The main news item today, for me, is the Russian-made missile striking inside Polish territory. The investigation is still underway as to who fired the missile, but a report on Aljazeera states that it was likely fired as part of Ukrainian defenses against a missile barrage launched by Russia:

Moscow’s forces launched 110 missiles and 10 Iranian-made attack drones throughout the country, the general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said, leaving millions of households without power.

Ukraine said more than 70 missiles were shot down, but some hit the city of Lviv, near the border with Poland to the west.

Either way, it has made a stir.  The fact that there are missiles flying around Europe at all should be our focus of attention. Why is this happening in the year 2022? Somewhere in the morning’s news items I did see that reports from Russia indicate that more and more people are speaking out, in social media at least, against the war and Putin.  Good, please keep it up! And if there is anyone inside of Russia reading this that is still on the fence about where that country is going, in my expert opinion your trajectory is unsustainable. Or, in Russian, buduschego net. That it, unless you take action and make big changes in your government immediately.

Made with Bravery- Bravery is in our DNA

Made With Bravery and United24

Recently I was introduced to the website Made With Bravery, a marketplace for Ukrainian businesses. The site launched in mid-September, and currently has around 250 merchants with products on the site. Not only do the merchants continue to do business, but the site donates all of their marketplace commissions, and an additional 5% if you pay with Visa, to United24. I am placing my first order today, for holiday gifts.

I have mentioned Masha Gessen’s book, The Future is History, in a previous post.  I highly recommend the book if you want to understand modern Russia, and how the current Russian mafia state grew out of the post-communist USSR. Gessen’s book will give you a clear and disturbing understanding of what went on in the background, and how Russia arrived in the present day.

Digging deeper, the word “hypernormalisation” turns up. From the Wikipedia page outlining the movie of the same name, here is the first paragraph of explanation:

The word hypernormalization was coined by Alexei Yurchak, a professor of anthropology who was born in Leningrad and later went to teach in the United States. He introduced the word in his book Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation (2006), which describes paradoxes of Soviet life during the 1970s and 1980s.[3][4] He says that everyone in the Soviet Union knew the system was failing, but no one could imagine an alternative to the status quo, and politicians and citizens alike were resigned to maintaining the pretense of a functioning society.[5] Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the fakeness was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Yurchak termed hypernormalisation.[6]

The bold italics are my own, to emphasise in less than two sentences where the new Russia comes from.  It is a creation, a societal delusion in the 1970’s and 1980’s that was enforced by a feat of advertising and theatre from the 1990’s onward; it is a monumental hoax perpetrated on 150 million people. (And not just on Russia- to be fair we cannot leave out the rest of the world. Having survived Trump’s attempt at creating the same in the U.S.- this time- we are not very far off. The question is, can we survive it again?) As a side note, the documentary Hypernormalisation, begins in New York in 1975, with Donald Trump.

If you have a free two hours, you can watch the BBC documentary on youtube here: Hypernormalisation by Adam Curtis.

For more on one of the minds behind the creation of Putin, and the latest iteration of the Russian delusion, you can read about Vladislav Surkov on wikipedia. To summarise, he (probably) served on the GRU intelligence staff, studied theatre direction, and worked in advertising and public relations for some very influential Russians.  He is credited with creating Putin’s image, he is an expert at doublespeak, and seems to have perfected the mobile truth that characterises the Russia of the past 60 years or so.

A prime example, Surkov is one of those who claims “there is no Ukraine,” and backs it up with fiction, lies, conspiracies, and historical revision, feeding it to a gullible, depressed, confused, and beaten Russian populace.  And thus we arrive at the present day.

A final note on this post- please do not take any of this as the gospel truth. It is information that is available on the internet. Hypernormalisation, the documentary… borders on the conspiratorial… crosses the line in fact, here and there. Take everything with a grain of salt, and do your own digging. My personal philosophy on information I receive- even that which I see with my own eyes- vacillates between “trust but verify” and “never trust anyone.”  Proceed with caution.


(Reposted from Foreign Policy Can I do that? Just did… too important to not pass on. We are all aware of what happened… but what to do? This was an attempted coup- a poorly orchestrated, abortive, laughable attempt at one, but an attempt nonetheless. Something must be done, the 25th Amendment is just a start. Criminal proceedings are called for. Handcuffs, life sentence, nothing less. If not, this WILL BE the new normal. Mark my words. Read and weep.)

Trump’s actions on Wednesday have led to an unavoidable national reckoning.

BY JOHN R. ALLEN | JANUARY 7, 2021, 4:52 PM

On Wednesday, a white racist and Trump supporter carried the odious Confederate flag triumphantly into the halls of the U.S. Congress, something not even the Confederate Army achieved amid the terrors of the Civil War. On the grounds of the sacred U.S. Capitol building, four Americans lost their lives and scores more were wounded. The building was vandalized, defiled, desecrated, and literally stained with the blood of those seeking to dismantle American democracy. All of this happened at the moment when the country’s elected representatives were fulfilling their duty to confirm the election of a new president. It was harrowing to watch.

After four years of seemingly unending outrages, it’s time. U.S. President Donald Trump must go, and the vice president must rescue the country’s democracy by leading the cabinet in invoking the 25th Amendment. After a long series of offenses—a list that would exceed the space available here—the culmination of Trump’s criminal attempts at election tampering and his incitement of insurrection on Wednesday lead us to the point of an unavoidable national reckoning.

Under the 25th Amendment, if a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments concur, the vice president can remove a president who is incapacitated or physically or mentally unable to perform their duty. The president can then appeal to Congress. Today, invoking the 25th Amendment is about the behavioral unfitness of a president who refuses to accept the outcome of the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, who failed to mount any credible legal challenge to the results, who has stoked a sense of electoral thievery among his credulous supporters, and who, in so doing, has created a crisis of confidence in the sanctity and integrity of the U.S. electoral process. It’s about a president who, over New Year’s weekend, consciously and intentionally sought to intimidate and coerce Georgia election officials to fabricate sufficient votes to change the state’s count in his favor.

Yes, there is the option of impeachment as well, which must be considered as another legal path for holding Trump accountable—again. But that will simply take too long to avert impending disaster.

In his final two weeks as president, what else might Trump be capable of? No one could have imagined what transpired on Wednesday, and with Trump, worse is always conceivable. Given the immense power of the office of president of the United States, including command of the world’s most powerful military, Trump’s capacity to do even greater damage to the United States and the world still remains within his reach. After the events of Jan. 6, he must be immediately separated from the authorities vested in him as the nation’s commander in chief. Only by invoking the 25th Amendment can that be done quickly enough to prevent the next outrage, quite apart from his access to the nuclear arsenal.

Trump’s rapid removal would send the unambiguous message that U.S. democracy as a form of government remains intact, just as a shaken but undaunted Congress acted immediately after the riot to certify Joe Biden’s forthcoming presidency. Our children and grandchildren must see both of these dimensions of democracy at work: that the United States remains intact as a constitutional democracy and that no one is above the rule of law. The world—including allies who share this moral view, illiberal leaders who’ve seized control of their own democracies, and the authoritarians and the totalitarians—must see that America is about the higher principles of liberal representative government, human rights, and the rule of law. The recent decision by Facebook and Twitter to ban the president from their platforms—indefinitely in the case of Facebook—speaks to these very principles.

In the aftermath of Trump’s brutal violation of the civil rights of demonstrators in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., I wrote last June: “The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020. Remember the date. It may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment. The president of the United States stood in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday, railed against weak governors and mayors who were not doing enough, in his mind, to control the unrest and the rioters in their cities, and threatened to deploy the U.S. military against American citizens. It was a stunning moment.”

When I wrote these words, I could not have imagined the events that took place on Jan. 6. The reasons for some Americans’ dissatisfaction and anger are complex and deserve our full and undivided attention, especially if we are ever to walk the path toward national healing, reconciliation, and unity. But the president’s actions on Wednesday demand collective outrage and swift action. He should not be permitted the privilege and honor of completing his term. The vice president and cabinet must act—and act now.

Lead By Example

24 April 2020

The latest idiotic remarks from Washington this morning are that injecting disinfecting cleaning solutions into our bodies may protect us from the Coronavirus. Well, let’s all give it a try. The commander in chief should be the first, leading by example. If it works we can follow suit. If it doesn’t work, we can have a really big party.

Trumpwinkle: “Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a Coronavirus recovery out of my hat.”
Rocky: “Again?”
Trumpwinkle: “Nothing up my sleeve. Presto!” (We see the head of a roaring lion.)
Trumpwinkle: No doubt about it, I gotta get another hat!

Better luck next time.


“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
-Abraham Lincoln,1862

Give that very appropriate quote some thought, not just in the context of the United States, but globally. Or pick just about any country in Europe and apply it. No matter where you look, Lincoln’s quote might be considered now more than ever, a prophesy.

Food for thought, or supporting evidence (take your pick) can be found in two recently published works: The Empty Throne: America’s Abdication of Global Leadership, by Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay. Also see Hunger and Fury: The Crisis of Democracy in the Balkans, by Jasmin Mujanovic.

The trouble with tariffs instituted out of desperation, ignorance of how the  world works, egoism, and stupidity is that they are… stupid.

As a retail store and e-commerce businessman, I already see the affects of the tariffs that are going to make America great again (it doesn’t even deserve capitalization.) I will let you in on a little secret- it isn’t going to work!

Sales are dropping and will continue to drop as  tariffs begin to affect the supply chain.  Cost increases will be passed on and on and on, until finally you and I will be paying for those 20% tariffs that are going to save America.  Will wages and income increase 20% as well? Highly unlikely.  What will we do? Rework budgets, forego purchases, and try to ride it out.  And what effect will this have on our economy, on the global economy for which we are responsible (yes, we are responsible for it and have been since the end of World War II)?  You figure it out.

Hindsight is 20/20.  If we would have stayed out of NAFTA and GATT to begin with, if we wouldn’t have agreed to so many “free-trade” agreements, we would not be in this mess.  But that is the past.  Today, we are in the thick of it, part of the global mess we have created, for better or for worse.

Big D., if you read this, you cannot make massive changes to an intricately entangled, delicately balanced system and expect the system to adapt in the blink of an eye. Or even over the course of years. A small storm becomes a typhoon easily enough. Typhoons destroy. A big enough typhoon will destroy everything.

Short-sighted, reactionary, and isolationist responses to world-wide economic issues will do nothing but harm to our economy, and by default, to the economies of much of the world.  It will increase the power of dictators such as Putin, and cause countries that are barely holding on to move backwards. The acceptance and support of populist movements in Europe is just the beginning. A return to the nationalism and fascism that lead us into war are next.


The title says it all. But if you need some clarification on my position, I support President Trump. And here is why: My favorite author is Edward Abbey. My favorite quote by Edward Abbey is “our only hope is catastrophe.” The meaning of the quote: the only thing that is going to save us is self-destruction. The earth will rejuvenate and man (we hope with more sound thought this time) will rebuild and recover. The sooner we get it over with, the better.

Thank you Trump, thank you Israel, for taking us another step closer to self-destruction!

I was thinking this morning about politics, the upcoming election, promises. I was thinking about how we try to regain what was, perhaps voting for someone because they claim they will return us to a better time, to “the way it used to be.” The fact is, it never was the way it used to be.