacks On The Supreme Court’s Legitimacy
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Legitimacy. The word has dominated discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court for years. Some, mostly on the left, claim that the court has lost its legitimacy. The debate on this question even has spread to the court itself, with comments on the matter made by Justices Elena Kagan, John Roberts and Samuel Alito over the summer.

But what does it mean for the current court to be illegitimate? Illegitimacy describes one or both of two conditions: First, it refers to someone occupying a position to which he or she possesses no right. Second, illegitimacy pinpoints the exercise of one’s power in ways flagrantly beyond its proper scope, so much so as to involve powers entirely foreign to the office.

Critics of the Supreme Court make both claims regarding its legitimacy. They argue the last three justices to be appointed — Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch — have no right to their seats. They further declare that recent decisions, especially during the court’s last term, go so far outside the court’s rightful powers as to make the institution itself illegitimate.

They are wrong on both counts. First, they morph the meaning of legitimacy into conformity with their preferences. They say that, in 2016, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never should have refused to confirm President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, a move that led to Gorsuch’s appointment in 2017. They also claim that the unproven accusations made against Kavanaugh by Christine Blasey Ford disqualified him. Finally, they chafe at President Donald Trump’s nomination of Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, coming as it did right before the 2020 presidential election.

None of these accusations has anything to do with real legitimacy. In each case, the appropriate and constitutional process was followed. A sitting president made the nomination. The Senate either refused its consent, as it did in 2016, or gave it, as the body did in the cases of Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett. That is the only standard for a justice’s legitimacy to be on the court. It is the only one because it is the constitutional one, the dictate of the supreme law of the land.

We may debate the fairness of refusing a vote on Obama’s nominee. We can argue over the merits of the accusations against Kavanaugh. We even can question the choice of not waiting for the people’s decision in 2020 before adding a new member to the bench. But even if all these objections were right, they would not make any of the appointed justices illegitimate.

On the second count, the court’s last term did not render it an illegitimate institution. Those accusers again seek to replace constitutional standards with their own opinions. To be sure, the court announced monumental decisions last term on a host of hot-button issues concerning religious liberty, gun rights, the administrative state and, of course, the abortion precedents of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Yet, too many attack these decisions based on whether they follow popular opinion. Kagan, for one, argues, “If, over time, the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that is a dangerous thing for democracy.” The court’s role, however, isn’t to follow the lead of often-flawed opinion polling. The justices follow the people’s will insofar as that will is expressed through the law — the Constitution and subordinate congressionally passed statutes. Both get their ultimate origin in “we, the people.” In this written form, they encompass a much more stable and discernible articulation of public sentiment.

Kagan also critiqued the majority’s approach to ascertaining the people’s will as expressed through law, indicating that the majority hide behind claims of impartially applying the words of laws as written in order to realize their policy preferences. “If you’re a textualist, you’re not a textualist just when it’s convenient. You’re not a textualist just when it leads to the outcomes that you personally happen to favor,” she said.

This accusation doesn’t hold up to scrutiny when turning to particular cases. Justices will certainly disagree on the precise meaning of legal texts. But in last term’s decisions, the majority painstakingly parsed the words of the laws and the accompanying history. They then ruled not on the basis of their partisanships but on what the law meant at the time of its composition. The abortion ruling did not outlaw terminating a pregnancy, as anti-abortion-rights activists would want, but merely returned the decision to the political process. The court’s decision on guns made extensive use of history to understand the nature of that right in relation to current law. Finally, the court’s limiting of the administrative state defended the principles of separation of powers and consent of the governed that are essential to our constitutional framework.

Critics of the current Supreme Court should be more honest in their attacks. They object to how certain justices were nominated. They disagree strongly with the court’s recent decisions. But, even if true, neither makes the current court illegitimate. They’d be better served to focus their arguments on the majority’s decisions and reasonings.

Given the rightness and strength of both, critics are in for an uphill battle.

Adam Carrington wrote this column for the Chicago Tribune.

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Trudy Rubin: Putin is on the rocks. Ukraine is surging. If U.S. support stays strong, Kyiv can win

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Trudy Rubin: Putin Is On The Rocks. Ukraine Is Surging. If U.s. Support Stays Strong, Kyiv Can Win
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Last week was a turning point in Russia’s war on Ukraine. Kyiv’s astonishing gains will continue, and it is possible to envision a Ukrainian victory, so long as its Western supporters don’t lose their nerve.

After staging sham referendums at gunpoint in four occupied Ukrainian regions, Vladimir Putin announced Friday that residents had “chosen” to rejoin their “historic (Russian) motherland.” At a televised pop concert Friday in Red Square, he celebrated the forced annexation and led the chant of “Russia, Russia,” shouting exuberantly, “Welcome home!”

The very next day, Saturday, Ukrainian forces made stunning advances in the east and south, taking back land within the “annexed provinces” and breaking through Russian lines as they had in Kharkiv province earlier in September. Suddenly, over the weekend, the tightly controlled Russian airwaves that only broadcast Russian “victories” featured talk show debates over how to stem Russian losses.

Yet once again, Putin is hinting he might use nukes if desperate. Some of his acolytes are calling on him to use “tactical nuclear weapons.”

So where does Putin’s war go from here? Here are a few of the key questions and how I size up where things stand.


Are Ukrainians winning?

They are demonstrating that they can win — if Western support remains strong and new weapons arrive in time.

Putin’s imperialist call to restore the “unity” of “great historic Russia” revealed a total misunderstanding of the Ukrainian people. He conveniently ignored the fact that, in 1991, in a genuine referendum, every region of Ukraine voted overwhelmingly for independence from the Soviet Union (the four Putin annexed voted in 1991 by margins of 90%, 90%, 83% and 83%). Even Crimea voted 54% to join an independent Ukraine.

So Ukrainians rightly believe they are waging an existential battle for their freedom, while many Russian conscripts are unsure why they are fighting. As Secretary of State Antony Blinken put it succinctly, “If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends.”


Is Russia losing?

Russian troops are demoralized. The Russian military system has become so disorganized that new troops are told to bring their own sleeping bags and food, and sent in with little or no training. Resistance is growing in Russia to Putin’s new, unjust mobilization of at least 300,000 new forces, from which hundreds of thousands are fleeing abroad.

New precise Western long-range multiple rocket systems with a range of 50 miles, especially the U.S.-built weapons known as HIMARS, have enabled Ukraine to disrupt Russian supply lines and command centers behind the front lines. The U.S. just announced it will send four more HIMARS to Ukraine; it should also expedite the arrival of long-range munitions for the launchers. Sending as much vital weaponry as possible before winter, and before the arrival of newly mobilized Russians, is key.

However, Russia still holds more than 15% of Ukrainian land, and its missiles and rockets are destroying civilian infrastructure across the country. “They are killing ordinary families and children every night in our cities,” I was told on WhatsApp by former parliament member Yehor Soboliev, who volunteered for military service. “We will win in any case, but we will meet many more deaths,” he said.

Kyiv military sources tell me their greatest need right now is for air-defense systems to protect their cities, and for tanks (where are those Leopard tanks, Germany?) to roll back fortified Russian positions as Ukrainian troops move forward on the flat steppe lands of the east and the south.


Would Putin use tactical nukes?

I am still skeptical that this will happen.

In military terms, it makes no sense. These weapons, with a much smaller payload than the Hiroshima bomb, are meant for the battlefield. But as the Institute for the Study of War, one of the best think tanks closely following the fighting, puts it: “The Russian military in its current state is almost certainly unable to operate on a nuclear battlefield even though it has the necessary equipment. Exhausted contract soldiers, hastily mobilized reservists, conscripts and mercenaries … could not function in a nuclear environment. Any areas affected by Russian tactical nuclear weapons would thus be impassable for the Russians, likely precluding Russian advances.”

Moreover, the wind could blow radiation back onto Russian troops or even inside Russia. And if a tactical nuclear weapon were dropped on a city, killing, say, 5,000 to 10,000 civilians, Russia would become a global outlaw, even to India and China. And the Ukrainians would keep fighting.

That said, the U.S. and its allies must leave Putin in no doubt that there would be “catastrophic consequences for Russia” — as national security adviser Jake Sullivan put it on ABC News — if Russia breaks the post-World War II taboo against nuclear weapons, plunging the world into a new nuclear era. That doesn’t necessarily mean a nuclear response, but it should mean military strikes by NATO members on Russian bases inside Ukraine, Russian ships in the Black Sea, and possibly on Russian bases in the homeland. It should also finally trigger a NATO invitation to Ukraine.

“Putin has to know it would be a suicide weapon for them,” I was told by H.R. McMaster, a former national security adviser in the Trump administration. Yes, indeed.


Will Europe hold strong in support of Ukraine?

In a historic first joint visit to Pennsylvania Monday, a large group of ambassadors from European Union countries insisted that Europe would hold firm in support for Ukraine, despite the pain of skyrocketing gas prices, and despite far-right gains in Swedish and Italian elections. Speaking to the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, Stavros Lambrinidis, the EU ambassador to the United States, said: “Putin cannot win this. It is existential to all of us. This is not a war against Russia. It is a battle for values. You don’t invade to wipe countries off the map.”

Ukrainian courage and strategic skills, combined with Western intelligence-sharing, have opened the way for a Ukrainian victory before winter. All now depends on whether Western allies have the guts to match their Ukrainian compatriots with vital weapons and a united front against Putin. Kyiv is fighting not just for Ukraine’s freedom, but to prevent Putin from threatening Europe and, inevitably, the United States.

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