It was like something from a cold war spy novel. A national government, without a great record on human rights, tricks a commercial airliner from another country into landing there, claiming there was a bomb threat. Absurd as it sounds, this is exactly what happened to Roman Protasevich. Protasevich is a Belarusian journalist and dissident critical of Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko. The critic was taken, with his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, from a Lithuania bound Ryanair flight on May 23rd. Lukashenko was no doubt angered by the reporting of Nexta a news outlet founded by Protasevich and Stepan Putilo that has focused recent coverage on anti-Lukashenko rallies after the disputed election in 2020.
But It’s Current Year
The hijacking event was met with shock around the world. Many news outlets seemingly uncomprehending that such a thing was even possible. As though dogs had suddenly started reciting Shakespeare in Latin. It seemed like a relic from a different age, as though time runs in a neat line, drawing a straight path from then to now. Letting one take comfort in the idea that the badness has past. The sad truth is, history is more a set of ever repeating cycles, with little indication as to when things might come back around. The mentions of the Cold War and Soviet tactics disturbingly apt.
Colonial Pipeline was hit with a devastating ransomware cyberattack in May 2021 that impacted computerized equipment managing the pipeline. The attack forced the company to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline in the United States, crippling gas delivery systems across the Southeast and Mid Atlantic states and panicking consumers.
By William Jones and D.S. Mitchell
Terrorists. Criminals and Cowboys
The ongoing digitization of all aspects of modern life should be concerning. Governments world-wide are facing new challenges to keep both business and government secrets private in an increasingly threatening world of cyber criminals, state sponsored terrorists, and cowboy hackers. With increasing online and data usage, government databases have become primary targets for hackers and other cyber terrorists and criminals. Recent events have shaken the U.S. government and citizen confidence. Hackers can compromise data and as Chris Krebs said recently, ransomware attackers are the greatest threat to our digital world. Krebs served as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the United States Department of Homeland Security from November 2018 to November 2020.
Cyber warfare is defined as actions by a nation-state to penetrate another nation’s computers or networks to cause damage or disruption. It may also include non-state actors, such as terrorist groups, private companies, political or ideological extremist groups, criminal organizations, and activists. Cyber attacks have been a cause of concern for years, as the frequency of data breaches has increased along with their complexity and (economic, military, and political) implications, including elections and military catastrophe an ever growing possibility.
An end of an era is approaching. Numerous factions of Israeli political parties have come to an agreement to oust Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu within the next two weeks. The world is holding its breath. Netanyahu and his hard line anti-Palestinian policies have been the face of Israel for at least the last fifteen years. From handsome war hero, to dynamic politician, to accused criminal Bibi has few supporters left. Netanyahu has been clinging desperately to power to also avoid prosecution for multiple corruption charges. Dave has a rant on this situation, just like most others.
EDITORIAL: Israel Is Acting Like An Apartheid State
By William Jones and D. S. Mitchell
What is Apartheid?
The 1973 Apartheid Convention and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defined apartheid as systematic and institutionally entrenched domination and repression by one racial group over another through “inhumane acts.” Among such acts are:
Arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group
Measures designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups
Expropriation of landed property
Denial of the right to leave and to return to their country and the right to a nationality
I was so content with my current tiny investment in Cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, till last night. When Elon Musk’s Bitcoin U-Turn simply throws me off the edge.
Musk’s Tweet on suspending vehicle purchase using Bitcoin not only struck a boult on me but also my itty-bitty crypto asset. No wonder I was enraged to see the price dropping, and my investment is fading away.
However, it took me a while to come to my senses (thanks to my wife for a late-night Coffee) and realize what is actually going on.
Musk’s Twitter Activity from Last Night
The entire Tweet, I am sure, will amaze almost anyone. Let’s look at a few lines of it first, and then I will dive deep into them.
“We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel” (O Boy, O Boy! we had no clue about it until the Tweet!)
“Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels, and we believe it has a promising future” (So Tesla and SpaceX are not dumping all its crypto assets because they are nothing but energy-guzzler carbon-emitting machines)
“Tesla will not be selling any Bitcoin, and we intend to use it for transactions as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy” (He actually loves Bitcoin and keeping all the digital assets for future use. Wondering what it’s that? Well, the next Bitcoin big selling)
Alexi Navalny is a pain in Putin’s side. Allies of the Russian dissident began protests April 21st, 2021, demanding Putin’s most vocal critic receive proper hospital care. People despite government crackdowns on protests showed up in large numbers. Many supporters believe only mass protests can save Alexi’s life and many people are willing to risk imprisonment and harassment by the police.
Alexi Navalny Today
Alexi Navalny was arrested the day he returned to Russia after being treated in Germany for what appeared to have been a nerve agent poisoning. During this most recent imprisonment, on March 31st, 2021, Navalny went on a hunger strike, demanding proper medical treatment for loss of sensations in his hands and legs and severe back pain.
Recent news reports indicate an electrolyte imbalance. His high potassium levels increase his risk for a cardiac arrhythmia. His personal physician pleaded that Navalny should be moved to an intensive care unit because of his deteriorating condition. Navalny also risks severe renal impairment. Navalny’s wife, Yulia, said her husband’s weight is down to 167 lbs from 187 lbs when he started the hunger strike at the end of March.
Russia is a different kind of place. It boasts the world’s largest land mass. It is the only place that stopped an invasion by both Napoleon and Hitler. It is also one of the most insular nations in the world. Significantly it is a Slavic language. It has it’s own unique alphabet derived from Cyrillic script for Old Church Slavonic. It is also functionally unilingual, the vast majority of Russians, unless they have lived or were educated elsewhere, speak only Russian.
It would be tempting to say “The Russians” in the grand narrative sense, it is however, far more accurate to say the Russian government, which is itself divided and distinct. To the point that there are technically two people in charge at any given time. Quite apart from the political sphere, there is also the everyday civilian dimension in which most people live. While there are certainly many who fall into line with Putin’s way of thinking, either naturally or because they have been swayed by propaganda, there are many who do not. Which really only stands to reason, it being a statistical impossibility that in a country of hundreds of millions that the majority would completely, or even strongly, agree with those in power.
Give Me Music
One of the lesser known aspects of Russian culture is its large and diverse music scene. One of the most popular genres is a modern incarnation of Russian folk music. Some mix it with elements of rock music, like the infectiously catchy and usually upbeat Otava Yo. Others are more traditional like Igor Resteryaev who sticks to accordion and vocals, in a style that can veer from the pensive to the goofy depending on the song.
No nation has ever been completely peaceful, no matter what some might like to claim. As though in a self-aware correction to this, some don’t even bother to try and appear civilized, such as the Mongols or the Spartans. Others go through periods of stability, though the next invasion, rebellion, conquest or border war isn’t a matter of if, but when.
On a Reverse Trajectory
One of the main perpetrators of the meat-grinder of Europe was Russia or, as it was known for the majority of the century, the Soviet Union. That doesn’t mean the Czarist period was a picnic, either. Under the czars, someone was always fighting or planning to fight, someone else. Even during the days of the purges, the threat of being purged surely was enough to make a lot of people angry. Russia, is a direct rebuke to the notion of history progressing in a linear trajectory. Putin’s Russia more closely resembles 1961 than the first attempts at democratization in 1991. If anything they are moving backwards. Now, as then, there are those opposing the government, often at risk to their lives by way of assassination by the state. One such death-defying rebel is Alexi Navalny.
History is more of a cycle than a straight line. Those who have looked at it closely recognize trends have a tendency to repeat. Themes and progress ebb and flow in the oceans of time. Sadly, there are some areas where the water is darker than others. One such dark spot in the ocean of time is the anti-Chinese sentiment in North America.
An Ill Wind
One of the more damaging aspects of coronavirus, aside from the death toll, is the misinformation being spread about it. One being the Anti-Chinese sentiment, fostered and fueled by President Trump and his surrogates. Attempting to redirect blame from his colossal mismanagement of the pandemic response Trump continues his attacks on China. Our boneheaded and close to illiterate president regularly promotes the idea that the virus “came from China.”
Did it spread through China first? Yes. Do we know for a fact that it is where the virus originated? Hell no. In fact, the Chinese point an angry finger to the United States military. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS–CoV-2) and coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) is new and poorly understood. The prevailing theory is that the original carrier was a bat. I’m not sure if you’ve ever noticed, but bats fly. Over a fair bit of distance. As a historical reminder the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic did not originate in Spain, but rather Kansas and was spread by American soldiers. Not that it matters anyway. The country of origin not nearly as important as how to stop the spread of SARS CoV-2 and cure the disease among those who contract it.
An unidentified, but very clever person declared, “when you hire a clown, expect a circus.”
OPINION: Trump’s Viral Circus
By Trevor K. McNeil
A Question of Leadership.
Many American presidents have faced great obstacles. To their credit, most have risen to the occasion with some degree of grace and intelligence befitting the office. Most of the catastrophes have been military-and at times self-inflicted, such as Teddy Roosevelt’s half-cocked 1898 invasion of Spanish controlled Cuba. “Remember the Maine!” More recently, terrorism has been the challenge. After 9/11, somehow overnight, George W. Bush became a military genius. That genius led us into an unending conflict in the Middle East. Though, to his credit, he did better than most would have expected. Ulysses S. Grant, not widely known for his intelligence, statesmanship, or sobriety did attempt to rebuild the nation after the terror of the Civil War, and as expected, failed abysmally.
Guns and Ammo
Woodrow Wilson faced two enemies during WWI; the Germans and the Spanish Flu pandemic.
Sadly, Woodrow Wilson, simultaneously facing World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic resorted to lies and misinformation to tamper down public fears. God forbid anyone stop the production of guns and ammunition. The 1918 experience of a rapidly spreading virus, and a government unprepared for the challenge, should be an eye opener. The COVID-19 outbreak has been compared to the Spanish Flu pandemic. If that proves correct we could be on the brink of total disaster. In fact, Wilson’s public response to Spanish Flu may prove sterling in comparison to Trump’s Coronavirus press briefings.
In the case of president Trump, the lies come so fast and furious it is often hard to separate intent from stupidity. In an instance of whimsical optimism unseen outside of a Peter Pan production, Trump publicly suggested people should just “go to work”, and it will all miraculously “just go away.” Reporting indicates Trump was warned in early December 2019 that COVID-19 was as serious as it gets, and was headed like an armed missile directly at us.
“Worry is a waste of valuable time.” D. S. Mitchell 2015
Chasing The Spider by D.S. Mitchell
“Let my old days be my best days,” Cousin Lucille
“Surround yourself with those on the same mission as you.” Anonymous
“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” Christian Grey
“Love life and life will love you back. Love people and they will love you back.” Arthur Rubenstein
“To be happy and contented, count your blessings, not your cash.” Chinese Proverb
“Studying American politics has taught me several disgusting lessons, the first being, money buys friends in Congress. That alone should terrify the American public.” D. S. Mitchell 2021
“Those who think they can control the mob are fools and are often the victims of their own incitement.” D.S. Mitchell 2021
“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. So I elect for neither label.” – James Branch Cabell
“I don’t need to attend every argument I’m invited to.” Unknown
“Voting is like a prayer.” Raphael Warnock 2021
If puppies and kittens don't make you smile, you might consider therapy.
“We are all valuable. The problem is not everyone is smart enough to realize it.” D. S. Mitchell 2021
“The problem with beauty is that its like being born rich and getting poorer.” Joan Collins
“Dimming the lights will not hide the social injustice in America.” D. S. Mitchell 2017
“Silence in front of savagery is savagery itself.” Abhijit Naskar
“We can never be too busy to be kind.” D. S. Mitchell 2017
“We only fail when we fail to try.” Rosa Parks
“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” T. S. Eliot
“Every lie is like stepping in a quicksand pit. Every lie as dangerous, as telling the truth.” D. S. Mitchell 2020
“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.” Charles Dickens
“Thoughtful people are slow to anger, not necessarily less efficient in their killing.” D. S. Mitchell 2019
“Endings are not always bad. Most times they’re just beginnings in disguise.” Kim Harrison
“The United States like so many countries around the world has chosen to give to the few and deny the many.” D.S. Mitchell 2020
“It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. This is true, its called life.” Terry Pratchett
“Law without humanity is injustice.” D. S. Mitchell 2020
“When people start acting as though the past is the same as the present and context doesn’t matter, things start to get dangerous.” Trevor K. McNeil 2020
“Pardoning the Bad, is injuring the Good.” – Benjamin Franklin
“In no instance have… the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people.” James Madison
“Anger helps straighten out a problem like a fan helps straighten out a pile of papers.” Susan Marcotte
“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” ― Bruce Lee
“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” Thomas Jefferson
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” Albert Einstein
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The 7 Social Sins are: Wealth without Work; Pleasure without Conscience; Knowledge without Character; Commerce without Morality; Science without Humanity; Worship without Sacrifice; Politics without Principle.” Frederick Lewis Donaldson
“Trickle down economics is like having three dogs and giving one of them a hot dog, and thinking he’ll share.” Bill Maher
“All evils are equal when they are extreme.”-Pierre Corneille
“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” John F. Kennedy
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Isaac Asimov
“People without vaginas shouldn’t be able to regulate them.” Unknown
“Let’s just remember that social security is not the government’s money, it belongs to the people who had it taken out of the checks involuntarily their entire working lives.” Mike Huckabee
“Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Abraham Lincoln
“I have insecurities of course, but I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.” ADELE
“I have been far oftener discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black.” Shirley Chisholm 5/21/1969
“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” John Kenneth Galbraith
“Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.” ― George Burns
“What this country needs is more unemployed politicians.” Edward Langley, artist
“The turning points of lives are not the great moments. The real crises are often concealed in occurrences so trivial in appearance that they pass unobserved.” ― George Washington
“If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime we would have said so.” Robert S. Mueller
“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.” ― Albert Einstein
“So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.” ― Kurt Vonnegut
“A politician thinks of the next election – a statesman of the next generation.” – James Freeman Clarke
“Imagination is the bridge between the things we know for sure, and the things we need to believe, when our world becomes unbearable.” Staceyann Chin
“Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others.” Coretta Scott King
“Inspiration descends only in flashes to clothe circumstances; it is not stored up in a barrel, like salt herrings to be doled out.”Patrick White
“Without music, life would be a mistake.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks.” Doug Larson
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” ― Nelson Mandela
“Pretty comes in all sizes. My size is cute.” Honey Boo Boo, reality TV star
“If you can’t be a poet, be a poem.” David Carradine
“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.” Helen Keller
“We have, at the heart of our government, a perilous disease, and it is called greed.” D. S. Mitchell 2017
“Social Conventions are like Santa Claus. They only exist for those who believe in them.” T. K. McNeil 2021
“If you are planning on revenge, dig two graves.” Confucius
“I weep a lot. Thankfully, I laugh a lot, too. The main thing in one’s own private world is to try to laugh as much as you cry.” Maya Angelou
“All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent.” John F. Kennedy
“People see God everyday, they just don’t recognize him.” Pearl Bailey
“No matter how great your accomplishments, the memory of man is short.” D.S. Mitchell 2021
“No matter how stupid or inane your cause, you can depend on getting at least 30% support from the fucking internet.” David Shadrick 2021
Self-isolating has forced us to turn even more to telecommunication and social media.
“Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn’t commit.” Eli Khamarov
The Major Cause Of Sex Trafficking Is Poverty
“Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.” Unknown
“A fierce rage is not always followed by quiet exhaustion. In fact, it sometimes ignites an unstoppable fury.” D. S. Mitchell 2020
“Information is the currency of democracy.” Thomas Jefferson
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” Laura Claudette
“The deep political divisions in America do not run between big and small states, but rather, between the North and the South and the coasts and the interior.” D. S. Mitchell 2018
“Dream as if you will live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” James Dean
“Identify your passion and then pursue it recklessly.” D. S. Mitchell 2018
“What we think, we become.” Budda
“Pain and sadness are often the fruits of intense commitment to a belief or cause. That does not mean you should halt your activity or reject your commitment.” D. S. Mitchell 2017
“When sleeping women wake, mountains move.” Chinese proverb
“To argue with a person who has given up reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” Thomas Paine
“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” Lord Byron
“Certainly in the next fifty years we shall see a woman president, perhaps sooner than you think. A woman can and should be able to do any political job that a man can do.” Richard M. Nixon
“I would like to see a time when man loves his fellow man, and forgets his color or his creed. We will never be civilized until that time comes”. Clarence Darrow
“Secrecy and a free, democratic government don’t mix.” Harry S. Truman
“Just because nobody complains, doesn’t mean all parachutes are perfect.” Benny Hill
“Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.” Mark Twain
“Politics have no relation to morals.” Niccolo Machiavelli
“May we think of freedom, not as a right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” Peter Marshall
“We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Louis Brandeis
“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Voltaire
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Ronald Reagan
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ― Mother Theresa
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims..but accomplices.” George Orwell
“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” ― Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable.” George Orwell
“All I can say for the United States is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation.” Will Rogers
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
“It goes without saying that Fox News is not news at all-but pure propaganda geared to an audience of ignorant fools.” Richard Dawkins
“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.” ― Keith Richards
“Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.” ― Robert Orben
“Some men see things as they are, and ask, ‘Why?” I dream things that never were, and ask, ‘Why not?” Robert F. Kennedy
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” J. Pierpont Morgan
“The man who has millions will want everything he can get his hands on and then raise his voice against the poor devil who wants ten cents more a day.” Samuel Gompers
“Judicial abuse occurs when judges substitute their own political views for the law”. Lamar S. Smith
“When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening, foreign entity, it ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us.” Barack Obama
“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?” ― Mahatma Gandhi
“The problem is that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities–that fact, is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.” Betty Friedan
“A President needs political understanding to run the government, but he may be elected without it.” Harry S Truman
“If you see bigotry, oppose it. If you see violence, condemn it. And if you see a bully, stand up to him.” Hillary Rodham Clinton 3/12/16
“The harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.” Thomas Paine
“Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored.”-Aldous Huxley
“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Plato
“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” Coretta Scott King
“People will dismiss facts, ignore science, and argue the unarguable; if it’s in the interest of their pocketbook.” Yogi Berra
“If you really think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath whilst you count your money.” Dr. Guy McPherson
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Daniel Patrick Moynihan
DEADPOOL QUOTES: 1.) “Never underestimate the stupidity of idiots.” 2.) “Today was about as much fun as a sandpaper dildo.” 3.) “My common sense is tingling.” 4.) “You can’t buy love, but you can rent it for three minutes.” 5.) “I’m gonna eat until I’m tired. Then I’m going to sleep until I’m hungry.” 6.) “I can say chimichanga in seven languages.” 7.) “Do you have an off switch?” 8.) “That’s a face I can sit on.” 9.) “Daddy needs to express some rage.” 10.) “I seriously need a speed bump between my brain and my mouth.” 11.) “I’m a bad guy who is paid to fuck up worse guys.” 12.) “Life is an endless series of train wrecks with only brief commercial like breaks of happiness.” Marvel Comics. Deadpool created by Fabian Nicieza & Rob Liefield
Many great charities, here are a couple that I support:
Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund,
ACLU, and Planned Parenthood. By the way, did you know that Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase price to the charity of your choice? Log in at smile.amazon.com whenever you purchase. Be sure to specify your charity.