RUSSIA’S BELLIGERENCE AND ITS IMPLICATION FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY

A Russian Su-24 buzzes the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea on April 12, 2016. (U.S. Navy)

CNN reported the other day that Homeland Security officials said that Russia tried to penetrate the US energy power grid, and left tracks to show its hackers had the ability to shut down the grid, but didn’t. That is to say that Russia literally have the ability to shut down our power grid, and by implication, our economy, and by implication, our defense infrastructure, and by implication, our way of life. But chooses not to do so.

Why?

Because this is not the right time for Vladimir Putin to do so? Maybe he’s preserving his cyberweapon for a time when his adventure in global disorder will be at crossroads with our core national interests. And when that time come and if the administration in power do not kowtow to his ambitions he will then deploy his weapon and cripple us. Could that be it? Just a maybe.

This is not the first time that Russia has so affronted us and got away with it. The history has existed of Russian aircrafts buzzing US spy plane in international airspace, buzzing our destroyer many times in the Black sea, and buzzing our warship in the Baltic sea. Early this year, a Russian spy ship was spotted 100 miles off the coast of North Carolina and based on historical precedents was predicted to be on a four-to-six-months deployment off the East Coast where it will be conducting intelligence operations near Cape Canaveral, King’s Bay, Norfolk and New London. Locations that are home to US naval installations.

These incidents do not seem to rattle our leaders in Washington and there has been no occasion where it was shown that any of these incidents have provoked President Obama and now President Trump to communicate to Russia in unequivocal terms that these sorts of behaviors will not be tolerated and cannot be allowed to repeat themselves without serious consequences or injury to the Russian federation.

Why?

I was not around during the Cold War but from literature that I have read and from movies that I have watched, our presidents during those trying times were clear in their message to Russia. President Kennedy couldn’t be more clear and direct with Chairman Khrushchev with the paragraphs below in his address to the nation during the Cuban missile crisis:

 

It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union. . . .

I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations. . . . He has an opportunity now to move the world back from the abyss of destruction. . .

 

Those were strong words coming from our Commander-in-Chief. And there was no doubt in the Kremlin that those words were gonna be matched with actions if need be. Eyeball to eyeball, the Russians blinked and we won the Cold War.

Since the days of Barack Obama however, courage has given way to appeasement. From President Obama asking Medvedev during the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Korea to communicate to Putin that his tough talk on Russia were just mere talk, solely for the purpose of winning a second term, to President Trump idolizing the same Putin, one is led to wonder what hold, if any, that Putin have on the national security of the United States. Since the days of Obama. Such that whenever the occupant of the Oval Office becomes privy to that information will have no choice than to defer to Putin? Or did the election of Barack Obama usher America into the era of electing to power our own Neville Chamberlains?

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AN ALL-AMERICAN WAY TO FIX THE IMMIGRATION CONUNDRUM (Part I)

Illegal immigrants in the United States line up against a U.S. Department of Homeland Security bus in El Paso, Texas, so they can be unshackled and led across the border to Juarez, Mexico, by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Tuesday, January 27, 2009. (Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune/MCT) (Newscom TagID: krtphotoslive342933.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
Every nation on earth, every society, have laws that govern it. Without laws, society will descend into anarchy. It will be a free for all and the weak will always be at the mercy of the mighty. Laws, are what protect the weak from becoming ever constant prey of the mighty. Laws ensures order in a society.

The United States of America is a sovereign nation like many others and have laws that govern human conduct, human interactions, and human-government relations within its borders. Among these laws are immigration laws that stipulates how a foreigner can legally come to this country for whatever purpose, and how such a foreigner can legally become resident in this country, if said foreigner at one point or the other decides that such a course of action is what he or her wants to pursue.

If anyone should enter this country illegally by not having the proper entry documents issued by the United States diplomatic centers all over the world, that person by default have committed a crime against the United States and cannot claim protection of the law of the land because he or she broke the law of the land in the first place by entering this country illegally. And such a person should be removed from the country.

Laws are what guarantees a nation’s sovereignty and security and protects a land from being overran by mischief-makers, and hence must be obeyed. At all times. Laws are not made with anyone in mind and should not be subjected to emotions especially when one deliberately violates them. Laws are not hobbies that one can pick up at one’s whim and drop at his or her discretion. Laws, are, laws.

So, when someone deliberately enter our country illegally, there should be no doubt about the person’s intent – which was to flout our laws – and there should be no sentiment about applying the law to its fullest extent in such a situation.

I had a conversation with a Norwegian the other day regarding immigration policies in nations of advanced economy. I have lived in Europe. I have visited Israel, and I have vacationed in Mexico. And in the course of our conversation, comparing one country’s immigration policies to that of another, we came to the conclusion that the United States of America has the most benevolent immigration policy. Ever.

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REGARDING A GOOD HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

PART 1

What constitutes a good healthcare system?

  1. One that is affordable such that every citizen with a meaningful job can purchase it.
  2. One in which doctors and the legion of healthcare providers are paid well for the life-saving services they render.
  3. One in which the health insurance companies can make profits while insuring our health. By the way they are primarily profit-making enterprises and they have to stay in business.
  4. One in which there can be multiple plans such that people with varying levels of income can go for whatever plan their income can afford.
  5. One in which people with pre-existing conditions will not be denied coverage because they have pre-existing conditions but one also in which those with pre-existing and possibly expensive-to-treat conditions do not expect to be covered under the same kind of plan that healthy people have.

There are Medicare and Medicaid issues that lie in-between. There are issues of whether taxpayers’ money should fund abortion or contraception. There are issues of whether taxpayers’ money should fund organizations such as Planned Parenthood, which provide abortion, among other services, to women. There are chatter about cutting funding for WIC, the healthy-food supplement program for pregnant women. There are issues with how ridiculously expensive prescription drugs are in this country in comparison to Canada and other industrialized nations. There is a disagreement whether there should be an individual mandate to force individuals who can afford health insurance to buy it or face penalty. There are issues of having all employers, including small businesses who may not afford it, provide health insurance coverage for their employees. And then there are some other issues.

So how does a leader, whose intention is to pass a comprehensive healthcare law that will be fair to the health insurance industry, the healthcare practitioners, and the end users, go about addressing these issues?

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CONGRESS AND THE HEALTHCARE LAW

Yesterday in the US Senate, the maverick that we have long missed, returned. Yesterday in the US Senate, Senator John McCain made a passionate plea to his colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, to return to the bipartisan way of doing business in the senate so that they can make real progress and avoid the constant gridlock that has characterized legislative business in Congress. Sometimes we lose our way and it will take personal pain to rediscover ourselves. So did it happen with Sen. McCain. Watch his speech on the floor of the Senate yesterday on the need for bipartisanship if you haven’t seen it yet.

For 8 years, the Republican Party campaigned on repealing Obamacare. They demonized the man behind the healthcare law. And they demonized the law itself. And you would expect them to have come up before now with alternative to the healthcare law because if you are smart to know that something is wrong with a thing, you should be smart enough to figure out the solution to the problem.

The Republican Party now controls both chambers of Congress and the White House. In both chambers, they have the majority to pass laws without needing a single vote from members of the Democratic Party. Yet, six months down the line, they haven’t come to terms among themselves on what to replace the law with. Having failed repeatedly to conceive a law they can agree on within their conference, Mitch McConnell and his horde are now set on the path of repealing Obamacare without replacing it with anything.

How can you plan to pull off a roof to a house without having a replacement in place?

That tells you that the problem is not necessarily with the generally acknowledged imperfect Obamacare. An imperfect law that can easily be fixed by bipartisan efforts. The Republican Party simply do not want a legacy for President Obama.

I am an American and I do not place any stock in petty party politics.

Obamacare is not a perfect law just like the Social Security Act and so many other federal programs that were part of the New Deal were not perfect laws. But we had statesmen who were willing to work with the government to review the laws and make them to work better for America. Statesmen who rose above party politics. If the intention of the Republican Party has been for America to have a healthcare law that is affordable and fair to everyone participating in the healthcare market – the insurance companies, the health practitioners, and the end users – they would have spent half the energy and time they spent on their futile efforts to repeal the law on working with Democrats to review the law and make it better. That is how responsible and people-oriented governance come through.

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HOW DID WE GET HERE?

While our country is in chaos, with the Democrats grappling in the dark and Republicans clueless about governance, do we know what Russia – who successfully manipulated our political discourse into a state of paralysis – is doing in the world?

How did we get to where we are as a nation?

We are no longer the world leader that nations look up to. Somehow Vladimir Putin, a former KGB has become a role model to the GOP. Citizens go on television and say our president can act like a king if he wishes to. Nepotism has become an accepted norm in our polity. Democrats have four times in a space of 6 months failed to provide answers to a confused nation that is earnestly seeking an alternative to idiocy. Our Commander-in-Chief believes Russia over his own intelligence community, both military and civilian intelligence.

How did we get here?

Have we pondered for a minute how North Korea quickly got to a place where they now have an ICBM? Was it Russia that smuggled the technology to them under the watchful eyes of no one after they orchestrated a vacuum in global leadership? We don’t have a leader and we don’t have an answer.

How did we get here?

We have a president that traded America for loyalty to a KGB spy. We have half of the nation abandoning their sacred allegiance to America in their defense of a sinking ship. We have an attorney general that have repeatedly lied to Congress under oath. We now have a private prison industrial complex. Idiocy as opposed to intelligence, have become elevated in the nation, by the White House, and half of the nation have fallen in line. Our infrastructure is in ruins. There are not that many secure and career jobs for the middle class. The average Joe is working 3 jobs to provide the basic minimum for his family. Investment in education and R&D have been relegated to the background. The triple-D winning we were promised during the campaign was just another lie. I mean, what will happen to our country when 18 months into his administration a burner phone is discovered implicating our president in an attempted murder of a journalist?

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My Homecoming

memorial
So I visited the CIA the other day and almost got shot.

I was in DC and decided to go for a tour of the CIA to shoot videos and take pictures for my boys. So I grabbed my car and asked Google to take me to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

Adventurous me.

Meanwhile Google map in all its ingenuity decided to rather take me to the Farm in McLean. Until that day I never knew the farm existed. I thought it was just a training facility for CIA recruits that only existed in the movies. Until my map dropped me off in front of a hyper-barricaded gate in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the woods and hills.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. The gate and the driveway beyond it didn’t look alive like a place people pass through on a daily basis to go to work. It looked dead and seldom used to me. First of all it was a massive row of bard-wired gates hinged against thick concrete pillars, and of course overlaid by a concrete beam that is over 30 feet in diameter. The gates are all chained and rust. And both in front and behind the gates are columns of concrete barricades and dead-looking vehicles. The whole setting created a feeling of forlornness in me. I was at a very wrong place. And I was in awe.

Could this really be the entrance to the CIA headquarters? Is this the entrance through which the president’s motorcade enters the headquarters whenever the president comes calling? Who among the White House staff will have the patience for the barricades to be removed for the presidential motorcade to pull through?
I was sitting in my car in front of this behemoth of a fortress wondering if I am at the wrong place or what. Hundreds of questions filled my head. I needed answers. So I decided to let my thoughts out. And I honked at the gate hoping that someone will pop out and provide quick answers to my nagging questions.

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11 vs 37

explainer
America’s Explainer-in-Chief

Democrats are apologists. Period. And contemporary Democrats don’t have balls. Period.

Please do not stop reading. Stay with me. I’ll convince you.

The last time I checked, every Democrat that has been embroiled in one scandal or the other, for the past 8 years, has acquiesced to pressures to resign their position. And resign they did. Republicans? Naaaaaaaaaaaa.

When the lid blew on former Governor Mark Sanford’s love trip to Argentina, typically there were calls for him to resign as governor of South Carolina. Did he? For where? Typical unapologetic republican, he not only sat out his term as governor, he is now a congressman in the US House of Representative. Remember the “You Lie!” asshole? The guy that shouted down on President Obama during his first SOTU speech in 2009? There were calls for him to resign too. Did he? Of course, not. The Texas Agriculture commissioner in one of his tweets during the general election campaign called Secretary Clinton the C word. And he’s still using the platform our tax money provides to peddle fake news, sexism, and bigotry. When the C word made national news, he wasn’t forced out. He’s still in office. Should I continue? Talk about LePage, the character that occupies the Governor’s Mansion in Maine. With all the filth that come out of the guy’s mouth, you would expect him to bow to political pressures and resign. No. He’s a republican. They are unapologetically what they are and no one can make them pay a political price for what they do and say. But you cant say that about Democrats. Apologists.

Donald Trump was the only presidential candidate in modern history that did not release his tax returns during the general election. And Democrats allowed that to fly. If he were to be a Democrat, Republicans would not allow that to happen. They would peddle the most horrifying conspiracy theory about the reason he didn’t want America to see his tax returns until he is forced to release them. They would say he is a major financier of ISIS, they would say he is the patron of KKK, they would say he is involved with funding lone wolf terrorists in the homeland, they would say he is involved in child sex trafficking, they would say he is a satanist and a major financier of the church of satan. They would peddle every conceivable lie and cook up every imaginable conspiracy theory and dump those shit on a daily basis on Fox News, until he is forced to release his tax returns. But Democrats doesn’t play dirty politics. They play selense. And look at the result! Poor ignorant Democrats.

When President Obama was elected in 2008, he was the first person of African descent to be elected to the Office of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. But he will not be the last. He’s just a forerunner to better presidents of African origin.

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