The Truth About the Ukrainian Crisis

Below I have put some links to some contrarian views about why the US is so involved and what is really happening in the Ukraine. We are on the brink of another disastrous war. Please share these links.

Is the Confrontation Over Ukraine Joe Biden’s “Wag the Dog” Moment?

The people now gunning for a showdown with Putin were gunning for a showdown with Saddam Hussein two decades ago—with the same promises of a happy outcome.

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Feb 16, 2022

Persico Challenge:  Issue 1 – American Exceptionalism

american-exceptionalism (2)

At the beginning of the 2022 New Year, I issued what I called “The Persico Challenge” to some of my blogger friends.  The gist of my challenge was to address three issues over the course of the next year that I would send them.  In return, they could send me three issues that I would need to address.  One friend took me up on this challenge and we agreed on three issues that we would each address.  Ms. Jane Fritz (who has a wonderful blog site at Robby Robin’s Journey) sent me the following issue to address.

“The decline of American democracy – and the moral authority of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful nation – is a topic of discussion in opinion pieces worldwide these days.  Can the “exceptionalism” of America, perhaps best defined by its unique belief in individualism (vs the common good), unite Americans or is its commitment to individualism to be its downfall?”

Well Jane, I have to start off by disputing the idea that America is committed or exceptional when it comes to individualism.  No doubt there is the “belief” that Americans are more individualistic than other cultures.  Indeed, studies such as done by Dr. Geert Hofstede (A Dutch social psychologist) show Americans to be high in Individualism versus Collectivism.  Dr. Hosftede defined six dimensions that could be used to differentiate nations and cultures.  Pertaining to the dimension of Individualism Americans ranked 91 on a scale of 100 in respect to this dimension.  For comparison, the Chinese ranked 20 on the same scale. 

“The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We”.  In Individualist societies people are only supposed to look after themselves and their direct family.  In Collectivist societies people belong to “in groups” that take care of them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.”— Hofstede Insights on America

I dispute this claim as rooted in desire and not actuality.  Americans profess a desire to be individualistic but in reality, they are to quote Hofstede “The best joiners in the world.”  Americans all want to be part of something that can boost their self-esteem.  The prevalence of what has been called “Identity Politics” is rooted in the American desire to be part of something else that is powerful and noteworthy.  Thus Americans identify as Democrats who love the Boston Patriots and belong to the Boston Choral Society, or they identify as Republicans who love the Green Bay Packers and belong to the Wisconsin ATV Club.  I am stereotyping and generalizing here but my point is that Americans today seldom do anything by themselves.  They belong to clubs, fraternities, associations, and on-line websites that are beyond anything imaginable.  Americans are loath to stand out and speak up.  Go to any classroom in the country to see how seldom students will speak up when asked a question by their instructors. 

But Exceptionalism and Individualism are not the same thing.  Exceptional is defined in Webster’s Online Dictionary as: “Unusually good; not typical; outstanding.”  America is no doubt an extremely unique country.  It has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources, good climate and proximity to oceans and waterways that have facilitated transportation and commerce.  America’s dedication to democracy may seem to be ringing a good deal more faint than in the past but no one can argue that there is still a commitment by many to democracy as opposed to an autocratic government.  One might ask if America’s democracy is the most outstanding or exceptional government in the history of civilization?   

The term democracy first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought in the city-state of Athens during classical antiquity.  If democracy is “Government of the people, by the people and for the people” than a total democracy has never existed.  From the Greeks to modern times there has always been stipulations in every country professing a democracy on who may vote and who may have a say in running the government.  In early America, only white male landowners had a right to vote.  Gradually over the years, democracy has been becoming more inclusive in terms of who may vote.  Nevertheless, dissatisfaction with democracy remains high in many countries throughout the world. I would argue that there is nothing exceptional about American Democracy. 


Perhaps we can ask if Americans themselves are exceptional?  Are or have Americans been more moral or ethical than other people in the world?  I would be fairly certain that if you asked the Indigenous people in this country, the answer would be a resounding NO!  I would also assume that the same reply would come from African Americans and many other minorities in this country.  Having traveled to 34 countries, I have not found Americans to be any more ethical or moral than the people I have met in these 34 countries. 

The final part of Jane’s question is “is its commitment to individualism to be its downfall?”  My answer is no.  First of all, I do not see a downfall, but I do see a decline as the “Leader of the Free World.”  However, I do not think that this decline is due to either a true individualism or even a belief and commitment to individualism.  I do not see anything “exceptional” about America’s professed commitment to individualism.  If anything has eroded the moral integrity of America and its leadership in the world, it has been its commitment to a capitalism based on rampant greed and materialism.  True, greed has always been with us.  There are over 70 major verses about greed and materialism in the Bible.  There are 35 Islamic quotes about greed in the Koran and Hadith.  In Buddhist writings, greed is one of the three poisons of life.  In Hindu theology, greed is one of the six sins or vices of life. 

America has come to define itself with the famous line from the movie Wall Street that “Greed is good.”  Bigger is always better.  There is never enough.  Shop till you drop.  Don’t stop until you have more than your neighbor.  Importance is measured by economic prosperity.  Greed is no longer a vice in America but a virtue.  Every profession in America now seems motivated by greed rather than service.  Lawyers, doctors, dentists, and politicians are more concerned with their earnings than what they can do for others.  Even journalists and their media have succumbed to the desire for more and more profits.  The President of Mexico said a few days ago that journalists are not fighters to uncover corruption. He said, “No, they are none of that. They are hired thugs that do just the opposite.”  He insists reporters work for huge business interests that don’t like him because he fights for the poor.

America’s education system is in shambles.  The elite are privatizing education and pushing the poor into education ghettos where little or no learning takes place.  Our media are only interested in selling advertising for large corporations.  Our corporations are multi-national conglomerates which have no interest in America, the environment, democracy, or the elimination of poverty.  They are only interested in whatever will bring more revenue to their bottom line. 

If there is any one factor that will destroy a person or nation it will be greed.  It is an insidious disease which eats away morality and ethics.  Eventually, you are left with a nation of acolytes who subscribe to amoral philosophies and legal legerdemain to get as much as they can.  Even the courts cannot curtail the onslaught of greed since it is legal and legitimate in the eyes of the law. 


I see the decline of America as a role model and leader for the world inevitable unless it lets go of its materialism.  We can only agree to spend 1 trillion dollars on needed infrastructure and it takes a year to pass a bill authorizing such an expenditure.  However, a 3.2 trillion dollars defense bill can be passed by both sides with little or no debate in a matter of weeks.  There is something seriously out of balance in America.  Perhaps our obsession with guns and security reflect the fear that someone will take our money and toys away.  We have our priorities upside down and few people seem to really care as long as taxes are low, inflation is low and wages are up. 


The following excerpt is from an article by Dr. Andrew J. Bacevich published in the Nation, Feb, 2022

“Who in their right mind would identify with a nation that has in the not-so-distant past engaged in a costly and arguably illegal war in one country (Iraq), while waging a 20-year-long war in another (Afghanistan) that ended in humiliating defeat? In what sense does a nation that loses over 900,000 of its citizens to a pandemic, whose dysfunctional central government annually spends trillions more than it takes in, and that cannot even control its own borders qualify as exceptional? Can a nation in which the richest 1 percent control 16 times more wealth than the bottom 50 percent be deemed exceptional? Or one in which a major political party characterizes violent insurrection as “legitimate political discourse”? As for a nation that elects Donald Trump president and may do so again: The term “exceptional” hardly seems appropriate. “Reckless,” “incompetent,” “alienated,” “extravagantly wasteful,” and “deeply confused” more accurately describe our predicament.”

Does Nature Have Rights?  A Conversation with Mother Nature


A short time ago, I was running down a trail when I stumbled over an exposed root.  I fell to the ground and bruised my elbows, hands, and knees.  Quite angrily, I grabbed the offending root and started to rip it out of the ground.  Suddenly, I heard a loud voice cry out, “Please, I am very sorry, I did not mean to hurt you.”  I looked around to see who had issued this apology but seeing no one I went back to trying to destroy the tree root.  I quickly heard another cry that sounded even more plaintive and sad than the first saying, “Please do not destroy me, I am very sorry that you were hurt, but I need my roots to live.”


I thought I might be imagining this voice, but I stopped yanking on the root and more out of a sense of humor than any belief that I was talking to a tree, I called out “Why, should I?  What is one more tree to the forest.  There are lots of trees here and one more is not going to make a difference.”  Suddenly, a great wind swept through the trees and standing in front of me was a creature unlike any I had ever seen before.  It was at least twenty feet tall and shaped like a star.  It hovered above the forest floor, and it pulsed with a beautiful light that had a golden glow.  I had never seen anything more beautiful.


While the setting was quite eerie, it did not inspire fear but rather awe.  I knew instinctively that it was sentient, and I asked “What do you want?  Who or what are you?”  It answered, “I am who you call ‘Mother Nature.’  I created this forest, the lakes, the trees, the plants and in fact the entire earth.  You are about to destroy one of my children.”

I realized that this was no hoax and that no one was pulling my leg.  This was beyond anything I had ever experienced.  I was cold sober.  I was not on any pills or medication.  I was 75 years old and more rationale than I had ever been before.  Mother Nature was a fiction to me, a type of being that existed as a metaphor and not a real-life force.  I do not believe in ghosts, devils, angels or even God.  Now I was face to face with a being that said it was “Mother Nature.”

I was in no mood to equivocate on the issue or to argue finer points of logic around life and death.  I owe life to any creature, and I have no right to take the life of any creature for any reason other than self-perpetuation.  To destroy life wantonly and for no reason other than anger or malice may be the worst of all sins on the earth.  I spoke and said “I am very sorry; I was being selfish.  I never really thought of the earth around me as sentient or possessing the same kind of intelligence as I had.”

“Yes, said Mother Nature, your species is the first on this planet to ignore the responsibilities it has to the rest of the planet and to its fellow inhabitants.  Over the years, I have watched as more and more of the earth is destroyed by both your avarice and simple indifference.  I do not know which is worse.  Few of you really believe that your own lives depend on how you treat the planet that you live on.  Most of you just do not seem to care.”

stone_trees“I never really thought much about it”, I replied.  “I do think I care about the environment, and I do my best to support environmental efforts at conservation and sustainability.  Of course, I suppose if you were judging me, you would say that I usually put my own self-interests first.”

“I could destroy all humanity if I desired to, but I have tried to minimize destruction in the warnings that I have sent to you.  It has not done much good.  No matter the intensity of my warnings, you just keep doing what you have been doing to destroy the environment,” whispered Mother Nature.

“Every plant, every tree, the oceans, the lakes, the soil, the sky, the wind, volcanoes, mountains, the rain are all my children.  I love them as much as you love your children.  Every time one of them is needlessly injured, I feel the pain a mother does for an injured child.”

The longer I listened, the guiltier I felt.  All of my efforts at recycling and sustainability seemed like so much dust in the wind.  What I have really done my whole life was to abuse Mother Nature and her offspring.  The earth was something that I used when expedient.  It was never something that I went to sleep thinking about or woke up with any great desire to treat better than I had already been doing.  I prided myself on being more “Woke” when it came to environmental issues than most other people.  But as far as “rights” were concerned, Mother Nature had no more rights than the “Man in the Moon.”

Mother_NatureI did not know what to say.  I was speechless.  I felt selfish and self-centered.  I had neglected my responsivities to the planet and all of the other species who inhabited it.  The earth was never more than a convenient piece of landscape that might or might not be useful to me.  Air, water, and land were mere things, mere objects that I could use and dispose of to help make my life better.  I might fear hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados but I relied on science to protect me from these “natural” disasters.

I believed that humans had the right to tame “Mother Nature” and to “harness” her energy for our own enrichment.  It was a win lose world and I was taught that we must win at any cost.  To seek our victory, we could pollute the water ways, destroy forests and landscapes, and put all the toxins we wanted to into the atmosphere.  It was an “out of sight, out of mind” morality that was dominated by an economic way of looking at the world.  Money mattered more than Mother Nature and her offspring.

As I watched and waited for another response from Mother Nature, she slowly started to fade away.  Just as I thought she had gone, with a deep powerful roar she left me the following message, “Those who destroy nature, destroy themselves.”

A good friend of mine sent me a newsletter a few days ago from Jim Hightower.  The majority of the newsletter was devoted to a concept and political movement called “The Rights of Nature.”  The core of this movement is a recognition that species and ecosystems are not simply resources for humans to use but are living entities with rights of their own.  Many indigenous people have long accepted this belief.  The fight between “settlers” and indigenous people was in most instances a conflict between cultures which accepted the Rights of Nature and those which rejected this concept.


“In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to acknowledge Nature as a rights holder within its constitution.  In a world where Nature is primarily treated as a resource, the “Rights of Nature” concept and its emerging application prompts important questions: What are the theoretical, logistical, and cultural challenges of granting Nature rights? Who can represent and defend nature and why? Is the concept a necessary progression towards an environmental future?”  — “Can Nature Have Rights? Legal and Political Insights” – Edited by Anna Leah Tabios Hillebrecht and María Valeria Berros,  Rachel Carlson Center

There is no happy ending to my story.  I see little evidence that our political systems or economic systems care about Mother Nature.  The movement for the “Rights of Nature” could be a very positive step in the right direction.  Unfortunately, corporations and greedy developers are already marshaling their forces to prevent such a movement from gaining a foothold.


There is a saying that “people get the government they deserve.”  You and I might argue against this wisdom, but it is the people that accept or reject a given political and economic direction.  In the USA, too many people would rather shop on Black Friday than make a trip to their local recycling center.  Heaven Forbid, that recycling would increase the cost of their new Nikes or their Abercrombie sweatshirt.   The future lies in our hands.  The earth will go on with or without humanity.  IF we want to be a part of the future, we had better start making wiser choices now.

John’s Top Ten Sleepless Night Questions  – This Past Week 😊


I woke up last night wondering and wondering and wondering.  A series of recent events had caused confusion and chaos in my sleepy mind.  I realize that I am no genius, but I could not stop thinking and pondering a number of questions which were continuing to nag me during the past week or so.  Maybe, in fact very likely, a number of my readers are much wiser than I am and can help me with my questions.  I would appreciate any thoughts that some of you might have on any of the following questions.  Your answers would help me to sleep better in the upcoming nights.

  1. How is rioting and destroying lives and property “Legitimate Political Discourse?”
  1. Why do peaceful civil rights protestors get beaten and arrested and scorned but Neo-Nazi groups are free to march and stage violent protests?
  1. How come we can use the RICO act to arrest and convict gamblers and drug dealers, but we can’t use it to arrest politicians who advocate or support the violent overthrow of the United States?
  1. Why can we send hit squads to take out terrorists in Syria and other parts of the Mideast, but we can’t send hit squads to Florida, Texas, and other parts of the USA to take out domestic terrorists?
  1. How come ISIS is an “official” terrorist group but the KKK, Proud Boys and Neo-Nazi groups are not terrorist groups?
  1. How come all the USA TV news on the Ukrainian Crisis constantly use military weapons, troops firing, howitzers blasting, tanks rumbling and other pictures of war as a backdrop to their news updates on the Ukrainian Crisis?

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple social media posts in January 2022 alongside a claim it shows Ukrainian troops “preparing for potential combat” at the border with Russia. However, the video has circulated online since at least 2020 in a post by a Ukrainian military command about its troops conducting a military exercise.

7. How do we have time for a political discussion with Putin when the “analysts” say he is simply using the time to strengthen his military position?

8. Why has not one US politician from either party or end of the political spectrum commented on the beautiful moving opening ceremony and the spectacular technology displayed to date at the Chinese Winter Olympics?

9. Why are all the headlines in today’s news featuring negative comments about China and/or its role in the Olympics?  Some examples below from this mornings headlines:

  • Criticism of Zhu Yi, a US born skater, show harsh scrutiny of naturalized athletes in China – The New York Times
  • Teenage Olympic sensation Eileen Gu wins gold and crashes the Chinese Internet -CNN
  • Olympics put Chinese authorities’ press intimidation on full display – Axios
  • China’s holiday box office plunges by 23% as theaters push prices to record highs – CNBC
  • Beijing 2022: Winter Olympics hit by deluge of complaints from athletes -BBC
  • China stirs controversy with Uyghur torchbearer – The New Arab
  • Olympians accuse refs of bias after controversial penalties help China -Insider
  1. Why are US politicians more concerned about the rights of Uyghurs than they are about the rights of Blacks and minorities in America?

Does anyone in the USA know who or what a Uyghur is? Here this might help.

Who are the Uyghurs? — From the BBC World News

“There are about 12 million Uyghurs, mostly Muslim, living in Xinjiang, which is officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

The Uyghurs speak their own language, which is similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. They make up less than half of the Xinjiang population.

Recent decades have seen a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) into Xinjiang, allegedly orchestrated by the state to dilute the minority population there.

China has also been accused of targeting Muslim religious figures and banning religious practices in the region, as well as destroying mosques and tombs.

Uyghur activists say they fear that the group’s culture is under threat of erasure.”

The Xinjiang Conflict – Wikipedia

“Since the incorporation of Xinjiang into the People’s Republic of China, factors such as the mass state-sponsored migration of Han Chinese from the 1950s to the 1970s, government policies promoting Chinese cultural unity and punishing certain expressions of Uyghur identity, and harsh responses to separatism have contributed to tension between the Uyghurs, and state police and Han Chinese.  This has taken the form of both terrorist attacks and wider public unrest such as the Baren Township riot, 1997 Ürümqi bus bombings, protests in Ghuljia, June 2009 Shaoguan Incident and the resulting July 2009 Ürümqi riots, 2011 Hotan attack, April 2014 Ürümqi attack, May 2014 Ürümqi attack, 2014 Kunming attack as well as the 2015 Aksu colliery attack.  Other Uyghur organizations such as the World Uyghur Congress denounce totalitarianism, religious intolerance, and terrorism as an instrument of policy.”  — Wikipedia

Concluding Thoughts:

John Donne’s famous line, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls” strikes me as a good reason to pursue justice everywhere in the globe.  We should never be so comfortable that we tolerate injustice in any country whether friend or foe.  Nevertheless, we should be careful about waving a flag of righteous indignation as to the houses of other countries when our own house is far from being in order.  To do so, presents a ludicrous form of hypocrisy that is evident to the rest of the world.

We need to walk a fine line between advocating for the rights of others and stepping into a conflict that we have no legitimate right to be involved in.  There are 12 million Uyghurs who may be being persecuted because of their perceived separateness.  I wonder how many LGBTQ people, how many Indigenous People, how many Black people, how many women in the USA are being persecuted every day because of their differences?  The following charts depict some statistics in respect to my question.  The numbers seem to be going up each year rather than down.




1_in_6_Women 122016

Let the World Never Forget: Harry T. Moore and Harriet V. Moore


Today is the start of Black History Month.  It is still amazing how little I know of Black history and how little is taught about Black people in our schools.  NPR featured a story this morning about two early champions of civil rights.  I confess I never heard of Harry T. Moore and Harriet Simms Moore.  I wish they were alive today so that I could tell them how much I admire there efforts and bravery in the face of appalling racism and discrimination.  Sadly, they both died on Christmas eve by a bomb placed in their house which killed both of them.  They were not dead when they were found in the rubble but the local and closest hospital was for “Whites Only” and would not permit them to be treated there.  They died before they could get the thirty miles to the nearest “Black” hospital.

This is from Wikipedia:

Harry Tyson Moore (November 18, 1905 – December 25, 1951) was an African-American educator, a pioneer leader of the civil rights movement, founder of the first branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Brevard County, Florida, and president of the state chapter of the NAACP.

Harry T. Moore and his wife, Harriette Moore, also an educator, were the victims of a bombing of their home in Mims, Florida, on Christmas night 1951.  As the local hospital in Titusville would not treat Blacks, he died on the way to the nearest one that would, a Black hospital in Sanford, Florida, about 30 miles to the northwest.  His wife died from her wounds nine days later, on January 3, 1952, at the same hospital. This followed their both having been fired from teaching because of their activism.

Harry Moore

The murder case was investigated, including by the FBI in 1951–1952, but no one was ever prosecuted. Two more investigations were conducted in the 1970s and 1990s.  A state investigation and forensic work in 2005–2006 resulted in naming the likely perpetrators as four Ku Klux Klan members, all long dead by that time.  Harry T. Moore was the first NAACP member and official to be assassinated for civil rights activism; the couple are the only husband and wife to be killed for the movement.  Moore has been called the first martyr of this stage of the civil rights movement that expanded in the 1960s.

  • Langston Hughes wrote, and read publicly, the poem “The Ballad of Harry Moore”, written posthumously in Moore’s honor:

Florida means land of flowers
It was on a Christmas night.
In the state named for the flowers
Men came bearing dynamite …
It could not be in Jesus’ name
Beneath the bedroom floor
On Christmas night the killers
Hid the bomb for Harry Moore.

For more information on the life of Harry and Harriet, you might look up the following books:

The Bomb Heard Around the World: The Lives and Deaths of Harry T & Harriette V Moore

by Gregory Marquette | May 1, 2019

Before His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, America’s First Civil Rights Martyr

by Ben Green  | Dec 19, 2017

Before Selma: The Harry T. Moore Story

by DR Florence Alexander | Jan 22, 2015

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