Why Putin Will go to War

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

One. He clearly sees the divisiveness in the West. Germany is ‘uncomfortable’ providing weapons to Ukraine, supposedly because they started WWII and they have all that angst weighing on them. But it must not weigh on Germans that much because they sell arms to Egypt which is run by a dictator. Oh, but they did contribute 500 helmets to the alliance’s efforts. Terrific. Never mind that thousands of Ukrainians are about to die to satisfy Putin’s ambitions.

Two. Putin controls the supply of natural gas to Europe, and Europeans are loath to inconvenience themselves with shortages. Businesses will put all manner of pressure on politicians to quickly submit to the great Putin. All the while saying, ‘Why, he just wants Russians to have a little more space to stretch.’

Three. Putin is convinced the sanctions the West will impose when Russia invades will not last because of the above.

Four. Russia’s economy gets support from China who, for now, will buy enough of their energy supplies to bolster their invasion of the Ukraine. In today’s papers, a senior Chinese official came out urging America to ‘calm down.’ As in, don’t get too excited, it’s just the Ukraine. Surely the Chinese statement was prompted by Biden’s decision to send troops to the border with Russia. Of course, China is all in for their ally Putin, and eager to disrupt the US-EU alliance.

Five. Putin doesn’t give a damn. He has little regard for human life. Remember the Malasyia Airliner Flight 17 shot down on July 17th 2014 as it flew near the Ukrainian-Russian border on its way to Kuala Lumpur? It was brought down by a Buk missile fired by Ukrainian dissidents and supplied by Russia. A Dutch-Australian investigation put the blame squarely on Russia but they denied any involvement. 283 passengers and 15 crew members were killed.

The good news today is that Putin was disappointed by the written response to his requests provided 2 days ago by the US-EU alliance. Good. The West is maintaining a firm stance and that is a strong deterrent. Still, for the reasons above, Putin will invade anyway. It’s his gift to the Russian people. ‘We will reestablish dominance over territories formerly in the Soviet Union and push westward.’

So it’s Biden, the leader of the Free World, against Putin, the leader of the Un Free World.

(China doesn’t have as many nuclear warheads as Russia and the US but it’s working on it)

Oscar Valdes.   Oscarvaldes.net, apple and google podcasts and buzzsprout

Biden’s New Multicolored Cabinet

There it is. Resplendent with possibility. The Cabinet members to be entrusted with carrying out the business of the nation. And for the first time ever, it will be made up of people representing the vastness of our population.

The selection process is not complete and we already have in place Hispanic Americans, African Americans, East Asian Americans, Native Americans with more to come. And it is to be a cabinet with a balance of men and women reflecting who we are. A cabinet that implicitly accepts that nature is very democratic in assigning ability even as human prejudice repeatedly attempts to thwart the process.

Joe Biden is staying true to his promise to govern the nation with all of the nation, not just White Americans.

These appointees are all men and women of merit who would not have had a chance to rise had it not been for Biden’s commitment to diversity.

He got elected because he appealed to that diversity, the many sections of the nation that had been bypassed because of the color of their skin.

Now they have a chance to shine and they will.

And what an example to the world.

At a time when nationalist movements rage against the influx of immigrants, Joe Biden is saying, ‘yes, we are a nation of immigrants and we will remain a nation of immigrants.’

Biden is saying it loudly, confident that his choices will deliver for him and for America.

Those talents were always there but owing to a sense of entitlement by the White majority, those talents were blocked, relegated or ignored.

In business, in the sciences, in entrepreneurship and the many other walks of life, diverse Americans as well as immigrants of color from all over the world were blossoming and enriching the nation that welcomed them. But the dominant majority would not let them have access to help guide the nation.

Now the time has come.

If sections of White America are resentful that they have been held back, then they have to examine themselves to see why it is that it happened while their own kind were in power.

And so in other nations across the world now confronting the rise of nationalism who choose to attempt to block the contributions of immigrants, i.e. Britain, Poland, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands.

Joe Biden’s cabinet will be a transformational cabinet, because of his inclusiveness.

And he will not be disappointed. The men and women of diverse origins will not let him down.

They will strive to shine just as Barack Obama did when he was chosen as the first African American head of state.

This multicolored cabinet will have far reaching consequences and so become a formidable catalyst for human powers eager to contribute to this great land.

Oscar Valdes   oscarvaldes.net   oscarvaldes.medium.com oscar valdes@widehumr

Biden because…

We need to restore sanity to America,

We must have a president who will not shirk from confronting a foreign leader,

A president who is not preoccupied with every criticism that is made of him and who can think before he tweets,

We need a president who is comfortable with thinking and reflecting,

Who is open to having the best people around him, regardless of what party they’re affiliated with,

We must have a president who can hear a dissenting view,

A person who values independent thought, men and women who can stand on their own and choose to serve the nation out of a sense of patriotism rather than personal gain, men and women who’re not quick to say, ‘yes, mr president, of course you’re right, sir, absolutely right, you’re the greatest, the most wonderful human being I’ve ever met,’

We need a leader with the courage to address the nation in the face of abject cruelty, as when George Floyd was murdered in public view, and then step out and denounce the abuse of power and stand and grieve with the rest of us,

We need a leader who believes in science, who doesn’t feel diminished because he has to wear a mask,

We must have a leader who doesn’t lie to us, repeatedly, shamelessly,

A president with the courage to not blame China for the enormous losses of life we’ve suffered and who not once has said he takes responsibility for any of it.

In his view, whatever he does, is a masterful move.

We need Biden because he’s committed to bringing women to the center of our political world,

Women, who in this land of the free, have not been elected to the presidency or vice presidency in 231 years, yet all the while they’ve been nurturing men, educating, strengthening, helping to guide us, inspiring and comforting us, and we have the gall to turn around and deny them the right to control their bodies and to not think they are fit to lead.

We need Biden because in bringing women to power, he opens the door for them to govern the nation for the next 50 consecutive years, at least, and so make it possible to have racial and gender equality in our land.

Men simply could not do the job and need to move aside and let women do it.

We need Biden to reach out to the president’s supporters and remind them that we must sit down and have a dialogue,

We need Biden, who will tell the president’s supporters that they are essential in the struggle to improve our nation,

We need Biden

To remind us of our true powers, and that this is not the time to step back from acting with concern for the plight of the downtrodden anywhere in the world, for their suffering is ours too. Embrace it and we will embrace our own, and as we do brighten the flame of hope that has always lived in our hearts and minds.

So, go Joe, go Kamala,

Fight for our land as you know how,

And let not the winds of hatred and envy blight our future

Oscar Valdes     oscarvaldes.net     oscarvaldes@widehumr

As Election Day Approaches

There is an oppressiveness that hangs in the air in our nation today. The oppressiveness of having in the White House a man with no interest in building bridges to unite us.

He is a president in name but not a leader.

He is a man who has failed repeatedly to stand up against racial injustice.

He is a man who has done profound harm to the nation by not siding with science in our struggles against the pandemic.

The notion of freedom that is so dear to us, is perverted by a man who doesn’t have the basic decency to acknowledge his limitations.

This is a man who could not stand up to Vladimir Putin on July 16th 2018 when, after meeting with the Russian tyrant, failed to confront him and say to his face that our intelligence agencies had solid evidence of Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election. Our president said, instead, that while he believed our intelligence agencies, he also believed Putin’s denial of involvement.

Our president is the man who could not confront the Saudis when ample evidence was offered by Turkey (and confirmed by our agencies) that Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist with the Washington Post who was critical of the Saudi regime, had been brutally murdered and hacked in the Saudi embassy in Ankara.

Our president is the man who could not step up and speak loudly against police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year. The video showing the officer pressing his knee against Mr Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes as he lay handcuffed on the ground, was not enough to move the president to be outraged with the rest of us and grieve the loss of a fellow American.

Instead, when protests followed, he summoned security forces to clear the area in front of a church near the White House so he could pose for the cameras while holding a bible.

Never mind attempting to reach within himself to find the decency to stand up for the downtrodden.

Our president stands as a symbol of shallowness, of contempt for our basic liberties, contempt for the sacrifice our soldiers have made in defense of our land, as when he was quoted making derogatory statements of men and women fallen in battle.

And yet, some people are still willing to vote for him.

The 1930s and 40s saw the rise of the extreme Right in the world (Germany, Italy, Japan). In Germany and Italy it took the form of a clown posing as a leader and a population allowing itself to believe they were better than the rest of humanity. The misery, the atrocities perpetrated as a result stand as a record of our propensity to deny what is in front of our eyes.

But it keeps happening.

There was a moment, years ago, when I remember thinking that I had already watched enough movies about the Holocaust. I was wrong. We need to keep making them, again and again, while adding works about the new cruelties we keep inflicting and witnessing; the genocide in Cambodia under Pol Pot, the massacres in Rwanda, the plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar, the forced confinement of Uighurs in China, the ongoing mistreatment of minorities throughout the world.

And yet, the other day I saw a frontpage article in the Wall Street Journal about a wealthy farmer in one of our northern states. He argued in support of the president, and that doing so would ensure that taxes and regulations would stay down. ‘We have to take the good with the bad.’ To the gentleman, his economic concerns were enough to override everything else. That is the same restricted mentality that leads to the rise of extremism everywhere.

Closer to home, yesterday I made a call to a friend and casually asked, ‘you voted yet?’, and the friend replied, ‘I don’t vote.’ I was dumbfounded. ‘I don’t like either candidate,’ the friend continued.

‘But wait,’ I pleaded, ‘the preservation of our liberties requires that we exercise choice, you may not like either of the candidates but surely there are advantages to choosing one over the other.’ ‘Don’t insist, I’m not voting,’ came the reply. I said no more. But today, I left a text urging the person to please reconsider.

I remember reading once that nations deserved their leaders. Without bothering to properly reflect on the meaning of the sentence, I repeated it to an old Cuban émigré who had served several years in prison under Castro. He politely disagreed. ‘We didn’t deserve Castro,’ he said, his expression revealing the pain he’d endured in the struggle for liberty in his land.

Do we deserve our current president? No. But let us not prolong the oppressiveness under which we now live, or we might forget what the sweet scent of liberty feels like.

One last thought. My heartfelt thanks to all the campaign volunteers who keep reaching out to persuade the undecided, the men and women who keep making call after call to motivate the apathetic and disinterested, our fellow citizens who seem to have no clue as to what it takes to preserve our freedoms.

Oscar Valdes     oscarvaldes.net     oscarvaldes@widehumr

Tips to Manage the Loss of the Presidency

Accept your limitations. You are not God, even if your supporters sometimes treat you as one.

The pain of the loss will be great at first but gradually will ease.

Talk to yourself. ‘I made mistakes, tried the best I could given what I have.’

‘I forgive myself for all my imperfections and promise to do better.’

Seek the company of your loved ones. Thank them for all their help.

Remind yourself that you are one of a very select group of people.

As soon as you learn that the vote favored your opponent, concede. This is very important. To be graceful in loss. Call the winner, wish them the best and offer your assistance. The nation will remember you fondly for it.

If you begin to think hostile thoughts, seek the advice of psychiatrists/psychologists from Walter Reed Hospital. You are human. Human beings get angry in loss.

Do not make any rash decisions. For the sake of the nation, consult and consult again before making choices.

Exercise. Go for long walks. Dance with your partner. Sing your favorite song.

You will laugh again. At yourself and at the world.

There is life after the presidency.

Watch comfort foods. They can pack the pounds very quickly.

When or if foreign leaders call to express sympathy, ask them to support the new President.

Consider an executive order establishing the office of the psychiatrist/psychologist to the President. A part time job. A few hours a week. So the incumbent can drop by to chat about whatever is on their mind. Records of such sessions to be kept confidential for 100 years.

Good luck.

Oscar Valdes    oscarvaldes.net    oscar valdes@widehumr

Try For A Graceful Exit, Mr Trump

I hope that it is becoming clearer to you that the end is near. And it isn’t Joe and Kamala that are defeating you. It is you, defeating yourself.

You took a hammer to yourself and beat up your presidency. With the whole world watching.

On the surface you were gloating in the adoration of your followers at your rallies, but you knew you were hammering down that chisel to deepen the divisions between us.

And you couldn’t stop yourself. Or chose not to.

You could have said, ‘there are so many talented people in this country, all of whom could make an important contribution to my own view, why am I thinking that it is only the side I’m comfortable with that I should be seeking counsel from?’

It was such a basic question.

Simply to ask it would have been an act of moral and intellectual courage.

Did you ever ask it? Ever?

The problems we’ve been facing have been thorny ones. Dealing with them has been deferred by earlier Presidents, but when your turn came and the going got tough, you decided to file for bankruptcy. Which is what you’re familiar with. Debits going up faster that credits?

File for bankruptcy.

You’re not comfortable dealing with people who have dissenting views.

They upset you too easily. And rather than process that dissent in the effort to find common ground, you get angry.

Processing dissent with others calls for a willingness to consider that it is you who may be wrong. That maybe it is you not having the balanced take on the given matter. Which is okay because none of us are perfect. And simply posing the question will move us along on the road to reaching the greater truth.

You can’t file for bankruptcy when dealing with national matters. There is no such option.

People who voted for you thought, ‘well, he’s been a businessman – made and lost millions – he will know how to lead us.’ As if it was all about debits and credits. All about accounting ledgers. In their despair to find solutions, your supporters settled for the easy choice.

And you became President.

But leadership in its enlightened view is not about debits and credits but about guiding human beings, stirring up their energies and directing them to work with their brothers and sisters toward common goals.

Leadership, in its enlightened view, is not about ‘I am better than you’. Rather, it is about finding the best in each other.

To do that you have to know who you are. To do that you have to have struggled to find the best in you.

You started on that road a long time ago but then stopped. But a leader for a complex nation as ours cannot stop the process of self discovery. Stopping is filing for bankruptcy.

The leading of this nation does not allow for bankruptcy filing when facing difficult problems.

Take the matter of race. You could have said to your followers, ‘folks… there’s all of us in here, White, Black, Native Americans, Indian, Asian, Hispanics and shadings in between, and like the great variety of races there’s a great variety of opinions, and during my administration there will be an open debate on everything… and I will be listening, so I can grow wiser and my judgment becomes more balanced. I ask you, please join me in this journey of self discovery.’

But you couldn’t do it. Or you refused to.

Now time has passed and history has been written.

All of us will be learning from your mistakes as we learn from ours. We have to if we want to be the better nation we’ve always wanted to be.

As you come to the end of your term, please try to find in yourself to be graceful in defeat.

Look at it this way. Being graceful in defeat is a way of being kind to yourself. As if you were saying, ‘I tried my best, now let others try their best.’

We know you like to fight. That has been clear. But you have yet to fight the greater fight, the one that will let the better you, shine through.

Good luck, Mr Trump.

Oscar Valdes    

oscarvaldes.net    oscar valdes@widehumr

You’re a Tribal Leader, Mr Trump. Give it Up!

Accept it. You don’t have the capacity to be a President to all of us.

It’s not in you.

You tried.

You can be a leader to a segment of the nation, and even then, only a temporary leader, because the really transformational leaders are able to connect with their followers so they can learn what it is that has held them back and then do something about it. Truly transformational leaders empower people.

But you can’t do that. It’s beyond you.

So let someone else do it.

You gave it a try. You have left your imprint in the nation’s history books. An imprint that we have to pay close attention to so we won’t repeat the same mistake.

You’re a gifted man in many ways, but not to be our President.

Stay with what you’re good at. Television, for instance.

You made money on ‘The Apprentice.’ Why not try a new show and call it ‘The President.’? (first proposed on blog of 10/6/20)

You would get a chance to rewrite history to suit your purposes and make a buck as you do.

You could do several episodes on your version of what led to your impeachment. And you could have Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Duterte, the Saudi prince come in to make guest appearances and tell us about their own version of history.

(Poor history, it gets beat up and twisted around every day)

Now, if you really wanted to run for office again, then you have to be willing to do some learning.

Try a run for governor somewhere. How about Texas? They may want you. They are Red enough. And the present governor may not mind becoming your second in command.

See, you took too big a leap running for President, got lucky but ended up burdening us with your poor choices.

Now that you’ve shown all your cards, whoever chooses you next will know exactly what they’re getting into.

If you go with Texas, then you’ll have Ted Cruz as one of your senators. The both of you can have breakfast together every Sunday. Pretty cool, right? And you’d have miles and miles of border where you can go and put up all kind of walls to keep people from coming in. Maybe you’ll even find a way to make money at that, too.

Since you’re a vigorous man, you could be governor until you’re tired of it.

So, to sum up, yes, you’re a leader, but a tribal one. And that’s okay. For a while. Because even a tribe gets tired of not learning something that will empower them.

One request. Please do us a favor: be mature and restrained when you’re asked to vacate the White House so Biden can move in. We will remember you more fondly.

Good luck. Wishing you the best in your next adventure.

Oscar Valdes. Oscarvaldes.net. Follow in Twitter – oscar valdes@widehumr

What Will Bring Us Together?

The divisions between us have existed all along, but they had been neglected by our leaders.

Trump saw his chance and made the most of it.

Crafty fellow that he is, he assessed the circumstances and thought to himself, ‘I can do something with that. I can stir that pot to my advantage.’ And oh, he did it so well.

One for the record books.

There has been much pain and acrimony from all that the man has put us through, but he may have done us a favor.

The favor of exposing how vulnerable we are to the devices of a demagogue. Demagogue, as in a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims, to gain power (Webster’s).

Yes, he did it.

But we can learn from it.

Ideally, we should start on that process right away.

Biden has made it a chief theme of his campaign. Overcoming our divisions.

It won’t be easy but it’s a journey we should embrace.

It would require a little self reflection, an acknowledging that no one owns the truth, and that in compromise lies the key to a successful resolution of our major differences. Never mind the small ones. There will be time for those later.

Having a leader steering us through the healing process will be essential. Biden is uniquely qualified for the role of Healer in chief. He’s been preparing for the task a lifetime and is willing to invest the years he has left to guide us through the process.

We should take him up on it.

Of course, we can always ignore him, hoping for yet another demagogue to show up down the road – there’s no shortage of demagogues in waiting – but we would be prolonging our pain.

There is, however, another way to come together as a nation. It is cruder and more traumatic but it works too. That is to wait for an outside force to threaten us.

Nazi Germany and the Axis nations united us. We knew that we had better pull together or, eventually, we would end up being their vassals.

There is no prospect for another Nazi Germany today. And Russia is starting a process of renewal.

So which nation could threaten us into uniting? China.

They are rising fast and aim to be the leader of the world. Why not? A divided America only makes it easier for them.

So wouldn’t it be less painful and more productive to go the Biden way?

Settling our differences without an outside threat would be a sign of national maturity.

We can do it. We ought to.

And this is the time

Oscar Valdes is the author of Psychiatrist for A Nation and other books. Available on Amazon.


Trump May Need Help

There are reasons to be keenly observant of his mental condition. The President has recently made wild allegations, calling Kamala Harris a communist and spoken of indicting Joe Biden. There was also talk of bringing the troops from Afghanistan to be better able to fight China.

Is he becoming paranoid?

While he has been known to be unpredictable, the situation is now different because he is recovering from CoVid 19, a condition that affects the brain. He appears to be bouncing back, but he’s still infected and is presently taking steroids, which are known to impair mental functioning.

Trump is a vigorous man with a great deal of energy that puts him in the hypomanic category.

But he is also under tremendous pressure, both financially and politically.

The political factor is the heaviest burden.

He is behind significantly in the polls and the gap is growing.

His performance in office has been poor and yet he nurtures the fiction that he has been a great President. The very likely defeat on November 3rd would be a tremendous blow to his already battered ego. It is reasonable to believe that he is already anticipating the loss but has much trouble accepting it which increases the possibility of his striking out impulsively.

As things stand, consideration ought to be given to tapering him off the steroid, if it hasn’t been done already, while simultaneously considering the addition of an antimanic agent.

I am not sure if the staff at Walter Reed, who has competently taken care of him, has consulted with their department of Psychiatry. If not, this should be done as soon as possible.

Even if the President would be opposed to an examination, if a consensus of psychiatrists deemed it appropriate, such recommendation needs to be made public, given the enormous consequences for the nation of a poor decision on Mr Trump’s part.

Meanwhile, an independent body of experts, drawn from our prestigious medical centers, such as Stanford, the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Mayo Clinic, ought to be convened to monitor his behavior from afar and give their considered opinion when indicated.

The stakes are very high.

We must act.

Oscar Valdes


Harris Beats Pence

In last night’s debate, Kamala Harris attacked early and kept it up through the 90 minute exchange. She did it elegantly, firmly and with a smile for good measure.

The most consistent feature in Pence’s performance was his long windedness, repeatedly going over his time limit, causing the very polite lady moderator to keep insisting, ‘Please Mr Vice President, please,’ which Pence kept ignoring as if entitled to it, no doubt making sure that the audience knew that he would copy Mr Trump’s style, regardless of propriety.

It reminded me of the time Pence paid a visit to the Mayo Clinic some months ago. While escorted by a group of doctors who all wore masks, he chose not to.

Something about the Trump Pence administration and science. Oil and water.

‘Biden is raising your taxes!’ said Pence last night, as if he had found the magic words to bury his rival.

Harris calmly replied, looking straight into the camera, ‘Biden is raising taxes on people earning over 400 thousand.’

Pence again, ‘Biden is raising your taxes!’

‘Biden is raising taxes on people earning over 400 thousand.’ repeated Harris, unruffled.

In response to a question about fighting systemic racism in America, Harris gives a clear answer. Yes, the Biden administration was making it a high priority.

Pence replies, ‘There’s no systemic racism in the country…’

No systemic racism? Which country are you living in Mr Pence?

Harris was steady, confident, purposeful. The democratic side may not have all the answers but they are willing to work with the opposition to find them.

That is not what the Trump Pence administration has done and is the reason they have botched their chance at making a difference.

Harris had many salient moments, one of which was when she proudly defended the Obamacare health program’s coverage of people with preexisting conditions. Trump Pence have fought the program during their entire term, while offering nothing better in its place. But whatever they came up with, people with preexisting conditions would lose out.

So Harris made her point. ‘People with preexisting conditions? That is you (the viewer) they’re coming after, yes, you,’ she said with verve.

Whatever Pence said in reply was unforgettable except for his going over his speaking limit, finally prompting the very kind moderator to say, ‘Please Mr Vice President, we have agreed to rules to be able to hold this debate,’ or something to that effect.

Surely Trump was proud of him.

And so it is, folks. Twenty six days left before election day. One hundred and four till Biden Harris are inaugurated.

We’re making it happen. You and me. And if you can, watch the debates. It’s not the same to read about it. Writers have filters of their own. Please vote. And God bless America.

Oscar Valdes