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Good evening. It's Monday, August 21. Welcome to a new episode of System Update, our live nightly show that airs every Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern exclusively here on Rumble, the free speech alternative to YouTube.
Tonight: there is no question that the war in Ukraine has radically changed. Even Western media outlets that have been steadfastly cheerleading for this war – and, indeed, even Ukrainians themselves – are now admitting what battlefield realities dispositively prove. The much-vaunted Ukrainian counter-offensive – the imminent dramatic event we were assured for months would be transformative in finally giving Ukraine the upper hand and dislodging entrenched Russian positions inside Ukraine: a claim that doubled as a propaganda tool to assuage a growingly restless Western population about their endless support for this war – is now, no matter how you slice it, a failure.
After months of multi-pronged attacks, Ukraine's gains are so minimal and trivial as to be barely worth noting. Russia continues to occupy a very significant chunk of both Eastern and southern Ukraine, along with Crimea which they have held since 2014. Even Western intelligence reports acknowledge that the Russians' defensive positions are more fortified and entrenched than any seen in decades. The U.S. has already depleted its own stockpiles of artillery and other vital weapons and simply does not have to give Ukraine what they need to have any hope of changing this situation in anything resembling the near- or the short-term future.
What makes all of this vastly worse is that the cost to Ukrainians in their lives is staggeringly high. Consider just this one harrowing data point: more Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the first 18 months of this war than the number of American soldiers killed during the decade-plus war in Vietnam. The Ukrainian men who were eager to fight and who volunteered to do so have long ago been used up – killed, maimed, or exhausted. Zelensky's only option for continuing combat is to increase domestic repression, impose greater and greater punishment for desertion, and use harsher and harsher means to force those unwilling to fight to do so against their will. In so many ways, this conflict resembles some of the worst horrors of World War I, including the need to put unwilling men who do not want to fight the deeply grim choice of either offering themselves up as cannon fodder or facing unimaginably harsh punishments by a government completely unconstrained by basic considerations of human rights or legal process, operating under full-scale martial law.
At this point, debates over who is to blame for this war barely matter. All that does matter is the question of how this will end, and who will end it. It is simply becoming unsustainable – politically, economically, and morally – to justify having Western nations pour their resources into fueling and continuing this war that Ukraine has less and less chance of winning. At the start of the war, many who claim that the real goal of the US was not to save Ukraine and Ukrainians but rather to destroy them – at the altar of their geostrategic goal of weakening Russia – were accused of being callous and conspiratorial. Now, there is little reasonable space to contest that they were right all along.
Joe Biden just asked for another $25 billion to keep this war going – as he offered $700 checks per household to the victims of the Maui fire and as profits for the European arms industry reach such record heights that they do not even bother to conceal their glee. Even if you were someone who supported the US role in Ukraine back in February of 2022 with the best of intentions – namely, you wanted to help a country seeing to avoid Russian domination – the failed nature of this mission has to compel a re-evaluation of perspective and policy. The last thing this war is doing is protecting Ukraine and Ukrainians. It is destroying both of those while imposing suffering among everyone in the U.S. and Western countries other than a tiny sliver of arms dealers and intelligence agencies. In other words, the war in Ukraine is following exactly the same pattern as every other U.S. war fought over the last 50 years.
Then: polling data now leaves no doubt - none – that every time Donald Trump is freshly indicted, his polling lead among Republican voters both increases and solidifies. We'll examine exactly why it is that a presidential candidate being indicted by the Justice Department and district attorneys around the country is actually helping his standing with Republican voters.
And then, finally: this week we will be in Milwaukee to cover the Trump-free GOP presidential debate live. We will have coverage both before and after the debate starts, as well as - we hope - interviews with candidates and others who are there.
Our primary reason for going is that - while Fox is hosting the debate and has exclusive rights to broadcast it on TV – this is the first time that Rumble has received the exclusive rights to broadcast and stream the debate live online. We regard this as a watershed moment for both independent journalism and a free internet: this was a rejection by the Republican Party of Big Tech platforms, motivated in part by the fact that GOP voters dislike and distrust Big Tech, but still, something that could only have happened if independent media in general and Rumble, in particular, were growing with enough speed and developing enough of a reach to a mass audience that the GOP could afford to give Rumble exclusive rights. That is exactly what is happening, and we will spend a little time before heading to the airport tonight to fly to Milwaukee discussing the significance of this moment.
As a programming note, as you know, we are encouraging our viewers to download the Rumble app, which works on your iPhone and smartphone in particular, among other things, the app can notify you the minute we go live on the air. And especially in weeks like this, when our schedule might be different because we may be going live on the air at unpredictable times, you won't have to wait around or figure it out. You'll be notified right to your phone or email exactly when we start airing online. It will also help the platform and we encourage you to encourage others to follow other Rumble programs as well.
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For now, welcome to a new episode of System Update, starting right now.