Two Violent Videos

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On the night of 1/7/23, Tyre Nichols, 29, a FedEx employee, was stopped by the police in Hickory Hill, a mostly Black neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee, the reported motive being reckless driving.
Mr Nichols was brutally beaten and died three days later at a hospital.
Yesterday, the authorities released the video they put together, a composite from body cameras worn by officers and from another camera affixed to a nearby light pole.
From the very start, the officer going up to Mr Nichols to pull him out of his vehicle shows a disregard for decency, his manner being overly aggressive.
Mr Nichols is pushed to the ground and the beating starts.
I heard Mr Nichols’ voice pleading, ‘I’ve done nothing wrong,’ to which there was no verbal reply from the officers – five in total – just more beatings instead.
I tried to imagine myself in the victim’s place and thought I would’ve lain very still in the hope the beatings stopped. But it wasn’t me getting punched repeatedly. It wasn’t me in despair and fearing I’d be killed.
Then Mr Nichols gets up and starts running off. The officers jump in their patrol cars and catch him a distance away. Then the beating intensifies.
I thought he shouldn’t have run but stayed put.
But it wasn’t me getting punched again and again.
I wanted to scream STOP! PLEASE! TALK TO THE MAN! LISTEN!
Turns out Mr Nichols had been running in the direction of his mother’s home who lives nearby. He wanted her help. At one point, as he lay on the ground, he calls out to her, ‘Mom?’.
But that didn’t end the punching.
What were they doing? Who were they hitting? Whose approval were they looking for?
The senselessness of their brutality made me wonder, what demons possessed the officers that they needed to punch out the life of a defenseless man, a fellow Black man. Guilty of what?
Running a light? Reckless driving?
No thought was given to how disproportionate their response was.
It was more important to beat the life out of a man that let him run away. There was no thought given to the effects of the harm they were doing. Were they angry at themselves? Who were they trying to impress?
And the beatings went on.
And then, at the end, as Mr Nichols lay still on the ground, his head propped up against the wheel of the patrol car, one of the officers steps front, facing a camera. He seemed satisfied with himself. As if saying, ‘we’ve done our job, we did what he had to do. We got him.’
The officer didn’t know yet that the 5 of them had succeeded in killing Mr Nichols.
Over what? I don’t think he even knew by then. But Mr Nichols died 3 days later.
The 5 officers have been dismissed from their jobs and charged with 2nd degree murder.
But what about their superiors, what are they being charged with?
Because the higher ups failed these officers. These are not just bad apples that we can just toss out. These men’s behavior are expression of a culture of abuse and disregard for human life, even of self hatred, because you don’t go on hitting and hitting another human being if you give a damn about yourself.
If the officers were out on patrol then their superiors who allowed it didn’t bother to check if they were fit to be responsible police officers or just didn’t care.
So the higher ups need to resign too, and charged accordingly.
What’s happened to the spirit of George Floyd, is he now just a memory?
Wasn’t his story going to reverberate through every police department in the nation to not let an absurdity like this senseless killing happen again?
Sadly, the deaths keep mounting.
Would adding members of the community to police patrols make a difference? Lay people who would act as a conscience for the officers? Who knows. But we have to try something.
We’re bleeding here. And not just in Memphis.
Mr Nichols’ mother has called for the community to not protest her son’s killing with violence, for that was not what her son stood for. Thank you for those word, dear lady. And my sympathy to you in your grief.

Yesterday, another violent video was released by the courts. On October 28th 2022, Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi’s husband, was assaulted in his home in San Francisco by a man who had broken into it in the middle of the night. Mr Pelosi, in his 80s, is heard calling for help in a 911 call and then, as the police arrives, trying to keep the intruder from hitting him with a hammer.
The video captures the scene when the intruder launches into his attack of Mr Pelosi who suffered a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm as a result.
The intruder in now in custody.
The man had forced his way into the residence looking for Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House of Representatives and a leading democrat, but she was not there.
The attack on Mr Pelosi could’ve been deadly.
Immediately after the assault was made public, leading politicians from the Right and Left, including Mitch McConnell, Minority leader in the Senate, denounced it.
Mr Trump was interviewed a day or two afterwards but could not find the moral strength to add his voice to the outrage.
Instead, as I remember, he said the assailant was likely invited into the home by Mr Pelosi.
Since then, Mr Trump has announced his intention to run for president a third time.
To date, in spite his behavior, including the inciting of the Capitol Hill riot on January 6th 2021, he still commands allegiance from both Senators and Representatives in the Republican party.

Something is wrong.

Power Seduces…

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Because we’re not doing our homework.
Not coming into our own powers.
It’s something all of us must do. A task all human beings are confronted with.
Each one of us has to think hard on it and choose how to get there.
To not come into our powers or not be on the road to do so is to flunk out of life.
Coming into our powers also requires taking time to form political opinions about the world we live in and who is ruling us.
When Putin ordered the conscription of hundreds of thousands of his citizens to go and kill Ukrainians he was counting on people who, for one reason or another, had put off doing the homework of coming into their powers.
Tens of thousands, maybe more, saw the conscription order coming and fled. They did so quickly because they knew that the invasion of Ukraine was Putin’s war, not Russia’s war.
They acted promptly because they were accustomed to thinking, and to a Russian who does so, the war on Ukraine doesn’t add up.
Ukraine had been fighting Russian sympathizers in the East – the Donbas area – since 2014, but they were fighting in their own land, to reclaim their stolen territory. Ukraine was not a threat to Russia itself.
But Putin needed a war. He needed a war to soothe his aching ego, aching because he had failed to lead his country to a position of world leadership, in spite of having ample natural resources and human capital.
Frustrated with his lack of capacity to lead as a statesman, he decides that occupying a neighbor nation will grant him world standing. No need to discuss it with his people. On his own, he decides what the fate of hundreds of thousands of his citizens should be.
Prior to the war there was no open discussion of what problems Ukraine may have posed.
When you’re a dictator you skip the consultation and discussion part. You just do what you feel like doing. Russian lives were and are at his disposal.
And so an officer assigned to do the enlisting knocks on the door of the home of a potential recruit.
‘Where’s Ilya?’
The potential recruit’s mother answers. ‘He’s at work, learning to be a carpenter. Why do you ask?’
‘His country needs him.’
‘I had heard you might be coming… and Ilya and I discussed it. He’s only 21 and loves building things… creating things. Look, on the shelf behind me, those figurines… I love the ballet dancer, it’s a copy of a famous sculpture by Degas, the French sculptor, which he saw in a museum in St Petersburg. I took him there. He never forgot it. He carved it out of wood. Isn’t it beautiful? He’s so young. He’s just coming into his powers, but he’s not interested in politics. Not yet.’
‘His country needs him.’
‘Russia needs carpenters, too.’
‘Madam… I’m just following orders. Ukrainians don’t want to surrender so we need to force them.’
‘Putin says that, I know. But what did they do to us?’
‘Madam, I don’t have all day, I have other people to see and recruit.’
‘I think there should be courses on political education starting in grammar school… so children learn early on how to choose a political leader. Do you have children?’
‘I do.’
‘How old are they?’ asks Ilya’s mom.
‘He’s nineteen.’
‘Will he be enlisting, too?’
‘No, madam. He’s enrolled at university.’
‘Does that make him better than my son? Russia needs carpenters, too.’
‘Look, madam, I don’t have time to argue with you, Putin says Russia needs Ilya to go into Ukraine. I’m going to leave you the address where he must go. If he doesn’t show up he’ll be in violation of the law.’
‘Every country needs political education early on… so we choose better leaders.’
‘Madam, I’m just following orders. Tell Ilya Russia needs him now. And to show up tomorrow to the recruitment center. Do not disobey this order.’
Ilya’s mother nods distractedly.
‘Is that all?’
‘Yes. You need to tell him, understood?’
She nods again.
‘Will he be there?’
‘It’s up to him.’
‘If he doesn’t show up he’ll be in violation of the law and will be imprisoned.’
‘Better to be imprisoned than being shot at.’
‘This is an order from Putin. Ilya must comply.’
She looks off as she nods.
‘Is that all?’
‘Yes. Have a good day.’
He leaves and she closes the door.
She stands there for a moment, then says, ‘I never thought I’d ask my son to leave Russia.’

In America, to consent to be ruled by a man like Trump is to not have exercised our powers to think. To consent to his rule is to have been intimidated by a blow hard and his accomplices.

In America’s state of Georgia’s election for the Senate, taking place today, Raphael Warnock will beat Herschel Walker, former football player and Trump avatar. (This one is easy)

Biden Dreams

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He had a hectic day dealing with both national and foreign affairs but as he was usually able to do, when it was time to go to sleep, he could do so without difficulty.
It was the rare occasion when he could not.
Then it came to him. The dream.
He had entered a room where there were a few empty tables. It looked like a restaurant where customers had already left. But at one table near the end of the room, there was this lone man seated with his back to him.
Something about the shape of the man’s head and the contours of his upper body were strangely familiar. Biden was sure he knew the person.
He advanced toward him, determined to find out who the man was.
As he neared the table the man turned around and looked up at him.
It was Bobby Kennedy.
Biden gasped.
Kennedy rose and the two men embraced.
‘Have a seat,’ said Kennedy.
Biden sat down next to him. ‘I’m delighted to see you.’
‘I am, too. You’ve done a good job,’ said Kennedy.
‘Thank you, Bobby.’
‘The pullout from Afghanistan was necessary, painful though it was.’
‘It was difficult, yes, but I had the strong sense the matter had to be resolved so I could focus ahead.’
Kennedy nodded supportively. ‘It’s been a good term.’
‘Glad you think so, too.’
‘Looking back,’ continues Kennedy, ‘maybe too much money was spent on assistance during the pandemic… which contributed to this inflation you’re having to deal with… but hindsight is easy.’
‘I think it was the right thing to do, Bobby. We’ll get through it.’
Biden puts a hand on Kennedy’s shoulder.
‘It’s good to see you, man. You’ve aged but you look good’.
‘You do, too,’ replies Kennedy.
The two men pause as they look at each other.
‘You didn’t come just to say hello, did you?’ says Biden.
‘You’re right,’ returns Kennedy.
‘Do you think I should run again?’
‘No.’
Biden lowers his head.
‘Joe, you have done a terrific job… creating a united front to defend against Putin… injecting vigor into combating climate change… stepping up for the working class… bolstering our investment in tech industries… squaring with China… and in the next two years you’ll do so much more that you will leave a clear mark in the history of our nation. A mark of excellence, Joe. Without a doubt.’
‘Thank you, Bobby.’
‘But age is age, Joe… and it is ruthless. It does not spare anyone.’
Biden nods slowly, as he looks away for a moment.
‘I wish… if I hadn’t been assassinated and gone on to win the election, to have served as well as you have.’
Filled with emotion, Biden reaches out to Kennedy’s hand and gives it a squeeze.
‘You have always been an inspiration to me.’
‘Thank you. You have united the Democratic party, Joe, that’s a strength to build on. Republicans, on the other hand, are badly divided. And Trump’s running will make it worse. It’s unbelievable that a sitting president incited an attack on the Capitol and has not denounced Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.’
‘Nor will he, it’s not in him,’ puts in Biden.
‘His flaws are glaring. The 2024 presidential election should go to a democrat… but
by then you’ll be 82. You are healthy but the perception of old age will affect the voters.’
Biden stares off.
‘I would’ve liked to serve two terms…’
‘But you were vice president for 8 years…’
Biden nods again.
‘There are a lot of good people in the party waiting to hear from you,’ continues Kennedy.
‘You think I’d be challenged in the primaries if I decide to run again?’ says Biden.
‘I believe you would be challenged… adding another stress on you, on top of everything you now have to handle. Instead, if you announce that you won’t be running, that will give other people plenty of time to step up and start to organize. It takes time.’
They look at each other.
Biden smiles. ‘I wouldn’t know what to do with myself…’
Kennedy smiles, too. ‘There will be plenty of things for you to do. And much appreciation for your wisdom’
Now Biden wakes up.
He looks around. The dream was so vivid that it brings tears to his eyes. He always admired Bobby Kennedy.
Through the window he sees that it’s still dark outside.
Jill is next to him, sleeping comfortably.
Biden swings his legs to sit at the edge of the bed. He rubs his face and looks straight ahead.
‘One term… but a damn good term.’

Voted

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Voted earlier this morning. There was a light drizzle out that faded after a while.
Well organized event. Amazing technology and it keeps improving. The volunteers were courteous and helpful. I enjoy voting in person.
The smooth end result takes a lot of work from a lot of people. People committed to the democratic process. I am deeply grateful to the staff and made a point of congratulating them.
Attention turns now to what the results will be.
My hope is that the democratic side wins and retains control of both houses.
Do I think Republicans can do a better job than Democrats? Not at all.
I can’t think of one thing where Republicans – in their present state – can do better than Democrats.
I say in their present state because the Republican party has been deeply impaired by Mr Trump and his followers.
Mr Trump incited a riot on January 6th 2021, because he wanted to manipulate the electoral vote to favor him.
He was prevented from doing so but, to this day, aside from the courageous Liz Cheney and a few others, there has not been a sizeable protest from other Republicans stating ‘Mr Trump attempted to subvert democracy by force. He is not qualified to hold office.’ Something of the kind stating the facts.
The majority of Republicans have been silent.
Just because of that they don’t deserve a turn at governing this nation. Not until they clean up their act and apologize to America.
But there are few signs of that happening.
In the state of Georgia, a former football player is running neck and neck against a seasoned and committed defender of the rights of citizens. Unbelievable.
The football player has no history of political involvement. He is in the race because Trump thought his name would attract voters. And, of course, the gentleman would do exactly as Trump wants him to do. Every time.
Recently, Paul Pelosi, the husband of Nancy Pelosi, Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, was nearly killed by a man who broke into their home looking for his wife with the intent of knocking out her kneecaps. She was not in.
Has there been a wave of outrage at such an action by Republicans? No.
Did Mr Trump publicly speak out condemning it? Not either. He thought it was fake.
And yet he is still a prominent leader of the party and is expected to announce his candidacy to again become president in 2024.
Unbelievable. There is a wave of gullibility going through the Republican party and they can’t stop it. The enlightened wing of their party has chosen to not put up a fight.
That’s not cool at all.
There is nothing or no one in the present Republican party that offers any worthwhile ideas for governing our country. Their submission to Trump is pathetic.
God Bless America.

We earn our freedom every day.

The Attack on Nancy Pelosi’s Husband

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There were many expressions of outrage at the attack, the assailant using a hammer that Mr Pelosi, 82, was able to fend off until he was overwhelmed by the younger man and suffered serious injuries from the blows, including a skull fracture. Mr Pelosi was very clever when, upon encountering the intruder who was searching for his wife, Nancy, said he needed to go to the bathroom where his phone was charging. From there he called 911.
If the police had not been so prompt in responding, Mr Pelosi would probably have been killed. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, was not at home. Otherwise, she would have been dead.
Some of the condemnations of the attack called for a ‘lowering of the temperature’ in our heated political exchanges.
I am in full agreement but would like to suggest a more urgent language be used. Managing our emotions.
So who should ask us to do this and keep it on the forefront of our psyches?
Those with access to the media.
Since the goal is to rein in uncontrolled rage at political figures, it falls to our leaders of Right and Left to take the initiative.
Every speech by a political leader should now be calling for restraint in expressing our political views. But they won’t. They figure that keeping the emotions raw will be to their advantage.
Sadly, these ‘leaders’ probably can’t manage their own emotions.
It’s not easy to learn how to do it. It calls for a strong dose of self awareness which comes from introspection and compassion.
Lamentably, today, you don’t need these attributes to rise politically. Some of our current leaders have become prominent precisely because they stir lots of rage in their followers. They perceive, accurately, that rage gives some people a sense of competence they may never have had. That sense of competence can’t last because it’s not rooted on substance but the point is to get it to last long enough to get them to the ballot box.
Never mind the ones that get unhinged by the rage, like the assailant of Mr Pelosi.
For a moment, holding that hammer, gave the man a sense that he was worth something.
Holding the hammer and striking the blows took him to a higher level or so he thought. He was doing something for his life. Finally. And he would be a hero to all those who might have felt like doing the same but were aware enough to curb their emotions.
It is not too much to ask from our present political leaders to call for restraint in their followers and do so at every turn.
But the money is not there. The money is in stirring up discontent to get more followers.
The money is in giving them the illusion that they are stronger because they scream louder, indulging their hatred rather than examining it.
As a nation we won’t go far if we keep this up, which is a grave concern because the world is changing at a rapid pace and this is a time to be very sober and smart about our choices.
In the war now raging in Ukraine, Putin keeps massacring people. He, too, is a man with little depth as a human being but clever enough to know how to manipulate others.
Beware of being manipulated. Beware who stirs your rage.
By the way, has Trump condemned the attack on Pelosi? If not, why not?

The Winds of Freedom are Blowing. Iran

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‘Women. Life. Freedom!’ cry the protesters in cities across Iran.
‘Mullahs, get lost!’
‘This is the year of the blood, Seyed Ali’ referring to the ‘supreme leader’ Ali Khamenei.
Women have led the movement, sparked by the death of one of their own, 22 year old Mahsa Amini, who died while in custody for violating the Islamic dress code – not wearing or incorrectly wearing the hijab or headscarf.
Among the many dead protesters, there are 23 children. High school age girls have joined in the demonstrations. University students, oil workers, teachers, shop owners, doctors have stepped forward to show support. The effort has yet to reach critical mass but it’s getting there.
The winds of freedom are blowing. They are blowing from Ukraine.
For over 8 months now the world has witnessed an enormous display of heroism by the Ukrainian people, pushing back against the brutality of Putin.
The winds of freedom have reached Iran.
Women have awakened, fed up with the restrictions they’ve lived under, fed up with men controlling their bodies and minds in the name of Allah. Fed up with the clerics, fed up with a government that now is selling drones to Putin so he can better kill Ukrainians.
In their cries, women are saying ‘You are inept, Mullahs! Consumed with your thirst for power you abuse your own people in the name of god. Enough!’
The clerics blame foreign interference for stoking the unrest as if the protesters were mere instruments of foreign forces.
But no. This movement is home grown and will stay as such.
What should the West do to show support?
I believe steps have been taken to facilitate internet communication, helping bypass the restrictions imposed by the clerics.
We should cancel talks with Iran to reactivate the nuclear pact that president Obama had signed onto and Trump had terminated. Trump was right on this one. Iran’s government will do anything to cheat and still build their nuclear weapons. Anyway, to reactivate the plan will require for us to pay them a large (undisclosed) sum of money. How much, I do not know. The US has not been transparent on the amount.
So it will be up to Iranians themselves, to bring their courageous movement to the point that it will depose the present government. That day is fast approaching.
Meanwhile, the more we assist Ukraine to help them push the invading Russians out of their territory, the less likely that Russia will answer the mullahs’ call for assistance in repressing their people, as desperate clerics are likely to do. Assistance as in money, equipment, advice.
I can envision a call from Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi to Vladimir Putin.
‘Vladimir?’
‘Yes, Ebrahim.’
‘I’m getting anxious. This has not happened before.’
‘Be patient, my friend, you have the guns… fire them,’ says Putin.
‘I understand… and I see your example in Ukraine… the thousands and thousands you have sent to the grave…’
‘For a good cause,’ replies Putin. ‘I have my hands full at this moment, but as soon as I push back the Ukrainians, I can send you experts in suppression of protest movements. I can send you the team we used in Belarus, they did an excellent job. But you can talk to them on the phone, so they can give you some tips.’
‘Great, thank you,’ says Raisi. ‘But you don’t have problems with Russian women…’
‘Ebrahim, it’s a different culture…’
‘You think if I just cancelled the dress code, let women dress as they wish, they will stop protesting?’
‘Will Iranian men be able to handle that?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘I think you’re past that,’ says Putin. ‘That could’ve worked before, but you didn’t think ahead… like I didn’t think ahead to invade Ukraine while Trump was president. He wouldn’t have objected. So I’m paying for my mistake.’
‘I see. But I may have to try it… the cancelling the dress code. Otherwise, it’s killing and killing more people. And our prisons are already full. I’m afraid we’ll end up killing the children of government officials…’
‘Ebrahim… absolute power carries risks… you have to choose. If I end up having to recruit the children of government officials to go fight in Ukraine, I may face resistance here at home. But I’ll take my chances. It may not come to that. I don’t think the unity of the West will hold. Particularly as winter approaches. And then, if Republicans win both houses in the American mid term elections, chances are they will give less support to Ukraine. So it will be easier for me to push back. Plus there are western leaders afraid to commit to the war. Take for instance Olaf Scholz in Germany. He is opposed to sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine. If he did, that would be harder on us. I made a note to send him a card when his birthday comes around, thanking him.
One for Christmas, too.’
‘You keep your sense of humor, Vladimir. I’m afraid of losing power.’
‘Ebrahim… don’t let go of that feeling… and keep up the repression. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless. You can do it. I’ll ask the specialists who ended the revolt in Belarus to give your people a call. I have to go now. Oh, thank you for the drones. They’re making a difference.’
‘You’re welcome, Vladimir.’

The winds of freedom are blowing.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Quotes at the start of this piece, taken from an article in the NYT dated 10/26/22

Oscar Valdes is the author of several self published books. Available on Amazon

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

The Upcoming Elections. Educate the Voter

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It’s always hard to predict the outcome, no matter what the polls say. We only need to remember how the forecasters were so wrong about Hillary Clinton in 2016.
What I find surprising is how little pull with the voters does the war in Ukraine seems to have.
Sure, there is inflation affecting living costs and perhaps there will be recession in the next 6-12 months and perhaps not.
But why is the war in Ukraine not a key driving force for the American voter?
Months ago I posted a blog – which I sent to president Biden (probably didn’t get through) – asking that the war in Ukraine be sold to the American public.
Sold as in, ‘Listen up, Americans, our nation is doing a terrific job in arming Ukrainians so they can push back the assassin that Putin is, and so help the world prevent other invasions and more cruelty. Listen up, Americans, we have been able to play a decisive role in uniting the West to stem Russia and its accomplices from dividing up the world and expanding their dictatorial powers. The work the West has done has been transformative. Now Ukraine is part of the West. And they have become part of us through their courage and sacrifice. Ukrainians will forever be grateful that the American people gave of themselves so generously by sending them weapons to fight back Putin.’
If Biden and co. has, in effect, sold the war to the American people, then I missed it.
It should have been front and center.
‘Fellow Americans, I know that we’re going through a rough patch with inflation and gas prices but keep the big picture in mind. Our nation is spreading freedom throughout the world.
I ask that you be forgiving if you’re having some difficulties with food and gas prices. But think of the big picture. Of the moral courage we have built.’
If that went out, I missed it, too.
I can hear political advisers saying, ‘Ukraine is too far away, it won’t resonate with the voter who’s feeling pinched by gas prices. Our voters just don’t think that far ahead.’
Are we not underestimating the voter? Are we missing an opportunity to educate?
Shouldn’t elections be about that?
Yesterday I read an article in the WSJ talking of how we’re spending less than we should on defense and consequently our combat strength has diminished.
Why wait until a crisis catches us unprepared? That’s also part of educating the voter.
I understand that immigration is an issue and that it needs fixing. But it can’t be done without bipartisan support. Here again, the voter should be educated.
And why shy away from punching where the punching needs to be done?
The Republican party has been sorely lacking in courage, as when a significant number of their legislators have become mouthpieces for Mr Trump. If there had not been a Democratic majority in the House, then the commission to expose all what went wrong with the assault on the Capitol on January 6th 2021 would not have happened.
That’s part of educating the voter.
On this count, much credit goes to Liz Cheney, a Republican with much integrity and valor who, in standing up against Trump, lost her seat.
What’s wrong with going after Trump?
If Trump had been reelected in 2020, Putin would have had no trouble annexing Ukraine. A simple call to his friend in the White House would have sufficed. Trump would have answered, ‘Can you do it quickly, maybe overnight?’
Why is that not a valid point in these elections?
The willingness on the part of our politicians to not educate the voter is abysmal.
And all of us pay for it on election night.
We earn our freedom every day.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Herschel Walker Runs for Senator

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

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Putin on the Progress of the War

Photo by Nati on Pexels.com

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

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

The dog lies down on the ground.

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

The dog whimpers and Putin pats him.

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

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

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

Thinking aloud has made him feel better.

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

His dog stands.

Putin – Washington, you want some exercise?

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

Putin – Go get it! Go!

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

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

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

Oscarvaldes.medium.com