When I first read about this it seemed unbelievable. I promised myself that I’d eventually get back to it. So here it is. The following is from The Moscow Times, April, 2019.
“More than one-fifth of Russian households do not have access to indoor plumbing, according to official statistics obtained by the RBC news website on Tuesday.”
“Russia leads the developed world with the worst sanitation record, according to the London-based WaterAid NGO. A 2012 estimate citing official data placed the number of Russians whose households are only equipped with outhouses at 35 million, or roughly a quarter of the population.”
Are you still wondering why Vladimir Putin, a man whom Donald Trump has called a “genius” invaded Ukraine? It’s simple, really. He needed a diversion from his miserable failures as a leader.
At the same time, we have a real “glass houses” problem here in the U.S.. With more than 66-thousand homeless on the streets of Los Angeles County alone, the County Supervisors have just voted to create an office to coordinate their response to the problem. Isn’t it surprising they didn’t do so sooner?
Nationally, by one estimate, there are more than 580-thousand homeless in the United States. On another front, Buzzfeed estimates that some 700 people died in February of 2021 in Texas, as a result of the power going down during Winter Storm Uri.
A couple of very interesting issues are hitting the fan. One, is the health of Russian dictator, Vladimir Putin.
Several news outlets, including “The Sun” in the U.K., are making the claim that some inside source says Putin, is about to go under the knife for cancer surgery. This is on top of speculation that he suffers from Parkinsons, which would explain his grabbing the table to steady his hand at a recent photo-op and his mindless killing of thousands in a needless war.
Considering the innocent lives he is responsible for taking it would be a stretch to wish him well. The same might be said of several members of the Supreme Court, who, it appears, are about to issue a ruling that will be responsible for jeopardizing the lives of thousands of poor American women by denying them their right to choose an abortion.
This might be a good spot to insert something about the terrible affinity our past president has for Vladimir Putin, and how that seems to align itself with this current Republican Party’s affinity for Fascism and their apparent need to use the law to support their ongoing misogyny.
If memory serves, a couple of these reptilian-brained Trump appointees said or implied during their confirmation hearings, that Roe v. Wade, was settled law. That is to say, it’s a firm precedent that should not and would not be overturned, if it were up them. Well, now it is up to them and they are proving themselves to be liars. As such, they have no place on the nation’s highest court. They should be recalled and kicked to the curb. I’m not even sure that’s possible, but if it isn’t, then the Congress should pass a new law making it possible, and get it done. They can put it in the same bill that eliminates the filibuster.
This could and should be a giant wedge issue for Democrats in the upcoming midterm election, which needs to be a one-issue election. Voting for Democrats, is voting for a women’s right to choose. A vote for any Republican, is a vote against a women’s right to choose. A vote for a Democrat is a vote for Democracy. A vote for a Republican, is a vote for Fascism.
After the fascist Republicans shut down a women’s right to choose, who knows what they’ll do next?
Time for the Democrats to grab the bull by the tail and face the music. Seventy percent of America wants Roe v. Wade left in place. Time to put an end to the so-called “filibuster,” and get it done. It’s nothing but an affront to majority rule, and majority rule, the will of the people, the common good, is what America, is supposedly all about.
Many of these current Republicans are fascists, who care nothing about the will of the majority. They want to eliminate democracy, eliminate rule based upon what the majority wants, because it will take away their power. They care only about giant tax cuts for the rich and controlling the law. That is why they worked for years to gain control of the Supreme Court, which, it appears, is about to rule not in favor of the Constitution, the majority, or settled law of 50 years, but in favor of a backward minority of Americans, who want to drag us all back into the 1930’s.
Who knows, maybe they’ll decide antibiotics should be outlawed because they were dreamed up by scientists. who, as we all know, are nothing but a bunch of godless atheists.
If this doesn’t get Democrats and Independents up off their backsides and out to the polls, then what’s left of our American Democracy could quite possibly be doomed.
Those who champion Elon Musk as a promoter of free speech, apparently have no idea that Twitter is a privately owned company that can censor or ban anyone they want from their service. Nor does Twitter have anything to do with journalism. It is a purveyor of rumor, misinformation, hate and fear. We would all be better off if it just went away. In fact, social media in general, could turn out to be one of the greatest threats to the Republic and thereby to Democracy in history, a wonderful example of our inability to properly deal with advancing technology.
Just because someone has a lot of money is no indicator of their ability to make good choices for how the rest of us want to live. The founders knew this, which is why they wanted “We The People,” and not a relative handful of merchant bankers in charge of the country. It appears the founders may have failed. We’re not quite there yet but it feels like we’re getting awfully close as Elon Musk, threatens to open the door on a booming return to Trumpism in America.
A failure to adequately regulate Capitalism will inevitably lead to Neo-Feudalism. In the words of Radar O’Reilly, “Wait for it.” The Republicans opened the door with Reagonomics, and it’s on the way.
Free trade has nothing to do with allowing monopolies. Preserving Democracy does not mean supporting fraud. Free speech has little to do with supporting false information. We might have to allow it, but it needn’t be encouraged and even celebrated.
Before long we could all be begging for the scraps under the oligarch’s tables, here in America, in Russia, and anywhere else a handfull of uber-wealthy people are allowed to gather up most of the wealth and thereby most of the power.
Anyone else see the parallels between Trump and Putin, with both men willing to destroy their countries rather than admit failure? It seems so obvious, but maybe it’s just me. However, both also share techniques, like rigging or trying to rig elections, and calling anything that casts them in an unfavorable light, “fake news.”
For a time I thought the Russians might have been giving Trump instructions on how to use disinformation and a few other techniques to overthrow American Democracy, which is clearly what he was trying to do. I still wonder if that’s not the case. So much of this stuff is right out of an old KGB playbook.
The degree to which Trump and his minions have employed Russian tactics to convince millions of Americans that real news is fake and vice-versa, is both astounding and frightening.
Why aren’t these factors being brought to the surface and discussed? Feels like there’s a reckoning coming, doesn’t it?
Is it because there is a fear, a very deep-seated fear, of Americans once again choosing sides and going after one-another? A second Civil War to settle this current surge of white supremacy? Is that the reckoning? Or is it another fear, that of war with Russia, possibly a nuclear war, breaking out over Putin’s need to win something, anything, before stopping his maniacal obsession with these ongoing, pointless attacks on Ukraine?
Aren’t we being hit with both at the same time? A failure to fully deal with the fascism that was Stalin’s Russia and the many failures of reconstruction in the United States?
Perhaps there is a standoff coming between two kinds of people. Those who demand the self-determination and freedom of Democracy, and those others, who are willing to unthinkingly and blindly follow a tyrant wherever he might lead. Fascism vs. Democracy, and those of us who have the courage to stand up for what we believe?
This is a photo of my Uncle, Bud Olsen, a naval aviator who gave his life in WW II when his plane, a Grumman TBF, went into the ocean. He was 21. Just a kid. Because of him, and so many others like him, I thought this madness had ended. And yet, here we are, with freedom once again demanding eternal vigilance. Confronted with a voice from the past, demanding that business left unfinished in 1945, must be dealt with now.
It was then, at war’s end on the European continent, that the British had drawn up plans for “Operation Unthinkable,” A massive attack which had the Brits and the U.S. joining forces with what was left of the German Army and the Poles, and going after the Russians, driving them back into Russia. The operation, of course, was never carried out. And here we all are.
Churchill, who had asked for the plans to be drawn up, was proving himself to be a true visionary, possessing the insight that even with the departure of Stalin, others, like Vladimir Putin, would be waiting for an opportunity to express their own peculiar brand of madness, slaughtering children and the elderly and destroying themselves, and possibly their country, in the process.
Is it immoral for NATO and the U.S., to refuse to send troops into Ukraine? How about the MIGs?
Is it okay for Russia to march into Ukraine as a conquering force but wrong for NATO to march in to defend freedom? Why does so much of what the West and NATO are doing feel so terribly inadequate, particularly in light of Russia’s history of pushing others around until others, finally, push back?
Are the U.S. and NATO simply trying to avoid the inevitable, while the body bags of innocent Ukrainians pile up, or is NATO correct in its current assessment that its best option is to stand back, without putting any boots on Ukrainian soil, while Putin blasts Ukraine into dust, murdering thousands of innocents in the process?
Doesn’t it feel like the U.S. and NATO have a moral obligation to punch back with more than military and humanitarian supplies? If Putin can do whatever he wants by threatening World War III, then where will this stop? Will Poland, be next?
From the beginning, Putin has been dictating where and how this conflict will take place. NATO, has waited for his next move and then reacted. Would declaring a “no-fly zone,” and sending in the MIGs help to draw a line in the sand? Doesn’t it feel like NATO is making the same mistake that was made in 1939, of trying to placate a monster? The Ukrainians are obviously tough enough to fight this battle. Are NATO and the U.S. up to it, or will this be another Crimea, or maybe something even worse?
I cringe every time someone from NATO or the U.S. makes the point that they will not send troops into Ukraine. Every time they say that they are sending Putin a message, and it is the wrong message to send.
So the Russians want to get together for another high-level conversation with Secretary of State Blinken, to take place late next week. Does that mean there won’t be an invasion until sometime after the meeting, or is it simply a clever diversion? With Putin, who can tell?
Maybe he’s following suit with the Japanese Ambassador to the United States who was in what were ostensibly “peace talks” with the U.S. Secretary of State, while, at the same time, Imperial Japan was dropping bombs on Pearl Harbor which pulled the U.S. into World War II.
Speculation about why Vladimir Putin is doing any of this varies from his being an ego-maniac to his advancing age, and his possible need to leave a legacy of being the big man who began the process of putting the Soviet Union back together again.
You have to wonder if the invasion of Ukraine hasn’t been in the works since the invasion of the Crimean peninsula, back in 2014. Any number of scholars think Putin has always intended to take back all of Ukraine, by one means or another. If not by political collusion, then by military invasion. I think he was probably counting on Donald Trump to be his “kompromat,” a “convenient idiot” that would help him get it done. That is to say he was counting on Trump to get re-elected and to then just sit by and cheer him on as Russian troops marched across the border into Ukraine. All signs from the Trump Presidency point to the possibility that Trump would have been more than accommodating to whatever Putin wanted.
The question continues to demand an answer, “what have the Russians got on Donald Trump?” In the final analysis it may not mean much as Putin’s plans were thrown asunder when Trump lost the election. But an autocrat’s ego being what it is, Putin, decided to push forward with his plan anyway, thinking NATO and Joe Biden, might take the coward’s way out and back away from a fight.
But that’s not what happened. Nobody has backed away and the whole hot mess has blown up in Putin’s face.
With more American troops and hardware being flown in and NATO only growing stronger, one must wonder whether the Russian oligarchs and the military don’t see this as being potentially very costly, both in terms of losing billions of rubles as the world places sanctions on the Russian economy and in thousands of unnecessary deaths as Russian troops face serious opposition from the Ukrainians. And all of it for what? For Putin’s need to be the biggest bully on the block? Why does he need that? Do the Russian people really care? One would think their principle concern might be their quality of life?
In terms of economies, the United States is number one in the world. Russia, isn’t even in the top ten. But it is a nuclear power, and it is that and not his economy, which gives Putin his leverage as a bully. It’s really all he’s got, even though nobody’s talking about it. And if war breaks out in Europe, potentially going beyond Ukraine, how long might it be before it goes beyond old-fashioned tanks and troops, and doesn’t the obvious nuclear deterrent play into this at some point and doesn’t that that make everything Putin is doing antiquated and even silly?
Are we in the middle of our second Cuban missile crisis, without anyone admitting that it’s really happening? Is it so horrible to contemplate that no one dares bring it into the conversation? Or is the country so young, that most among us don’t realize that nuclear warfare is still a very real possibility?
One can only hope the Russian generals and oligarchs have enough common sense and raw power, to stop their old KGB boss, Vladimir Putin, from making the massive mistake of invading Ukraine. Something that will benefit no one. Something that might even leave a legacy of Putin being such a miserable failure as a leader that he felt the need to start an unnecessary war as a diversion to how bad things were in his own country in comparison to the world’s democracies.
This needs to be vetted by lawyers, but it would appear that talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, may have found a legal roadblock preventing Donald Trump from ever holding another federal public office in the U.S. It’s Title 18 of the U.S. Code, subsection 2071, which says-
“(b)Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.”
Isn’t it great to wake up to news that President Xi Jinping of China has allowed Vladimir Putin to turn the Olympic Games into a giant PR stunt, with China and Russia issuing an edict condemning the expansion of NATO and re-affirming the Chinese claim that Taiwan is part of China? Doesn’t it make you wonder whether the United States and other free nations should be taking part in the games at all?
Russia, is threatening to invade free, democratic countries in eastern Europe. Taiwan and Japan, are under constant threat from China. Should the free world be playing games with these countries, or should we be doing everything we can to produce our own consumer goods here on U.S. soil, rather than depending upon a Communist country to sell tons of mostly consumer crap we don’t really need to us while they join forces with other international bullies to try and push us around?
Think of Hong Kong and Taiwan and the conditions being imposed on Uyghur Muslims attempting to survive in China. Think of those who oppose Putin, being murdered or thrown in prison. Think of more than 100-thousand Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, threatening to invade. Should we be playing games with these people or is it time for a reality check? Since the games originated in the birthplace of Democracy, perhaps only nations that practice democratic principles should be allowed to participate?
Is the “goodwill” the games generate really worth it, or is that mostly an illusion, providing political advantage to autocrats who are out to destroy us while international clubs of billionaires sit back and reap the economic awards, claiming no responsibility for the outcome?
Just when you thought it might be safe to watch the news again, Newt Gingrich is back, and he’s whipped out one of his party’s favorite tools – taking what’s happening to one party or person and directing it onto someone else. Psychologists call it “transference.” I call it the same old Republican nonsense.
This time, it’s Newt, with the ridiculous claim that members of the Jan. 6th Committee, could be thrown in jail, once and if, the Republican Party is back in power. As with all cases of transference, he has presented reality in reverse. It’s the Republicans who are threatened with jail time, not members of the Committee.
Republicans have used this technique time and time again, and it’s getting old, just like Gingrich’s attitude. It is time for both to go away. It is also time for the press to give their readers and audience a heads-up every time this technique is used. Please. A little analysis would be nice as opposed to just reporting what one side is saying and the other side is responding with while acting as though nothing underhanded is going on.
The problem, is that transference can so confuse an issue that it ends up working by feeding the Republican base. Unless the press starts calling them out for using it.
WHAT’S UP WITH THE RUSSIANS? That question has been on my plate for several weeks now. The best analysis I’ve heard, is that Putin is determined to create chaos in the Ukraine, because a safe and prosperous and democratic Ukraine, will make Russia look bad by comparison, which could lead to the Russian people wanting what the Ukrainians have. And that might mean the end of Putin’s dictatorship. We can only hope he doesn’t drag us into World War III in the process.
Doesn’t it feel like the Europeans are struggling to move forward, into the 21st Century with the rest of us, while Putin and his Russian oligarch friends are using the centuries old tactic of whipping up a war to direct the Russian people’s attention away from domestic issues and onto an impending and unnecessary conflict? Doesn’t it feel like Putin, is trying to drag the world backwards into an earlier time when monarchs and tyrants settled regional issues with regular warfare rather than diplomacy? Couldn’t this be why Putin opposes the European Union and Democracy? Because self-determination is better than the tyranny of a dictator, who rigs elections and murders or jails his opponents and threatens war simply to shift the focus away from his shortcomings as a leader?
Finding fault with Joe Biden for the way he got us out of Afghanistan, is just plain nuts. Would you rather still be there? It’s similar to condemning John Kerry, for being awarded three purple hearts for his service in Vietnam. They did that too, and it was equally crazy.
Mr. Biden, put an end to what was being called America’s “endless war.” He then came in and had to pick up the Covid ball Trump had dropped and left sitting on the floor for several months. Mr. Biden has appointed 42 federal judges. Under President Biden, unemployment is down to 3.9% and the economy is strong with a GDP of 5.5%. A fact check by USA Today, found Donald Trump to have the worst jobs record of any president in U.S. history. The newspaper reports, “More jobs were lost during the Trump administration than any other in history. Approximately 4 million fewer people were employed from January 2017 to September 2020, according to the most recent publicly available data.”
Is a comparison between the insanity of four years of Trump and one year of stability with Joe Biden, even possible? Why isn’t this ever mentioned? By anyone? Are we still so shell shocked from Trump and his band of bullies storming the Capitol that we need even more time to sort it all out? Isn’t it all perfectly clear?
The Democrats biggest problem right now could be that they don’t direct enough attention to their achievements when faced by nearly impossible opposition from anti-American Republicans, particularly in comparison to four utterly miserable years with Donald Trump, with all of us waiting day by day for the next insanity.
Compared to Trump, we are now in political Nirvana.
But the Dems, can’t seem to punch back. It appears they are still under the impression that compromise is possible with this current batch of Trumpist Republicans, when it is beyond clear after eight years with Mr. Obama and now one year with Mr. Biden, that the Republicans have no interest in compromising with anybody about anything if it means even an appearance of achievement for the Democrats. Even if it hurts the country. Even if they must sell their souls. Even if it kills American Democracy.
With this current bunch of Republicans, it’s all for sale. There doesn’t appear to be a single patriot among them. Not one who is willing to put country above personal interest or party. Not one.
No, check that last comment. There are at least two, and they’re both sitting on the 1/6 Committee. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, two Republicans trying to hold back a tide of corruption and deceit.
Can’t stop thinking about the fact that after Richard Nixon left the White House in 1974, his top aides were all sentenced to prison terms before the end of 1975. Even without an attempted coup costing police officers lives and putting the future of the nation in doubt. Even without suspected ties between Nixon’s campaign officials and the Russians and without Nixon having received at least one big cash real estate payout from a Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin. And it goes on. Nixon, for example, had not been in contact with the Russians about building a big hotel in Moscow, nor had he repeatedly rented out space in his New York tower to Russian concerns.
Nixon, did none of that, and still his “higher-ups” all went to jail in a timely fashion.
For example: Nixon, resigned the presidency in August of 1974. On January 1, 1975, his Chief of Staff, H.R. “Bob” Haldeman, was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and three counts of perjury.
With the future of the country at stake and so much existing video evidence readily at hand, one grows weary of hearing arguments about how long it takes to build a case. When the facts and the law are in your face, and the evidence is on tape, surely they’ve got a case.
The next election is less than 11 months away. It will only make matters worse if Trump’s lap-dog Republicans take back the Senate. That said, there is the possibility that what’s already been uncovered runs far deeper and deadlier than any of us have imagined. New reporting from Rachel Maddow on MSNBC indicates Republicans may have forged election documents in as many as five states. If that’s the case, well then, so be it. They can add it to the pile. Meantime, the clock continues to run.
So the Republicans, bullies and cowards that they are, are threatening to stay out of future debates? Very telling isn’t it, that they don’t want to expose their platform of lying, cheating, and putting a dagger to the throat of Democracy in front of a live tv audience?
Not a week goes by without this new Republican Party, with he who must not be named at the helm, proving themselves to be in opposition to our Constitution, and as such, out to destroy our liberty, laying waste to the self-determination our founders established with the warning that we might not be strong enough to hold onto it through time. It’s happening right in front of me and I can’t believe what I’m seeing, an entire party turning its back on liberty, the freedom so many of our friends and relatives fought and died for. Some, many hopefully, of those who continue to call themselves Republicans, have been duped. The others, are traitors, doing all they can to tear us apart.
Meanwhile, out in Hollywood-
Javier Bardem, is still making the rounds promoting “Being the Ricardos.” Rotten Tomatoes, gives it a 68% rating. I think the critics are being kind. For me, and possibly most of us who grew up watching Lucy and Ricky, it just did not work. They didn’t pull it off. I’d give it 35%. Maybe. On a good day. And I’m a big fan of Sorkin, Bardem and Kidman. Hollywood, needs to leave the classics alone. Whatever you might think of her, in her time, Lucy, was classic. Some years ago there was a rumor going around that one of the studios was thinking about a re-do on “Casablanca.” It hasn’t happened, yet, thank God. The characters are too strong and too firmly set in the minds of millions to be adequately duplicated.
We’ve been watching “The Great,” on hulu, and it is mostly great. The acting and directing in this spoof of the story of Catherine the Great of Russia, are both great as is the cinematography. The writers though, need to get their heads out of an apparent mindset that it is necessary to take an otherwise outstanding production and turn it into soft-porn to generate an audience. For me the unnecessary up close and personal sex scenes put a knife through the heart of what otherwise would have been one of the best series offerings, with some of the smartest writing, ever. Not that long ago, this genre was regarded as “dirty movies,” to be viewed only at trashy theaters in a bad part of town. Now it’s becoming commonplace. Makes you wonder where we’re headed, doesn’t it? This one is up for a SAG award.
When the concept of “sharing the wealth” is mentioned, there is almost always a cry from the wealthiest Americans and those who have been conned into believing what’s worst for them is in their best interest, that such thinking threatens us with “Communism” or “Socialism.” You have to wonder why the term of “Rationalism” is never applied and the advantages of a “mixed economy” are almost never raised. How many are there left among us who can comprehend deductive reasoning? Might not this be at the heart of so many of our political and social problems?
It’s been months now and I’m still trying to acclimate myself to the reality, the huge change, of not having to wake up to a new horror every day. It isn’t easy to switch gears following a daily horror show of four long years, culminating with an attempted coup. I’d like to relax but can’t, knowing the mad prince of political evil is still out there, waiting for another shot at doing what he does best, the attempted destruction of all that we hold dear. Tearing apart what so many gave their lives to build and sustain.
Never forget the words of former presidential advisor, Steve Bannon, who said, “I’m a Leninist. Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”
And replace it with what? Is that kind of chaos, that kind of madness, really what you want? Beyond that, try and get your head around the fact that Trump’s former chief political advisor, Steve Bannon, is an admitted Communist. He might try and get around it by calling himself a “Leninist,” but that’s just a word game. Leninism is a prelude to Communism.
At this point, no one should relax. We can’t afford to. At the same time there is more than one piece of good news coming across the wires.
President Biden, is saying he may support doing away with what is currently called “the filibuster.” At least in some cases. This would be wonderful, because what is now called a filibuster, the need for a super-majority in the Senate to get anything done, isn’t really a filibuster at all. It’s a super-majority vote as opposed to a simple majority of 50% plus one for passage. In other words, simple majority rule, which is what most of us thought the country was supposed to be all about and something we should be getting back to. Imagine what the Democrats could accomplish with a simple majority vote in place.
A filibuster, is when a member of one party refuses to stop talking to prevent a vote from taking place. It could be viewed as a form of rhetorical torture but it usually removes any doubt as to the serious nature of what’s being said. Traditionally, it has nothing to do with how many votes it takes for passage.
It’s argued that a simple majority will work to the advantage of the Republicans, should they regain control of the Senate by even a narrow margin, and that’s true. Most Americans, though, would probably be happy knowing that the will of the majority was being carried out and not blocked by a minority in the Senate, which is where things currently stand. As it stands, this current “filibuster” is a political gimmick that circumvents majority rule. What once was called, “the will of the people.”
The other bit of really good news, is that apparently Al Franken, is thinking about running again. Which he should. He never should have been treated like political trash in the first place.
The return of Senator Franken would give the Dem’s someone who actually has the ability to go toe-to-toe with these Republican traitors who are doing all they can to tear down our democratic institutions.
What Al did was in bad taste yes, but he did it before being elected and it was not out-of-line with his SNL comedy background. What Franken did was mild in comparison to some of the old skits the SNL troupe has performed. Nevertheless, with Kirstin Gillibrand leading the attack, the Democratic hierarchy reacted like Al was a serial killer, not a former comic who was clowning around. Bad taste, yes. A felony or high-misdemeanor offense demanding dismissal? Absolutely not.
Gillibrand and others who showed Franken the door, were playing right into Republican hands.
Friends in Minnesota, say their fellow Minnesotans are mostly in support of bringing Franken back. Hope it happens. He’s too good a person, too good a legislator, for the Democrats and the country to lose.
One indicator of where we are is knowing how much better off we’d all be if somehow we could just dial the Republican Party back to the criminal administration of Richard Nixon. Compared to this current bunch of muggers, liars and thieves, Dick Nixon, was a peach.