The Last Week Was Full of Noteworthy Topics. Some Highlights to Look At Closer
Russia and Ukraine: Good News, Bad News
First the bad news. Russia continues to make some progress in its aggression, now occupying about 20% of Ukraine’s Eastern sectors. And it continues a clear policy of terrorizing civilians and destroying communities. Bombing cities can be an acceptable if terrible thing in wars with much at stake, as WWII. But doing so in this conflict is clearly immoral. The list of war crimes and abuse gets ever longer.
But there is good news, too. Ukraine is launching counter offensives in several areas, with encouraging results. They are making splendid use of the systems the US and allies have made available to them. The Russians are suffering crushing losses of personnel, leaders, and key equipment/facilities. And it appears serious efforts to pursue war crimes prosecutions are underway in several forums. War colleges and historians will draw lessons from all this for decades.
The Fist Bump in Saudi Arabia
Much noise has been raised about President Biden’s fist bump with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. I hate that he felt the trip necessary, but in view of the current world situation and the mischief of Russia, China, and Iran, it appears he felt this unpleasant but necessary. Foreign policy often demands decisions among nothing but bad choices.
I trust his judgment on this (he is the most experienced president in international affairs in a very long time) and so while I hope we don’t do any more than necessary with the Saudis and continue to press on human rights, I give him a pass on doing this stop on his Middle East trip, which was a difficult trip all around in any case.
Frankly, all the print about a fist bump vs a handshake vs nothing seems a bit silly to me. We get the issues – let’s not waste any more time on the greeting. Want to be helpful? Do what you can to encourage accelerating global weening from carbon based energy. It won’t happen overnight, but don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Cut the need for oil and gas and countries that hold the world hostage for energy can be isolated.
A Short Note on the JAN 6 Insurrection Hearings
The evening session last week was breathtaking in its sobriety and sense of purpose. Evidence grows that the hearings are having an effect on Republican and would-be Trump voters. Significant numbers of them now say they want someone else to run. Amazingly, some of them say they still like him, they just think he is less electable. No kidding – he lost the popular vote twice already.
Lots of people have highlighted that this last session of the JAN 6 committee was nicely run by the Republican cochair and one half of the committee talking was done by another Republican. The committee continues to be a model of how this kind of thing can and should be done. If control of the House switches in November, we will not see such a thing again any time soon.
At this point, I am embarrassed for my fellow Americans who still think the hearings are biased or that Trump is worthy of anything other than scorn and prosecution. And on the issue of prosecution – I get all the issues but if this guy is not prosecuted on what we already know, shame on us. Failure to prosecute would be a blank check for those who would abuse power in the worst ways in the future.
One More Time on the Secret Service
Delighted to hear a criminal prosecution is underway on the deleted Secret Service texts. It is unimaginable that these were deleted by accident. I read the same thing happened after the Kennedy assassination, although I have been unable to verify that. There seems an atmosphere of being above the law that needs to be taken on now, visibly.
As noted in an earlier post, the Secret Service seemed to begin losing its way a decade ago. Don’t know what happened but the list of concerns is deadly serious. We need a real housecleaning from top to bottom.
Lots of Elections will be Interesting in NOV – especially these 3 (WY, GA, and MD)
It is an understatement that the coming midterms are a big deal on a scale seldom seen. The grip of extremists is the Republican party, Biden’s low ratings, and a Supreme Court running amok make these elections really important and really hard to predict. Three in particular catch my attention.
(1) Maryland Republicans have chosen a nut job as their gubernatorial candidate. The Democrats appear (votes still being counted) to have chosen a charismatic black man with no political experience (but a darn good campaigner and a record as a combat leader in Afghanistan, with good policy positions). In other words, both parties chose someone other than whom many of their establishment members wanted (although Democrat Moore does have some impressive backing). Can the Democrats regain the governorship?
(2) Georgia is again at the national center. Is it possible people would actually choose Hershel Walker over Senator Warnock (who really is excellent)? Walker has proven himself to be an unworthy basket case of a candidate. Will be interesting to see if Georgia voters rise to the occasion.
(3) Rep Cheney’s run for reelection in Wyoming is an interesting case. Turns out viewership of the JAN 6 hearings in Wyoming are high, as are online searches about JAN 6. By normal standards, she should be very vulnerable. Not clear that will really be the case.
Electric Cars – More Signs of a Lasting Surge
Two interesting notes.
Observers who study this sort of thing think we have crossed the tipping point with electric cars ready to move steadily to dominate the market. Another survey found that almost 40% of people who intend to buy a new car in the next year or two plan to look carefully at electric. That number was about 5% just a couple of years ago.
And several announcements have come out in recent days that many thousands more electric car charging units are coming out, including in some remote areas of the country. Tesla, which has the largest existing network, will open their facilities to all electric cars by year end (and have already done so in Europe). Next step: more high speed chargers and cars that can take the high speed charge – both are in the pipeline.
The Cards You are Dealt
A friend and someone I respected passed away a few days ago suddenly and without warning. He was just beginning a new chapter in his life. And he was almost a decade younger than me.
We are constantly reminded that we do not know how many cards we are dealt in life, how long our run will be, and what challenges are just around the next curve. I try to remember often, if not always, that one cannot live in fear, but one certainly can live in awareness that our time is limited and often terminates without warning. Live like the time is precious and the relationships central to life.
See you next week – I expect. Stay cool in this global heat wave.
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