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.

One of the greatest problems with history is that people refuse to pay attention to it. Libraries are full of books which essentially tell us what is going to happen in our society (meaning right now) if we would only read them. History does repeat itself. While it may not be predictable in the sense of modeling, and making definite predictions- see Karl Popper’s Poverty of Historicism, in our day and age we have seen the same events occur over and over, and they will continue to do so. Here I refer to those singular events in history that have affected millions of people at a time, the nationalistic factionalisation of societies with murder, warfare, and destruction as the ultimate outcome, something the modern world cannot escape.

Do we need examples? In the last century alone, in the western world we have “personalities” (I am loath to call them leaders) such as Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini… Milošević, and now Putin. Those are just the “big names” that everyone should know and be frightened by when put into the context of August, 2022. How many more can we come up with, how many lesser-known dictators, agitators, regional would-be authoritarians followed the model and their own psychopathic, deviant beliefs to commit mass murder, genocide, crimes against humanity? And then there is the rest of the world- Asia, Latin America, Africa, the middle east… not a very pretty picture of humanity when you think about it.

As my perennial example I always use the the Balkans, the Third Balkan War- the fall of Yugoslavia. The “personality” in this case was Slobodan Milošević. As I see it, the turning point came in 1987 with his speech at Kosovo Polje, the battlefield where the Serbs were defeated in 1389. Here he reached far back in time- a common tactic- to successfully create a nationalistic fervor that would destroy Bosnia, tear apart Kosovo and many parts of the Balkans, and cause the death of hundreds of thousands. The damage he caused has never been, and never will be, completely repaired.

The difference between the outcomes of these past events and what the outcome might be today is glaring- in 1945 the allies took control of war-ravaged Europe and rebuilt it. After the siege of Sarajevo ended money, aid, relief came and now Sarajevo, for example, appears to be a thriving European city. The mafia state of Russia invaded the sovereign country of Ukraine, and the United States, most of Europe, and many countries in the world have stepped up in opposition.

But if we, in the United States follow the same path and allow our country to be destroyed by a pathological, megalomaniacal, criminal psychopath- the path we are currently on- no one is going to come and save us. No one will come to help us rebuild- we will be on our own.  We will fall, and since we will not be there to lead the world, the world will follow.

Moving on to a couple of current events.  A car bomb in Russia, not surprising.  Agents provocateurs at work, false flag operations, deceit?  Almost certainly. And immediately the criminal state of Russia has issued a declaration, without a shred of evidence, placing blame on Ukrainian agents, and also implicating Estonia for harboring them. More Russian lies- do not believe a single word that comes from them!

Serbia and Kosovo are next. Talks broke down, of course. Serbia is another… questionable government (see above reference to Third Balkan War.) The governing body of the country does not want peace, reconciliation, prosperity for the people of Europe. Hatred, division, violence, and suffering bring power and money- the goal.

Final thought- read. Read everything, and if you haven’t read them since high school or college, today start with Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. Revisit Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s The Ox-bow Incident. And of course anything Orwell, Jack London’s Iron Heel, and maybe Lord of the Flies and Clockwork Orange thrown in.

(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.