Category: Opinion

Democracy versus Thugocracy

NATO countries are confronting Russia in Ukraine after years of rampage against Democracy by Putin and his oligarchs. Putin seems driven to undermine democratic governments wherever he can based on his track record. Attacks using dark money, social media, and cyber have been breakthrough tools weaponized by the Putin syndicate. Putin has subdued Russia over the last decade plus, and moved on to external targets including the United States. Ukrainians have rightly claimed that their fight is the fight of all freedom-loving people and history proves them correct. Murders in Europe to intimidate dissidents, sneaky invasions to add territory to Russia, Propaganda, Racism, and support for criminal/far-right politicians (Assad in Syria, Orban in Hungary, Trump in the US, for example). America dodged a bullet when we elected Joe Biden and defeated Trump who wanted to walk in Putin’s authoritarian footsteps. Trump and his January 6 conspirators must still be held accountable before we can move on to strengthen our Republic; but Ukrainians are in the same fight. The fight against lying thugs who want to create a world in their own image and a hell for decent people.

Lost Opportunities

We are living in a time when good leadership is critical to avoid disaster. Former Trump administration official Miles Taylor said that Trump has responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine because he showed consistent reverence for Putin over NATO, or his own intelligence agencies. Joe Biden now has to respond to the horror of a dictator lying to his people to justify needless death and destruction on a large scale. The leaders of coming decades will face a FAR WORSE scenario if we do not confront climate change as a society. The worst case scenarios of the climate crisis (read or listen to “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Walllace-Wells) are a vision of hell for all of human civilization; and yet we do nothing as time runs out (estimates about the window to avoid the worst-case climate scenarios are in the next 5 -10 year range). “The Uninhabitable Earth” lays out that the worst damage to our climate has been done in the last 30 years, a time we have known about the impact of carbon in our atmosphere. Trump did nothing to combat climate change, and Biden is being hampered by Republicans (with Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema). America will not be able to solve the climate crisis alone, but we are doing too little towards improvement as things get noticeably worse. We watch in horror as the citizens of Ukraine deal with needless death and destruction due to human cruelty and delusion; far worse is coming for all humankind if we do not act to reduce carbon released into our atmosphere.

Warriors against Evil

A core characteristic of evil is the belief that what one person desires is more important than what others want. Putin and his followers in Russia believe that what they want matters more than what the people of Ukraine want. Ukrainian refugees who abuse persons of color also attempting to escape war are guilty of exhibiting the same characteristic. I am not saying the evil acts are the same. I want to point out and clarify that evil can easily exist in any human being. The way that we can fight evil is to be clear about what it is. Rabbi Hillel described the Old Testament as telling us to ‘treat others as we would wish to be treated’; but modern life is full of examples and prompts that lead us to diminish others to maximize ourselves. Prompts for evil can be subtle or overt; a real estate commercial with testimonials from customers who all happen to NOT be Black or Asian people (are they too different or not transact real estate?), A presidential candidate telling police to handle suspects roughly, a political party denying accountability for criminal behavior while constantly lying and then saying “both sides do it”, state legislatures reducing the rights of women to control their bodies. Jesus told us “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”. Liars attack decency and reality because they want to set up a world that puts them at the top of a hierarchy with EVERYONE else diminished. Do not buy the fascist idea that your group or tribe will be elevated over others, ultimately liars play everyone else for pawns in their delusional pursuit of power. Real power comes from controlling ourselves, not stealing it from others. Demand the truth and hold liars who damage reality to undermine others and aggrandize themselves accountable. Having a decent world depends on us being warriors against evil in all of it’s forms.

Threats and harassment in a war against truth

Far-right Republicans (who are rarely rebuked by other Republicans with Trump never held accountable) and Fascists around the world have adopted a strategy of lies and threats to shape their version of self-centered reality. Everything that does not elevate the disturbed people who are filled with self-hate and repression is attacked. If you are different that is attacked with the victim portrayed as less than human. The fascist typically slip up and reveal the truth – there is not a threat from others driving their behavior; it is a profound disturbance inside themselves that they lack the courage to face. Every person who dreams of better days for humanity and the world must first seek the truth while fighting indecency, disrespect for others, and violence. Humankind is facing the increasing threat of climate crisis that will reveal our true nature; we will learn to work and live together as brothers, or die as fools. Act and prepare now to resist the power of hatred, greed, and deception. Ukrainians are seen on the front line of the battle against fascism now, but it is really all of us.

The American coup failed, but the Russian coup should succeed

On January 6th Donald Trump urged people to go to the Capitol as part of his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election; he failed. I hope that the Russian people rise up to remove a homicidal megalomaniac Putin from destroying thousands of lives in his drive for Russian empire and self-aggrandizement. It is pathetic that people are roped into supporting lies and idiots; but it has happened here in the USA and now Russia. We have been blessed that ego-centric clowns have been revealed and dismissed here in the United States. I hope the good people of Russia can see the way to rejecting idiocy and advancing the cause of human decency and righteousness. I do not support the destruction of human life, but I would rather see a few people removed from power by whatever means, than see the deaths of thousands. The people of Ukraine have shown amazing courage and fortitude while the rest of us watch and hope for the best. We must all do more than hope; every politician should be pushed to pursue righteousness instead of power. Here in America we have evil Republican politicians who must be held accountable after there attempt to overthrow democracy to grow their own power through Trump. As citizens of the world we must move to halt the Climate Crisis while supporting democracy and rejecting the evil of fascism. Putin has used racism and fascism to enhance his own power and influence. We are in days that challenge us to choose between being rats, or human beings striving to be the best version of ourselves.

Is Cable TV worth the price?

A lot of people are shifting to streaming services to save money which suggests that cable television prices are too high. The other possibility is that streaming services (both free and paid) are increasing in value and quality. Most people do not watch a lot of TV because doing so can cause you to sit more which is bad for your health. We are creatures of habit who create bubbles that reinforce our preconceptions about the world; TV is a part of that bubble. Part of growing is having the resources and security to take risks. If you can reduce your cable bill and seize control of both your finances and what is being presented to you about the world; do it. People who are active in their lives are happier. Look at your budget and determine if your resource allocation for television is worthy of the cost. The small step of taking control of a piece of your life could become a habit, leading to greater peace, balance, happiness, and success.

Oligarchs on the offensive

Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchs appear to be set for an attack on Ukraine despite warnings from a united NATO. Putin does not seem to be concerned about the long-term consequences because he has allies. American right-wing media buy the fascist tribal rationales that Putin and the oligarchs use to obscure their theft and greed. The Russian oligarchs have heavily invested in western businesses and have made a lot more headway than the communists ever did. Money and power are desired by amoral opportunists everywhere. Republicans are attacking the right to vote and the impact of the vote in America; just like Putin and the oligarchs in Russia. Russians are not free and they will be distracted by Putin’s war in Ukraine as he solidifies himself as ruler for life. Are we headed for a similar fate in America? Americans need to be ready to defend freedom and democracy over here, and over there. Support President Biden and the Democrats until Republicans cease their support of Trump’s attacks on truth and democracy.

Are Republicans the fascist party?

Questions are being asked about whether one of the two major political parties is dedicated to America’s democratic experiment. Here are some of the reasons that Republicans are considered to be an anti-democratic force right now: 1) Republicans have adopted the big lie sold by Donald Trump that the 2020 election was fixed, or hacked, or stolen; with no evidence. 2) Republicans have not rebuked Donald Trump for his assault on the 2020 election or his encouragement of the January 6th insurrection. 3) Republicans do not want to investigate what took place at the US Capitol on January 6th or the events leading up to the assault. 4) Republicans are implicated in spreading the Big Lie before the assault on the Capitol and have politicized it to make voting more difficult for US citizens. 5) Republicans are gerrymandering voting districts to create imbalance in legislative bodies at the state and federal levels; removing representation from US citizens. 6) Republicans will not identify policies that they are in favor of as a party for the second time after the 2020 elections when they also had no party platform. The idea seems to be selling whatever fear works for the weeks during elections without a direction or theme. There are more reasons that today’s Republican Party represents a threat to democracy. Research and act to protect your rights as a citizen. Authoritarians and oligarchs reward those who sell themselves for status and power, but they have no interest in the common good. Voting against the current Republicans until they rebuild themselves as responsible leaders with new principled candidates committed to government that represents the American people.

Dysfunctional Democracy

America today is a dysfunctional democracy. One party is under the control of Donald Trump, a person who tried to overthrow the will of the American people in 2020. Trump maintains his control of the Republican party through fear, so it is hard to claim the elected persons in that party are leaders. The Republican Party is full of cowardly followers and opportunistic charlatans who will say and do anything to advance their personal careers. The dysfunction of the Republicans has been a long journey fueled and bolstered by racism, misogyny, and fascism. Ridiculous lies and criminal actions by Republicans have become meaningless because their supporters seem not to care. We may be drifting towards a crisis where the usual loudmouths threaten and harass the republic; the real explosion will come when the silent democracy-loving majority responds in the streets. Republicans will use voter suppression, gerrymandering, harassment, lies, and propaganda to win or appear to win elections. We all should do everything that we can to avoid Republican political victory due to apathy or confusion. Research and act to preserve peace and hope in America.

Pulling the US together

Americans have been divided over everything from the January 6th attack on the US Capitol to Climate Crisis and COVID, but the forces that threaten our society are relentless. The carbon build-up in the atmosphere is causing changes to the climate that are clear to anyone paying attention, and the scientist are saying these changes are accelerating beyond previous estimates. COVID deaths in the United States are over 900,000 but we appear to be moving toward a more normal future of living with the virus. The January 6th committee in Congress and Justice Department are looking into Trump and his Allies in the insurrection as they would any criminal organization. While all of these issues continue in as public concerns we have a Russian threat to Ukraine and potentially US allies in Europe. America as usual faces a range of very real threats, but we do so with a president who puts this country (it’s people and it’s interests) first. Time is not a friend to our country or humanity for these issues except maybe COVID. President Biden and his executive branch have their work cut out for them, they will need all the support and votes we can give them