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When people show courage…

I can’t at the moment find the source, but I remember a story about General Lucius Clay being sceptical about breaking the blockade of West Berlin after the Soviet Union closed off the city in 1948. It didn’t seem feasible to him to supply some 2 million Berliners from the air. But the courage and defiance of the locals impressed him so much, that he overcame his doubts and supported the project, that would eventually save the city.

I have a similar impression about the Western response to the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Only after the first two days, when the Ukrainians showed that they were willing and able to resist, did Western powers takes sanctions against Russia seriously. Only then did Germany get off the fence and agree to provide weapons, and only then did the rest of Europe agree to the ‚nuclear’ SWIFT option. Without ‚Go fuck yourself‘, ‚Put these sunflower seeds in your pocket for your grave‘ and ‚I want ammunition, not a ride‘ Ukraine would already be a part of Russia.

Dealing with Bullies

Is it the best strategy dealing bullies, to tempt them to cross a line they would not otherwise have crossed, so that you can beat up on them in a way that you couldn't have if they hadn't?

The wall that protects you impeeds you.

My messages on this topic seem to feed upon themselves.

The Filibuster: the wall that protects you against the bad guys simultaneously forms the roadblock that prevents you from going forward.

I am again motivated to address this subject while reading today's newspaper.
"Biden has been mistaken in the nature of parliament [Congress] by believing that the political class of the country after the bitter Trump years would return to decency and compromise. This was naive, because even before Trump, Congress had degenerated into an ideologically hellish place, whose inhabitants reacted only to extreme pressure. Since Newt Gingrich's 1995 budget blockade, the poison level in Congress has only risen. Even the Trump mob of January 6th has not triggered any purification.

Biden's second mistake was that he relied solely on the power of money to consolidate his presidency. Dollar for dollar, the voters were supposed to be convinced that they were doing better with his presidency than with his predecessor's, who would also like to be his successor. This reveals the old senatorial gene in Biden; he measures his successes with the amount of money he can bring back to his home state.

[But] Biden still has one shot left. Democrats could abolish the blocking minority [the Filibuster!], which paralyzes legislative proposals and effectively forces a 60-per-cent majority. This would be a courageous step towards reviving parliamentarianism"
This quote is taken from an editorial by Stefan Kornelius printed in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Tuesday, December 21, 2021, page 4, and translated by and yours truly.

The writing is on the wall, not just in the States.

A Sign of Insincerity

Letting Joe Biden's agenda be blocked by the Filibuster is a sign of insincerity. If you want to get something done, you do what you have to do to get it done. I was raised to believe that, if you did not get what you wanted, you did not want it enough.

I am not one of those Americans, who for many years have urged their Senators to continue efforts to support bipartisanship. I like Senators who get off the sidelines and enter the fray; who don't let themselves be intimidated by the bully on the block.

Interview at Radio Yerevan

Radio Yerevan: President Biden, America's house of democracy is on fire! Shouldn't we call the fire department?
President Biden: No, we should pray for rain. The situation is serious and you really should do something about it. By the way, I send the voters in Republican-controlled states my thoughts and prayers.

Radio Yerevan: Senator Coons, the Filibuster is preventing the US Senate from passing voter reform. Shouldn't we do away with it?
Senator Coons: Are you asking me to give up my unearned, aristocratic and antiquated privilege? What kind of democracy do you think you live in?

Humanity is alive and well.

There are moments when you can believe that humanity is alive and well.

Maybe you have experienced that feeling, when the carefree progression of your life becomes threatened by a creeping sense of panic?

After putting my jacket in a locker with my friends’ backpack and hat, I reached into my trouser pocket for the re-assuring touch of my keys and didn’t find them there. I patted down all of my pockets. No keys. I reached again into the pocket where I always keep my keys, and still didn’t find them there. I went back to the locker, unlocked it and went through all the pockets in my jacket. Nothing. I thought, “This can’t be happening.“ Then I started to think about where I might have dropped them. I went back to the ticket counter, where I had taken my ID out of that pocket. They sent me to lost and found. No one had turned in any keys. I went out of the museum after explaining to the guards that I needed to find my keys and that I would be back soon. I went out to where I had waited for my friends in front of the entrance before they had arrived and looked all over the concrete surface, still no keys.

Then I re-traced my steps back to my apartment. I rang my neighbor’s doorbell to have her let me into the building and went back to my apartment on the assumption that, after locking the door, my hand must have missed my pocket, while trying to put away my keys. But there were no keys on the ground.

I then seriously considered going to the trouble and expense of calling a key service in order to get into my apartment. But before I did that, I thought that I should once more go back to where I might have lost them outside the museum entrance.

I looked at the ground all along the way on the far-out assumption that while I was walking I could have lost my keys and that they could still be on the ground without having been picked by a passerby and handed over to the nearest store owner.

Shortly before I got back to the museum, I saw the museum guard, to whom I had spoken earlier, waving his arm in my direction. When I got up close I could see that he had my keys in his hand! He joyfully explained that an elderly man had found them on the ground and had turned them over to the him while he was standing outside the museum entrance.

In that moment, I could believe that fate was looking out for me, that people do care about each other and that this was my lucky day.

How easy would it have been for that elderly man to take my keys home with him, put them in a drawer and forget about them? What sense of decency, pity, or responsibility motivated him to try to help me; someone whom he had never seen before? How did that vision of misery, symbolised by those orphaned keys, resonate in his existence?

I will be eternally grateful to that man. I would very much like to give him something or say something to him to express my gratitude for his selfless expression of humanity. But it seems that you can’t pay back kindness. It seems that the only thing you can do, is to pass that kindness onto someone else. I hope then that I, in a similar situation, will be willing to help a stranger in the same way that he helped me.

The Filibuster

It hurts me to seen grown elected officials come crying home to their constituents, saying "Mitch/The Republicans/The Other Side/The Bad Guys won't let me do what you elected me to do!" And when those constituents ask "Why", the answer is, "Because I let them."

Senator Elizabeth Warren recently published a video, that explains the subject succinctly.

The Filibuster continues to fuel my imagination. It challenges me to find mental images that may not make sense of it, but at least make it understandable. I intend to use this space to unload some of those thoughts, on the assumption that once written down, they will cease to bother me.

The Filibuster, a festering wound that just won’t heal.

The Democrats, who have once again let themselves get screwed over by a recalcitrant minority, remind me of those men who go to establishments with red lights in order to let women dressed in black whip them.

By supporting the Biden Agenda and the Filibuster, Democrats look like they want to set their sails for a great adventure without weighing anchor.

Now playing in the United States Senate!
Samuel Beckett's world-famous play, 'Waiting for Bi-Partisan Election Reform'!
Starring Joe Manchin and Mitch McConnell as Vladimir and Estragon!
With the Senate Democratic Caucus hiding in the wings!

Defending the Filibuster is like giving your opponent permission to hit you.

Where this comes from

It was 2:44 AM and I was lying in bed wondering why I was awake at that hour. In similar situations, I have always told myself, that I should get up and do something, instead of just lying in bed and thinking about doing something. Soon, though, in a moment of clarity, it occured to me that I could start something about which I have been thinking for years; a web log. Those random thoughts, that come and go through my mind, would, transferred from mind to screen, finally have a place to call home.

So I got out of bed and in my dark apartment, lightened only by my iPad screen, started looking for blog software. I settled on Serendipity, partially because I like the name, but also because I wanted something off the beaten, complicated path, that wouldn't have to have a security update every couple of months.

We will see how long this project holds up; whether I will continue to hone my writing or whether I will lose interest and forget about why I wanted to do this. I do hope that I will write about subjects that will find an audience outside the usual social media. We will see.