Immigration. The Economic and the Cultural

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Tough subject.
We are a nation of immigrants and should remain so, but there’s a lot of anger stirring on the subject.
Are we overpopulated? No.
Is there room for more people? Absolutely.
Who wants to keep the door open to new entrants? Business.
Who doesn’t want to? Those who perceive themselves as being left behind, feeling the newcomers are taking something from them, something they deserve because they were here before.
Business is clear in their position. Jobs are going unfilled. New talent is needed, from manual skills, caregivers, farm labor to physicists, engineers, scientists, technologists, mathematicians. Business wants them all, without unnecessary delays.
Their argument – we will move forward faster, create more wealth, stay ahead in the ruthless competition for advantage. They have a point.
The other side, the side who feels they’re being left behind – the cultural side – also has a point.
‘Why are we still behind, why are we not catching up?’
Some of the left behind may have the capacity to move up while others may not. Or they may not have the motivation. But did they have the opportunities? If they haven’t, why not?
If we’re going to start solving the immigration problem, we must listen to their side too.
Theirs is a more complex side than that of business because it exposes deep weaknesses in our system of government.
If in a given town, a business chooses to pull up and move elsewhere, that is their choice. Some of their workers will go with them but some won’t. Some will say, ‘Okay, that industry was the only game in town, so now I have to get going and move to another town, so I can make a living and feed my family. Others may not have such initiative or have yet to find it.
Sound government has a responsibility to the left behind. A responsibility to provide the necessary training for them to enlarge their capacities to work in a changing environment. That task must be done on such scale that it includes most of the affected.
When that is done then there will be less room for resentment.
I was in Germany in September of 2021, and in one of the cab drives I took I spoke to the driver. He was an immigrant from East Asia. ‘How was he adapting to life in Germany?’ I asked.
He loved it. He liked his cab driving because he could pick the hours he worked. His children were going to school. Life was good. Then there was this cousin of his, who after being laid off from his previous job during the pandemic, found out that the government was offering training programs in IT. The cousin jumped at the opportunity. A year later or so the man was making nearly 4 times the salary he had been earning before.
Not all the left behind will have the spunk the cousin had, but many will. If the opportunities are offered.
But to not have opportunities for advancement while seeing that our borders are overwhelmed and in perpetual chaos, is to inflame whatever resentments exist.
Thus the importance of dealing squarely with the immigration issue.
The perception of an orderly transition to coming into this country must be restored.
Right now the impression is that cheating is rampant. People overstay their visas. Others are allowed to stay in the country while their cases are processed but then they don’t show up for their hearings. Meanwhile, they use government services that the left behind finds intolerable.
‘Why not us?’ they ask.
Some politicians have made careers exploiting the resentments of the left behind without offering solutions. But demonizing the immigrant is not acceptable.
Building a wall is not either. Separating parents from children abhorrent.
Reason and compassion must prevail.
So we have to act. Otherwise the perception of lawlessness at our borders undermines our trust in government.
The task of solving this problem is urgent.
It will require compromises and bipartisan support but it should not be delayed.
Otherwise the problem will fester and deepen divisions we cannot afford.
The more we convey to the world our capacity to solve problems, the more we can inspire others to do the same and deter our enemies from challenging us.
Yesterday I listened to a 50 minute taped presentation sponsored by the US Chamber of commerce. It was held last year, during the pandemic.
Two US representatives, one democratic, the other republican, spoke on their views. They both agreed on the importance of tackling the problem. I heard them say that the last change to the law occurred in 1986, while Reagan was president.
I heard about legalizing those who’ve been here for years without papers yet making a contribution, all of which is important. Heard also of the importance of not demonizing the immigrant. But didn’t hear a single word about acknowledging and addressing the mounting resentment of the left behind or how to channel it.
It must be done.
It’s a cultural issue.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

North Korea Shoots a Missile over Japan

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Kim Jong Un gets a call from Xi Jinping early in the morning.

Xi – Good morning.
Kim – You’re calling about the missile I shot over Japan.
Xi – Yes.
Kim – It went very well.
Xi – I’m not calling to congratulate you.
Kim – I see.
Xi – You’re a fool.

Pause

Xi – Suppose the missile had been loaded…
Kim – It was not.
Xi – Suppose it had been… and it malfunctioned, which we all know can happen… then it would’ve fallen on Japan. Then what?
Kim – It wouldn’t have happened.
Xi – Missiles malfunction… yours are no different. Please answer my question.

Pause

Xi – Were you there to inspect the missile before it was launched?
Kim – No.
Xi – Then any nuthead could’ve loaded it with an explosive… without you knowing.
Kim – We have strict security protocols…
Xi – Yes, and people willing to circumvent them.
Kim – No. They are fail proof.
Xi – When it comes to humans, there’s nothing fail proof.
Kim – Look, I had to do it.
Xi – Why?
Kim – The world forgets me unless I fire some missiles. Otherwise it’s you, and Putin and Modi and Biden, the English and the European Union getting all the attention.
And now Iran, with all the women protesting. You think they’ll be able to push out the ayatollahs?
Xi – I’m watching carefully. But let’s not get off track. Aside from your bombs and missiles, why are you not getting any attention?
Kim – Because we don’t produce much?
Xi – That’s right. I’m your main trading partner but if you ceased to exist, if you went up in a cloud of smoke, I could get everything I’m getting from you elsewhere.

Pause.

Xi – And it doesn’t have to be that way, does it?
Kim – I’m following a policy of Self Reliance, just like you are.
Xi – Yes, but we first opened up to the West so we could learn from them and then build on that.
They came, showed us what they have, we paid attention, learned, copied and became creative enough that we’re seen as the ‘factory of the world’.
Kim – But you had the huge market to entice the West, so their eyes widened with the expectation of riches… we don’t have that size market.
Xi – Look at Vietnam, they’re attracting more and more investors who are worried I’m getting government more involved in how Chinese businesses are run.
Kim – Vietnam is four times as large as we are…
Xi – That’s not it. You’re about the size of Taiwan and look at where they are.
Kim – I know what you’re saying… become more productive… open up to world markets… learn from them. Copy, steal, just like you did… and then create.
Xi – Yes.
Kim – But I’m afraid I’ll lose power.
Xi – The Communist party still rules Vietnam, and yet they’ve opened up and now they are richer and better educated. If your people are important to you, take some chances. Look, on October 16th, just 11 days from now, the 20th National congress of the communist party will convene. I am expected to be unanimously reelected for a 3rd term. And I forbid freedom of speech and have everyone on surveillance. Still, somehow, the people… most of them, are happy. So it can be done.
Kim – Congratulations.
Xi – Thank you. My point is you need to take chances.
Kim – The United Nations and America have put all these sanctions on me… because they don’t want me to have nuclear weapons…
Xi – They don’t trust you… but if you stopped the bomb building and let them in so they could make a ton of money, then, when the time came, you could say, ‘I’d like to get back to building bombs’.
Kim – That’s what you did.
Xi – We did our first nuclear test in 1964, well before the West came along. But they didn’t complain when we kept building them, after they came in. They were making a ton of money. Of course, we added that we needed to defend against Russia. Just in case. But times have changed.
Kim – Clever.
Xi – It’s politics. The key is to let the West make money. I think Putin failed on that. With the making of money comes the transfer of knowledge and other skills. Putin has the art of suppressing freedom, he’s got that down, but if he had let more western companies go into Russia and make lots of money, instead of favoring his inside group, then he wouldn’t have felt threatened. He would’ve stayed in power for ever.
Kim – You don’t think he will?
Xi – He’s on his way out. I hope it’s not violent.
I think you need to take the initiative and say to the world, ‘I’m putting all nuclear weapons development on hold. I will not do any more tests and will let UN inspectors come by and check. Please lift the sanctions.’ See what they say.
Kim – I would still forbid freedom of speech and keep high surveillance of the people.
Xi – Yes. You could say, ‘I’m trying the Chinese model’.

Kim laughs.

Kim – What do you think of Ukraine?
Xi – I’m worried about them. They’re making people think of liberty in a whole new way. Which is why I’m against them.
Kim – You think they’ve had an effect on the women in Iran?
Xi – Definitely. It doesn’t help that the ayatollahs are selling drones to Russia to kill more Ukrainians.
Kim – You think the Iran Nuclear deal will be revived?
Xi – The West would be fools if they did.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

This piece was edited on 10/6/22, to include the time when China first tested a nuclear weapon.

Hijabs and Fertility

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On September 16th, Mahsa Amini, a 22 y/o woman of Kurdish origin, was detained in Tehran by the Morality Police, an outfit dedicated to enforcing strict adherence to the religious mandate of wearing head scarves and robes. She was visiting the city with her family. She died later that day while in custody. Physical abuse while in detention is suspected.
Long repressed resentment has led to protests and many dead across Iran.
Women have seized the moment to go on the offensive and reject the religious strictures aimed at suppressing their femininity. They have taken to publicly burning their hijabs or head scarves. Many have been incarcerated.
Yesterday, a NYT article reported that Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a speech at a police academy graduation, blamed foreign interference for the disturbances. He cited the US and Israel, along with paid Iranian traitors as the main culprits. Videos on Twitter show scenes of people shot and of protesters at Sharif university, a technology center in Tehran.
But he never mentioned the effect the battle for freedom in Ukraine is having on Iranian women. Never mentioned the drones that Iran is selling Russia so they can more effectively kill Ukrainians.
Iranian women, long fed up with the regime’s repression, want freedom too.
They want their freedom to be women. Why should the gifts that nature gave them be covered up?
Why? To suppress their sexuality? Yes. To hide their looks and the power they have over men? Yes.
Women have reason to be angry that they are denied the option of showing their bodies. Apparently, the regime believes that would be too unsettling for Iranian men.
Allowing women to show their bodies is seen as too disruptive by the theocracy in power.
What will they want next? Political power? NO!
They must be kept in their places, under the control of men. Doing what religion says they ought to do. Bear children and be quiet.
And in a city square somewhere in Iran, I can hear the cry of a proud Iranian woman addressing a crowd of supporters, both women and men, as a bonfire sparkles and crackles before her.
‘It is up to us to change the rules that govern us, up to us women, because we are the most oppressed.’
She has her hijab in one hand as she steps forward and throws it into the bonfire.
Cheers rise from the audience. Some of the women in the audience step up to the bonfire and toss their hijabs into it also.
‘This fight is just starting… so what can we do to make our statement and improve our condition?’ continues the speaker.
And all the women raise their fists and start chanting, ‘Free Iranian women!’
And the speaker says, ‘We need to do something radical to gain our freedom… so let us all stop having sex!’
People in the audience laugh, at first incredulous, asking themselves, is she serious?
‘Yes’, resumes the speaker, ‘Let us stop having sex, even if you’re married. Stop. In the name of freedom. Stop. All women should say, we will not have sex and will not bear children until we are free to be who we are!’
‘Woman power!’ resume the chant from the audience, now more vigorous.
Some of the men in attendance laugh at first, but then slowly start joining in.
‘It has come to that point…’ restarts the speaker, ‘that we have to deny our nation a new generation… until such time as all of us women are granted our freedom.
To control us is unacceptable. The profound disregard for us have shown the ayatollahs to be inept. They should go back to their temples, get on their knees and ask god where was it that they went wrong.
So as difficult as it may seem, I ask that all Iranian women choose chastity… and deny our nation the option of fertility… for it is not a given.
For a woman to be fertile she must be respected… and we are not respected in our land.’
‘Woman power!’ resumes the chant from the audience. ‘Woman power!’
‘Long live Iran!’ cries the speaker, ‘and long live Ukraine… blessed nation and inspirer of people all over the world.’
Applause.
Then a gun shot rings in the night.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Herschel Walker Runs for Senator

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The man who shined as an athlete – a football player – during the 1980s, is now running for Senator of the State of Georgia at the national level. He is running against the incumbent, Raphael Warnock, a pastor at the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King used to preach.
They are alike in that both are African Americans.
But they are very different in their political substance.
Blacks are a third of the state’s population, so it will be up to the White vote to make the choice. It is a very important choice for Georgians to make.
Walker has not been active in politics during his life. Warnock is all about politics and helping push for African Americans to step out and assert themselves in the national scene.
Walker did not come up with the idea of becoming a Senator himself. It was Trump who did. Trump who persuaded him to – all of a sudden – become political and cast a vote in crucial matters for our nation.
The problem is that it won’t be Walker making the choices, but Trump.
If Herschel Walker had distinguished himself in another field, after his stellar run as a football player, then he might be a viable candidate. But he has not.
Why Georgians would even consider him as a candidate is not a good sign. The good news is that it is only some Georgians who are thinking that way.
From what I hear, Walker is buying completely into Trump’s message.
Walker could argue, ‘wait, look at the current senate, look at all those educated white men with long political careers who cast their votes based on what instructions they get from Mar-A-Lago, so what’s wrong with taking instructions?’
What’s wrong is that they are puppets.
Herschel Walker needs to ask himself if he wants to join in with that or be his own man.
The glory days of the 1980s, carrying the football down the field to the goal line, will forever be present in the minds of Americans. Thank you for that. But politics is a whole different game.
In an article that appeared in the NY Times on 10/2/22, Walker was quoted as saying to a mostly white audience in his hometown of Wrightsville this last August, ‘don’t let anyone tell you that you’re racist.’ But how do you know that?
The Ku Klux Klan had a long history in Georgia. The nation’s collective efforts to stamp them out has taken years and the lives of many.
To run for a senate seat in Washington DC from a state with such history demands a thorough knowledge of the battles your state has fought. You do not have that knowledge and have shown no inclination to acquire it.
It is only now, that Trump has urged you to run, that you have felt the enthusiasm for the job.
You might see it as one more chance to make a run with the football all the way to the goal line.
But that is not what politics is.
A critical part of becoming well integrated human beings is to know who we are, to know our limits. Your agreeing to be thrust into this race by Donald Trump does not speak well for you.
He wants to use you for his ends.
I don’t think you would win anyway, but should you do so, you would be taking over for Mr Warnock, a man with a long history of committing to empowering African Americans. And you would be doing your brothers and sisters a profound disservice.
Football was your field of endeavor. You worked hard and you shined. Politics is a whole different thing. Like in anything else, you have to work hard to stand out. Raphael Warnock has done that. You have not.
Please do not be a puppet to Donald Trump.
Do not do that to yourself.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Putin on the Progress of the War

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He is in one of his vacation homes, a hilly, secluded area heavily guarded by a top security team.
He strolls in the open field behind it accompanied by his faithful dog. Putin carries a short stick in his hands.
In the near distance, a small lake glistens invitingly. It’s early morning.
Much has been happening in the battlefields of Ukraine and he needed to step back.
They walk by a small stable with three horses that lies to their left.
A short distance past they reach the lake. He sits on a rock, facing the water, and looks off pensively into the distance. It’s a bit cold and windy and he’s wearing a heavy jacket. The dog has a thick fur coat.

Putin – It’s not going well. I underestimated the West. Overestimated the resolve of my forces.
But it’s not over.

The dog lies down on the ground.

Putin – I’ve been surprised by the reaction to my calling up the reservists. People leaving Russia every way they can. But I’m putting a stop to it. Three hundred thousand men should help in the short run. I worry, though, that many will die, that they won’t be a match for the battle-hardened Ukrainians, which is why I’ve started to talk about using nuclear weapons.
It unnerves the West.
Would I use them? Not if Russia’s territorial integrity is not breached. I’m not including occupied Ukrainian land, even from 2014 on.
I still have the support of my people, but I won’t deceive myself about a growing resistance. Like the car explosion that blew up Aleksandr Dugin’s daughter… and now the bombing of the Nordstream pipeline. We put a lot of money into it. Those bombs were set off by insiders who want me out. But we’re investigating and we’ll get them.
I need time. I am hoping the results of the mid term elections in America will help. If enough supporters of Trump get in, then the aid Congress has authorized to help Ukraine could be blocked. And Biden’s allies in Europe will complain. I’m not sure Biden can keep them together.

The dog whimpers and Putin pats him.

Putin – Winter is almost here, the rains are coming and that’ll slow things on the battlefield, which buys me time.
The assault on the Capitol on January 6th (2021) was my signal to invade. I’d been thinking about it all along but that clinched it. I thought, look how weak they are… how divided. I already knew how decadent they are… how they shoot each other all the time… how they rip each other apart over abortion and immigration… how so many of their people die from drug overdoses… and they pretend to be the leader of the world. They love to glorify themselves, ‘exceptionalism’ they call it. Ha!
And yet… they managed to surprise me… managed to pull themselves together when I threatened to invade Ukraine, a far away land. Now, that is exceptional.
I never imagined that someone, who I thought was a second rate politician who couldn’t stop talking, had the nerve to pull Europe together. I should’ve taken the hint when he chose to pull out of Afghanistan against fierce criticism. I missed that.
But I’m still hopeful that I can beat back Ukraine. Bomb all their energy producing facilities… leave them without any electricity… without any potable water… destroy all their dams… their hospitals… everything… bomb and bomb… until they get on their knees and beg to surrender.

The dog whimpers again, looks up at Putin, who rubs his head.

Putin – I need Republicans to win back both houses… not just any Republicans but those who take instructions from Mar-A-Lago. That’s what will make a difference in supporting Ukraine. They’ll protest that Ukraine is too far away and they need those funds to battle immigration… to help their own… and get back to finishing the wall facing Mexico. Those are my allies in America, the Right. The farther right the better. And I will have my cyber security experts do everything possible to inflame the immigration issue… make clear how those devils are harming America, how it’s the immigrants who are responsible for the country’s decadence. Ha! If they only could get rid of them they would be wholesome again. And inflation, that too, even though theirs is lower than England’s and Europe’s, that could be worked up, blame it on the incompetence of a senile president who’s leading them to destruction.
If I can get congress to reduce their support of Ukraine, that will be the signal for Europe to back off and push Ukraine to negotiate instead. And we’ll get Erdogan from Turkey to moderate the talks.

Thinking aloud has made him feel better.

Putin – Yes, there’s hope. I won’t be defeated. I mustn’t forget that I have friends in the West, people who like autocrats… who are tired of democracy and its constant fights… people who prefer to have permanence… prefer to have one president who can stay in power until he dies… like I’d like to… and like Xi Jinping would like to… and like Modi in India would like to, also. It simplifies our existence. Permanence, stability, they are beautiful.
As far as the nuclear weapons is concerned… if you don’t violate my territorial integrity, I’ll never fire them. They have weapons too… and once the firing starts, anything could go wrong… and my dear Russia could be burned to a crisp. Me included.

His dog stands.

Putin – Washington, you want some exercise?

The dog licks his hand. Putin stands and throws the stick far into the lake.

Putin – Go get it! Go!

And the dog runs off, jumping into the cold waters and paddling away in search of the stick.

Putin – As to Biden, I wish I’d had the chance to shine like he has. What a moment he’s living. To have pulled together Europe against the invasion. Now that’s glorious. But in a sign of their growing decadence, Americans are not giving him credit. They can’t see it. Instead, they want to defeat him in the mid term elections on account of inflation… and immigration.
On that they’re showing little imagination… showing their decadence… which is great for me.

And he shouts out to his dog, ‘Go Washington, go!’

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Hate Russia?

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Two old friends, Pete and Sandy, get together for breakfast at a diner in Greenville, South Carolina.

Pete – Heard about the two doctors who got charged with conspiracy?
Sandy – No, I didn’t.
Pete – Read about it yesterday. They were working at a military base, I think in Virginia, and they contacted the Russian embassy offering to help.
Sandy – Oops.
Pete – Well, our intelligence services found out and had an undercover agent interview them. One of them was willing to provide medical records of soldiers to Russia to see if they could use them.
Sandy – That would’ve been the start…
Pete – It came out that they were disturbed by the hatred for Russia here in the US.
Sandy – How old are they?
Pete – Late thirties.
Sandy – Amazing. Do you hate Russia?
Pete – I don’t. I’m angry at them. Angry that they let themselves be bamboozled by Putin.
Sandy – It goes back to the implosion of the Soviet Union during Gorbachev… and their feeling diminished in the world stage as a result. Putin slowly worked up that sentiment… stoking hopes that one day they’d get it all back.
Pete – But they’d have to surrender their freedom.
Sandy – Something similar is happening in China today. Surrender your freedom today and one day – sometime in the future – we’ll be on top of the world.
Pete – But you won’t get your freedom back.

They laugh.

Sandy – Once given, it’s gone. You have to fight for it to get it back.
Like you, I am angry at Russians… how the majority has gone along with the massacring of Ukrainians. But they are waking up. The massive exodus of people wanting to avoid the draft has stung Putin. Yet he still has his supporters.
Pete – When will they get angry enough to remove Putin is the question, because they’re sure taking their sweet time.
Sandy – It’s going to take a while because they’ve identified with him… letting him sink his claws into them, as they yearned to be great again… even though other nations were passing them by in terms of economic growth. The US, China, Japan, Germany, India, the UK, France, Brazil, Italy and Canada, all have greater GDPs than they do. And it has to hurt because they know they have the human capital to shine, in addition to an abundance of natural resources. But they couldn’t break away from the spell Putin had cast over them. ‘We will be great again,’ kept chanting the sorcerer in the Kremlin, just stick with me. And most Russians went along.
Pete – ‘We will be great gain.’ Maybe that’s where our own sorcerer got that from.
Sandy – Probably. He loves Putin.
Pete – I hope our people get that.
Sandy – I’m an optimist, I think they have.
Pete – I’m not so sure. With what we saw on January 6th (2021), a clear attempt of Trump’s to install himself for a second term, we should have all stood up as one person, livid with rage at the blatant abuse of power. But that didn’t happen. Instead, there was significant opposition to the creating of the congressional committee investigating the incident, and there are many, many Republicans still in awe of the man. So something is very wrong in America.
Sandy – Putin saw that and chose to invade.
Pete – It wasn’t Biden pulling out of Afghanistan which gave him the impetus, it was Trump’s behavior and the free pass he got from a large number of Americans.
Sandy – You’re angry, Pete.
Pete – I am. And in spite of the sad spectacle of Republicans in both houses waiting for instructions from the sorcerer in Mar-a-Lago, there’s the possibility Republicans may hold both houses after the midterm elections. I can’t believe it. While we pour money to support Ukrainians fighting for their freedom, many here at home have tried to look the other way when one of our own has tried to negate the results of fair elections.
Sandy – The dissonance is alarming.
Pete – Yet you still think the majority is getting it?
Sandy – I do.
Pete – Immigration is an issue that needs to be fixed. Both sides have to sit down and come to an agreement. But compared to Trump’s attempt to usurp power on January 6th, immigration is child’s play.
Sandy – Maybe our differences will have to become even sharper before we sit at the table to try and build bridges.
Pete – They’re sharp enough.
Sandy – Inflation was expected in the wake of all the financial support Americans got for covid, but now it’s being held against Biden. The big picture is not seen.
Pete – If Biden wants to help democrats win in the mid terms he needs to campaign against Trump, how the man is a Putin admirer, and then give himself due credit for his tremendous role in forging an alliance with European nations to push back Putin. He has to do that. That issue is his. Trump could never have done what Biden has.
Sandy – We have to educate the electorate…
Pete – Good luck on that.
Sandy – So, do we hate Russia?
Pete – Of course not… but courage has been in short supply in their land… so they have to get it back. Meanwhile, we have to be mindful that we don’t lose ours.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Dear Russian Military

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The time is now.
Now that Putin is scared of Ukraine’s mounting offensive and growing desperate that the exodus of Russians cries out loudly, ‘we don’t trust you, you’re destroying our nation, do not sacrifice our lives for your lies.’
If he had been sleeping well at night, that has changed.
That cry is haunting him and has opened a precious opportunity for you to act.
Russia has been underperforming as a nation for a long time. You know that.
And you can make a difference.
The world knows of Russia’s economic, intellectual and artistic capacities but yet the nation remains on the margins. There are various reasons for it but lack of sound leadership has been a key factor. It takes a little luck for nations to have good leaders. You have not had such luck.
After being dominated by the czars, the communists took over.
There was a very brief period in the late 1980s until 1991 when Gorbachev brightened your heavens, but then his star dimmed. Boris Yeltsin, who had the distinction of leading the protests that stopped the coup against Gorbachev, went on to make the horrible mistake of appointing Putin as prime minister in 1999.
But opportunities return. There is today a great opening for a courageous Russian military officer to lead the effort to depose Putin.
Your nation cannot and must not allow itself to be degraded the way Putin does.
Think of why you joined the military. If you joined to get a pension then stop reading this and go back to your crossword puzzle. But if you joined because you wanted to do something for your country then this is for you.
To seize the opportunity that is now before you, a great deal of courage is needed. It will not be easy. You will be risking your life and will need fellow officers to work in concert with you.
But the rewards will be enormous, for you will change the world.
You will have a chance to free millions of people, to change the present geopolitical balance and to remind the oppressed everywhere, that men and women of courage are here today and willing to step up in the hour of need.
Putin must be stopped. The West has done an excellent job forming a united front and supporting Ukraine. But it is not enough. We need you now.
Dear Russian military, we know you exist. There was the bombing death of a spokesperson for Russia’s Far Right a few weeks ago and just this last Monday, 9/26, the Nordstream pipeline was damaged by explosions that created 4 gas leaks. Maybe it came from you or maybe it didn’t, but both actions required very specific information.
I do not advocate violence against anyone, not even against Putin, for there are other ways that can be used to neutralize him.
But for you to remain passive in the face of the atrocities committed in the name of Russia, does not make any sense. It makes you a de facto accomplice. I am sure that was not why you joined the military.
Mikhail Gorbachev’s actions had a resoundingly positive worldwide impact. Germany is united today because of him. And though he subsequently ran into much resistance at home, I don’t think he should have chosen to voluntarily cede power to Yeltsin in 1991.
Such decisions can have enormous consequences.
And yet, the spirit of Gorbachev lives on. The light that he shone on the world can still be seen and is there to guide Russia and its courageous soldiers in the effort to remove Putin.
Open your hearts and minds and step up.
Now is the time to join with Ukraine in the quest for freedom.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Mr Scholz. The Leopard Tanks

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This is a critical moment in the war. The tanks can make a difference.
Ukrainians are gaining ground in some areas but meeting fierce resistance in the south where Russians have had time to dig in and fortify their positions.
President Zelensky said the other day that approximately 50 of his soldiers are dying daily.
You stated recently that leadership is not about giving people what they ask for.
Understood. But it’s not just anyone asking for assistance with weapons.
It is Ukraine. A heroic country fighting for its life.
You speak of needing to be prepared for an attack on your nation.
Of course, so by no means deplete your stock of armament, but you are part of NATO, and at this unique historical moment, a bond has been created between Western nations that will be honored in case of such an attack.
The US Congress just approved a large amount of additional aid for Ukraine.
We too, in America, have to contend with depleting stocks, so some of the approved funds are going for just that.
I am glad that you approved an increase in your nation’s defense budget. This is the time to use those funds.
There is the growing awareness in Russian citizens that this is not a war for them to lose their lives over. The Motherland is not being threatened. It’s all about Putin’s inflated sense of himself. His dreams of grandeur. And many Russians are seeing it for what it is so they are desperately trying to flee. Those who acted quickly managed to get out. Those who vacillated may have a harder time leaving since the military has now sent personnel to border points to hand out draft notices and block their exit.
How do you transform a man or woman wanting to leave their country to escape the draft into a willing soldier? You can’t.
Somehow, somewhere, people’s lack of motivation will show. And it will translate into pain and suffering.
Putin is carrying on believing he can keep bending his people’s will. But resentment is building and it will soon show up in other places.
His desperate effort to legislate that conquered territories become a legitimate part of Russia is a sham.
Ukraine will not accept it and will fight to recapture all of the land Russia has seized, now and in recent years. It is their land. And with the support of the west and their enormous courage, they are on the verge of accomplishing their dream.
Their fight against Putin is a fight against totalitarianism. A fight with which all of us identify.
Your tanks will make a difference.
I see fear in Putin. I see growing desperation. The war has come to Russians’ homes, to their children. He has given a pay incentive of an additional $800 dollars plus a month to soldiers. Yet not a single explanation of why he assigns such a dismal value to their lives.
The hypocrisy, the sadism, the brutality keep mounting.
But Putin is no madman.
He will count the loss of lives methodically, coldly, to arrange for his next move. ’50 Ukrainians dead today, 90 yesterday, hmm, what happened?’
It is unbelievable the scale of atrocities committed in defense of lies.
And so, as Ukraine presses on, the West must too.
We trust and hope that Ukraine will become a bastion of democracy and an inspiration to all nations on earth. It will be up to them to make that a reality. And so far, they’re saying, ‘Yes, we will’ and backing it with their lives.
Our reward is not what they accomplish, but the sense that in an hour of need we lent a hand. We gave our best. We risked ourselves.
Please be generous Mr Scholz. Send in the tanks.
Putin must be confronted, no matter what the size of his threats.
A nation is bleeding for the sake of liberty.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Vasily!

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The mass of protesters surged forward, some of them with their faces covered, some not. Men and women of various ages, arms interlocked, a look of fierce determination.
‘We won’t fight Ukraine! We won’t fight Ukraine!’ They chanted vigorously. ‘Long live Russia!’
A block and a half away a unit of riot police in full gear, four lines deep, waited silently to stop them, their shields and batons at the ready, their faces covered by balaclavas. Behind them three vehicles with water cannons stood vigilantly along with 2 empty buses.
The march was taking place near the center of St Petersburg along a wide avenue lined with tall apartment buildings, from which balconies people looked down as they snapped photos and took videos.
The protesters kept advancing, undeterred by the riot police staring back at them.
More than a thousand men and women made up the advancing mass.
‘We won’t fight Ukraine! Long live Russia!’
Moments later the protesters came to a stop about 15 feet or so from the riot police. They continued their chanting, which grew louder and more defiant.
An officer stepped out from behind the riot police and to one side. Bull horn in hand, he said to the protesters, ‘Disband! You’re in violation of the law. This is an illegal demonstration. Disband immediately or face the consequences!’
The protesters paused for an instant before resuming their chanting. ‘We won’t fight Ukraine! Long live Russia!’
Then the officer addressed his troops. ‘Proceed to disband!’
And the troops charged the protesters, batons held up high ready to strike the defenseless men and women. And the batons came down hard on the heads and arms of the protesters.
Cries of pain filled the air as the protesters were furiously bludgeoned. A woman and a man fell to the ground from the impact of the clubs.
A woman called out, ‘Vasily!’
She broke off from her companions attempting to reach the man who’d fallen but was blocked by the riot police and shoved back.
‘Vasily!’ she cried again, frantically.
The first cry had sounded vaguely familiar to a riot policeman in the front line but now the second cry made him cringe with fear. He knew that voice. He immediately ceased swinging his baton and yelled, ‘Irina!’
The woman looked in his direction, ‘Igor!’
‘Yes!’ answered Igor with alarm.
‘Vasily went down!’ she replied, signaling to her right.
‘What?’ His face went pale.
The riot police kept pushing the protesters back.
Urgently, Igor began to move toward where Irina had signaled.
‘Vasily!’ shouted Igor loudly, in desperation, ‘Vasily!’
He was trying to wind his way through the advancing officers, but he couldn’t get through the tight formation.
Igor pressed on and reached the fallen man, then threw himself immediately over him, his fellow officers stomping on by.
Igor felt the warmth of the body that now lay under him. But was it him? He wasn’t sure. Reaching up with one hand he then pulled off his mask. And it was him. Vasily. His son.
Irina could no longer see Igor but kept moving in their direction when a club crashed hard over her head and she,too, fell to the ground.
‘Vasily! Talk to me!’ cried Igor to his son, but Vasily couldn’t answer.
The rest of the riot police had advanced past them as they pushed back the demonstrators, the vehicles with water cannons now shooting their hard streams at them.
The officer with the bull horn strode up to where Igor covered Vasily.
‘What are you doing?’ said the officer.
‘This is my son,’ said Igor as he looked up at the officer, the expression confused, bewildered, ‘My son… I thought he was at the university… I didn’t know he was with the protesters… it’s my fault…’
The officer with the bullhorn looked down at Igor.
‘You’re a police officer. Join your fellow officers. Your son will be taken care of.’
And Igor’s expression seemed to freeze.
‘I can’t… I can’t…’ answered Igor as he looked helplessly up at the officer. And then he looked to the side where just a few yards away lay the body of the woman who had called to him. It had to be Irina. He went to her and it was she. A big clot was forming on her bloodied forehead but otherwise she was conscious. She smiled at him. “How is he?’
‘I don’t know, he won’t respond,’ said Igor.
Irina’s expression changed. ‘Help me up, Igor, I need to see him… he needs me.’
And Igor started to lift her but then the commanding officer appeared again at his side.
‘We have people to do that, now join your fellow officers, we’ll take care of your son and this woman.’
And Igor stared back at the commanding officer. He called him by his first name, Ilya. ‘Ilya… I can’t… I can’t do it anymore… these are my children… I can’t do it.’
‘Join your fellow officers now!’ insisted the man, ‘or I will charge you with insubordination.’
Igor didn’t move, just stared back, puzzled.
Two medics, a man and a woman, came up to where Irina lay and started to lift her but she said, pointing in Vasily’s direction, ‘he needs more help than I do, go to him first.’
The medics ignored her, pulled her up and took her to the side of the avenue where other injured people were being gathered.
‘Stay with Vasily, Igor, please!’ were the last words he heard from her.
Igor moved back quickly to where Vasily still lay. He was unresponsive.
‘Vasily, my child, speak to me!’ cried Igor in anguish. ‘Vasily!’
The commanding officer followed Igor and stood over him. Now he was joined by two other men.
The commanding officer stared down at Igor. ‘I will have to charge you with insubordination, do you hear me, Igor?’
Igor had been on his knees, holding Vasily’s hand in his but now appeared transfixed.
‘Do you hear me?’ pressed the commanding officer.
And Igor began to shake his head slowly, horror coming over him as tears rolled down his face. He had been taking his son’s pulse and now there was no pulse.
‘Are you deaf?’ insisted the commanding officer as he hovered over Igor.
And Igor started to slowly look up at the officer, eyes wide open, glaring in disbelief.
‘Ilya… he’s dead… my son… Vasily… he’s dead.’
And the commanding officer stood up straight, aghast.
And Igor, reacting, immediately positioned himself astride his son and started to do chest compressions. And one of the other officers joined him, alternating with Igor to give mouth to mouth respirations… and two medics came to their side with a cardio converter and they tried it. And it didn’t work. So Igor and the other officers went back to compressing Vasily’s heart and breathing for him. And they tried again the heart converter. And they repeated the cycles. Again and again. And again. With no response.
The protesters had been driven back, prisoners taken while others had dispersed, yet still they chanted, ‘We won’t fight Ukraine! Long live Russia!’
From one of the balconies in an adjacent building, a woman had video recorded the entire affair. After all was over, she would upload it and it would go viral.
Igor lay a long time next to Vasily’s body, sometimes covering him with his own, sometimes simply touching his face, remembering when his son was a child, and how he liked playing checkers, and then basketball and video games, and then the guitar, and how he later enjoyed solving math problems. He was going to school to become an engineer.
He remembered that Vasily dreamed of one day visiting the West, maybe working there for a while before returning to Russia, which he loved.
But none of that would happen now, thought Igor. None of it.
Now everything was gone.
And what would he say to his mother?
Her only child.
What would he say to her?

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Republicans Won’t Support Ukraine?

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I read yesterday that US representative Scalise from Louisiana had raised the question of continued support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
He would not commit to continuing with such support should Republicans win majorities in the House and Senate on November 8th.
It doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the gentleman is running for reelection.
He argues that the moneys spent on Ukraine’s fight for its survival should instead be spent on preparations to confront China’s rise and, generally, on other projects here at home.
Up until now it has been US support that has been the largest in defense of Ukraine. Europe, has contributed too, and the energy shortages and inflationary pressures have hit them the hardest. Yet, the western alliance against the brutal bullying of Putin stands.
Mr Scalise should wipe off his moral compass. It has got foggy. He can’t see clearly anymore. I’m assuming he once did.
But to threaten to withdraw funds from Ukraine is tantamount to saying, ‘Russia, go ahead and kill Ukrainians at will, do what you want with that nation.’
So, no, Mr Scalise, to withhold support from Ukraine now is the equivalent of appeasing Putin.
And Trump also, who’s known to be sympathetic to Putin.
Putin’s strategic mistake in Ukraine was not to have invaded while Trump was in the White House. If he had, he would have, likely, taken over all of Ukraine because they would not have had the means to defend themselves. And the world would be a poorer place as a result.
With the approaching mid term elections, president Biden has to make clear our support of Ukraine’s struggle remains a central issue.
Mr Biden’s exemplary leadership of the western alliance has Putin on his back foot and today, there is a good possibility Ukraine may drive Russia back to its borders.
I am gratified to hear that Ukraine will not respect Russia’s efforts to legitimize the territories it has grabbed from Ukraine by force. Putin has taken to insisting that any attack on those territories would be an attack on Russia itself. But we won’t fall for that lie.
President Biden and his administration are determined to keep supplying Ukraine with what it needs to fight the good fight.
He is fully aware of the enormous benefit the world and America have already derived from Ukraine’s heroic fight.
Ukraine’s valor has reminded us all of the effort needed to protect our freedom. The vigilance, the focus, the never lowering our guard.
These are critical times for our nation and the world. On January 6th 2021, a sitting American president chose to incite a riot to overturn the official result of an election that had defeated him by a wide margin.
Sadly, there are still those who believe his nonsense rhetoric. And even worse, that Trump holds influence over the minds of many confused Americans.
Apparently, he holds influence also over the mind of representative Scalise.
Dear sir, time to wipe off your moral compass. Mind you, those smudges may be hard to clean. But you should try.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com