Alexander Solzhenitsyn – Author, Nobel Laureate

Solzhenitsyn is the greatest Russian author of all time, even greater than the master Dostoyevsky, and believe me when I say it, this is not a trifling estimation.

 

I first encountered his classic novella, A day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich when I was in my late teens. It was just a little book, it could be read in an afternoon, but it was heavy and it was deep.

 

In my early twenties I was still heavily involved with reading other parts of the Russian cannon and I was slow to get to Solzhenitsyn’s other writings, like the famous Gulag Archipelago for which he won the Nobel Prize in Literature, when I came to it, I found it life changing.

 

Solzhenitsyn thought of the Archipelago as more of an exercise in journalism than literature, he was surprised by how well it was received, though he should not have been because its principle achievement, was to personalize the gulag experience which he was able to do because he himself had been a victim of it.

 

He put a human face on all of that collected suffering which touched the lives of every citizen of Russia and the Soviet Union, in one way or another.

 

Solzhenitsyn was born in Russia, in 1918 just after the Bolshevik Revolution. He served in the Russian Army during World War II. In 1944 he was decorated for valor in combat, and Awarded the Order of the Red Star, but in 1945 he arrested for saying derogatory things about the government in his personal letters to a friend, after which he spent eight years in the gulags.

 

Surviving World War II and the Russian gulags is itself a heroic feat, and his status as a Nobel Laureate is another thing that marks him as a person of significance, but what makes Solzhenitsyn a hero is his insight into human nature and his profound ability to communicate that insight through the power of prose.

 

In my late twenties and early thirties I began to read other books by him, October 1914, and The First Circle. I was awed by the way in which he could present the myriad of forces; sociatal, intellectual, spiritual and emotional that comprise an individual’s motivations, and shape their intentions, he portrayed the movement of those currents in a way that made poetry out of the lives of characters…even the most ordinary lives, even the most heinous and cruel, and because he was so adept at humanizing the characters in his novels, he allowed his reader to expand their own view of the world so that it included his, and the reader is made a better person for having read him.

 

Solzheinitsyn

 

Given First – 2020.08.03

The Great Oligarchical Party of America – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
12.14.2019

The Great Oligarchical Party of America
Watching the impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee this week led me to conclude that the Grand Old Party, the GOP, has shed its final pretense to republican values.

We cannot call them republicans anymore.

The GOP has abandoned its commitment to the rule of law and constitutional government. It has succumbed to a cult of personality, they are cheering on an autocrat, clamoring for a dictator, trumpeting the rise of a tyrant.

The GOP now stands the Great Oligarchical Party of America. It has forgotten Lincoln, Teddy.

We watched this week as member after member of the House of Representative screamed in protest about the Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump; he will be the third president in our history to be impeached, impeached for: abuse of power and obstruction of congress.

After soliciting foreign interference in 2016 to aid his campaign in his first bid to become president, after conspiring with Russia to help him over the finish line. After his personal Attorney went to prison for crimes he committed on Donald’s Trump’s behalf, to cover-up hush money payments to playboy models and adult movie stars, payments which amounted to campaign contributions that went undisclosed and unreported, after Tramp’s lawyer went to prison, pleading guilty to charges in which Donald Trump was named as “individual number one” in the indictment, and after his campaign chairmen went to prison as well, and his deputy campaign chairman, and his National Security Advisor and so on all went to prison; some pleading guilty some being found guilty at trial after all of that Donald Trump will now be impeached for soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 campaign. He is doing it again.

Donald Trump is a loser, bankrupt, a fraud and a criminal. He cannot win if he campaigns fairly.

Even with the help of the Russian government he still lost the popular vote by millions of votes cast. On his first day in office he began breaking the law, ordering government agencies to falsify reports and lie to the American people about such trivial and mundane things as the size of his inauguration crowds.

He could have been impeached then, he should have been.

The FBI continued its investigation of the Trump administration after he was elected. The orange tyrant sought to interfere and intervene, he abused his power and authority by firing the director of the FBI, he admitted to it on national TV, and to the Russian Foreign Minister in an oval office meeting.

Donald Trump suborned perjury, intimidated witnesses, ordered executive branch officers and staff not to testify before congress, he did it all to please his Russian masters, he did it in the vain hope that he himself could become an American oligarch, styled after them.

He should have been impeached then. His GOP minions let him off the hook.

Now he is being held to account.

He used duly authorized foreign aid to extort the government of Ukraine, to solicit their interference in the 2020 campaign, and once again he did this to the benefit of his Vladimir Putin and his other Russian Masters.

Now he will be impeached!

However, Mitch McConnell, lovingly referred to as “Moscow Mitch,” The senior Senoator from Kentucky, and the current Senate majority Leader has promised to defend Donald Trump. The Fake President on the floor of the Senate at his trial. Mitch McConnell has promised to work hand in hand with the White House attorney’s to ensure that Donald Trump will not be held to account.

Mitch McConnell and the entire GOP have decided that it is okay to solicit foreign interference in our elections, to place the national security of the United States in jeopardy while doing so; that it is okay for the White House to refuse to respond to lawful congressional subpoenas, to withhold testimony and documentary evidence of his wrong doing, to stall investigations in perpetuity so that the American voter never has a chance to judge for themselves the rightness or wrongness of the tyrant’s deeds.

Moscow Mitch is taking the Great Oligarchical Party of America over the cliff, and if they succeed we will no-longer be living in a constitutional republic.

This is it my fellow citizens. We must oppose them. Put them out of office, Send them all home before they can do more harm.

Rudy, Rudy…Rudy – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.30.2019

Rudy, Rudy…Rudy
There is not much to like about Rudy Giuliani, even when he was ostensibly a “good-guy,” during his time heading up the U.S Attorney’s Office at the Southern District of New York, or his time as Mayor of New York City, he was a blow hard.

Now look at him…he is worse than ridiculous.

There is something going with Rudy that makes him more detestable than the ordinary Trump sycophant…because he is not the ordinary sycophant. He is a former U.S. Attorney. He knows the law, and his shameful disregard of it is despicable.

His desire to be near the center of power, cavorting with the Russian mob, courting them, seeking money from them all while acting as the so called personal attorney of the President of the United States, it is beyond outrageous.

So what happened to Rudy? Where did he go wrong?

The most uncomplicated analysis suggests that he, like Donald Trump is undergoing a process of mental decline. This would speak to his poor representation of himself and his client, his inability to articulate a coherent defense for their activities, both on the campaign trail and abroad, but it does not explain the corruption and the depravity.

Trump’s corruption is understandable, he has always been corrupt, he was raised in it.

Rudy was once a crime-fighter….wasn’t he?

He prosecuted people and put them in jail, he took on the organized crime syndicates of his day,

Did he do those things without corruption?

The most banal analysis suggests that Giuliani’s current lifestyle of pandering and graft is all about keeping him in a lifestyle that he has become accustomed to. That analysis also suggests that he was incapable of making an honest living.

If that is true, it begs the question; was Rudy corrupt the whole time?

He was always a creature of politics, it came out most clearly in his time as Mayor, he bent the rules, he started the dreaded program of Stop and Frisk, he dared people to challenge him in his efforts to “clean up the city,” a lot of people suffered under his regime, innocent people were arrested, beaten, prosecuted, jailed, at rates higher than normal, and Rudy knew it, but he did not care. He justified it in the utilitarian mode, suggesting that the end justified the means,

When he was still an active politician he thought that the trajectory he had established himself would put him in the United States Senate, and failing that he thought it might put him in the White House. He failed at that too.

Now, having gone to work for Donald Trump, it is clear that the end he sought was never the greatest good for the greatest number, but rather the greatest good for himself. He has proved that even the law does not matter to him, and he is happy to conspire with the Mafia, to keep him near the center of power.

He is a criminal, and it is likely that he always was.

Bribery – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.09.2019

Bribery
Let’s just call it bribery, bribery and extortion.

I am with all of the other analysts and pundits who are calling for the talking heads to stop using the latin; quid pro quo. The exchange of things is not a crime, though it may be an element of a crime, if the crime is bribery, or extortion.

Let’s just call it bribery. Donald Trump himself, and indirectly through his agents, solicited a bribe from a foreign power, the nation of Ukraine, asking for an investigation into his political opponents, one based on unfounded rumors, misconstrued facts, and baseless conspiracy theories.

It does not end there.

He also demanded an investigation into the election interference that took place in 2016, as well the so-called missing e-mails belonging to Hillary Clinton. Unsatisfied with the conclusions of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and his own intelligence chief, he sought a new investigation that would cast a shadow on his rivals, and exonerate Vladimir Putin and the Russian government for their assault on our democracy.

Donald Trump is fond of calling the Press the enemy of the people, all the while he himself is playing the part of the traitor.

The orange menace has no intention of fulfilling his oath of office, he only wants to advance his own pathetic ambitions.

Donald Trump does not know how to separate the truth from all of his lies. He is mentally ill, before he became president of the United States he was just another television clown, now he is clowning around in the oval office, and putting the republic in danger.

The impeachment must go forward. The Senate must act to remove him. Every day he is in office he is threat to the world, an existential threat.

Let’s call his crime bribery, it was a shake down, it was extortion.

His crimes were the shortsighted schemes of a petty crook and a fraud, and that is all Donald Trump has ever been.

Impeachment – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.02.2019

Impeachment
It is about time, and not soon enough. The impeachment of the orange tyrant has begun.

I am grateful for it.

All people of good conscious must get support it. Donald Trump’s criminal pursuit of the presidency began before the 2016 election, and he has continued his criminal enterprise throughout his tenure in office.

The American people must demand his impeachment and removal from office, and his disqualification from seeking the office in the future.

Listen!

This is not a court of law, we are in the court of common sense, the people and our representatives in Congress and the Senate must act to protect to protect the country and the constitution from the corrupt machinations of an impulsive, illiterate madman.

Speak up, make yourself heard, tell the pundits in the media, the news anchors and analysts, tell everyone who speaks and writes on public affairs that we have had enough.

We cannot fret about the political fortunes of our preferred political parties, we cannot give any weight to those who tell us “let the voters decide.” We cannot let this man remain in office one day longer than we have to. On any given day Donald Trump’s rash and impulsive character has the potential to do irrevocable harm to the country, the American people, and our allies. Witness the pain and suffering he has visited on our allies the Syrian Kurds, as proof of this claim.

He sold them out.

He sold them out to benefit Turkey and Russia, and by extension murderous Regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria and his benefactors in Iran. The man cannot be trusted to make decisions on behalf of the broader interest of the American people. He only sees his future economic interests at play, his Twin Trump Towers in Turkey, his long standing desire to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

It did not and still does not matter to Trump that our allies the Kurds are being subjected to ethnic cleansing by the Turks, squeezed between them and Russians, having to turn to Syria for help. It does not matter that two weeks before he sold them out our Kurdish allies provided us with the intelligence that allowed us to take out the leader of ISIS. The Fake and Corrupt President has no loyalty to anyone or anything but his own narrow self-interest.

Impeach him, remove him now, disqualify from holding any federal office.

He employed illegal extortion and bribery tactics against our ally Ukraine, he did it to benefit his 2020 presidential campaign, and his benefactor Vladimir Putin, the Russian dictator. Donald Trump will do worse if we do not hold him accountable.

It is the duty of all American patriots to stand against him.

Every single day the man is profiting illegally from his office, taking money from both State governments and foreign powers, in violation of the emoluments clause of the constitution.

He has been exercising an abusive and criminal influence over every branch of his government from the first day he took office, lying to the American people directly, and through his political appointees in government.

We cannot trust anything he says.

Impeach him now.

Censure all of his allies in and out of government, those feckless apologists and cowards who pretend that the things he is do are normal and okay; vote them out of office.

Get rid of them, they are no good.

This is a time for all American people to act. To be outraged. Our republic is in danger of going off the rails.

America, we deserve better than this.

We cannot suffer a man who courts the support of dictators, strong-men, and tyrants around the world, who asks them time and time again to interfere in our democracy, we cannot allow him to destroy our republic.

He is not worth your support! Drop him like a bad habit! Let’s move on!

Abuse of Power – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
09.28.2019

Abuse of Power
Donald Trump has no idea what it means to be a public servant. He is the antithesis of a patriot, and corrupt to the bone.

It has been an amazing thing to see, watching his stogies in the Republican Party; to watch people Senator Lindsey Graham make excuses for his crimes, pretending that his abuses of power do not matter.

Those people are not patriots either, they are craven, they are cowards and they clearly hate America.

Donald Trump spoke this week at the United Nations. He rambled on and on about nationalism, about the inherent right of a nation to protect itself, the duty a nation has to advance its own interests, of course we know that when he says these things he is thinking that he himself has the inherent right to use the power of his office to do that for himself.

Have you ever noticed how this Fake President refers to his time in office as his “rule” or his “reign?” Last week he was talking about his “ascension” to the house, and he referred to it as “the takeover of America.” He thinks that when a civil servant performs the duties of their office, and report him up through the chain of command for self-dealing, extortion, and other high crimes, he thinks this is somehow treason, and should merit the death penalty. T-Rump said as much at a gathering of State Department staffers, gathered at the United Nations.

He was warning them not to blow the whistle on him.

T-Rump wants to be able to spill our national secrets to our adversaries, to invite or coerce foreign powers to interfere in our elections, to advantage him in doing so, and most importantly to profit from those crimes.

He has appointed people like Mike Pompeo to the position of Secretary of State, and William Barr to Attorney General, men who pretend that they are covering his abuses out of respect for the office, because they believe in its powers, not T-Rumps, but they are far off the mark. The office is not served by the criminal that occupies it.

You cannot refuse to protect and defend the Constitution of the United Sates by failing to respect the separation of powers it articulates, the checks and balances it enumerates, by perjuring yourself before congressional committees, claiming privileges that do not exist, not responding to congressional subpoenas, hiding or destroying documents. Every office is diminished when you do that.

If we abandon the rule of law we become the playthings of tyrants.

The congressional Republicans have an opportunity in front of them. They are being invited to exercise their conscience on behalf of the country, to sit in judgement of this orange-fool who would sell us out to the Russians, to the Saudi’s or any other petty principality that would put a dollar in his pocket.

They are being invited to let go of their hypocrisy and stand for the principles they pretend to possess.

Let’s hope they do it, and bring the Fake President to an ignominious end.

To Impeach or Not to Impeach – Editorial, The Week in Review

To Impeach or Not to Impeach
Not a week goes by that I do not hear this question being asked, with more and more lawmakers answering the question in the affirmative, Donald trump needs to be impeached.

This week alone the news revealed that the Attorney General, William Barr booked a $30,000 holiday party at a T-Rump property.

Donald Trump put forward the notion that he would schedule next year’s G7 Summit at his Doral golf course in Florida.

He continues to promote his private interests over and above the security of the country.

He made of fool of himself on the national stage, practically begging the other world leaders to allow Russia back into the G7, making it the G8 again. The rejected his appeals.

He told his agencies to move forward with the rapid seizure of land along the southern border to facilitate his vanity project, the T-Rump Wall. He encouraged them to break the law if they had to promising to pardon them afterward if they did.

He revealed classified photos of an Iranian missile site, and while as commander and chief he has the right to do so, he did it to grandstand and put our security at risk in the process.

The man is a menace.

Impeach him now.

Impeach him and let the Senate determine his fate, force Mitch McConnell and the republican party to deal with their collective shame.

Those who argue that we should wait, that we should let the election next year sort things out, those people are not taking seriously the harm this man can do on any given day that he occupies the oval office.

The Trump presidency represents an existential threat to our democracy and to the republic.

Impeach him.

Read below, the Congressional Oath of Office

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

The current occupant of the White House attacks the Constitution of the United States on a daily basis. Fulfill your oath, protect the Constitution.

We cannot wait for him to be voted out of office, we cannot wait for the damage he will undoubtedly do to the country between election day 2020, and inauguration day 2021. We are in a constitutional crises right ow people.

The fake president must go.

Moscow Mitch – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
07.27.2019

Moscow Mitch

I have said it before and I’ll say it again; the senior senator from Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, that man hates America.

Mitch McConnell just like T-Rump, loathes representative democracy and abhors the rule of law. He hates the men and women of this country; our wounded veterans, the victims and survivors of 9/11, coal minors from his own state, you name it he hates them.

That man is single-handedly trying to tear our country apart, applying a ridiculous argument in order to refuse to hold hearing on a Supreme Court Justice nominated by President Obama, and suggesting that he would abandon that argument in a Kentucky second, to appoint justices for the Fake President, Donald Trump.

Mitch McConnell refused to sign on to a bi-partisan warning that Russia was attacking the American electoral system in 2017, and is refusing to allow a bill to go to floor of the United States Senate for election security the upcoming and all future elections.

Mitch McConnell hates America, he hates democracy, he has sold out the country to Russia and Vladimir Putin’s stoogies in the White House, Donald J. Trump and family.

You can draw no-other conclusion.

Mitch McConnell the Moscow Mule has to go, vote him out Kentucky.

Vote him out America.

Vote like the future of our democracy and the American Dream depended on it, because they do.

Vote Blue!

The Fish Rots from the Head – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
07.13.2019

The Fish Rots from the Head

Donald J. Trump is rotten, from the top of his head to the tips of his toes; he is rotten, and he is rotten to the core.

Listen!

It is not a crime to be rotten, or to be a racist.

It is not a crime to be a liar, when you are not under oath, or giving testimony to federal agents.

Colluding with the Russians is not a crime, it wasn’t in 2017, and it is not a crime now.

Trump colluded with the Russians, he played around with our enemies, he is a liar and racist, and he is rotten to the core.

Aren’t you tired of hearing it, of saying it?

I am.

I am tired of preaching to the choir, so to speak. I am sick and tired of the vapid response that comes from his supporters, many of whom know all those things I just said about the fake-president are true, they just don’t care.

They will not be made to care. The truth doesn’t matter to them, they are happy to pass on the lie. They want the Russians on their team if the Russians help them win, they do not want to be made to apologize for their own racism. They want to be free to express it out in the open.

They have accepted the stench of the rot, they have gotten used to it, some, even savor it.

Let’s stop talking about the lying, let’s stop talking about the racism.

At this point we should keep our attention fixed on his crimes.

Donald Trump is a criminal and he holds the office of the President of the United States.

He has been committing crimes his entire life, financial fraud, tax evasion, perjury, are the least of his crimes.

Donald Trump’s crimes include sexual assault, multiple counts, including sexual assault against a minor. His crimes include conspiracy to defraud the people of the United States, obstruction of justice and suborning perjury.

Donald Trump is ordering his aides and advisors to violate the law in failing to respond to congressional subpoenas; to produce documents and appear for testimony.

Donald Trump has ordered his administration to ignore or violate court orders.

The Trump administration is guilty of crimes against humanity.

Donald trump is rotten, he needs to be impeached, he needs to be removed from office. Our republic is not safe with him in office.

He is a menace to society, and it is the duty of all person of good conscience to oppose him.

Let’s not talk about his superficial behaviors, as disgusting and egregious as they are. Let’s keep the attention focused on his crimes, and his criminal regime.

We should not be talking about anything else.

Run on Your Strength – Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
04.06.2019

Run on Your Strength
Not by Undermining Your Opponent
The primary season is just getting and the field is not yet set.

Democratic Party politics is much different now than it was four years ago, the race t be the party’s nominee for president in 2020 is wide open. There are more than a dozen candidates that have jumped in, and a few more who are expected to announce soon.

In the last cycle HRC had all of the structural support locked up, and though BS ran a campaign that made her have to work, her victory was never in doubt, not to me at least, not to most observers, though it was to some self-deluded folks and even though there numbers might be in the tens of thousands they are still just a tiny minority of the voters who participated in the caucuses and primaries.

It seems however, that there bitterness at having lost has not gone away. The BS campaign fizzled out. And the principle eventually endorsed his opponent, though many of his followers opted to resist until the very end, they eagerly pushed all the rightwing and Russian propaganda that was trolling HRC, they refused to support her or even vote for her many even went over to cast ballots for Jill Stein, a Russian stooge, a useful idiot of Vladimir Putin’s.

BS is running again. He never released his taxes, he promised he would but he still hasn’t. He has broken other promises as well. In the last election cycle he gave up his status as an Independent when he sought the nomination of the Democratic Party, he said he would remain with the party but then, in 2018 he ran for his Senate seat in Vermont as an Independent again.

Now he is singing the same old song.

The BS team is different this time, it is as if they were still riding high on their “almost-won” campaign from 2016. They are acting much like HRC did, BS and his campaign staff, his surrogates and supporters, they are acting as if BS should be anointed and they are running down candidates who they feel might be a threat to them; Beto O’Rourke, the latest with Joe Biden, they are poisoning the well.

I say let things shake out with positive campaigning and no dirty tricks; the dirty tricks are disqualifying. The Democratic Party needs unity. We need to win the house, we need to win the Senate, we need to expand our hold on congress, and in state houses across the nation.
We need to win if we hope to get the plethora of Constitutional amendments that candidates are proposing passed, but more importantly, we need to win if want to control redistricting, and the upcoming apportionment of congressional districts.

There cannot be any Green new deal litmus tests, nothing of the sort, democrats need to support democrats in districts where they can win, there cannot be any ugly and divisive purity tests, and primary challenges, anyone who thinks that is a good idea needs to sit down.

I’m not of BS, I think he is a ridiculous candidate with a vision for America, that would be good if it could obtain, but for which there is not a broad enough constituency to pass. He is enamored with his good ideas, and that makes him a dangerous man.

I don’t want Joe Biden in the race either, Or Elizabeth Warren, let the old guard stand down, but if the win the hearts and minds of the voters then they have my vote and that is that, I’ll even vote for BS.