Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ukraine. Show all posts

September 9, 2023

What to make of Musk?


Click to enlarge
Above from Musk on X: Our US advertising revenue is still down 60%, primarily due to pressure on advertisers by (that’s what advertisers tell us), so they almost succeeded in killing X/Twitter! and If this continues, we will have no choice but to file a defamation suit against, ironically, the “Anti-Defamation” League. If they lose the defamation suit, we will insist that they drop the the “anti” part of their name, since obviously … 😂

By Hal Brown

If you follow the exploits of Elon Musk, you know, the X-Man, you are aware of the two stories above. Here's a story from HUFFPOST about Ukraine and Musk:

Elon Musk 'Committing Evil' By Blocking Internet Access, Top Ukrainian Advisor Says

There are two Americans who exemplify what happens when power and grandiose egomania are combined with a heaping helping of sadism.

By now anybody following this blog and reading about Trump here and on other websites like Salon knows the defintion of malignant narcissism is that it is a psychological syndrome comprising an extreme mix of narcissismantisocial behavioraggressionsadism and grandiosity. They know that these people are quick to raise hostility levels. They know that the malignant narcissist undermines families and organizations in which they are involved, and that they dehumanize the people with whom they associate.

Those old enough to remember the early videos about what happens in a nuclear reaction know about the ping-pong balls and mousetraps demonstration:

Click to watch video

This is akin to wha happens when power is combined with a pathological need for attention, for being right all the time, for being intolerant of being challenged, combined with sadism. The result when feeling undermined is a nuclear explosion of destructive rage. Would this merely be ping-pong balls. In Ukraine it is claimed that because of Musk people actually died (reference). It seem to be a taboo topic to note that Trump's underplaying the danger of Covid caused uncountable lives and his cruelty led to deaths on the Mexican border.

Trump and Musk both got used to getting their way. Trump is now cornered and hence has become explosive, and if he is reelected will be a danger to democracy. Musk has far less potential power but nonetheless he is cornered because of a disaster of his own making. He bought Twitter for far more than it was worth and proceeeded to make it over in his own image.

His reasoning behind this probably was that Muskifying it would magnify its monetary value making it as magnificent as he believes himself to be.

In doing so he ruined it. His changing its name to X was an attempt to brand it as belonging to him. Consider this from Time:

Click to read

Now Musk is having a hissy fit blaming X's troubles on the ADL:

Elon Musk blames the ADL for 60% ad sales decline at X, threatens to sue - CNN

Loath that he would blame himself... this would take the ability to be self-critical, the total lack of which he shares with Donald Trump.

Being aware of one's ability in any area or endeavor, even with someone who is among the very best at what they do, can also come with humility, self-awarenss, and self-doubt. A current example is Simone Biles who has made a triumphant return to competition after taking two years off to work on her mental health. 

There's also mega-mega (not MAGA as this article shows) pop star Taylor Swift who has every reason she could be behave like a diva or prima donna but is self-effacing from all I can tell  and is just a normal young woman who happens to be one of the most prominent cultural figures of the 21st century. She demonstrates her self-awareness in interviews.  Watch an interview with her here to see what you think.

An older example is Barbra Streisand who has only recently been able to overcome most of her stage fright (reference).

Returning to Elon Musk: 

Elon Musk is hard to love. Elon Musk is hard to like. On his way to becoming the world’s wealthiest person, Musk has emitted so many metric tons of self-indulgent puerility he might have violated the Paris Accords.

Musk’s short fuse is legend. If something’s wrong and it’s important to Musk, employees have learned to avoid his presence if possible.

What to make of this man?

While for me to make a more informed assessment of him I'd have to examine him in person and since as a clinicaL social worker I can diagnose but I can't do psychological tests I would probably refer him to a clincial psychologist who would conduct a baterry of tests including the true/false MMPI and projective tests like the Rorschach and Thermatic Apperception Test( TAT).

Judging him just by behavior the way we can assess Trump's mental status it seems likely he fits every criteria for being a malignant narcissist. See what you think here.

What can be done to remedy his problem? First off, he doesn't think he has a problem. However, say he did. This is what Wikipedia says about therapy for these people:

Typically in the analysis of the malignant narcissist, "the patient attempts to triumph over the analyst by destroying the analysis and himself or herself";[19] an extreme version of what Jacques Lacan described as "that resistance of the amour-propre... which is often expressed thus: 'I can't bear the thought of being freed by anyone other than myself'".[20]

Since Malignant Narcissism is a severe personality disorder that has far-reaching societal and familial effects, it requires attention from both the psychiatric community and the social science community. Treatment is recommended in a therapeutic community, as well as a psychoeducational preventative program aimed at both mental health professionals and the general public.

In this world to achieve great success one can be either kind and competent or cruel and competent. One can have empathy or no empathy. One can be reasonable or ruthless. One can be rational or reactive.

One can be Bill Gates or Elon Musk.

For that matter, one can be Joe Biden or Donald Trump.


June 13, 2023

Remember Ukraine today and that whatever Trump was and is, Putin is an active war criminal


Photo modified by author from Creative Commons color picture here.

By Hal Brown

I was listening to BBC on the radio last night and they reported on Putin's latest attack on civilian targets, in this instance an attack killing at least 11 people in Zelenskyy's hometown. They also described how the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, which Putin shamelessly and nonsensically blames on Ukraine, has flooded thousands of acres of prime farmland and will create a major food crisis. Flood waters are polluting acres of rich farmland and moving landmines into new areas where they will have to be found and removed.

Americans who follow the news will be focused on Trump's court appearance, but while this is going on Ukrainian civilians will be waiting for the next attack by Putin's forces. 

Trump is called all kinds of names by his detractors. He's been likened to Hitler but this misses the fact that the world  has in Putin a Hitler, albeit minus the systematic attempt to exterminate Germany's Jewish population (and others).

Trump is often accused of blaming others for his worst misdeeds as he professes his own innocence. Compared to Putin's claiming that Zelenskyy was a NAZI Trump's turning the truth inside-out is small potatoes. 

I was looking for a non-copyrighted picture (like the one I modified above) to use for this blog and came across one used to illustrate this recent editorial in The Guardian which is worth reading:

The Guardian view on Vladimir Putin’s war: terror without purpose

The subtitle is "The fog of war is thick in Ukraine, but certain strategic and moral truths remain crystal clear" and the caption under the picture reads "Mr Putin’s war is sustained by his monstrous pride."

Take a look at the photo by Mikhail Klimentyev of the A.P. which illustrates The Guardian editorial. Of the many pictures of Putin which you can find with an image search this one (in the seventh row of the image search) seems to  best convey both the monstrous pride noted in the caption and the evil within this 21st century war criminal.

While many of us will be watching coverage of the unprecedented historic event in Miami today on TV, it would be good to give pause to be thankful that we are even able to have electricity to turn on our televisions, let alone not have to be hunkering down in a bomb shelter worrying about our lives and the lives of our loved ones who are in combat against Putin's invaders.

If you don't see the Disquis comment section it is on the bottom of this page.

Looking back on the blog: Here's what I posted in 2015.

June 7, 2023

If you watch all 10 mins. of Tucker Carlson's first Twitter show and are like me it will be 10x longer than you've ever watched him


By Hal Brown

This morning I went there and watched Tucker Carlson's Twitter debut show so I could write this blog. Until now the most I'd seen of Tucker Carlson were brief segments aired on MSNBC. 

I did this after finding out about his new "show" from HUFFPOST and clicking on the link to Twitter in their article 

Tucker Carlson’s New Twitter Show, Seen By Millions, Starts With Conspiracy Theories

Click above to enlarge image

I doubt you'll do it, but you can watch the Tucker's Twitter debut by clicking here.

I am too lazy to offer a complete summary of what he said though I want to share a few impressions.

I was surprised that some of his references went so far beyond sarcasm that I wondered if they would fly like the alien UFO's he said he were in possession of the US government (along with the bodies of alien pilots) over the heads of many of his viewers. Really, he spent about two  minutes on how the "fact" that alien UFOs exist and we have been studying them and their the bodies of their pilots is the covered up story of the century.

He also explained what using tautology as a  persuasion technique was, and he accused the mainstream media of using this technique of argument incessantly when I doubt most of his viewers know what the term means. In fact, Carlson's stock in trade is tautology. Having graduated from Trinity College (ranked 39 among US liberal arts colleges) and being one of their best known alumni he certainly is familiar with the concept. Of the hundreds of notable alumni listed on Wikipedia, alas (for him) he's only number four of the 10 who are pictured as select alumni in the sidebar. He is after Christine C. Quinn, David Cage, and Dov Zakheim who aren't household names. If he ever looks at this I assume he can beat his chest over being above George Will and the creator of MyTunes.

Click above to enlarge

He managed to get in references to trans women calling them skinny dudes in dresses. 

Unanswered questions apparently trouble Carlson. For example, who organized the BLM riots, what  really happened on 911, and who killed JFK?

Although Nikki Haley and Lindsey Graham got knocks, there were two primary villains in his 10 minute Twitter debut. One was the media and the other was Zelenski who he described with a string of insults saying that he was ratlike and a shifty dead-eyed man in a tracksuit.

Perhaps time limitations kept him from gushing or crushing over Putin, the dictator who likes to be photographed barechested. He didn't even mention his name.  He supports Russia in the Ukraine war. In fact, one of his segments was replayed on Russian TV:

He began his debut "show" explaining why he is sure they weren't responsible for blowing up the Kakhovka dam blaming it on Ukraine.

Describing the media toward the end of his show (I'll take the word out of quotes) he says they have stories like "here's a story about racism now go eat each other." I have no idea what he meant by now go eat each other.

How many of his regular viewers will follow him to Twitter and watch him on their Internet devices rather than on television remains to be seen. Unless Elon Musk decides to pay him I don't know how he can make much money off of this although his net worth has been estimated to be $30 million.

Of course with an ego like Tucker's maybe money isn't all that important to him.


Related blog from June 2nd: The unemployed TV personality who could beat Trump.

Here's a mystery. For unknown reasons all week the blog has had the largest percentage of readers logging on from Singapore. All I can think of is that this had something to do with this:

January 29, 2023

Do we need another Pearl Harbor for some Americans to realize that we're at war with Russia?

 Do we need another Pearl Harbor for some Americans to realize that we're at war with Russia?
By Hal Brown

There shouldn't even be a need for an editorial coming from the editorial board of The Washington Post titled 

How to keep the West solid for Ukraine

It shouldn't be necessary to publish the following:

There will be tests on both sides of the Atlantic. President Biden will need to continue to make a forceful case for an ongoing commitment to defeat Russian aggression. He would be smart to direct that message to a broader international audience — in the Global South especially, where popular opinion could be mobilized against a conflict strikingly akin to an imperial war against a former colony.

Leadership will also be key on Capitol Hill. Last year, liberal Democrats wrote, then retracted, a letter urging Mr. Biden to nudge Ukraine toward negotiation that would likely mean giving up its sovereign territory. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), now the Republican House speaker, said there could be “no blank check” for Ukraine before quickly retreating, saying he meant that Ukraine should be accountable for the U.S. aid it receives. Members of Congress might bear in mind that mixed messaging from Washington will only hearten Russia’s sympathizers in Europe, who will exploit it to undercut support for Ukraine.

Remember the Domino Theory?  It posited that increases or decreases in democracy in one country tend to spread to neighboring countries in a domino effect. It was prominent in the United States from the 1950s to the 1980s in the context of the Cold War, suggesting that if one country in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow. (Wikipedia)

Now instead of a Cold War with Russia we have a hot, a very hot, war between Russia and a democratic country. Communism is irrelevant in this. Anyone who knows the definition of communism understands that Russia isn't a communist country. It is a dictator run aggressor. 

The notion of a line of dominos falling down, the first knocking down the second, the second the third, and so on doesn't apply to what would literally happen if Russia defeated Ukraine and made it into a Russian province. Russia isn't about to attack another country if Russia takes over Ukraine. 

If this came to pass NATO, if anything, would become a more formidable alliance. Nonetheless Russia, although beset with years of fighting a highly motivated underground resistance, would be strengthened economically if they won. Ukraine has been called the breadbasket of Europe and in fact their wheat and corn is a major international provider of food.

Some pundits have predicted that a Russian win in Ukraine would embolden China to attack Taiwan.  I am hardly a geopolitical expert, but I think China's decision about how they deal with Taiwan is a computation with many elements of which the Ukraine war is only one of many.

What I do think is the most important issue regarding Ukraine as far as the United States goes is how many Americans, and Republicans in Congress, are so concerned with getting revenge against Democrats for what they did when they controlled the House and winning the War against Woke.

Come on!

The War Against Woke! 

That this is actually a "thing" is pathetically absurd. Considering that there is a real war, a war where people aren't being brainwashed (as they see it) but are actually dying this is unconscionable. This is a war between a member of the community of democratic nations and a dictatorship which invaded a neighboring country for territorial gain based on the outright lie that it was run by modern day NAZI's. 

What has to happen for Ukraine to become another nation-waking explosion on the level of Pearl Harbor? 

Pearl Harbor has was  referred to in a movie by Japanese Admiral Yamamoto as an attack that woke up a sleeping giant.

Whether he really said it or not is irrelevant because it happened.

The only thing that I think Russia could do on the level of Pearl Harbor is to use some kind of tactical nuclear weapon. If Putin tries to authorize this he risks a military coup, and if such an attack is carried out the retaliation, while I very much doubt it would be nuclear, would be massive. I am sure that the Western military alliance has contingency plans for a retaliation which would once and for all turn the tide of the war against Russia.

This must not happen because a desperate and mentally unbalanced Putin could escalate by attacking a NATO nation. This would basically start World War III.

America has it's own collaborators.

People like Marjorie Taylor Greene might as well be on the payroll of Vladimir Putin:

The same goes for Tucker Carlson:

If the United States was in a declared war with Russia these two and others of their ilk would be seen a collaborators with the enemy and could possibly be tried for treason.

January 16, 2023

For those panicking over America becoming a fascist country let's not forget Russia is committing war crimes every day

 For those panicking over America becoming a fascist country, let's not forget Russia is committing war crimes every day

By Hal Brown

This is not the first time the then Soviet Union committed genocide in Ukraine. Stalin did it through starvation rather than missiles.

Click above to read article.

It is easy to think America first, not in the Trumpian way, but because we live here and what is reported in the news about the MAGA cult and its aspirations effects democracy loving Americans each and every day as we worry, even obsess, about the country becoming an authoritarian state. 

If you're a news junkie like I am you also follow what Russia is doing to Ukraine. Today those paying attention to international news saw articles like this on HUFFPOST:

Excerpt: About 1,700 people lived in the multi-story building, and search and rescue crews have worked nonstop since Saturday’s strike to locate victims and survivors in the wreckage. The regional administration said 39 people have been rescued so far and 30 more remained missing. Authorities said at least 75 were wounded.

Click above to read article in The Guardian

Russia is committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, on a weekly, if not nearly a daily basis. Killing civilians in order to demoralize the country is their primary strategy since they are unable to win on the ground. 

In addition to using the killing of Ukrainian civilians as a strategy Putin is able to use poorly trained convicts and reluctant conscripts to amass waves of 100,000 troops at a time to be basically cannon fodder. 

The NAZI buzzbomb strikes and bombing raids against London targeted civilians as well and supplemented their military engagements against the Allied forces. However from my understanding their main strategy was to win army vs. army, air force vs. air force, navy vs. navy.

Back to current day Russia:

We saw this in June:

It is a travesty that they even are members of the United Nations' let alone a permanent member of the Security Council where they have veto power.

Anyone who values democracy should be taking a stand against Russia. Unfortunately millions of Americans take Tucker Carlson's words like this as a gospel:

Putin is Stalin without a mustache. I wonder whose side the likes of Tucker Carlson would have been on prior to and during World War II. I expect he would have been a leader in the German-American Bund (read article):
German American Bund rally New York, Madison Square Garden, February 1939. Image courtesy of the Department of Defense.

Men saluting Nazi and American flags at Camp Siegfried, New York on October 1937. Image by University of Southern California.

Had the Allies not needed the Soviet Union to fight the NAZI army on the Eastern Front the alliance between this despot and the Allies would never have happened and we wouldn't have had the Yalta Conference and this amazing historic photo.

(From left) Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Conference, 1945. Click above to enlarge photo.

To conclude:

“Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.”

This famous quote is attributed to the American philosopher George Santayana and it can be accurately quoted as “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” as stated in his work, The Life of Reason: Reason in Common Sense. His work speaks mostly about the role of rationality in moral philosophy and general ethics.

The problem is with those protofascists who do remember history and rather than wanting to repeat it are trying their damnedest to change the ending so their side wins. They want to avoid the errors of the NAZIS and turn the United States into the Germany Hitler envisioned for the greatest German Reich (read article).

Comment below or on Facebook or on Mastodon. You can make a reply on Twitter too.

October 12, 2022

Some thoughts about Putin's Russia and Trump's MAGAmerica

Some thoughts about Putin's Russia and Trump's MAGAmerica

by Hal Brown 

I used for a background this natural-color image which combines cloud-free data from over 500 Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) orbits with shaded relief Digital Terrain Elevation models from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) and other sources. It shows an astonishing diversity of geological features, ecological systems and human landscapes. I meant it to show how from space there are no state lines.

I'll start with the comment I put on the following David Ignatious column in today's Washington Post (subscription):

The parallels between Russia under Putin and what the of MAGA part United States has become struck me. Even if Trump never gets a second term his MAGA cult will remain with us. They envision a United States chillingly similar to those who want Russia to be an imperial fascist country. The equation to describe these segments of the two countries looks like Russian First = America First. The remedy is the kind of transformation that occurred in Germany after World War II.  I don't know how this can happen without the resounding military defeat the NAZI regime suffered. It will require not only a victory of morality over immorality for both countries, but a moral awakening among a large portion of those who adhered to the belief that ultra-nationalism was their credo.

These are what I thought were the most important observations in the column. As you read them substitute how the Ukrainians view Russia with how you view MAGAmerica and how you think these MAGA cultists want the United States to be.

Through Ukrainian eyes, this terrible conflict has become a clash of civilizations. They argue that most Russians support Putin’s brutal war in the way that most Germans supported Adolf Hitler. Unless Russia as a nation abandons the imperial dreams that Putin has evoked, the conflict cannot be resolved through negotiations.

“Russia has to go through the same process that Germany did after World War II,” presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak insisted Saturday in an interview with me and the other members of a group organized by the German Marshall Fund, of which I’m a trustee. “If Russian society doesn’t understand what they’ve done, the world will be brought into chaos.” He enthusiastically predicts that postwar Russia will dissolve into five or six smaller nations.

The word "rebirth" below jumped out at me:

For me, thinking about how this war ends juxtaposes two conflicting lessons of the 20th century. Historians generally agree that the punitive peace imposed on Germany after World War I helped bring on the vicious Nazi quest for revenge. But historians also agree that the decisive outcome of World War II, with Germany and Japan pounded into unconditional surrender, allowed the miraculous postwar rebirth of both countries.

I would rephrase the last paragraph...

Surely, this is a war worth winning. I don’t want to see Russia destroyed, and I think any argument that it is forever an alien civilization is wrong. But the ideology that Putin represents, and that many Russians embrace, must be defeated.

 ... in this way:

Surely, the war against MAGAmerica a war that Democracy loving Americans must win. MAGAmerica can't be literally destroyed the way NAZI Germany as a military machine was. MAGAmerica is currently a country within a country. I think any argument that it is forever an alien civilization is wrong.  But the ideology that Trump and his cult represents, and that many Americans embrace, must be defeated. Those who "reside" in MAGAmerica can't be exiled. They have to be rehabilitated.

This will be a long arduous process which would ideally follow the kind of Democratic Party win in November which Michael Moore predicted (and I wrote about here). 

It would be too much to hope that Rupert Murdock fired his Hitler-Mini-Me money makers, in particular Tucker Carlson. It would certainly help if these ultra-nationalists didn't have a major television platform. 

Obviously it would help the most if Donald Trump, probably reinstated on Twitter, would at least develop severe chronic laryngitis.

We can't be naive. If Trump was indicted, tried, and found guilty of any crimes, and even sentenced to prison or home confinement this would have a huge backlash as his cult would believe he was a victim of the "deep state" and would make him into a living martyr. 

No matter what the January 6th Committee reveals, no matter whether that have incontrovertible proof as to Trump's culpability in more than inciting the attack on the Capitol but being part of a felonious conspiracy it won't matter to these MAGAmericans. They will take this as his being the most patriotic of all patriots.

Liberals like us see articles like this (top) and this (bottom) and hope for eye-popping revelations.

It won't matter because for the MAGAmericans "fascist" is simply a word describing the country they want to live in and the promotion of violence is laudable as long as it is their violence.

We see articles like Utterly devastating”: Legal experts say DOJ filing “pulverizes all of Trump’s arguments” to SCOTUS on Salon but while this news pleases us, it hardly matters because show me a resident of MAGAmerica who reads Salon or even follows news about the legal peril Trump is in and I'll show you a  Where's Waldo where some prankster decided not to put Waldo in the picture.

By chance as I completed this David Ignatius was being interviewed about this column on Morning Joe. There's a good chance that if you are reading this you are a regular viewer of MSNBC and you may even read their website but we can't delude ourselves that any warnings about what Donald Trump's American fascism would look like in reality are even heard by residents of MAGAmerica. I summarized the David Montgomery Washington Post Magazine article "What Will Happen to America if Trump Wins Again? Experts Helped Us Game It Out" here. 

What is horrifying is that diehard MAGAmericans want the country to look like this.

The blog archives are on the right at the top of the page. Here are the last three editions:

This blog has moved to a new address

  This website is migrating Due to a problem with this platform, Google Blogger, I have moved my blog to WordPress and given it a new addres...