Putin

THE LONG KNIVES ARE OUT FOR PUTIN

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As I watch with the rest of the world the horrors in Ukraine, I find it hard to believe that we are living at almost the end of the first quarter of the millennium. One can only recoil at the déjà vu of a madman attacking an independent state. Killing and displacing a huge population and destroying the infrastructure of the country.

I recoil from the site of the rest of the world looking on while such insane and dangerous behavior is allowed to continue without the world doing all it can to stop it. I listen to the arguments of the leaders of the West when they refuse to provide a no-fly zone because of their fear of nuclear war.

If the West had stopped Hitler when he took the Rhineland I, as do many others, believe that would have stopped Hitler. The lack of response by the West emboldened Hitler to take more land and more territory.

The West will pay a heavy price for not confronting Putin now and allowing the killing and destruction to continue. This is not only unconscionable but a terrible miscalculation. Putin will not retaliate with nuclear weapons. I believe that those in power in Russia will ensure that Putin is not capable of deploying and firing nuclear weapons.

Putin is under a lot of pressure. The war is going badly. It is embarrassing to Putin and to Russia. The sanctions placed on Russia by the rest of the world will be felt by the Russian people. Those in power and close to Putin will become economic targets in the rest of the world.

The pressure on Putin can only grow. As Russians feel the sanctions and cannot use their credit cards and supplies dwindle, the pressure will increase.

The Army can’t be happy with Putin. He has planned and carried out this operation negligently and has embarrassed the Russian army.

In terms of public relations, it has been a disaster for Russia and Putin. Their inability to carry out their plans in Ukraine has been a stunning defeat in the eyes of the world. The effects of the war will mean Russia will no longer be the power in the world it once was.

I have to believe that there are powerful people in the highest ranks of the Soviet system who are personally suffering substantially from Putin’s actions and the subsequent sanctions. There must be amongst those powerful and influential people enough to plot the overthrow of Putin and his cronies who are behind the war. Putin must surely be weakened in the eyes of the military, the oligarchs, and the people of Russia. It is amazing how one can lose political power and go from the diamonds in the sidewalk to the dirt in the gutter. I am sure many other leaders, including leaders of Russia and the former Soviet Union, found themselves in power one day and out the next. All you need is the right group of people with the will to change the leadership and the means to do it. We can only hope.

This has been a catastrophic defeat and embarrassment to social, military, political, and economic activity in the Soviet Union and the world. The world has watched while Putin has deliberately destroyed the infrastructure of Ukraine and mercilessly killed its citizens. This will take a long time for Russia to recover in the eyes of the world, and may not.

The best move for those powerful Russians opposed to what Putin has done to them in the eyes of the world would be to arrest Putin, stop the war, pay reparations for the rebuilding of Ukraine, apologized to the world, and blame it on Putin. It is the only way they have any chance to reestablish any kind of positive relationship in the eyes of the world and save their economy. Otherwise, Russia will live in the shadow of this war and is unlikely to recover.

Pence was a Smart Choice?

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If Spiro Agnew had remained as vice president, Richard Nixon would never have faced impeachment. No Democrat would trade Richard Nixon for the far right intellectual neanderthal Agnew. Agnew was forced to resign and Jerry Ford replaced him. That sealed Nixon’s fate.

The Democrats face a similar dilemma with Donald Trump’s VP, Mike Pence. For all his problems, Trump seems to be  ineffective. He makes a lot of noise. But nothing seems to get done. As an example Secretary as is Mattis put off Donald’s ban of transgender’s in the military.

Pence on the other hand, is a dyed in the wool, Bible thumping, blind and dumb conservative. He would be far more effective in working with the GOP leadership and more dangerous to the Democrats. They would have to get rid of Trump and Pence which can most likely only happen if Dems take the Congress in the midterms.

The GOP leadership would love Pence, but they worry about the backlash from the Trump supporters. Those people who prove Lincoln’s: “you can fool some of the people all of the time”.

It remains to be seen. I think there is no one more dangerous to Trump than Trump. He can’t protect himself from himself. His financial and political worlds will unravel with the Russian revelations and Trump’s inability to get out of his own way. Too many people want him gone in America and around the world. He’s damaging the United States. But worse for him he’s forever damaging his brand as the world gets to see more and more of the real Donald Trump.

The Russian Takeover

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We have already lost. Since the fall of communism, America has let down their guard. Communist Russia morphed into the private purview of Vladimir Putin who divided the nation’s wealth amongst his friends.

Citizens United allowed the introduction of large sums of money with little or no accountability as to its source or purpose entering and influence on the American political process.

Russian oligarchs and underworld (perhaps one and the same) have bought their way into the upper echelons of American finance. They have bought assets and loaned money to the greedy in the United States and around the world.

Citizens United also created the best GOP politicians money can buy. I’m sure Russian money whether knowingly or otherwise found its way into the hands of American politicians.

Russia realized that power and influence could be had without firing a shot.

The 2016 election provided a unique opportunity for Vladimir Putin where he allowed himself to be a bit reckless. His interference was palatable. It was the worst kept secret in the history of the world’s intelligence community.

Putin interfered to help Donald Trump because he felt he had some influence based upon evidence of Trump’s financial dealings with Russia and personal behavior. Whether Trump directly and aggressively colluded with Russia or was a willing dupe, his deference to Putin and Russia, clearly speaks to the connection.

The real problem is that Russian influence in the economies and politics of America and the rest of the world, goes far beyond its interference in the American election.

Don’t get me wrong, nothing is more important than removing Donald Trump from the presidency. But that will only be the beginning of dealing with the new Russian reality.

Government is Not a Business

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Donald Trump came to power promising to apply his business experience to running the government. Forget for a moment the realities of his business experience which lack ethics. Consider his modus operandi of using debt and bankruptcy to profit at the expense of the hard-working small businessmen who worked for him. Government is not a business.

The principles of running a business do not apply and do not work in running a government.

In business Trump was the boss. He could do whatever he wanted to do. His only considerations were making money and building his brand. There was little or no room for dissenting opinions. If he didn’t like the job you were doing, you were fired. His only constituency was himself, his family and his businesses.

Government doesn’t have a bottom-line. Healthcare and Education are investments whose success are not measured in dollars and cents. It is measured in the lives that are saved and enhanced. Government is always an exercise in pay it forward. It is measured in the social and scientific advancements which save lives and make lives in the world better.

Government in the free world democracies is a process of balance and compromise. This is not a characteristic often found in running businesses. Government is the process of debating the social and political issues to try and come to a consensus that improves the life of the nation and its citizens.

Government is there to give voice to the disenfranchised. One of the best examples is Lyndon Johnson. His success with Medicaid, his war on poverty, civil rights and voting rights, are proof that government can make a significant difference in people’s lives. if not for Lyndon Johnson it is doubtful that Barack Obama would have become president. Without Lyndon Johnson he may not be able to vote.

Government exists for entirely different reasons than a business. It has different goals, responsibilities, and methods. It success is measured in markedly different ways and with significantly different criteria than a business.

Trump and his administration are clear proof that businessmen are not suited to govern using business principles and methods. It has been a disaster for Trump, America, and the world.

The drama and infighting between Trump and the members of his administration are further proof that you cannot operate as president in the same way you run your own business. The public nature of government is a far cry from the behind closed doors autocratic style which works in business.

Trump clearly does not understand this. American democracy is paying the price. Never in the history of the United States of America has the nation been held in such low esteem by the rest of the world. Not since the Revolutionary war has America faced such a threat to their democracy, as they do today.

Americans have to restore the kind of government that puts the people first. The GOP needs to grow a pair of patriotic balls and take back American democracy.

 

 

 

The Birth of Tyranny

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I was born in the early 50s. World War II seemed like distant history. In studying the 1930s and 40s I wondered how a Hitler or Mussolini could take over a civilized democracy. Now I know.

Putin certainly helped. Donald Trump found fertile ground in the ugly underbelly of America’s lowest common denominator. Those who stayed home in 2016 allowed Trump and Putin to hijack American democracy.

Trump is behaving like a dictator following the Tyrant’s Handbook for Dummies to the letter. He along with the GOP Congress and Scotus seem bent on reversing and destroying the social and political gains of the last 200 years.

In six months, Trump and the GOP have managed to bring America to its lowest point in  history in the eyes of the world ever. America has given up its leadership of the free world. No longer a beacon for democracy and freedom, America has become a bad and scary joke to the rest of the free world.

The GOP must grow a set of patriotic balls and take back America before it is too late.