Fetterman vs Oz in Pennsylvania

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Yesterday, John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz dueled in their only debate.
I read that Fetterman showed some dysfunction in some of his replies, which stem from the stroke he had last May and will take some more time to get over.
His doctor, Clifford Chen, has given him a good health report while allowing that some cognitive dysfunction is still present.
In an article in the New York Times, also from yesterday, Dr Taylor, a neuroscientist who had a stroke 25 years ago and is fully recovered, underscored the importance of neuro plasticity, the brain’s ability to correct its deficits.
It appears that neuroplasticity is working for John Fetterman as he is making steady progress.
He did postpone debates with Mr Oz because he wanted more time to heal.
So what are some of the differences between these two men?
Fetterman was mayor of Braddock, a small former steel town, for 13 years. He worked hard to stem crime in the area. Then he used that record to get elected as Lieutenant Governor.
Mr Oz, a former cardiovascular surgeon, owes his fame to his association with the Oprah Winfrey show, and subsequently his own program, where he endorsed remedies of dubious effectiveness.
Mr Oz didn’t even live in Pennsylvania until he decided to run for the Senate. He lived in New Jersey. So he flew in to run for the Senate, on the wings of an endorsement from the great wizard of Mar-A-Lago, Donald Trump, who’s still claiming that the election in 2020 was stolen from him.
By comparison, John Fetterman has been committed to battling our social ills for a good part of his life.
I don’t agree with Fetterman’s choice to legalize marijuana, but many people do and one day it will be legal throughout the nation. But I strongly agree with his steadfast efforts to bring about criminal justice reform.
The main difference between the two men lies in their history of political involvement.
Fetterman has been socially involved and deeply so.
Oz is obviously a talented man, but it was Oprah and his own TV show which have made him a household name. Not political involvement.
We don’t need in office people who are merely famous.
We need people who have a history of grappling with our social dysfunction.
Donald Trump had zero record of doing anything to help anyone before running for office.
But he was rich.
Somehow, that appealed to many. Perhaps they thought he would lead them to riches also.
Trump has gotten away with a lot. But that story is slowly coming to an end.
Unbelievably, his endorsements still work in some communities. In Georgia he has chosen to support Herschel Walker, the former football player, to run for the Senate. Never mind that Walker has no record of prior political involvement. .
The wizard of Mar-A-Lago is again betting that his charm and charisma will be enough to put his people in the Senate.
We have to choose, don’t we? Appearance over substance.
If we make the wrong choice, we may end up joining a crowd marching to overturn an election.
We decide.

We earn our freedom every day

Rishi Sunak. Britain’s New PM.

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Good choice by his party, though it took them some time to figure it out.
Six weeks of Liz Truss, his predecessor, and a handful of horrible economic choices which
Sunak predicted would not make sense.
It is astonishing that the conservative party went for her plan even though the evidence against it was overwhelming. Cutting taxes and increasing governmental spending during a period of rising inflation? No, said Sunak, and he was firm about it.
Because of it he is now prime minister. The first prime minister of color in the UK.
Another good point for a country divided by Brexit, largely on matters of immigration.
It is also refreshing to see Britain’s parliamentary system work effectively.
Leader not performing well, out with them. Quickly.
Thank you to Boris Johnson who decided to step aside and not further delay a decision.
He had his day, and his good points, but in the end the flaws piled up.
I thank Johnson for his solid support of Ukraine. That proved to be his high point.
Kyiv will remember him well, as Zelensky has said.
My sense is that Sunak will do a terrific job.
He’s conscious of the many difficulties that lie ahead and is eager to square with them.
He gives me the impression that he has the strength of character to deal with adversity.
On the matter of his being a person of color.
It is a great step forward for Britain.
The royal family has had its troubles accepting Meghan Markle, a person of color also and Prince Harry’s wife, as one of their own. We hope that King Charles will be wiser on that count.
Sunak is clearly aware of how much is expected of him. As was the case here in America when Obama was elected in 2008.
In a Europe roiled by immigration issues, Sunak’s performance will be watched closely. How much can Europe transform its immigrants, how quickly can they make them one of their own?
There will be a lot of Sunak watching.
The man is ready for the job, exultant that he’s been trusted with the responsibility and confident that he will deliver.
In the tradition of his nation, Sunak will be a friend to America, and to the western alliance that needs to stay unified and so face down the rising Chinese threat.
Here’s to Britain, long a strong defender of democracy, proving that the system works.
And here’s to the British people, and their regenerative capacities.
Thank you

Battle Over the Hijab

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They sit across a table in the interrogation room of the detention center.
She is Nasrin, a beautiful woman, 31, with expressive eyes and lustrous, shoulder length black hair.
She is not wearing her headscarf.
She was apprehended earlier in the day as she walked in a business section of Teheran without her hijab.
The policeman who had detained her had written a short note which lay on the table along with her identifying information.
The security officer, a wiry man in his mid thirties, nodded to himself as he read the note. Then, aloud to Nasrin…

Officer – ‘Woman ignored my call for her to stop and instead walked faster. Another policeman that was ahead of us saw me chasing her and he blocked her path and we both detained her. Arrogant. Stubborn.’

The officer looks at Nasrin directly.

Officer – Why?
Nasrin – Because it’s my body and it belongs to me and no one else.
Officer – But you are Muslim…
Nasrin – So far.
Officer – You want to change your religion?
Nasrin – Ha! I’m well aware that if I tried that I would be guilty of apostasy, punishable by life imprisonment or death.
Officer – Yes… we are who we are… and our rules come from the prophet who heard them from Allah. So… how is Islam making you unhappy?
Nasrin – Those rules were made by men, at a time when women were subservient. The world has changed and Islam should change with it.
Officer – Have you read the Qur’an?
Nasrin – It needs to be updated.
Officer (irritated) – Nasrin… please… I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.
Have you been to the West?
Nasrin – I haven’t. Not yet. But I plan to.
Officer – I see. What do you think the purpose of wearing hijab is?
Nasrin – To keep women down.
Officer – You are stubborn. I’m trying to help you but you’re not letting me. All you have to do is agree with the law and you can walk out. Why make life difficult for you?
Do you want me to send you to a tribunal of clerics so they can decide what punishment to give you?
Nasrin – Do you know what the real purpose of the hijab is?
Officer – Please be careful with your words because I don’t want to send you to detention.
Nasrin – The hijab is meant to protect men from their insecurities.
Officer – What?
Nasrin – A beautiful woman will attract other men’s attention and you can’t handle that…

Annoyed, the officer sits back.

Nasrin – … So you cover us up… but it’s up to us if we want to stay with the men in our lives… or go elsewhere… or simply be with no man… or woman. Our sexuality is ours… ours to share it with whom we want. That’s why this theocracy we live under is obsolete.
And the protests you’re seeing are about that. About the freedom of our bodies and the freedom of our minds.
We own our bodies and minds, not the clerics, not the ayatollahs, not the police, not you.
We give birth to men and women… if we stopped giving birth… if we refused to have you in our bodies… there would be no more Iran… that is our power. Now our work is to claim it, to affirm it.
Officer – Have you ever been married?
Nasrin – Not yet. Maybe I never will.
Officer – You don’t want to have children?
Nasrin – I don’t have to be married for that. My freedom is more important than anything else. And we, Persian women, are learning that. And it appears incompatible with living under this regime.
Officer – I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.
Nasrin – Do you have daughters?
Officer – Yes, I do.
Nasrin – Don’t you want them to be free?

The officer leans forward, looks down at the ground.

Nasrin – When we get our freedom, which we will, men will discover freedoms of their own that they didn’t know were possible.
Officer – What?
Nasrin – Your keeping us so controlled, keep you from becoming better men.

The officer looks straight at Nasrin, the expression stern. But then, to her surprise, he breaks into a chuckle as his eyes soften.

Officer – You’re going to put your hijab back on and you’re going to walk with me out of this place. We will walk two blocks, with you wearing your hijab. Then you will go your own way.
And if I ever see you again… I will ask you to share a meal with me.
Now, put your hijab back on and let’s walk out.

Nasrin does so, and the two walk out of the detention center. The guards at the entrance bow respectfully to the officer as he and Nasrin go by.


China and Reeducation

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They are very clear about it.
‘The Communist Party knows what is good for you. So you have to do as we say.
If you don’t, then there will be consequences.’
One such consequence is being reeducated. You are taught the right way to think.
‘Party people have tried very hard to do the thinking for you, so you should be grateful to be the recipient of such wisdom.’
Xi Jinping has even put his ‘elevated thoughts’ into a booklet, ‘Xi Jinping Thought’, just like Mao Ze Dong did before him with the little Red Book.
Is there a cost to trying to do your own thinking?
Just ask the Hong Kong dissenters who are now in prison or exile, after the celestial powers of Xi Jinping came down hard and crushed them in 2019.
China is asking the world to respect their way of doing things, because that is best for their people. Never mind asking the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province how they feel about it. They, too, like Hong Kongers, have felt the mighty Chinese fist.
China is presently holding their 20th National Congress, where Xi Jinping is expected to be reelected to a third 5 year term as president. Speculation has it that he’ll ask for a fourth term at the next congress in 2027. And on and on.
China has studied carefully the downfall of the Soviet Union, to ensure they don’t make the same ‘mistakes.’ Mistakes being anything that erodes the party’s integrity and clout.
As far as they’re concerned, Gorbachev was an idiot and weakling and his policies of Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (opening) exactly what to avoid to prevent the erosion of their power.
But Gorbachev was no idiot. Instead he opened the way to free many countries that had languished under the tight controls of the Soviets. Sadly, the reforms he made possible didn’t last in Russia itself. He transferred power to Boris Yeltsin in 1991 and then Yeltsin chose Putin as premier in 1999. That was the big mistake.
Had Yeltsin been a better judge of character, Russia would not have been saddled with the profound limitations of Putin.
With the enormity of the atrocities committed by him, the likelihood is that the post Putin era will be one of greater openness. The very opposite of what China would like.
Which may create tensions between them. Let’s hope so.
People in power in China have persuaded their citizenry that deferring to a one party system is the answer. They have been told to sacrifice their freedom to accomplish their goals of world domination. The Chinese population is under close surveillance and lacks freedom of speech.
They have made enormous material progress in the last 40 years, in large part due to their opening to the West which brought in ideas and technological knowhow.
That in turn stimulated China’s own creativity.
But the mistake they make is to think that freedom can be sacrificed.
Even in open and democratic societies, not all people choose freedom. But those who do are the ones who keep the forward thrust of nations alive.
Human beings can sacrifice freedom temporarily to attain certain goals, but it should not be for long. Being distant form it ends up diminishing us.
China is going through a prosperous period at present. But it won’t last.
As the pace of prosperity begins to diminish, the communist party and its army of non thinkers will rage against its perceived enemies which will lead to disastrous actions.
Cruelty of the same dimension as what we’ve seen in Ukraine, lies in the future of China.
We’ve seen it with Uyghurs and Hong Kongers. They’ll try to do it also with Taiwan.
We, meanwhile, should do all we can to increase our strengths – industrial, military and civic – so we can go to the assistance of those in need like we do today in Ukraine.
The reelection of Xi Jinping for a third term is not a good sign.
China’s reluctance to be open has already had enormous consequences. After the outbreak of CoVid 19 in Wuhan, they refused to cooperate with the World Health Organization to investigate the source of the spread.
When Australia asked for an investigation of such action, China responded with trade restrictions on that nation.
That’s who they are. Creative in some ways, backwards in some others. Always controlling.
We should not let down our guard and must keep strengthening our country and the West.
Otherwise, China will be reeducating us into thinking like them.

We earn our freedom every day.


Putin, Stop Now!

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Retreat! Go home! You’ve lost this war.
Stop murdering people, Ukrainians and your own.
The West will not stop supporting Ukrainians and we will not surrender to you or anyone.
We are a free people.
Russians are not.
You have failed. But you don’t have the decency to own up to it, and instead want to sacrifice more of your own brothers and sisters, while firing more missiles to Ukraine to destroy all you can and massacre as many as possible.
Pause when you’re looking at yourself in the mirror. Look carefully. Yours is the face of inhumanity and cruelty.
There’s no way back for you. If you dreamt of being revered as a great leader, you failed.
And you failed because you thought you could own other human beings, strip them of free speech and command them to obey you instead.
Those who resisted, you poisoned, incarcerated or killed.
That is you who are.
You have built nothing. You think your nuclear weapons will save you?
They will not.
Because if we give in to you now, we will have to give in tomorrow.
If you fire your nuclear weapons we will fire back.
If New York burns, then Moscow will burn.
And the Chinese know that if that happens, then Shanghai and Beijing will burn too, for the West cannot allow China to be left intact, for they are your accomplices and they will take advantage to dominate everyone they can. That is who the Chinese are at this stage of their development.
Look at them, just starting a big convention to reelect their dictator, Xi Jinping, to another 4 years. They’re very proud of their accomplishments.
So they won’t let you ruin things for them.
If they see you eager to fire on the West, then they’ll turn their nuclear weapons and point them at you, to keep you from destroying what they’ve worked hard to build.
They will not let you drive them to destruction.
You could have done something very different with Russia, a nation with so much talent and so many natural resources. But your ego needed to be fed and you convinced Russians that was a national priority.
It has taken them a while to realize that such deal was costly and at their expense.
But there’s still time for you to stop committing atrocities.
I’m sure Russians will let you enjoy retirement in peace. But they must act now.
It could be anyone stepping up and saying, ‘enough!’
It could be a member of your personal guard, stepping up and saying, ‘You have caused so much destruction, this can’t go on.’
Anyone, please, act now. Russians, you started it. Now stop it.
We earn our freedom every day.


Creators and Destroyers

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Both come into this world needing stimulation and nurture to be able to thrive.
From the start, the desire for friendship and love is felt by both.
Basic skills are soon acquired to function in the community.
But something begins to happen at about there.
The group one belongs to, has rules that should be followed to better manage the inevitable conflicts.
The Creator sees the benefit of it. The Destroyer starts to think, how can I get around them?
With the acquisition of work skills, the desire for personal autonomy gathers strength.
The realization that one need not be tied to one’s community of origin sets in and there is a large world out there that beckons.
Early in our existences two questions come forward to face us. What to do with our lives? What can we do best?
How we answer them will determine our futures.
The better responses will come if we’ve developed a good sense of self, which in turn flows from having had positive interactions with fellow human beings.
The Creator thinks in terms of improving themselves and earn the admiration of peers.
The Destroyer also thinks of their improvement, but with a twist – how to be feared and take advantage of others.
The Creator sees the need for deepening friendships.
The Destroyer sees the need for developing alliances.
I see envy as a key driver for the Destroyer. They asses, early on, that they are different, that they don’t have what Creators do but find that they can use them.
Shallow friendships would be the norm for the Destroyer, or else they’d betray their true nature.
While both busy themselves in the quest for advancement, the Destroyer never loses sight of
how to gain advantage over others.
Once Creators find a path for their strengths, they set about to improve themselves and, in doing so, enrich their communities by the services they render.
The Destroyer may have identified personal strengths they could develop, but what attracts them the most is the desire to manipulate and use people.
They may be aware of envy as a powerful motivator in their lives but, if they are, they choose to not wrestle with the emotion and learn how to manage it. The desire for control supersedes it.
Creators, in their commitment to their work, find meaning in their lives.
Destroyers may find meaning, too, but of a different kind, one filled with the power wrested from those who didn’t have the courage to follow their own paths.
In our world today, there are Destroyers in position of great influence. Some have become leaders of nations. Those who applaud them or have become their pawns, should ask themselves, ‘why did I choose to not find my own path? Now, each time I applaud the Destroyer I am saying, I am your accomplice, your vassal and instrument.’
Man earns his freedom every day.


The World is Changing Fast

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The Russian Army is retreating – unthinkable a few weeks ago – and Saudi Arabia just said to Biden, ‘take a hike, we’ll do what we have to do to keep our coffers filled, and if we help Putin get wealthier, you’ll just have to live with it.’ And they added, ‘we know how important affordable gas prices are to you, with the mid term elections coming up and inflation running high, but business is business, and if Republicans take over congress, well, too bad. You should have bowed to us last time you visited, instead of just giving us the fist bump.’
Oh, Saudi Arabians and gulf states, you’re one of a kind.
If it weren’t for us the mullahs in Iran would long ago have swallowed you up, and you’d be kneeling before the ayatollahs, that blessed group of folks that the heavens sent us.
But all is not well there now either. Iranian women, who have long put up with the absurdity of having to live with the head scarves, have been taking to the streets in blatant defiance.
Something about freedom spurs them on. They have only one life to live so why defer to the ruling clerics?
My hope is that the movement they’ve started will keep growing until it overthrows the theocracy. What a wonderful message would they be sending to the world. ‘Rise, sisters, rise! If men don’t give a damn about our unfreedom, then we’ll fight the fight ourselves.’
The heroic battle for freedom in Ukraine deserves much credit for the ongoing changes.
They are inspiring people all over the world, telling us, ‘do not be intimidated, speak out, do not let others cow you into submission.’
Putin’s barbaric invasion has awakened the West. And the West is discovering powers it didn’t know it had. They’re discovering that they can cooperate, join forces, put up with hardships and learn from what mistakes they’ve made.
Neither Putin nor China thought the West could learn how to do so.
Of course, they had been encouraged to think that way by Donald Trump, who somehow got it into his head that America could become an island and live happily ever after.
Now a new balance of power is being forged.
The West and its allies are finding that they will be able to face down China and slowly begin to diminish whatever reliance they now have on them.
An official in Singapore said sometime ago, ‘we don’t want to have to choose between one side and the other.’ But they may have to.
The stronger the West, the more they will be an inspiration for the Chinese people now living under the oppressive rule of the communist party, with their insistence on suppression of free speech and constant surveillance. The communist party just can’t trust their own.
The Chinese are looking at the world and seeing the debacle in Russia. They ask themselves, ‘How come, when Putin calls for people to be enlisted, so many of them run for the border to escape being sent to fight in Ukraine? Isn’t there glory in fighting for your country?’
Not if you’ve not been allowed to have your own voice, like Putin has done in Russia and Xi Jinping is doing in China.
The powerful engines of the internet have helped spread the notion of freedom. Men and women all over the world want to hear their thoughts, want to hear the sound of what they think and share it with others. And they don’t want to live feeling intimidated by their leaders.
Instead, leaders of nations should be agents of change, people with the gift to free their brothers and sisters.
So fight on, brave Iranian women, fight on brave dissident Russians and dissident Chinese. Your time is now. No one should restrict your freedom.


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.’
Then a gun shot rings in the night.


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!’


Hate Russia?

Photo by Ilya Lisauskas on Pexels.com

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.