Collapse of Russian Federation is now possible per Russian lawmaker

Per the article called “Russia Risks Collapse Over Ukraine Debacle, Lawmaker Warns” by Gerrard Kaonga of Newsweek, an interesting observation and concern is raised on Russian TV by an important source.

“Lawmaker Boris Nadezhdin was called a provocateur by other TV guests and the host after criticizing Russia’s leadership and warning of collapse. Speaking on NTV station show Mesto Vstrechi on Monday, Nadezhdin also said the risk of the Russia Federation crumbling has increased since the war in Ukraine began.

The clip of Nadezhdin’s comments have gone viral on social media since being posted on Monday. The clip has so far been viewed more than 110,000 times.

The video was shared by Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. He captioned the clip: ‘The risks of Russian Federation dissolving increased greatly with the beginning of the special military operation.’

‘Somehow I don’t think we’ll be seeing this guy on Russian TV again.'”

Given the source and the fact he feels he could speak with impunity (which may prove false with a vindictive Putin), the comments are very telling. The story is as more than just the what. It is the who, where, how and why of what was said.

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Letter posted to Nikki Haley on her recent disappointing comments

I posted the following note to Nikki Haley, who came to the national public eye as Governor of South Carolina. She is one Republican who has stood out at times in a positive way, as when she showed leadership and empathy after the Charleston church shooting a few years ago. Yet, just when she shows promise, she will backslide, often intentionally to appease the more extreme base of followers in the GOP.

Recently, she has noted that Senator Raphael Warnock should be deported by ICE to stir up distrust to counter the existing and growing negativity surrounding his opponent in Georgia. It should be noted the Senator is a Black man born in Savannah, Georgia which last time I checked is in the United States. Haley should know better especially being a minority, which is why this is even more disappointing.

“Dear Former Governor and Ambassador Haley, as an independent and former Republican voter, I applaud your accomplishments. This is why your latest attempts to appeal to the worst part of the GOP and discredit Senator Warnock of Georgia with disinformation is so disheartening. We need you and other politicians to be better than this. We need you to be truthful and lean to the side of your better angels, which you have done in the past.

Your finest moment is what you did after the Charleston shooting. What you did with Warnock is the opposite end of the spectrum. Thanks for listening.”

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman by Miriam Horn – a much needed reprise on working collaboratively to address environmental issues and still make a living

The overarching theme of the book “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman” by Miriam Horn is to accomplish lasting, impactful solutions (in this case with climate change and environmental concerns) we need to work with folks in the middle. In essence, the folks in the extremes are too strident and reluctant to compromise.

A good example comes from the Montana rancher as he combats climate change and environmental degradation caused by fracking for natural gas. He works with folks who will address the environmental issues, but permit him and his family to make a living ranching. He notes the fracking companies paint a picture that is far rosier than it is, while some extreme environmentalists want everything to stop and do nothing with the land. At personal risk, he built a coalition of ranchers, environmentalists and government officials who were willing to follow his lead to preserve the environment while permitting the ranchers to do their thing.

The Kansas farmer speaks to working in concert with the land and learning and sharing best practices with other area farmers and the agro-economics people at nearby Kansas State University. Farmers want to maximize a sustainable yield on their crops, but climate change and water concerns increase the challenges to do so. He emphasizes growing what grows naturally in the area. There is a reason wheat and alfalfa are cash crops in Kansas. He notes the farm to table concept is not necessarily ideal – it would be a waste of water and land to try to grow everything everywhere. As for climate change, they work with legislators to protect the water resources, but have to stop short of using that term with their representatives. They gain collaboration by speaking to what is happening, not identifying its lead cause.

The book focuses on five professions in total, although only three are listed in the title. The other two are Shrimper and River Captain. Skipping over the fisherman and shrimper, who are each impacted by the environmental waste and degradation worsened by climate change, let me finish up with the River Captain.

The Louisiana based river man moves frieight up and down the Mississippi River. He understands the importance of experienced teams who know the river going both ways, with high, low or medium water levels. He has seen the significant dissipation of the wetlands in the Bayou which are causing huge problems to many. Engineers tried to outsmart the river and failed. In fairly dramatic fashion, the Gulf of Mexico is absorbing land due to rising sea levels and fewer buffers, So, they are working with scientists, businesses, and even the petroleum industry to slowly rebuild the Bayou.

Note, there are pros and cons to each set of solutions, so getting to the best answer requires honest input on the costs and risks to people, environment and livelihoods. And, some of the answers are counterintuitive. For example, not sending barges down the Mississippi means more truck traffic which pollutes the environment, degrades the roads and heightens risk for other drivers. With more electric trucks, this would lessen the risk, so that is a factor in risk/ benefit trade-offs. The farmer’s comment about farm to table also deserves scrutiny as farm to table also helps to lessen these trucking risks and costs. Yet, on a large scale, the point about growing stuff that is more natural to an area is profound and will lessen the impact on water resources which are dear.

It should be noted working in collaboration is how business and government work best. Yet, collaboration is hard work. For those who block the consideration of solutions, they need to be sidelined. In our toxic tribal political environment, we must remember each side does not own all the good ideas and both sides own some bad ones. Let’s follow the lead of these folks who get their hands dirty, understand what is happening and work together.

Christine McVie – may she RIP

Per ABC News, “Christine McVie, the British-born Fleetwood Mac vocalist, songwriter and keyboard player whose cool, soulful contralto helped define such classics as ‘You Make Loving Fun,’ ‘Everywhere’ and ‘Don’t Stop,’ died Wednesday at age 79.

Her death was announced on the band’s social media accounts. No cause of death or other details were immediately provided, but a family statement said she ‘passed away peacefully at hospital this morning’ with family around her after a ‘short illness.'”

Christine McVie was the steady influence on a tumultuous and highly prolific band. Even with her own divorce from bandmember John McVie, she offered a professionalism that matched her talent. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham got more notoriety, but the woman on the keyboard could match them song for song. They also blended their harmonies quite well.

That may have been their greatest gift to us fans. They offered three unique styles of singing that provided the audience a variety of voices. The band would be less without Christine McVie, with the fall off even more noticeable than when the other two left. But, you would not think that at first, as she did not command attention like the other two leads did.

One of the things I appreciated most is the harmonies they offered. There were times when you did not know who was taking the lead as they sounded so good together. Nicks’ voice was quite unique, so it actually lent itself to harmony. I hope a new crop of fans can come to appreciate Fleetwood Mac and Christine McVie, in particular. May she RIP.

I’m a loser

From the minds of Lennon and McCartney, as sung by The Beatles, here is the final stanza and chorus of “I’m a loser:”

What have I done to deserve such a fate?
I realize I have left it too late
And so it’s true pride comes before a fall
I’m telling you so that you won’t lose all

I’m a loser, and I lost someone who’s near to me
I’m a loser, and I’m not what I appear to be
.”

Although this song is about missed opportunity with continuing love, I think of the chorus when I read or hear the recurring use of the term “loser” as counterargument by an adult male in his 70s who once was president of the United States. Quite often, when someone is critical of the actions, words or behavior of the former president, the counterargument is the childlike retort of “He’s a loser.”

Per the several biographers of the former president as well as his psychologist niece Mary, the worst thing one can be in the eyes of the former president is a loser. So, he reserves this retort as his most vehement backlash to criticism.

Forget that having a dinner meeting with a known white supremacist does not rank as the most intelligent of ideas, some critics of the said move have been called “losers.”

Forget that in several studies that tariffs fail to achieve the intended objectives just as they did here, critics are losers.

Forget that he was told his bogus election fraud claims were BS by his own Attorney General, he is a loser that must be fired.

Forget that taking classified documents to an unsecure location is not the wisest of moves, those who are investigating him are losers.

Forget that using his Foundation as a piggy bank and being ordered by a judge to repay the money, terminate it and distribute the funds to charities, the judge is a loser for so ordering.

Forget that hiring unscrupulous people like Roger Stone, Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani and acting surprised when they screw up, these hires are the losers not the person who hired them.

Why do people accept name-calling as argument time and time again? I almost expect the words “I am rubber and you are glue, what you say bounces off of me and sticks to you,” to come out of the former president’s mouth. Maybe he name calls as he self-professes to not like to read. His staff said his briefing summaries have to be short and include photos. So, he may not have a lot of ideas to counter with as he chooses not to know them.

Call me crazy, I just want a leader who can articulate a few why’s and how’s along with the what’s and when’s. Maybe I am just a loser who wants to know more.

This was no accidental meeting

Per Peter Wade’s article in Rolling Stone called “Trump’s Meeting with White Supremacist Is ‘Empowering’ Extremists, Says Republican Governor:”

Donald Trump’s dinner with Kanye West and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes has so far drawn criticism from two elected Republicans, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Rep. James Comer of Kentucky.

‘It’s very troubling and it should not happen,’ Hutchinson said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, making him the senior most member of the GOP to call out the former president for the Mar-a-Lago dinner. Hutchinson has previously stated that he is ‘very seriously’ thinking about running for president in 2024.”

As he has done all of his life, Trump is backpedaling on his meeting claiming he did not know how bad Fuentes was. Per Hutchinson, “this was no accidental meeting.”

More than a few Republicans have condemned the actions of the former president for having this dinner to begin with. Yet, many of those have stopped short of calling out the former president. Some even have said he is not a racist.

Let me offer two frank comments. For a person in his position to deny awareness of who he was meeting with is simply a crock. At that level, he should and probably does have a briefing summary on everyone he meets with. If he does not, then that is also indicting for not thinking through the issues.

Further for people to say the former president is not racist is simply gaslighting. Of course he is. His history tells you this. He settled one lawsuit for discriminatory housing practices, then had to be re-sued as he did not honor the settlement agreement. That is just one example.

However, I like to quote his long-time attorney and fixer Michael Cohen who said under oath, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is a cheat.” Again, this is from a person who made Trump’s problems go away.

The lesson continues to remain unlearned by far too many Republicans and sycophants. When you fly to close to the Trump sun, you will burn your reputation. It does not get any simpler than that.

Four pieces of advice from rock and roll hall of famers

I have written two earlier posts about the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. One current that seems to run through these talented people are that folks helped them along the way. There were four quotes that resonated with me from the various acceptance speeches by guitarist Neil Giraldo, singer Pat Benatar, and producer Jimmy Iovine.

We all can learn from these paraphrased quotes, so please pass them along.

  • No one does this alone. They get help from many sources to get here.
  • Each of us have had mentors in our lives. Pay it forward by mentoring someone and teaching and supporting them.
  • If you are down and sitting in your room, pick up an instrument and learn to play. It will lead you down new paths.
  • If you want to learn how to write great lyrics, read books. Lots of them.

These each sound so simple, yet are so profound and pertinent. The people who think they accomplished everything on their own are not being very truthful with themselves. Yet, the final two pieces of advice are telling as well. There is an interesting psychology article on “Stinking thinking.” A key way to address being alone with stinking thoughts is change the paradigm – pick up an instrument or pick up a book. Learn.

Not to be outdone, a few years ago I wrote about another quote from an acceptance speech by Jon Bon Jovi. He had the name of his guitar instructor carved into his guitar. Why? When Bon Jovi was not practicing between lessons, the instructor fired his pupil. He told the future star, “Stop wasting my ‘effing’ time. If you won’t practice, then you won’t ever get any better.” That struck a chord with Bon Jovi and he told the audience to never waste any one’s time.

Lessons abound. Ask for and get help. Help others in return. Learn new things. Don’t waste people’s time.

A few thoughts on a rainy Sunday

As I type upstairs underneath a sky light which is being pummeled by the constant rain, it offers a serene mood inducing backdrop with the screen illuminated by a small lamp nearby. Since I use an older laptop, some of the keys are missing, so I need to see them as I type to assure I hit them. Missing a few keys does alter the passwords I choose.

In no particular order, I have a few rainy day thoughts.

I read where the actress and singer Irene Cara died yesterday at the age of 63. It hit me a little harder than some other celebrity deaths as I remember Cara as the young and youthful looking student from the movie “Fame” as she sang the title song. Around that same time, she also sang the theme from the movie “Flash Dance” called “What a feeling.” Both of these movies were about the newfound angst of young adults and older teens as they made their way forward, so to see Cara pass before I did is unsettling.

My wife and I caught the beginning of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony after seeing only the last two-thirds before. In particular, I wanted to see Pat Benatar and her guitarist husband Neil Giraldo get inducted. Not only did the two make powerful music using her marvelous voice and chutzpah and his excellent play, but they have lived a wonderful life as a couple complete with kids and grandkids. They obviously are in love even still and also can still belt out some good old rock and roll.

The other thing that struck me about this year’s awards, is the number of top-drawer female artists who attended to honor the inductees such as Benatar, Dolly Parton, Annie Lennox, Carly Simon and a couple of music producers that helped women with their careers. Just to name a few, Pink, Sheryl Crow, Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Mary J Blige, and Brandi Carlisle, all took active rolls in honoring the new inductees. These women were inspired by the inductees and it was nice to see them sing word for word the songs performed.

During the ceremony, they also paid tribute to lesser known African-American artists who influenced many, but never got acclaim due to the Jim Crow era. One such person was Elizabeth Cotten, a left-handed guitarist who played a right-handed guitar upside down. We saw footage of Pete Seeger speaking with her as well as watching her enormous skill as she played, rhythm, lead and bass at the same time on the guitar. Maybelle Carter of the Carter Family used the method called the “Carter Clutch,” but she self-confessed learning it from some African-American players in the mountains where she was raised. As an aside, Duane Allman, an excellent guitarist, taught his kids the “Carter Clutch” years after she passed.

I was fortunate to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland with my oldest son. We were there four and 1/2 hours and never were bored. The best part is where you get to listen to snippets of who influenced these performers in contrast to how and what they played. If you love music, I encourage you to go.

Now, stay warm and dry today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Cotten

Thanksgiving leftovers abound

We sent many leftovers home with our guests, but we also have samples of what they brought. So, we will have to delay the calorie reduction for a few days. The weight has creeped up the last week with the combination of casseroles, pasta, bread and the wonderful desserts. I hope I can find a walk in-between the possible rain today.

The weight is also increased by the diplomatic desire to sample everyone’s dishes. When I see my plate, it looks like a series of two dollops of everything. My rule for judicious eating is homemade stuff gets priority over heated purchased stuff. The one exception is a honey balked ham, which gives a great alternative to turkey, which I also like.

The fellowship was wonderful. We had sixteen in total and since it was the day after Thanksgiving, the rule was to sit where ever there is a place. We have a new niece who we saw for the first time. She was quite animated as she looked around the room while being held. I got my chance to hold her and sing softly like I did with my kids. My wife thinks she likes my voice coming through my chest for comfort. She seems to like the Righteous Brothers better than Elvis and Bread. So, “Unchained Melody” may be her new theme song when visiting.

Fun was had by all. We even called another niece and had a live chat with sixteen folks on our end. The final thing we do before everyone leaves is get a photo shot of all present. I think we have about ten of these pictures over the years.

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Have a wonderful weekend. Pick out a good tree if that is in the works.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone

Even for our friends who do not celebrate Thanksgiving, peace be with you. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, bar none. Sixteen of us will sit down to dinner and fellowship tomorrow with a smaller gathering tonight.

If the rain cooperates, we will do tomorrow in a picnic shelter as we have done the past two years. Otherwise, our house will be crowded once again. We moved outside when the pandemic hindered us but liked it so much we did it again.

This will need to be short as more preparation is required. We have been at this for a few days, but thank goodness people will be bringing food, drinks or ice.

Please remember this season all of the things to be thankful for. Also, note good news is vastly underreported and bad news is vastly overreported, so things are never as bad as they seem. With that said, there are too many who do without or less than we do in this country and world. There are too many that live in a more dangerous area than we do and are ostracized and disenfranchised daily.

Let’s be thankful for what we have and remember those who are not as comfortable as we are or are in severe need. And, let’s take time to remember the empty chairs at the table. This is a way for our beloved family no longer with us can be celebrated. All the best.