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.

Advertisement

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.

Moving on from the election – a letter to editor

I forwarded the following letter to my newspaper editor. Hopefully, they will publish it. I also forwarded it to some folks in an email. Please feel free to adapt and use.

As an independent voter and former member of both parties, it was good to see a significant number of election deniers and Trump sycophants defeated in the elections last week. While a few got elected in, the voters seemed to be saying enough of that storytelling and let’s move on.

I do feel the Republican Party needs to get back on track and move away from those who feel they must lie to curry favor with the former president. We need a conservative voice in our country and the current vintage of the GOP is not it. They could begin with cutting the lines to the anchor of the former president’s deceitful and allegedly seditious behavior. They could cut a few lines to his sycophants as well.

The sooner they do this, the better it will be for our country and their party.

We do well when we all do well – a repeat performance

I wrote the following piece eight years ago and it still resonates today, although in some places we have done some of what is suggested. Our friend Erika reminded me yesterday that Eleanor Roosevelt had her own place in history along with her presidential relatives. FDR saw his wife and cousin as one of his trusted advisors, always willing to tell him the unvarnished truth.

Beginning tonight, Ken Burns’ documentary series called “The Roosevelts” will be aired on PBS. The series highlights the impact President Teddy Roosevelt, President Franklin Roosevelt and Teddy’s niece and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had on America and the world. While all three were “to the manor born,” they each took up the cause for the marginalized and disenfranchised people in America, even while Teddy was a Republican and FDR was a Democrat. But, Eleanor could hold her own and her influence and ambassadorship to those in need spoke volumes as she is noted as our greatest First Lady.

On CBS Good Morning, Burns was talking about the forthcoming documentary and he quoted a line which embodied their mantra – “we do well, when we all do well.” This line is so very pertinent and is one which I believe to my core. It also shows that the time of greatest growth in our country occurred when more of us did well and were out buying goods and services, moving into our homes (not necessarily estates), and living a heretofore idealized version of the American dream.  It also reveals why our recovery has not benefitted everyone equally, with the top 10% of our country doing quite nicely, but everyone else treading water or sinking below. Since we are not “all doing well” fewer goods and services are bought, so our recovery is not quite as strong.

It should be noted that both Roosevelt presidents are known for eco-energy measures and protecting our environment. Teddy is known as our greatest “water” president, by buying up land for national parks and watersheds and overseeing the construction of the Panama Canal, which is a heavy contributor to US naval power and sea trade prominence. FDR constructed more dams on his watch as part of the New Deal which helped provide jobs and infrastructure. FDR’s infrastructure investments were carried forward by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower which helped contribute to the aforementioned period above.

It is for these reasons we need to move forward down a path of doing more of what made America great. Investing in ourselves, our infrastructure and our future. This is the key premise in Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum’s book “That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World it Invented and How it Can Come Back.” This book highlights the co-investment in America’s infrastructure between private and public funds to maintain, restore, rebuild, and build anew our infrastructure to support business development and job creation. But, as history has shown us, we need to do more to help those who seem to get lost in the future growth or never get the same opportunities. Our history has also shown us the “haves” will take advantage of the “have-nots” to move ahead.

So, clearly we need to invest in ourselves and our future. Even while we cut expenses elsewhere, we need to invest in our infrastructure and development. But, we need to do some or all of the following, as well:

– Raise the minimum wage. Going to $15 an hour is a pipe dream, but following the recommendation to phase up from $7.25 to $10.10 is doable and has bipartisan support. It will create more spending and lessen pressure on public assistance programs.

– Invest more in education, not less and make sure after school programs are robust to attract kids and keep them engaged. Also, we need to improve access to pre-K reading programs which have shown to be impactful. But, most of all listen to teachers and not politicians. For example, teachers have noted the ideal class size is between 18 and 24 students. More voices can be heard and break out groups are easier with those sizes.

– Clamp down on pay-day lending who prey upon who Jesus called the “least of these.” Pay day lenders also prey upon our military families. Please know that pay-day lenders are a form of usury and they are one step above leg breakers. They also fund a lot of politicians who are blinded by the money to recognize what they do to poor people.

– Limit for-profit colleges who also prey upon people using government funding. People may find of interest the graduation rates from for-profit colleges are abysmal and they spend more money on marketing than teaching. And, when one area of funding was tightened up, they moved over to follow the pay-day lenders lead and are preying upon veterans and military people who have financial benefits since coming home.

– Educate people on what state lotteries are. They are a regressive tax taking a disproportionate share from people in poverty. Too many people throw money they need away on something extremely unlikely to happen. Ten lottery tickets per week may increase your chances by tenfold, but it is still a 10 out of 10 million probability, which is a likelihood of .000001

– Invest even more in our community college systems who are more geared toward career retraining and development. The former Clemson University president partnered with area community colleges as they knew how to reach out to industry better to help train the new work force. The President deserves credit for some of this, but we need more.

– Finally, per the lead in and the Roosevelt’s legacy, invest in our infrastructure and assets. Asset Based Community Development should be enhanced  and incented.

The Roosevelts’ legacy is significant on America. We are better as a country because of them. I look forward to seeing the series. Please join me as it may spur some more ideas. Some or all of the above would make us better and give us each more opportunity. We do well, when we all do well.

A few Gumpish questions – a reprise from January, 2020

I have written a few posts on asking more why questions, but let me define a few dumb questions, in the spirit of a fictitious chatacter, Forrest, Forrest Gump. It is amazing how these questions don’t leap off the news pages or out of cyberspace.

In no particular order…

Help me understand how the president can cause a problem, then get kudos (or claim such), when he solves (or lessens) his own problem?

Forrest Gump answered his drill sergeant’s question of his purpose? “To do exactly what you tell me to do, drill sergeant!” The drill sergeant called Gump a “genius” for his answer.

Help me understand how one of the largest US Christian denominations cannot resolve conflict and will be splitting in two? What message does that send?

Forrest Gump’s girl Jenny gave Forrest the best answer to danger. What should he do? “Run, Forrest, run.”

Help me understand how legislators, presidential candidates and current president don’t seem to care that our annual deficit and debt are exploding?

Forrest’s mama answered her son’s question of what is his destiny? “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get.”

How can people not see the intense and elongated forest fires in Australia, Brazil and California and not think we have a new paradigm with our heating planet?

Forrest got a Purple Heart. When asked where he was shot, he said “I got shot in the buttocks. They said it was a million dollar wound, but I haven’t seen any of that money.”

How can people feel that putting a face on an opposing argument, then beating on that person can pass for reasoned counter argument (think Al Gore and Greta Thunberg)?

Lieutenant Dan showed up at dockside to honor his promise that he would be Forrest’s first mate if he got a shrimp boat. He told Forrest he wanted to get his “sea legs.” Forrest said, “But, you don’t have no legs.” “Yes, I know this,” Lt. Dan replied.

Help me understand why important people are so cavalier with their reputations by spending time with Jeffrey Epstein and underage girls (think Prince Andrew, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton)? The other sad part is Ghislaine Maxwell should have known better than sourcing underage girls for Epstein’s exploitation The truth would likely frighten and repulse us.

In the middle of all the Vietnam shooting, Lt. Dan offered this pertinent advice to his troops. “Take care of your feet and don’t get yourself shot.” Amen, brother.

One of the traits of a narcissist is a defense mechanism known as projection. In other words, to deflect criticism, a narcissist indicts others with his faults to paint others in a bad light before he is so painted. There is no better explanation as to why the former president name calls and denigrates others.

Forrest answered Bubba’s mother when she asked “if he was crazy or just plain stupid?” Forrest uttered his classic line, “Stupid is as stupid does.” That is a profound statement.

A few random thoughts for this big day

The day to officially vote has arrived in America. Will America take a step back from its democracy or will it say to some belligerent autocratic thinkers enough is enough? Here are a few thoughts, again from an independent and former member of both parties. I mention this often as I want people to know I have some conservative bents around financial stewardship and progressive bents around civil rights and opportunities.

Please vote, if you have not doneso already. If you have, well done.

If you care about our planet and battling climate change even more, please vote.

If you care about the civil rights of all people on our shores, please vote.

If you care about the right for a woman to choose what to do with her own body, please vote.

If you care about healthcare access for all Americans, please vote.

If you care about financial programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, please vote.

If you care about requiring more truthfulness and civility in politics, please vote.

If you want to people to address real issues rather than contrived ones, please vote.

To be frank, the halls of legislature no longer are filled entirely with people with good morals, ethics and sense. We have some folks who are not only less than competent, they are more than mean-spirited. Sadly, we have hundreds more just like this lot who are running for office today.

This last statement is unnerving is as Bill Maher put it so well, this is how autocracies start, by electing the people who have sown seeds of doubt. As Maher said the other night, Hitler and Mussolini were elected into office and brought along like-minded folks.

If anyone touts the former US president’s bogus and unproven claims of election fraud in this election, they should not be voted for. Full stop. They are purposefully gaslighting you to get elected, just as the former president has done all of his adult life. He did not just wake up, run for office and start deceiving people. That has long been his modus operandi. This is why I did not vote for him in 2016 or 2020. I want my president to be more truthful than not.

We have one Senatorial candidate who is against abortion, unless it is his baby and he needs to pay to get rid of it. We have one Senatorial candidate who as a doctor on a TV show was hauled in front of Congress for peddling snake oil miracle cures that were untested and harmful to people when taken with other drugs. We have another Senatorial candidate who owns a gun shop, presenting a fairly significant conflict of interest, but also has posed a even tighter nationwide abortion ban.

People need to look at the candidates and vote. Even if you don’t agree with me on all issues, please vote. The problem with elections in America is not fraud, it is not enough people voting. That has always been the case. One party does not think that.

Monday Meanderings pre-election

Please go vote tomorrow if you have not done so already. Remember there are some who do not want you to vote and have done and are still doing their earnest to prevent your vote from counting. This is being done through voter restrictions, lawsuits and intimidation all fueled by a former president who has lied because he is not man enough to admit he lost an election.

Per his niece Mary, this is what she meant when she said “Her uncle will burn it all down to avoid losing an election.” This is what is meant when Michael Cohen, his attorney and fixer for years, said under oath to Congress, “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con-artist and he is cheat.” This is what is meant when Trump’s own Attorney General said to the then president’s face, “your election claims of fraud are bulls**t.”

I have known for the longest time, well before his presidency, that Trump was a deceitful acting and bullying person. I also knew two months before the election in 2020 that Trump would claim election fraud. What I did not know is how so many sycophants in legislatures and pseudo news rooms would go along with this BS after it was long ago proven his claims were unjustified.

So, we have people who have seized upon this BS and said everything is still rigged against Republicans. After the voters suppression and gerrymandering that began in earnest after the 2010 midterm when Republicans took majorities in state legislatures, the statement things are rigged against the GOP is sad and laughable.

Please vote. I have observed already when a party is forced to or accepts a Big Lie, small lies are much easier to state. I voted for three bipartisan Republicans, but the rest of my votes have been for Democrats. Democrats are not perfect, but at least they are addressing real issues whether you like what they have done or not. If a Republican touts the Big Lie, please do not vote for them, as they will lie about anything – what is and isn’t.

Lt. Governor Mark Robinson – add his name to the list again

Let’s add North Carolina Republican Lt. Governor Mark Robinson to the list of those making inappropriate comments at the expense of Paul Pelosi. This is not new territory for Robinson, as he has a habit of making poor choices of words (google Mark Robinson and homophobia or Mark Robinson and book banning).

From an editorial in The Charlotte Observer called “Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson disgraces NC again with post about Pelosi attack:”

“North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson keeps proving there’s no limit to his shamelessness.

In a meme shared to his personal Facebook page — which has 132,000 followers — Robinson poked fun at the recent attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The image depicts a mock Halloween costume for an ‘attacker,’ complete with underwear, a hammer and a ‘lame story to tell the press.

‘I’m sorry Paul I don’t believe you or the press!!!!” Robinson wrote in the post, which has received nearly 7,000 likes.’”

I left a message with the Lt. Governor sharing my disappointment. We deserve better than this kind of pitiful and incendiary commentary. On the good news side, Mr. Pelosi was released from the hospital. I guess per Mr. Robinson, we should not believe that either.

Call me crazy, but my parents taught me my name was very important. With respect to Mr. Robinson and others who say similar things in a routine manner, I know his name. But, what I associate with it is probably not what he had hoped.

Read more at: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article268111352.html#storylink=cp

Election noise making

The following is a letter I forwarded to my newspaper for publishing. It is doubtful they will as I had something published last month, but please feel free to adapt and use.

It is disappointing to this independent and former Republican voter that too many Republican candidates feel obligated to pretend the former president’s bogus and universally unproven election fraud is not a falsehood. It also disappoints me some are beating a resulting drumbeat that the upcoming election might be problematic to sow doubt.

From where I sit, I see a misuse of Trump’s Big Lie to perpetuate a fraud on the American people by restricting voting by certain manipulators who are making a fuss. I encourage all eligible Americans to vote and ignore the noise from these manipulators. We should make it easier for people to vote, not harder in my view. 

And, for those who still want to believe the former president bogus election fraud claims, he has lost every recount, audit and review and all but one court case out of 65 or so to overturn results. To be frank, he cannot lose any more than he has time and again. Perpetuating the Big Lie to sow doubt is disservice to the American people.

We deserve better than this. Please vote.

Disgustingly flippant remark about Paul Pelosi by Junior is condemned

In an article penned in Raw Story by Tom Boggioni called “Donald Trump Jr. buried by CNN analyst over his ‘disgusting’ response to attack on Paul Pelosi,” a disgustingly flippant comment made by the former president’s son is appropriately condemned (see below for link). There is really not much more to add.

“Donald Trump Jr. was trashed by a senior CNN political analyst on Monday for his appalling response to the attack on 82-year-old Paul Pelosi in his home early Friday morning by a hammer-wielding far-right extremist who came seeking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

With the majority of conservatives calling the assault horrifying, the oldest son of Donald Trump decided to make jokes about it in an apparent effort to amuse and gain favor with fans of his much more famous father.

Sharing an image on social media of a hammer and men’s underwear with a caption that read, ‘Got my Paul Pelosi Halloween costume ready,’ Trump Jr. added: ‘The Internet remains undefeated.’

According to CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote that it was a new low for a man whose public career has been full of them.”

Disappointing, yes. Surprising, no. We need to be better than this. We all need to be better than this. It is not good that Steve Scalise was wounded at a Republican baseball practice, it is not good that someone sent fake bombs to a number of Democrat officials, it is not good that Gabby Giffords was wounded at a gathering, et al. It matters not the party or whether someone dislikes another’s opinions or personage. This is not right. Full stop.