Abortion Rights. Street Interviews

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Right after the supreme court overturned Roe vs Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion for American women, a reporter from KNTX100 set out to find people in the street to share their views.
The reporter (Rept), a woman, addresses a man as he approaches.

Rept – Good afternoon, I’m with KNTX100 and would like to get your impressions on today’s momentous supreme court decision. Are you aware of it?
Man (stopping) – Oh yes. It shocked me. I mean, we knew there was the possibility but still it shocked me.
Rept – In which way?
Man – What business do old men have telling women what to do with their bodies? This Alito guy and Thomas, they’re just envious they didn’t get a uterus. I mean, a uterus is a beautiful thing, all of humanity has been there, all of humanity has been coddled and nurtured in that beautiful organ, every one of us has been there, Alito and Thomas too, and they don’t want to accept the fact that it’s up to the women who have the uterus to decide what to do with what’s in it.
Rept – You don’t think there should be limits, depending on when the fetus becomes viable, as in able to subsist on its own?
Man – Sure, I’m for that, too. Give it three months, that gives the woman enough time to decide if she wants to carry it or not. Because that’s a lot of responsibility. Not just for when we’re in the womb but afterwards. I mean, mothers… they’re really important.
Rept – So you think Justices Alito and Thomas are envious of women?
Man – Yeah, these guys, they’re the epitome of men who want to control women. That’s the bottom line here. I mean, us men, we’ve got to get a grip. We want women to give us life, pleasure, comfort, keep our secrets, look pretty, you name it, and we still want to control them? It’s too much. We men have to realize they have their own power and we have to trust they will use it in the best interest of humanity, like they’ve been doing all along.
Rept – So you’re for equal pay for women and for doing away with the glass ceiling in corporate America?
Man – Got that right. Not only should women get equal pay but women who conceive and give birth should get a tax break, too, as a way of saying, thank you. Definitively some time off. And we might have fewer wars in the world if we had more women in leadership. That’s not to say we haven’t seen some bad women leaders… but we’ve got to give them a chance.
Rept – What do you think women should do in the face of this decision?
Man – I was just thinking about it. Women who live in states where they will ban abortion should just leave. They should pack up and go, start a mass migration to states where they can have an abortion, and the reason is that if a state bans abortion, then they most likely have an antiwoman climate also, so women will be limited in what they can accomplish in ways that might not even be noticeable. So John will get promoted but Jill will not. Or Jill gets groped like that Hollywood producer was doing. If I had a daughter and she was living in a state that banned abortion, I’d tell her, ‘Get out!’
Rept – You don’t think they should stay and fight?
Man – If that’s what you want, sure. But those states will have a lot of hard headed men, and old fashioned women – brainwashed – who will make their life tough. So better get out and make a life elsewhere. Look, most women want to have children, it’s in them, that’s how nature made them, but in this modern age they deserve a chance to choose what to do with their lives and bodies. Mistakes happen and people get pregnant when they didn’t want to or just change their minds.
It shouldn’t be up to this Alito guy, or that dude Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Coney, you know the bunch.
I’d say to all women in states where abortion is banned, ‘get out, get out now!’
Believe me, if they start that migration, pretty soon the guys will follow them and those states will suffer. Maybe then they’ll rethink the matter. Meanwhile, I’m putting those states in my flyover list. Good riddance.
Rept – Any final comments?
Man – Yeah. God has nothing to do with it. God wants women to be happy and if they want to have an abortion, that’s okay with God.
Rept – What do you think of the war in Ukraine?
Man – Ghastly. We need to do all we can for Ukrainians. Give them planes so they can push Russians back.
Rept – Thank you so much for your thoughts, Mr…
Man – Joe… just call me Joe.
Rept – Thank you, Joe. (facing the camera) Reporting from Greenville, South Carolina, for KNTX100 and our sister affiliate in New Orleans, this is Tilly Pence.

She switches off her mike and the cameraman stops recording.

Man – Say, Tilly, you related to Mike Pence?
Rept – I am, by marriage to someone in the family tree.

Now a woman approaches. The cameraman notices and tells Tilly. Joe waves goodbye and leaves.
Tilly turns her mike back on as the cameraman starts to record the approaching woman.

Rept – Hi, I’m Tilly with KNTX100… I wanted to ask you a few questions…
Woman (smiling) – I know who you are. I saw you interviewing the gentleman, so I figured I could put in my two words.
Rept – Of course. So what do you think of the supreme court’s decision?
Woman – I’m so relieved with the decision, my prayers finally answered. Can’t thank enough the good judges. We’re truly blessed in America to have such people.
We now have God’s wishes, no tampering with creation and respect for the sanctity of life.
We are vessels for the will of God.
Our primary responsibility is to deliver to the world God’s gift – human beings. Men can’t do what we do. We conceive, carry and deliver humanity to the world, assuring our survival and progress. It’s a grand task and we women should be very proud of our capacity.
Rept – You have children?
Woman – Five. And I’ve been doing well professionally, too, so it hasn’t interfered.
Rept – Congratulations. One person I interviewed today said that, in light of the decision and as protest, women in states that don’t allow abortion should leave and migrate to states that permit it.
Woman – No, that would be disastrous. We women are fighters, we don’t give up and leaving would be giving up. Plus that would mean shrinking the pool of women available for procreation.
Rept – That was his point…
Woman – It’s not right… we need to populate all of America, not just the East and West coast.
Rept – What do you think of the war in Ukraine?
Woman – Oh, God, It’s so wrong. Those images… haunting… any destruction is wrong…
Rept – You think we’re doing the right thing in helping them out?
Woman – Actually, some help is okay but we’re spending too much… they’re just too far away… Biden’s spending like they’re his cousins… but there’s so much to do here now… and the gas prices keep going up. Everything.
(She smiles)
I have to go now. thanks for the interview. When will it air?
Rept – This evening…
Woman – Will I be in it?
Rept – Yes. Of course, we edit a little.
Woman – Of course. I just want to see myself on TV. Thank you

She turns and walks away.

Rept- So there it is folks, two different views on this difficult and divisive issue.
This is Tilly Pence, for KNTX100, until next time.

Oscar Valdes, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Trump on Roe vs Wade, Putin and the War

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He’s standing in front of the window of his office in Mar-a-Lago, which looks out onto the golf course.

‘Finally… my vindication… Roe vs Wade is overturned because I put in those judges. My vision and determination have been proven right.’

He smiles to himself, rubs his chin gently.

‘And this marks the beginning of my return to the White House. I feel very excited.
The nation is longing for sanity. What are we doing in Ukraine?
Unbelievable.
If I had been president, as I should have because the election was stolen from me… there would not have been a war in Ukraine. We wouldn’t have had this god awful problem with inflation, people wouldn’t be suffering with high gasoline prices… and thousands and thousands of Ukrainians and Russians would be enjoying their lives with their families.
All that upheaval, the mass migrations, lives destroyed or turned upside down, buildings demolished… unbelievable… all of it… I cry when I see the scenes… all of it was preventable… but the democrats didn’t see it… they just can’t… it’s not in them… they’re an inferior brand of politicians.’

He shakes his head ruefully.

‘If I had been in office, Putin wouldn’t have had any reservations about picking up the phone and calling me up, “Donald… I’m feeling very uncomfortable with Zelensky in Ukraine carrying on about wanting to apply for membership in NATO… I don’t like it. I need your help. I’m feeling like they’re setting a trap for me.”
Yes… Putin would’ve been honest with me… because we had that kind of relationship… and I would’ve helped. I would’ve asked him what he wanted… and he might’ve said something like, “I need to take Ukraine back… like when we had the Soviet Union. Since then, they have been a shambles, riddled with corruption and now they have all these neofascists infiltrating the government…’’
And I would’ve said… “Vladimir… make it quick… if it drags on it becomes a problem… so do it fast… it’s the humanitarian thing to do, anyway, so we can spare lives. Can you do that?”
And we wouldn’t have had this disaster that the democrats and the EU have created.
Amazing. What a difference a man can make in the course of history.’

Next to the window stand a few golf clubs. He crosses and selects one, which he now holds in his hands and start to motion as if he were about to tee off.

‘What this obsession with freedom? If you feel unfree take a vacation… that will do it. If you feel unfree, go out and make money, lots of it, that will do it.
With me in the White House… the moment the EU members would’ve felt rattled by Putin’s move to take over Ukraine, I would’ve invited them over and said, let’s be practical, what use is Ukraine to us? And they would’ve looked at each other and nodded. And I would’ve added, if we put sanctions on Russia, then they will retaliate and cut your oil and gas supplies… which will hurt the economy and nobody will be happy. Anyway, I’ve been onto you guys to increase your defense spending to 2% of GDP and you haven’t done it, so why get all upset now?
Go with the flow.
“But what about Ukraine’s freedom?” some would’ve asked, and I would’ve answered that it’s up to each nation to deal with it. We can’t do it for them. I’ve known men who were in relationships where they were henpecked and they loved it. So it’s up to each individual nation. If Putin is still president of Russia is because Russians like it that way, otherwise they would’ve thrown him out.
Same with the Chinese, if they haven’t revolted against Xi Jinping is because they love it.
We’re not created equal. Law of nature. So with freedom.’

He swings the golf course. And again. Still dreaming with that hole in one he’s never got. But the Roe vs Wade decision has come close to giving him that sense.

‘If I had been in office there wouldn’t have been this horrible problem with inflation and people starving. Instead the markets would be soaring, everybody getting richer and richer. But the democrats, instead of putting Zelensky in his place and telling him to cool it, fell for his act. Freedom!’

He laughs.

‘If I had been in power I wouldn’t have insisted on any sanctions on Putin and said to my fellow Americans, let’s not push Russia onto China’s arms… instead let’s build a good relationship with them. I’m more worried about China wanting world supremacy than Russia. But I can work with China, too. For now we got the tariffs that I put on them and they’re working.
With me in power, American businesses would not have had to leave Russia and would be making all kinds of money. And when I returned to Moscow aboard Air Force One, I would’ve been able to get myself a Big Mac.’

He smiles to himself as he returns to the window and to look out onto the golf course again. In the distance he sees his son in law, Jared, and Ivanka, walking on the greens, golf clubs in hand.

‘This overturning of Roe vs Wade has made up my mind. I will run again. The hearings on the January 6th incident will amount to nothing, since I never incited any violence, all I wanted was for American patriots to remind the people counting the electoral ballots that there might be some cheating involved… but it got out of hand. I regret the loss of lives.
So… I will run for president in 2024 because the nation needs me. The country has lost its way and I can set it back on the right path. Get the wall finished also.
As far as running mate is concerned, I’ll have to think about it some more. But I’m starting to think of Nikki Haley. Between the two of us we’ll cream Biden – Harris. They won’t have a chance. And after 4 years I’ll retire as the most consequential American president ever.’

He looks up at the ceiling.

‘God, you’re with me, ain’t you? Ha! I know you are.’

Oscar Valdes, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

A Military Solution to an Economic Problem

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The news today is not uplifting.
Russia continues to gain against Ukraine in the Eastern regions, is now targeting grain terminals in Ukraine’s port of Mykolaiv (WSJ) to damage the country’s food exports, is increasing cyberattacks on the western alliance (WSJ), while Turkey goes on obstructing Finland and Sweden’s push for NATO membership (NYT).
Meanwhile, the growing costs of inflation have spread widely and the rise in interest rates is slowing down the economy globally, all of which weakens the collective resolve of western nations to support Ukraine.
How long before Ukraine stops getting what it needs and is then trounced by Russia?
Not long.
Not all countries in the EU have contributed equally to the war effort, Germany and France underperforming significantly, yet public shaming seems to go only so far.
Nations are protesting they have limits.
If we keep going at this pace, Russia will devour Ukraine. And everyone watching will shake their heads and say, ‘what a shame… but really… there’s only so much we can do. Now we just hope they won’t invade us. So let’s be nice to Putin and the Russians.’
Something like that.
Do we want to live that way?
Hell, no!
If we do so, it amounts to a grand failure of leadership.
We started out giving much support to Ukraine but have not gone all the way.
Hasn’t Ukraine’s courage earned them the right to get all the arms they need?
Do we allow all their suffering and lives lost to be in vain?
Judging by the increasing protests of western nations, their economic concerns with the soaring price of energy, there is not much time left to act decisively.
So the time to give Ukraine all they need is now. That may not assure a victory but it will say we did all we could.
The slowing of the support given to Ukraine is a veiled effort to ask them to give up.
But they will not. It is their land and they won’t have it.
Which then throws it back in our face.
Ukraine will go all the way, help or no help from the West.
Are we expecting them to die in the battlefield and then live with the notion that we didn’t do all we could? That we didn’t give them the proper weapons?
The idea that our giving Ukraine fighter jets to push back Russia is going to trigger a nuclear war is a farce.
Putin may well be infuriated by it but we are as well armed as Russia and China combined.
Acting decisively now by giving Ukraine all they need is allowing ourselves the chance of victory.
Once victorious, sanctions should be lifted partly or completely, and the world economic crisis will begin to resolve.
The sanctions have been only modestly effective and there is no way we can influence China and India to stop buying Russian oil. Why, even western nations are asking for exemptions from the sanctions on one or another commodity.
We’re too interdependent to cut things off quickly and expect a powerful result. That will take time to plan.
But a military victory today is possible. Which will then permit the lifting of sanctions.
For us not to push for a military victory is a failure of courage.
It is saying we allowed Putin to frighten us.
Today, we stand awash in over caution, while letting Putin throw at Ukrainians everything he has.
Let us act now, damn it!
We should not back away from this confrontation without the sense that we gave it our best. And our best is to arm Ukraine to the fullest, short of nuclear weapons.
Ukrainians are saying to us, here we give our lives, helps us!
Who in recent history has said that loudly for all the world to hear?
No one.
So let us act.
Putin should not be allowed to intimidate us.
He needs to be confronted now.

Note to Mr Biden.
You’re heading out to the Middle East in the days to come. Word is that you’re expected to meet with MBS (Muhammad Bin Salman) who, our intelligence agencies have determined, is responsible for the murder of journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 after he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Ankara, Turkey. He had been publicly critical of the Saudi regime.
I understand that Saudi Arabia can play a role in stabilizing the tensions in the region and is willing to ally with us to counter Iran’s threats.
As our president you need to look at the big picture.
But that does not mean you have to bow to that nation’s leadership. It sends a bad signal.

Oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.

This is the Moment to Act

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Yesterday, the US Federal Reserve Bank raised the nation’s interest rate by .75 bps. Forecast had it that the figure would be either 0.5 or 0.75.
Markets went up after the news but today lost all the gains and are back down to where they were before the announcement.
To the extent that financial markets anticipate the state of the economy, the news is not good. We’re heading downhill.
The Federal Reserve may have been too aggressive, particularly since the markets had been heading down steadily. The bank’s chairman, Jerome Powell, had talked of a soft landing as he raised rates but instead gave in to the hawkish wing of the bank that pushed for the 0.75 hike.
Now think of how different things could be if we were winning the war instead?
Vastly different.
Optimism would fuel the markets and we would feel much more positive about being able to prevent a recession.
If only we were doing what we should be doing.
Macron, Scholz and Draghi (from France, Germany and Italy) met today with Zelensky, Ukraine’s president.
The public statements of the officials are all for supporting Ukraine’s fight for independence, but what happens behind close doors is likely very different.
For one, neither Germany nor France have delivered the heavy equipment Zelensky has called for.
Instead they are likely pushing for Zelensky to settle. To negotiate with Russia, to agree to terms.
Both Macron and Scholz would love to see themselves as the grand negotiators that brought the warring parties to the table. They may be already dreaming of the Nobel prize they’d be sharing for bringing peace to the region.
Zelensky should not give in.
Macron and Scholz are telling Zelensky, ‘look, inflation is hurting us badly. We have done enough. You need to think of compromising. We can’t get all we want in life, so give in a little.’
Zelensky should not give in.
The real problem with inflation is the war.
Russia has been able to circumvent the sanctions and managed to sell a good deal of its oil. They are filled with cash and confident that they’ll keep finding ways to do so.
Today I read that Russia has now cut back further on their gas supplies to Europe. The squeeze is on.
So why isn’t Zelensky and Ukraine getting all the help they need?
Because many nations in the western bloc are chickening out.
Surely there are real life obstacles to delivering the heavy equipment needed but if you’re dragging your feet then you’re chickening out. Then you’re saying, ‘Putin is really scary, he’s out of control, he just might target us. Oh, no. What will we do if that happens?’
The real problem with today’s inflation is the war.
Yes, it has to end, but not without first giving Ukraine all they need to fight back and that should include war planes.
Otherwise Ukraine should not negotiate with a killer who has butchered their nation.
Mr Biden, I’m not letting you off the hook.
I’m sure you were told in detail of Macron, Scholz and Draghi’s mission. Do not be a party to that weaklings’ effort.
Step up, do not back down now.
You’ve been courageous until now, but this is not over and not the time to call it quits.
This is a unique moment in our history, indeed, the world’s history.
We can’t let the bully win.
Ukraine wants to fight till the end. How often do you hear that from a nation?
Ukrainians who left are returning to their land in the middle of the war. It takes guts to do that.
If you do not fully back Ukraine you will lose your presidency. Period. But back Ukraine with all they need and your standing will be exceptional.
Damn it, make the difficult choice! You’ve been there before. Don’t join with the appeasers.
See, even if Ukraine doesn’t beat back Russia, if they get all the equipment they need they would have fought an exceptional battle. We haven’t seen anything like this since WWII.
It is your turn to shine, Mr Biden. Take the chance. Don’t back down.
Putin can be beat. He will not trigger WWIII. He won’t because he’s not crazy and has a lot to lose. But he’s good at scaring people and has been getting away with it.
Don’t let him scare you, too.
He’s already got Macron and Scholz in his back pocket.
This is your moment, Mr Biden, win or lose, this is your moment. Don’t flinch. Go forward.

Oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.

The War. The Economy. Our Psyches

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The war has had a profound effect on inflation.
One is the obvious impact that sanctions on Russia have had on the energy markets with shortages raising prices everywhere.
Another is the lingering supply chains snarls generated by the pandemic, now worsened by the conflict.
And then there’s the enormous effect on our psyches. The corrosive effect of seeing the count of dead people grow, buildings destroyed, lives wrecked.
When will it end?
How much more pain will be inflicted?
Now we are beginning to suspect Russia will not be pushed back and out of Ukraine.
We are beginning to suspect that Russia will subdue and demolish it. With impunity and the whole world watching.
If Putin wins, we will have to worry about his future behavior and how it emboldens China’s quest for dominance.
Putin may be tempted to invade another country. Tiny Moldova, for instance, sitting on the southwest border with Ukraine, where Russian separatists already occupy the Transnistria region.
How long will the sanctions against Russia be kept?
The cumulative effect of these factors is not only weighing on markets but on our minds.
Central banks are raising interest rates. Companies’ forecast for earnings are decreasing while the price of stocks plummet and plummet.
Uncertainty and more uncertainty.
Can anything be done about it? Or do we watch impotently?
There is something unsettling about feeling a lack of control.
We were recovering from the pandemic, which we knew would be difficult anyway,
and then Putin chose to start his war. And his war became everybody’s war.
Nations have taken sides and the world has divided into two camps.
The United Nations has become an impotent body. Russia, the grand aggressor, holds veto power in the Security Council, as does China, rendering that distinguished body ineffective.
With energy prices rising and rising, the possibility of a recession grows greater and so does the chance of a depression.
But can anything be done to change the present course of events?
We have two options before us.
In one, we do nothing. And Putin wins, the world cements its divisions and the economy goes into a long slowdown.
In the other, we fight back. We challenge Putin. And we do it now.
Public figures like Henry Kissinger and Emmanuelle Macron have come forward in favor of accommodation, Kissinger stating that there’s a role for Russia (a role depriving others of their freedom?) and Macron saying that we have to learn to live with Russia (why?).
But those statements sound weak when a nation like Ukraine is willing to offer its people in battle, when they have already sacrificed thousands upon thousands of men and women, for the sake of their freedom from the Russian boot.
They cry of the Ukrainian people keeps piercing our minds, the pain of their agony keeps intruding into our daily lives, ‘Help us,’ they cry, ‘Give us the weapons to defend ourselves!’
And we have, to some extent.
But not enough.
The war has changed our minds and hearts since it started on February 24th.
Back then we didn’t know how courageous a nation could be.
Ukraine’s is a lesson for the entire world.
Short of nuclear weapons, they have earned the right to get all the assistance the West can provide.
They have earned it with their blood.
Macron of France, was quoted as saying that it would take years and years, maybe 15 for Ukraine to become part of NATO. How wrong can that man be?
There are just so many Ukrainians to die in defense of their land, of their right to be free.
We in the West, those willing to do so, need to do all we can to assist them now.
History will record which nations chose not to help, but that’s for them and their conscience to settle. For now, it’s those willing to go all out that need to step forward and make a full commitment to the freedom of Ukraine.
And that means a willingness to challenge Putin.
If Ukraine falls even though they got all the help we could give them, so be it.
But our consciences will be at peace, that in the hour of need, we didn’t cringe or surrender to our fears, but stepped front and gave our full support to a courageous people.
Ukraine’s fight is telling the world, ‘this is what is needed to step up and say We are Free’ while Russians and Chinese, and the rest of the subjugated people in our world, watch with admiration, envy and remorse.
This is the time to go all out for Ukraine.
Or we’ll have to live with the regret of not supporting those who deserve it.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Putin Must be Confronted

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His troops, better armed and more numerous than Ukraine’s, are gaining ground in the Donbas area, with the possibility they may encircle their adversary.
A day or two ago Russia fired missiles that landed on Kyiv. More are expected.
And Putin warned the West about giving Ukrainians longer range missiles.
There is a side in this war that seems eager to negotiate with Putin so he is not ‘humiliated’, which I take to mean that Russia gets to keep territory they didn’t occupy before the invasion.
I think they are wrong.
Putin must be confronted and the only way to do that is to better arm Ukrainians.
In providing them with missiles, Biden got guarantees from Zelensky that the weapons would not be used to fire into Russian territory. I think that’s a sound request.
So why not get the same agreement with war planes?
As the war has pressed on, the West has got bolder. Bolder because Ukrainians have shown amazing resolve in defending their land.
So why not give them the kind of weapons that can make a huge difference in this conflict?
Putin needs to be confronted.
He cannot be allowed to continue to make threat after threat.
Ukraine was never his. Never Russia’s.
In 1994, as the Soviet Union dismantled, Ukraine surrendered their nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees from Russia and the West. But those did not stop Putin from invading it.
Why shouldn’t, then, the West arm Ukraine with the very best, short of nuclear weapons?
To date, the only deterrent has been Putin’s threats.
It is time the West confronted them.
Biden has made clear that NATO forces won’t be used unless a NATO nation is attacked, nor that he would put American troops on the ground. Good. We should keep those commitments.
But Ukraine is being ravaged by the war and they have shown the determination to defend their land.
I read that Ukrainians that had left their country at the start of the war are now returning.
They are eager to fight for their nation.
The missing piece so far has been war planes.
If Ukraine gets them and loses the war, so be it.
But they just might turn this around and drive the Russians out.
If Ukrainians are willing to risk everything in their fight against Russia, we should step up and help them with all we can.
Will Putin be ‘humiliated’ by a defeat of his armed forces? I am sure he would be.
But that’s his problem. We should not ‘buy’ peace with timidity or acquiescence.
Putin is a thug. Thugs understand force. Ukraine has what it takes to push him back.
Let us arm Ukraine with all they need and let them determine their fate.
If Russia wins, so be it.
But they may not. And if so the world order will change.
This is the time to act. Now.

Oscar Valdes, oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.

Ukraine Needs Fighter Jets

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Russian troops in the eastern section of Ukraine continue to push to encircle Ukraine’s forces.
Should it happen, Ukraine would lose a significant portion of its army.
I read that the leaders of France and Germany, Macron and Scholz, have spoken to Putin and that he’s shown interest in peace talks.
But to think that the Russian would cede the territory he’s earned is sheer denial of the facts.
With such a deal he could turn to his people and say, ‘we now have most of southern Ukraine and more of the East. We pause now, resume later.’
And he’ll speak with the same assurance of Russian leaders who offered security guarantees to Ukraine when they gave up their nuclear weapons in the 90s, only to violate them later.
The sanctions imposed by the West are biting. Putin’s army is short of men, thus the decision to increase the upper age limit to conscription from 30 to 40 years old.
It’s in Ukraine’s best interest that the war be short for they are fighting in their land and suffering all manner of losses. And it’s in our best interest too.
But we need to push harder.
I was pleased to hear that a large aid package to Ukraine was approved with bipartisan support, and that Biden is about to send more weapons, i.e. MLRS, multiple launch rocket systems to Ukraine. But it may not be enough.
So why not give aircraft to the Ukrainians, fighter jets they can use to push back Russia in the East and elsewhere?
Would this be seen as an escalation on the part of the West? Yes.
But is Russia fighting in Ukraine with an army equal to theirs? No.
So is it fair for Russia to have all the advantages and for Ukrainian soldiers to be supermen and beat back the Russians with fewer numbers and weapons?
No.
While Ukraine has the will to fight, the West, not just the US, should give them what they need.
This is the time.
Will the giving of aircraft push Putin to threaten nuclear weapons?
Maybe, but I don’t think so. By now his posturing has been degraded.
And just how will he threaten with his nuclear weapons? Will he threaten to use them in Ukraine itself, or will he threaten to fire on the West?
The resolve the West has shown in support of Ukraine tells Putin that we are not intimidated.
He has nuclear weapons and so do we.
Putin is not crazy. He likes remaining in control of his country which by now, after 20 years of his leadership, has become emotionally impoverished and accustomed to bowing to the ‘great’ leader. Accustomed also, to seeing their emerging leaders, like Alexei Navalny, be treated like criminals. Navalny just had his prison term extended on trumped up charges.
What this war has shown, is that Putin is no match for the West.
China is seeing the drama unfold and is having second thoughts about betting on Vladimir.
Having become an accomplice of Putin has eroded China’s prestige in the world.
And should they catch wind that Putin wanted to use nuclear weapons, they would be the first to tell him, ‘Don’t. For if you do, the West will answer, hit you and hit us too.’
Ukraine needs planes to win this war.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.

Changing Thoughts on the War

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The war is settling into a slow, painful grind. Russia is concentrating in the East but have made gains in the southern border.

A protracted war is likely to end with an advantage for Russia, since they have access to more fighting materiel.

Which brings up the matter of how much more assistance to give Ukraine.

So far the West has been careful to not provide Ukrainians with more sophisticated weaponry, the kind capable of inflicting more serious damage to Russia.

One of the worries has been that the aid provided not be of such quantity or quality to put the West in the category of co combatant.

But that’s a definition that Putin came up with and imposed on us.

The undisputed pluck of the Ukrainian people have done all they can with what they have.

Can they have more?

Can they have planes?

Providing them would give Ukraine a chance of beating the Russians more quickly.

The war would escalate but the chances of Ukraine booting the Russians completely out of their territory would increase.

The big question is what would Putin do?

There’s no question that he’s fully committed to the conquest of their neighbor, but would he follow through with the threat of using nuclear weapons?
I think the time has come when we must confront him on this.

The atrocities committed by Russians give the West the higher moral ground.

I recall Biden stating that he would draw a line on the use of chemical weapons. So too with nuclear weapons.

I think Putin’s threats must be confronted.

And we should make it clear too that, should there be a nuclear confrontation, China would be a target of ours also.

This would make China intercede with Putin to dissuade him from using the nuclear weapons.

Ukraine’s resolve will not last forever. For all the help they’re getting from the West they have limited manpower, much less than Russia, which has recently raised the age for enlistment in their army.

We should make it clear that our objectives are not regime change in Russia. That’s for Russians to do. But they should leave Ukraine entirely.

Will congress approve that stance?

Chances are they will. Mitch McConnell and company has supported the 40 billion package aid recently passed.

Russia is becoming more and more isolated. They’re lacking parts for their weaponry that need to come from the West and that will hurt.

Here in America we’re struggling with inflation and supply chain constraints, but the war looms large over everything.

One other point. I agree that it should be up to Ukrainians if they wish to negotiate a cease fire.

It’s their blood being shed, their land being ravaged and they have limits.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts

Why There Won’t Be A Nuclear War

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There’s much talk about the possibility of a nuclear war if Putin is pushed too hard in Ukraine.
Particularly now that his army has underperformed and the quick victory he imagined, with Ukrainians bowing reverentially to his majesty as he made his triumphant journey to Kyiv, has been shown to be a fantasy.
In his despair, Putin has been tempted to unleash nuclear weapons, but he will not because China will have something to say about it.
China will do whatever they can to support Putin from the punishing effect of the sanctions the West has imposed. But they know, that should Putin give in to the itch to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, then China itself would be a target of retaliation from the West.
The West is clear that China is aiming for world supremacy. The Chinese have stated they are a ‘no limits’ ally to Russia.
In the face of a nuclear attack from Russia, the West has no option but to target China also as they do Russia.
If not, then a weakened West would be exposed to a predatory China.
Putin knows he has been damaged by his invasion of Ukraine which, in turn, has pushed him closer to China and thus more susceptible to their influence.
He is also likely facing pressures from within Russia, with influential people expressing their doubts as to the path he’s charted, the pain he’s inflicted and the profound loss of prestige that Russia has incurred.
Two and a half months have passed since the start of the war, and every day we hear of more atrocities committed by the Russian army.
China has not been critical of their ally. But they will draw a line when it comes to the use of nuclear weapons.
Shortly after he became president, Joe Biden made the decision to pull out of Afghanistan.
He was widely criticized for it but he was right to do so.
He understood that, after 20 years, the war against the Taliban was unwinnable since the enemy had found shelter and support in neighboring Pakistan.
Furthermore, he understood he needed to clear the deck because Mr Trump, his predecessor, had dangerously damaged America’s relationship with its allies and become too friendly with Putin.
Biden, like no other, saw the problem and its implications.
The resolve he showed then led to the resolve he’s shown now.
The war is not over but Biden has performed gallantly and deserves the nation’s respect and admiration.
The West today is more united than it has been in years. Our sense of purpose sharp.
This would have been impossible under Trump.
And yet, because of the problems with inflation, mostly arising from Biden’s effort to protect us from the pandemic, an electorate dissatisfied with higher prices may vote for the opposition in the upcoming mid term elections, and so reject his sound proposals to strengthen the country.

There is still time for the Democratic party to make clear to the voters, the magnitude of Mr Biden’s leadership performance.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.

Putin’s Nightmare

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He woke up, startled. The windowless room was dark.
His girlfriend who’d stayed with him the evening before didn’t spend the night because she had some matters to address early the next morning.
At first he didn’t remember anything that had disturbed his sleep but he knew something had.
His body was sweaty and he didn’t feel right.
He swung his legs off the bed, turned on the lamp on the nightstand and stood up.
He checked the time. It was 2:50 AM. Which meant he’d slept about three hours.
He crossed to the table at the center of the room and sat down.
Leaning forward, he put his face in his hands. Whatever it was that was disturbing him, would soon come back. That’s how it was with him. Upon awakening he wouldn’t remember his dreams but after a short while some trace of them would come back and then he would be able to reconstruct it.
Now he thought of America. Next the sanctions they had been imposing on him. Then of Zelensky. And it hit him. He had lost Ukraine.
He shuddered. He straightened up in his chair and put his arms around himself.
‘Fuckers!’ ‘Goddamn fuckers!’ He said loudly.
Ukrainian forces had killed 12 of his generals. They were using intelligence from the West to find and kill them. ‘Bastards!’
He had never, not even once, imagined that Ukrainians would have it in them to fight as they had. Not just to fight but to raise the hope that they might push back the mighty Russian army. The mighty force he’d used to threaten the world.
Now Finland was thinking of joining NATO.
Sweden might follow.
‘Assholes!’
Worst of all was that he had lost the respect of the West.
He’d talked of his nuclear arms, always threatening with firing them… and now the West wasn’t scared anymore. They had gone from the wary and respectful, ‘we don’t want to use the weapons because it will be Armageddon’, to the impudent ‘screw you, Putin, if you use them, we’ll use them. We’re on to you, sucker! We won’t put up with your intimidation and bullying behavior. We’re fed up with it!’
‘Bastards!’
And nowhere was it more evident than in their invigorated push to arm Ukraine.
The turning point had been Ukraine’s pluck. It was their moxie, their determination, that had convinced the West that they were worth betting on, that they could be used to get to him, because that’s all what it was, getting to him. All the talk about freedom was bullshit. All they wanted was to unseat him, so they could get some puppet of their own in power and so expand their markets. That’s all it was.
He sat up in his chair. He didn’t like losing.
And yet… maybe… Ukrainians were really fighting for their freedom and he had not got it. He was so used to intimidating his fellow Russians that he thought he could intimidate everyone.
And why not? He had got away with intimidating Donald Trump, the American president. It had been a subtle job but he had done it. He was proud of it.
But then this two bit Senator from Delaware came in to mess up his plans. A nothing senator from a nothing state who had been Obama’s vice president only because Obama needed a white face to persuade Americans that the institution of the White House wasn’t going to the dogs.
And where the hell did Biden get his gumption? To call, him – Vladimir Putin – a killer on national television. To accuse him of being a war criminal. To have the confidence to rally a divided Europe. To convince Germany to give up its neutral stance. Was that really Biden, or was it some cabal of billionaires telling him what to do?
‘Fuck them all!’
He shook his head disconsolately as he felt very sad.
He was losing Ukraine… Ukraine… a dear part of the great Russia… losing it to the West.
His eyes moistened and he felt like crying.
He had had his mind set on conquering the whole of Ukraine. Annexing Crimea in 2014 had been the start. Followed by his support of the separatists in the Donbas area and in Transnistria in Moldova. And now he was in danger of losing it all. And everything had begun with Zelensky. Which reminded him, he had to talk to Lavrov, his foreign minister. That hadn’t been wise, to call Zelensky a Hitler. A Nazi, yes, that was part of the plan, but a Hitler? It was too much.
He was feeling a little better now. Thinking about things had helped.
All was not lost… not yet. He could still… if he really wanted… use tactical nuclear weapons… drop them on Kyiv… wipe out 100,000 residents, including Zelensky and company. Xi Jinping in China would understand. And so would Narendra Modi in India. Retaining power calls for drastic actions.
He was not stepping down, that was certain.
He had Russians by the throat. He liked it that way.
But the movement to go to the West had to stop.
Belarus would not be next. It would not. If Lukashenko couldn’t hold the fort, then he’d invade Belarus and squash the resistance, do whatever he had to do.
And he now worried that as the bodies of dead Russians returned home from Ukraine, the support of the people would start to weaken.
He didn’t know how the war would end. But whereas before he had been unwilling to compromise, now he was. Still, he needed to show something for his effort… for all those generals and soldiers killed… all those tanks and planes and equipment destroyed. But he had to show something.
Unless he chose to nuke Kyiv.
But where in the world could he go after that?
And what would the West do in retaliation?
He rubbed his face and paused. Then, as he opened his eyes slowly, he saw in his mind’s eye an image of Kyiv after being rebuilt by the West. And the city looked so modern and resplendent. And then he saw a new Mariupol, a new Kherson, Kharkiv, Irpin… all brilliantly redone, because the West wanted to shame him, to entice the rest of his Russia to turn away from him.

Oscar Valdes oscarvaldes.net, medium.com, anchor.fm, buzzsprout, apple and google podcasts.