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.”

A few interesting headlines

From John L. Dorman of Business Insider yesterday – “Georgia GOP Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan says Herschel Walker will ‘probably go down as one of the worst candidates in our party’s history'”

From The Guardian yesterday – “Brexit has fueled surge in UK food prices, says Bank of England policymaker: Britons need to be kept aware of the cost of leaving the EU, says Swati Dhingra

From Francine Prose of The Guardian yesterday: “Trump had dinner with two avowed antisemites. Let’s call this what it is: A 2024 candidate broke bread with Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist, and Ye, who has praised Hitler. Don’t normalize this”

From Newsweek yesterday – “Kari Lake lawyers sanctioned by judge over frivolous election lawsuit”

Taking these four headlines in order, let me offer these frank assessments. First, a party must police itself if it intends to serve our country. Republican Lt. Governor Duncan’s words are true, but the sadder part is there are more candidates who could be included on this list. Even sadder is some of these candidates have actually won which means they represent people in Congress.

Second, the UK banks said Brexit was going to be dilutive to the British economy BEFORE the vote was taken. Yet, people preferred to listen to less than factual representations by Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, two folks not known for dealing consistently with facts in their arguments. None of what is happening now should be viewed as a surprise.

Third, of the many inappropriate, untruthful, bullying and even illegal things done by the former president, having dinner with two known anti-semites should not be too outlandish. But, it is. Who on earth would think meeting with two hatemongers and conspiracy peddlers like this is a good idea? One of his defenses is he did not know. Really? One of his rebuttals to critics in his own party is to call them losers. Does that mean meeting with two known anti-semites is a winning idea in his mind?

Four, Kari Lake was the favored daughter of the MAGA crowd and Donald Trump, the future of the party. So for her to claim foul on the election like her idol and mentor the former president does is par for the course. It also is not a surprise. Yet, like with lawyers advising Trump, advising Lake can get them in trouble with judges when they pursue frivolous claims. Is this who you want to associate with lawyers? Please remember ol’ Rudy has his law license suspended in two jurisdictions.

Five, and as a late addition, just when you think the former president cannot say anything more inane, here is a headline by Brad Reed from Raw Story “Trump doubles down on calls to ‘terminate’ Constitution in furious all-caps Truth Social post.” Apparently, he still feels he was cheated out of the 2020 election, which he and others have failed miserably at proving (after a lot of money was spent) in over five dozen lost court cases (with one small win in PA) and losing every recount, audit and review. So, the US Constitution has to go because this person cannot be man enough to admit he lost an election. Maybe he was jealous of the attention Kari Lake was getting with her claims.

Desalination of sea water using renewable energy marries two issues

An important article on two of the planet’s major issues called “Egypt to build 21 desalination plants in phase 1 of scheme -sovereign fund” by Aidan Lewis appeared in Reuters this week. A few paragraphs are noted below with a link to the full article at the end of the post.

“CAIRO, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Egypt plans to award deals next year to build 21 water desalination plants in the first $3 billion phase of a programme that will draw on cheap renewable energy, the CEO of the country’s sovereign fund said on Thursday.

Egypt, which recently hosted the COP27 U.N. climate talks and is trying to boost lagging investment in renewables, also aims to start production at a series of proposed green hydrogen projects in 2025-2026, Ayman Soliman told the Reuters NEXT conference.

Egypt depends almost entirely on the Nile for fresh water, and faces rising water scarcity for its population of 104 million. The desalination programme aims to generate 3.3 million cubic metres of water daily in the first phase, and eventually reach 8.8 million cubic metres daily at a cost of $8 billion.

So-called green or clean hydrogen is produced using electrolysers powered by renewable energy to split water from oxygen. It is seen as a potential future power source that could reduce emissions, though to date it is largely limited to experimental projects. Analysts say challenges facing its growth include high costs and energy inputs, as well as safety concerns.”

This fund is set to pump money into two needed concerns – the worsening water crisis and the needed use of renewable energy to power the effort. The global water crisis matches climate change in terms of risk to our planet and has for several years. Climate change actually makes the water crisis worse through evaporation. Duke Energy noted in a report that its projections of water evaporation from its water sources to power the Charlotte metropolitan area will be 11% worse with climate change. When water levels get to low, Duke has to cut power production or use more water from the river sources which exacerbates the water crisis.

Marrying these two crises, we have too much salt water and too little fresh water. Efforts to use the former to replace the latter may start out as more expensive, which is why it has not been used as much before, but has to be part of our equation to help our planet and people. As with other efforts, over time the process will get more cost effective.

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/egypt-build-21-desalination-plants-phase-1-scheme-sovereign-fund-2022-12-01/

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

Let’s be different and call it an Orange Friday

Black Friday started as a day of shopping for others, but has turned into a month long inventory close out event for personal shoppers. Oh, a few gifts are bought, as well. I have never cared for Black Friday, so when we visited my grandparents for Thanksgiving, I would always take my cousin and sister to a movie on Black Friday. It was a lot quieter then.

So, rather than call it Black Friday, let’s call it Orange. As per the show about women in prison, “Orange is the new black.” I am not saying we are all prisoners of the retail engine, but we should just use a more fun color and do something different. Orange is brighter and more vibrant.

In our family, we have a larger dinner gathering with multiple siblings and cousins where we can knock out more leftovers after our smaller Thanksgiving meals. Yes, I will be eating more today. So, more hiking, Yoga and Pilates will be required.

A few odds and ends for this Orange Friday are as follows:

In Alaska, the votes are tallied and the results are favorable. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of the few Republicans with the courage to stare down and call out the deceitful actions of the former president, won her Senate race. And, Native Alaskan and Democrat Mary Peltola won her Congressional seat defeating former governor and vice president candidate Sarah Palin. It should be noted the former president endorsed the opposition in both races, so this adds two more to the tally of failed candidates under his purview.

In Oakland, a new mayor was voted in named Sheng Thao, a progressive who defeated the moderate Loren Taylor. What proves interesting is Thao was at one time a homeless person after a split up from her abusive husband fifteen years ago. Plus, she is the first woman of Hmong descent to ever be elected mayor. Her parents were refugees.

I find these two sets of stories very compelling. To me, they show more glimmers of hope that Democracy can survive when too many folks are trying to bully, lie and cheat their way into office. It is not surprising that outgoing Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro is contending his election loss (this was an easy prediction of a few weeks ago), nor is it surprising that Kari Lake won’t concede her Arizona governor race loss, even though the existing Republican governor is welcoming incoming Democrat winner Katie Hobbs. Both Lake and Bolsonaro like to emulate the former US president and his penchant for tossing the checkerboard when he loses.

So, let’s celebrate an Orange Friday. Enjoy your families, enjoy the day and enjoy that the candidates who emulate the orange hair guy did not win.

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.