Why a Nuclear Deal with Iran?

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Iran is not a good actor.
They’ve gone ahead with selling drones to Russia so it can kill more Ukrainians.
They have bombed our positions in Iraq.
They are strengthening their economic ties with Putin which aids in his aggression.
They’re in constant cyber warfare with Israel and recently launched destructive cyberattacks on Albania, a NATO nation.
They assist Assad in Syria with the brutal repression of its people.
They are violent participants in the strife in Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen.
Yet talks have resumed in an attempt to revive the nuclear deal that Trump had quit in 2018.
When that happened, sanctions were reinstated and that dampened significantly their economy.
The purpose behind the original agreement, drawn up with the US, France, Germany and other nations, was to delay Iran’s effort to enrich uranium so that such heavy metal would not reach the grade needed to produce a nuclear bomb.
Iran’s nuclear research was being closely monitored by international specialists who could certify the degree of uranium enrichment remained in compliance with the terms of the treaty.
But Trump didn’t trust them and pulled out of the deal. On that he was right.
When Biden became president, he opened talks to reinstate the agreement in the belief that diplomacy would work. (before the war started)
Sadly, it doesn’t look that way. The US, France, Germany and other nations have returned to the negotiating table willing to find a solution but Iran has not been cooperative. Given that, in the interim, Iran may have advanced toward their goal of obtaining the uranium they need to make the bomb, the West has insisted on inspection of their facilities to verify the level of uranium’s enrichment. Iran has declined. I can see why. They are likely very close to where they need to be but still want the benefits of reinstating the deal.
I used to think that while Israel was Israel, Iran would not have the bomb. I think differently now. Iran will get its bomb. They have been very diligent and creative about it. And while having the bomb would significantly raise the possibility of a confrontation with the Jewish state, we should also ask if having the bomb would act as a deterrent to avoid MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. It could.
The fact that with a renewed deal Iran would again be able to sell its oil on the open market does not now appear to be a big incentive anymore. They have found ways to bypass the restrictions. For a while, in concert with Russia, they were helping the dictatorship in Venezuela sell their oil. And they now assist Russia in circumventing sanctions by taking deliveries of their crude on the Caspian Sea, then reselling it to other nations to the south.
There is another reason Iran returned to the bargaining table, perhaps the most important. The possibility that if the nuclear deal is reinstated, they would be eligible for a sizeable cash payment, likely in the order of billions of dollars, something apparently specified in the original deal.
But in light of their alliance with Russia, is that the right thing to do?
How can the West be paying Iran anything when they are selling drones to Russia to then kill Ukrainians?
Likewise with oil. It is immoral to be buying oil from a nation that uses those moneys to support Putin.
There will be voices who say, ‘well, with Iran selling us oil, we’ll have less of an energy shortage this winter, and who knows when the war will end? So, let’s deal.’
But they are wrong.
A big part of what has renewed our commitment to freedom in the West has been the morality of the Ukrainian cause. The strength of their heroism.
Putting up with some pain is part of the deal. Part of what gives strength to morality. An incentive to end this war as soon as possible and do so honorably.
‘No, you shall not tread on us,’ have said the Ukrainians, and that is a deeply moral cry.
We were not deaf to that cry and responded.
Iran’s alliance with Russia and their willingness to join in the massacring of Ukrainians is deeply immoral.
We should not count on Iranian oil to alleviate our problems. It is tainted oil.
There may be other reasons we have no knowledge of which may still lead to a deal.
But those reasons should be made public before anything is signed. And if there is outrage, let the outrage be heard.
Greater availability of oil should not be the driver of a new agreement. There is oil elsewhere.
We should pay nothing to Iranians, regardless of what was agreed to before, for they have become allies of Putin’s brutal regime and its actions to enslave another nation.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Yesterday, I saw a clip of Putin speaking to his country. He was angry. He said that representatives of NATO nations were threatening to use nuclear weapons on Russia and that’s why they had to be ready to fire their own nuclear weapons. And he reminded his audience, that their weapons were better. ‘More modern,’ he said. I played the clip back to make sure I heard it right. I had. No one has threatened Putin but inventing a threat will aid in recruiting the next 300 thousand soldiers he needs. Innocent men and women he will use as cannon fodder.
When will it stop?

Immigration and the Upcoming Elections

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It was the Arizona governor – Ducey – who started it, then came Abbott from Texas and now DeSantis from Florida. Gathering up undocumented immigrants who, having crossed the border, detained and released pending a hearing of their case, were put in a bus (DeSantis uses planes) and sent to a different state willing to provide assistance until the time of their hearing.
The governors reasoned they would be endearing themselves to the voters in the upcoming elections by stressing their loyalty to Trump.
DeSantis recently put a group of undocumented Venezuelans, fleeing the communist dictatorship in their country, on a plane to Martha’s Vineyard, the elegant island resort in Massachusetts.
DeSantis’ choice of destination had an added punch. ‘You’re well off over there, aren’t you, in your privileged island, so you deal with it.’
Those bused or flown may or may not have valid reasons to seek asylum in this country, but the governors are saying, ‘we don’t have to go into all that, we’re just not going to feed or lodge you or provide any assistance whatsoever.’
The governors’ actions, however, won’t make much of a difference. Trump’s standing is slowly eroding and there’s no stopping the decline.
From the undocumented’s perspective, better to be in a place where they understand their plight and are willing to provide assistance, than to be in a place where they are unwelcome.
I can imagine a phone conversation between a recent arrival in Martha’s Vineyard, and his relatives back in Venezuela, ‘Where are you, Pepe?’, ‘Martha’s Vineyard…’ ‘What?’ ‘It’s very nice, a lot of rich people live here…’, ‘Not a bad start, brother…’, ‘Agree. I’m sure a lot of Trump’s people would like to be here, too.’ They laugh.
Immigration is a thorny issue. It needs mending.
For that, the ideal would be to have a national dialogue. A dialogue that is filled with data showing just how much immigrants contribute to this country.
Labor economists who are knowledgeable on the matter would provide the figures.
I am sure business would want a seat at the table where decisions were to be made and I don’t doubt they would speak clearly on behalf of allowing immigration to continue, with whatever modifications were necessary.
But should immigration be severely restricted simply to satisfy Trump’s base? No.
No, because we need the labor and the creativity and the dynamism that immigration offers.
The browning of America is inevitable. And immigration has played a role in lessening the antiblack sentiment in this country and helped heal those wounds.
The midterms are near and Republicans are worried.
Many Republicans are upset with the overturning of Roe vs Wade. Particularly women.
Biden has shown exemplary leadership to assist the enormous heroism of the Ukrainian people.
As a result, Ukraine is starting to turn the war around.
Many Republicans are also seething with envy that it wasn’t them doing the leading, making it hard to stomach that their man, in Mar-a-Lago, cannot hide his admiration for Putin. Talk about going against the tide of history.
Biden has eliminated a large portion of student debt, freeing resources and minds who are most grateful and will show up at the ballot box.
Covid is still sidelining people which adds to our labor shortages, so whatever immigration can bring, is most welcome.
Inflation has proven difficult to deal with but progress has been made and the price of gasoline has steadily gone down. With interest rates rising globally we may see a recession but there is no consensus on how severe it will be.
So, the busing shenanigans is a side show, with no relevance in the wide spectrum of things.
With added weaponry, Ukraine is likely to push Russia back to behind its borders and a stronger West will better organize its efforts to neutralize the influence of the China-Russia alliance.
To get a little ahead of myself, in the next presidential elections, Americans will reelect a democrat, whether Biden chooses to run or not.
The Republican side is now confused and will remain so for a while, unable to provide an attractive alternative.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

Putin in his Bunker

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He’s alone in the room. He’s ordered dinner but he has some time yet.
It’s an ample room so he has space to stroll.
On his desk a series of phones are neatly arranged, along with some papers that arrived earlier which he has not finished reading.
On the wall across, in front of the desk, a bank of monitors show images of the war.
He’s standing in the center of the room, hands behind his back, head slightly bowed.

‘I admit… the invasion has been a mistake. I underappreciated Biden… and I overestimated the power of the Far Right in America. I clearly did not imagine that Europe would embrace America after the way that Trump had treated them.
And also grossly underestimated the will of the Ukrainian people… and that a small time comedian like Zelensky would have it in him to rise as a leader.
Those are grave mistakes on my part… and I’m not coming up with a way to undo them.’

He walks a short stretch and stops.

‘I am surprised that the Russian people have been so cooperative… so willing to believe everything I say to them. Which gives me hope that I can pull out of this hole I’ve dug myself into. But there’s no hiding from the fact that I will be a diminished leader on the world stage.’

He rubs his face slowly.

‘That hurts. I’m not winning the war. I didn’t imagine that America would be so vigorous in their defense of Ukraine. That they would be willing to spend so much money to back them up.
Why, even Republicans have joined in the effort. I missed that completely.
Biden has not got enough credit for his leadership of the western alliance…but he will… which is why I think he will be reelected… if he chooses to run… and does not fall ill.
As to Trump… he’s done… he won’t recover.
But will I?
I’ve fallen from a position of being feared, even respected… to being called a killer. And what leader from the top nations of the world will want to meet with me?
I’ll have to content myself with meeting with Viktor Orban, Modi, Xi Jinping, Erdogan, Marcos and other lesser figures.’

He turns around to see images of the bombing of a Russian depot in Crimea on the TV monitors.

‘A lot of Russians have died because of my decisions. How long will they be patient? Daria Dugin’s car was bombed. It was probably meant for Aleksandr, her father. Will they try to get to me? Yes. But I’m well protected.
Still, it won’t look good if an attempt is made on my life.’

He walks a few paces forward.

‘What options do I have? The way things are going, I don’t think we can beat the Ukrainians. Not with their motivation to fight and their help from the West.
I have talked about using nuclear weapons but if I do, retaliation will come. Xi has been very clear that it would be a bad choice.
But there are other things I could try… like targeting Zelensky himself and bringing him here, if he survives. I’ve had a hit squad training for that purpose for a while.
It would be demoralizing for his people. In the confusion, we push forward, gain more territory and right away ask for negotiations to end the war. So we split Ukraine. Having gained territory I can call it a victory.
I then offer to resume gas shipments at lower prices and that would relieve pressure on Europe.
As to Zelensky, I’d keep him as a hostage… put him on trial for crimes against humanity.’

He walks forward a few more steps, looking up now, more confident.

‘I’ll never regain the world standing I had but… so long as Russians want me, I’ll be their leader.’

A call comes in announcing that dinner is ready. He buzzes in the waitress, Hanna, who brings in the dishes and sets them on his desk. She bows, turns and leaves.

‘I’ve diminished myself as a man by my own hand and yet… I still see a future for myself.’

He smiles.

‘Sooner or later… some courageous Russians will encircle my bunker and tell me it’s all over. Just go into retirement, Mr Putin. It could be anybody… anybody with the guts to risk their lives. I know they’re out there… waiting for the right moment to strike. But they’ll have to be good… very good.’

He sits down to eat. He inspects the bottle of wine and opens it. In the last couple of months he’s only been drinking wines from 1999. The year he first became prime minister. He pours himself a glass, swirls the wine, then raises the glass for a toast.

‘To my future. To never giving up’.

He drinks. ‘Delicious.’

He turns off the monitors on the wall and looks at his music selection. He picks Tchaikovsky. His 1812 Overture. The Story of Napoleon’s defeat by the Russian army.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com, apple podcasts

The Republican Senator

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He’s in his office, in Washington D.C., thinking about his circumstances.
He’s not pleased.
The congressional hearings investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6th are still going on. He wishes they would go away, but there they are, day after day.
Secretly – he hasn’t said a word about it to anyone – he wishes he’d had the guts that Liz Cheney has shown, taking a leading role in investigating Donald Trump’s part in the attack.
She is doing what she thinks needs to be done, not what her constituency wants her to do.
That’s the hard part, he thinks to himself. Going against your constituency.
‘It takes a certain kind of courage.’
‘The congressional investigation has uncovered enough, as if the facts themselves, as reported by the press at the time of the event, hadn’t been sufficient.’
‘Donald Trump had incited the crowd to march on the Capitol with the intention of disrupting the counting of the electoral ballots. Clearly an assault on democracy.’
Yet there he is, as Senator, sitting in his office, unable to say so.
A pang of shame fills him for a moment.
If he spoke out against Trump he’d face harsh criticism from his constituency. They would demand that he resign. And then, what would he do with his life?
All the attention he gets now would be gone.
No more ‘Senator, tell us about this, Senator, tell us about that…’ No more reporters chasing after him, photographers clicking their cameras, newspapers quoting him, lobbyists wanting his approval, trips here or there to investigate this or that, meetings with foreign leaders… and worst of all… losing the possibility of being picked for secretary of state or… dream of dreams… as a running mate for the presidency.
All he needs to do to keep those possibilities alive is to not criticize Trump.
All he needs is to simply keep lying to himself, repeating that on January 6th, Trump didn’t really incite his followers to march on capitol hill to disrupt the electoral ballot counting… that what he really was doing was asking his supporters to remind the ballot counters of their sacred duty to the country. Remind them to do the patriotic thing. But then things got out of hand.
‘But you cannot hang that on Trump,’ he repeats to himself.
‘The president would never, ever, try to disrupt the democratic process. Far from it, instead, Trump would offer his life to defend it. Because that’s who he is.’
The senator takes a deep breath. ‘It will blow over. I just have to wait it out. We all have to.’
‘I just don’t think I could live without all that attention I get every day.’
‘I’ll admit, it’s a little sad… to have become such attention junkie. But I would get very depressed if I didn’t have it. In a way, though, to have become so dependent on the opinions of my constituency is unsettling… I’m their mouthpiece.’
The thought of Liz Cheney comes to him again. ‘How can she do it? Surely, she won’t be reelected. So what will she do with her life?’
‘Hmm. Maybe, because of her willingness to disagree, she’ll get some nice offers to be a board member with some big companies. She’d get stock options and so forth. And she’d have that pride, that lasting satisfaction, that she’s made a name for herself. People might revile her, but they will remember her for her guts. That’s a nice way to be remembered.’
The Senator leans forward, rubs his face.
‘All is not lost. I could still change my mind.’
‘What makes matters worse is that I don’t think Trump will win the Republican nomination. There will be a big rift in the party and DeSantis will be chosen to run in 2024. But we won’t win the presidency, unless Biden screws up… but so far, unbelievably, he’s holding up.’
‘I don’t think we’ll win the presidency because Biden’s done a good job on the war in Ukraine… and I don’t think we’ll go into a recession… and if we do, it will be mild.’
The Senator stands up and goes to the window where he stands looking out.
‘But what if… I changed my mind and… came out in support of Liz Cheney?’
He smiles.
‘The phone wouldn’t stop ringing and right away Trump would endorse someone to run against me this Fall.’
He laughs.
‘My family would be all upset… but I’d explain and they’d settle down. I’d tell them that I have to do it for myself… for my self-respect. I’d figure out something to do with my time. It’s not like I haven’t earned a decent living before. And if, later on, I’d want to return to Washington, I’m sure I can find a job as a lobbyist.’
‘But do I have it in me to go against the pack?’
He looks out, a determined expression now coming to his face.
‘Deep inside, we’d all want to be like Liz Cheney… and maybe… just maybe… I’m due for a good fight in my life.’

Oscarvaldes.medium.com, apple podcasts

Oh Italy!

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You keep turning right politically.
You keep mishandling the immigration issue.
Granted, you’re right there, at the front of the problem. Immigrants from Africa keep coming to your shores, but there are ways to handle the problem.
Immigration from less developed areas is the leading problem we face today.
Technology has made the world smaller. People anywhere can see how much more there is elsewhere and they want to be part of it. They reason they live only once and so want the opportunities they are denied in their homelands because of their flawed political and economic institutions.
Man was born in Africa. We’re all Africans. I am African.
Advanced nations need to do more to assist the evolution of poorer nations, and thus help create conditions for those born there to commit to assist in their national betterment.
Until then, the desperate will risk their lives in search of a better life.
Until the needed structural changes come about in their homelands, we need to work with the immigrant.
Limits need to be set, of course, and every nation has a right to do so, but show kindness and tolerance to the desperate knocking at your door and begging to be let in. Begging for respite.
You are a creative nation. You gave us the Renaissance. The world knows of your enormous creative potential.
Do not turn back on it. Exercise it. Let it shine fully. Come up with new solutions.
I worry that your turning right politically is countering the creative energies you are capable of.
I worry that some of your politicians have openly embraced Putin.
I worry that you sympathize with a leader like Viktor Orban, in Hungary, who openly states his nation does not want diversity. Is that sensible to say in a world growing more and more diverse?
Is that not being like the ostrich and burying your head in the sand?
Dare to lead, Italy! Dare to embrace diversity and it will enrich you.
Have faith in your capacity to adapt, to invent, to show the world the way we should go.
Do not flinch from your responsibilities as a nation with such rich history.
Sure, there was a time when you embraced fascism, but you evolved.
Do not go back.
You are a highly capable nation. Be true to your heritage. Meet the hard problems of our time.
Choose leaders who value and promote independence of thought, who challenge you to use your brain, not to blindly follow them.
Do not take your cue from leaders like Trump in America who has made every effort to turn off dialogue in our land.
Rise, Italy, rise and dare to light up the torch of reason like you once did.

Oscarvaldes.medium.com

PS: Do not do like Britain who, in one of their darkest moments, recently came up with a scheme to send unwelcome immigrants to Rwanda.

2024 Elections

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The Republican party has a steep uphill battle for the 2024 presidential elections.
The footprint that Trump has left will be hard to erase.
That’s how toxic it has been.
The fact that Trump is still in the running for the nomination is baffling, but that’s clear evidence of how confused the party is.
Immigration is the central issue.
Trump seized on it to rally support but couldn’t come up with an answer to the problem.
Immigration needs limits. Enforceable limits. We need borders and the means to sustain them.
But we can’t do without immigration.
The faction of the Republican party who wants to severely restrict immigration would cripple the nation if they had their say.
It is true that we need to bolster the opportunities for advancement for Americans now in the lower earning rungs of our society, but we still need to keep open the doors for qualified immigrants to come to this country.
This is our advantage over China and Russia. They are closed off to immigration. That is hurting them.
The force that immigration is has a transformative effect on any nation. And it is overwhelmingly a positive one.
Europe has been struggling with immigration for years and, to their credit, they’re still at it.
China and Russia just choose not to deal with the problem. And it is their loss.
Looking at the Republican field for the nomination for president, I see little to suggest that a Republican candidate can go up successfully against Biden, if he chooses to run, or another democratic candidate, say Harris or Newsom.
Republican candidates are failing on the issues. Overturning Roe vs Wade will do little to invigorate the party. The majority of American women want to keep their right to choose.
Had Trump been elected instead of Biden, Putin would by now have annexed Ukraine and invited Trump to the ceremonies.
In the press conference that would have followed, Trump would have been asked by a reporter if he thought Putin had the right to take over Ukraine, and Trump would have said, ‘I don’t see why not, he was feeling encircled by NATO. We need to give him his space.’
And then Putin would have walked over and handed him a Cossack hat, as a tribute to his far reaching understanding of how the world works. And Trump would have put it on. Then said, ‘Look, Russia is a great country, and they need their space. By not arming the resistance in Ukraine we have saved many lives, and America’s closer ties with Russia will help us deal with the menace of China.’
Putin would have smiled and thought to himself, ‘We need to get this guy reelected a third term.’
Trump and freedom don’t mix. His legacy of obscurantism will last for some years.
Still, there are enlightened sectors in the Republican party who might push forward a sane candidate to run against the democrats. I think that candidate would be John Kasich.

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

To Have a Center

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To have a center as a person, is to be doing something you enjoy, and that something makes you feel stronger and wiser.
Having a center lets you manage your envy, accept that others have more than you do, if they do, and you don’t get rattled by it. You can say to yourself, ‘I have my power, they have theirs.’
If you perceive that you could be doing better at what you enjoy, then you double up on your efforts.
That’s where ambition kicks in, a topic for another day.
We can tolerate periods when we are not doing what we would most like to do, but the search for what is most desirable for us to do shouldn’t stop.
A sense of reality is essential to temper expectations.
If you want to be a famous anything and you’re not even working in that field, then that’s daydreaming.
If you want to be in music and you don’t have a good ear, then that’s a tough hurdle to overcome. I suppose you could write songs.
If you want to be an engineer or physicist, you have to be good at math.
If you want to be a carpenter, you have to have good manual dexterity.
So how do we discover what we enjoy?
Sounds like a silly question but it’s important to ask.
It takes freedom to follow your intuitions. Freedom and courage.
Here’s where the task of parenting comes in. Providing such freedom. The courage part is up to you.
Some years ago I had a dentist who had excellent manual dexterity. I noticed it right away and commented on it. There was a grace and fluidity to his movements. He’d always known it but hadn’t owned it. At university, he had been chosen to do demonstration videos, such was his skill.
He went on to do other things in life for many years, until it became clear that what he most wanted to do was work with his hands exclusively. So one day he chose to quit dentistry and become a carpenter. It had been a hobby of his but now he wanted to do it full time.
‘That’s what I want to do,’ he said to me with proud assurance. He was probably in his late 50s or early 60s by then, but he still had time. All those years he had been searching for his center and finally had found it.
I asked him if his father, who had been a dentist also, had ever commented on his excellent manual dexterity. He answered that the man had not. Which points up one of the essential tasks of parenting, identifying in their children what seems their most obvious talent.
It doesn’t take a whole lot. All the parent has to do is pay attention to their child as he or she unfolds.
The child may not know they have a talent. It takes an observant parent or interested adult to point it out. In doing so they validate it.
Not long ago, another person I know commented on one of her children’s career choice. She added that she thought he’d do well because he was strong in math. In this instance, that critical interaction had taken place. The parent had conveyed to the child, ‘You have that. I see it. It’s up to you to do what you wish with it, but it’s there for you.’
Of course, there are instances when the talent of the child is so clear that it’s apparent to all.
But those are the exceptions.
Having a sense that one has a center is critical in daily interactions.
There are lots of people in this world without a sense of purpose, drifting here and there, doing what they can to make ends meet, but not animated by a focus in life.
Those are grounds for apathy, resentment and envy.
Without a focus in life managing envy becomes harder to do and managing envy in life is a fundamental task.
With a sense that one has a center, one is more tolerant of imperfections, our own and that of others. It leads to patience and kindness.
When two people are attracted to each other, one may have a center and the other not.
But centeredness cannot just be transferred, it is acquired by each individual.
What a centered lover in a relationship with a not centered partner can do, is say, ‘this is what I perceive your gifts to be.’ And it’s up to the person to accept the feedback, work with it or not.
But it is important to do so, for, in a couple, the non centered party will tend to suffer the most when a breakup occurs.
And now to politics.
Are there politicians more centered than others? Of course.
Compare Trump and Biden.
Since I don’t know them personally I can only judge them by their actions.
Trump is not a centered person whereas Biden is.
Why is Trump not a centered person? Because he cannot manage his envy.
From this distant point, I ask, is Putin a centered man?
He can’t be. A man so committed to depriving others of their freedom cannot be a centered man.
His actions are motivated by envy.
That is a central driving force in his invasion of Ukraine.
Putin has not been able to lead Russia’s transformation into a first rate nation even though the country clearly has such capability.
A free Ukraine would stand as a model for Russians to emulate, like West Germany was to East Germany after WWII, and the yearnings for freedom that would flourish from such contrast, would lead to the further fragmentation of what we today call Russia.
Putin could not handle that.

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

Biden’s Age

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There are those who criticize him just because of his age. Those who do are envious of the man.
For there he is, at 79, leading our nation and doing it well.
The skeptics think he won’t last, that he is on the verge of falling apart any moment.
But he keeps proving them wrong.
Talk has begun about whether he should run again when his term is up. Born on Nov 20 1942, he would be 82 if he were to start a second term. Is that too old to be president?
Why not wait for Biden, himself, to tell us?
We all age differently, and given his stellar performance, he’s earned the right to tell us whether he feels up to running again.
Biden should be judged on his record, not on his age.
A man in his position is being scrutinized constantly.
We should trust that his team, all those around him, including Jill Biden, would be the first to notice instances of dysfunction that would affect his judgment.
Would that team, in the interest of preserving their jobs, be inclined to cover up signs of dysfunction? It’s possible but I don’t think likely.
There are two reasons for that: One, that the team is aware of the responsibility to the nation and two, with the public exposure presidents have, any deficit would be hard to hide.
Biden is a little over a year and a half into his term. Who’s to say that he won’t become more and more effective as time goes on, with all of us benefitting?
He has earned the respect of world leaders for his admirable leadership of the western alliance in confronting Putin.
That ordeal is far from over and I don’t doubt that, if he remains in good health, he will continue to deal effectively with whatever comes his way.
If we trust his integrity, as I do, why wouldn’t he, or his wife, be the first to tell us, ‘I don’t think I’m up for the job anymore. Thank you for the privilege of leading our nation, but I now must let another person take over.’
Joe Biden would do that. You either believe it or not. I do.
As a nation we stand to gain a great deal by trusting that some men have the maturity and wisdom to know their limitations. We are watching, of course, as we should.
The more we see of Biden governing, the more glaring the difference with his predecessor.
Which is why I think that, as sanity returns to the Republican party, the more remote becomes the possibility that Trump will be nominated again. And Biden would more than stand his ground against any other Republican candidate, man or woman, young or old.
Age should not keep us from having Biden run again. Our gauge should be his performance.
On that count, he is paving the way for his reelection.
In any event, should he choose not to run, for whatever reason, the party has plenty talent ready to step up.

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

The Deification of Elon Musk

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Dear Elon:
You are being deified and you’re loving it. Which worries me.
Here are statements I read earlier in an Associated Press article published today.
‘You have a guy who probably has an unmeasurable IQ…’ said a professor in Michigan referring to you.
C’mon, man, don’t believe a word of it. Your IQ is measurable.
Here’s another, from a venture capitalist who worked with you at PayPal. ‘Elon, on his worst day, is probably 100 times more effective than anybody else in America.’
I had to pause to swallow that one.
Look around, Elon, all kinds of creative people are making contributions to mankind every day.
And non creative people, too. Who keeps the lights on?
Another praise from a few days ago, ‘Tesla is Musk.’
Really? If so, what happened to all the engineers and mathematicians, designers, technicians and craftspeople who actually make the vehicles you sell, or the rockets Space X launches?
One more. I read of someone who, dazzled by your aura, stated, ‘If we lose Musk, what’re we doing to do?’
Will the world come to an end if we lose you?
No, Elon, it will not.
So, please, it’s not good for you to believe those who wish to deify you.
It’s not good for TSLA stock, either.
Particularly now that you’re off on the quest to making Twitter the paragon of free speech.
Actually, you’ve not had a good start because to say like you did recently, that to ban Trump from Twitter was ‘morally wrong,’ is a big mistake.
Mr Trump was banned because he was inciting violence. Inciting violence is not free speech. It is a crime.
That you don’t get that, or don’t have people around you with enough sense to tell you that, is most worrisome.
The deification of others is a peculiarly human phenomenon. Highly intelligent people fall into it. I think it’s associated with an urge to surrender, to worship, to not accept that it’s all of us together who decide our fate. Every day. All of us – together – collaborating in ways small and large. Accepting such truth is hard, so it must be easier to surrender instead.
So please, try to keep yourself from being seduced by praise, for it will lead you to making mistakes. Guaranteed.
Here are a few suggestions: 1) take the reins. Remind people who adore you that you’re human. Not superhuman. You are very ambitious and capable, so thank you for that, but you have limitations also.
2) Stop smoking marijuana. It dulls your brain cells. 3) Recognize the work of others in bringing your ideas to market.
Hang in there, Elon. You can do it. Best.

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

Putin to the West – Drop Dead

Photo by Nati on Pexels.com

‘You keep complaining and putting sanctions on me, but I don’t care.
I want to be king of this space I now have and am expanding it.
I don’t believe in democracy.
I believe in me. In Vladimir. King Vladimir to you.
I have enough oil and gas and wheat and aluminum, platinum and palladium and nickel. We have it all. I don’t need you.
I have Russians under my control. Have managed, with great skill, to silence their voices, to keep them quiet so they won’t disturb my plans.
I haven’t asked them to kneel before me but maybe will one day soon.

There are a few dissenters, but I deal with them effectively and reduce them to mere nuisance. They are alive because of my charitable spirit.
I am one of the great leaders the world has ever known. But the West keeps calling me an autocrat. A despot.

I get no respect. Which is why I am forced to invade Ukraine.
It is your fault that I have invaded those poor souls. I love Ukraine. They are my brothers and sisters. My heart bleeds when I see the number of dead Ukrainians rising. Sometimes I even weep.
But then I remind myself that it is your fault. It is because of you that they’re dying. You have no shame and have forced my hand.

I am a peace loving man. Sure, I’ve had to kill thousands of people in Chechnya and Georgia in years past – and now in Syria too – but that was because they listened to you and wanted to be independent.
Independence from the great Russia is wrong.

I am a man with a very broad mind.
For instance, I have the greatest respect for Donald Trump, who always said, America First. Well, I’m doing the same thing. Russia First. I learned from him. And I know he has great respect for me. The other day, when I instructed my legislators to declare the Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk to be new republics under my authority, in preparation for my special military operation, he called the move a pretty smart one. In fact, I am inspired by his example. He was trying to end his alliance with Europe because they were not giving him enough respect.
That is exactly what I am doing now. Getting my respect back.


So, please understand. In invading Ukraine, I am doing a favor to mankind. Xi Jinping and China love me, too. They will help me overcome the sanctions because they love people and understand the damage the West is doing.
Sooner or later they will invade Taiwan to stop them from continuing down the wrong path of wanting to be independent. Xi Jinping will sacrifice his people to save the Taiwanese. And when they choose to do so, I will help them because they are helping me today.


And I will do everything possible to help Donald get back to being president. That way we can divide the world. One part for me – the King – one part for Xi – the prince – the other part for Donald, the other prince.
And working together we will end poverty and inequality and racism and crime and the human race will prosper and live happily ever after.
So long as everyone surrenders their dreams of being independent. That’s not so hard to do.
Long live dependence!’

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