Reasons to Fight For Democracy: The Mass Graves in Ukraine and the Murder of Mahsa Amini

It’s easy to get discouraged about the state of democracy these days. But what we have to remember is that it is worth fighting for.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has been going on since the winter. In the liberated city of Izium, mass graves were discovered. So far, the number of bodies is over 400. Many of those killed were civilians and children.

Warning: the images may be distressing.

If this discovery is not enough to the world that Putin must be stopped and forced to stand trial, I don’t know what is. Unless we make it clear that this type of action is unacceptable, it will happen again.

In Iran, Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman, was killed by the morality police. Her crime was supposedly an issue with her headscarf. Since 1979, it has been compulsatory. As a result, protests have broken out. Many women have cut their hair and refused to wear the hijab in response to Amini’s death.

Religion of any kind is all well and good. But when the majority forces their beliefs on the minority and believes that one gender is superior or inferior to another, that is a problem we cannot ignore. If we do, it is at our own peril.

May Mahsa Amini’s memory and the memories of those murdered by Russia since the beginning of the war be a blessing. Z”L.

The Comparisons Between Israel and the Conflict in Ukraine is Both Wrong and Dangerous

Comparisons during any international conflict are inevitable. What we have to remember is to ask ourselves if this correlation is being backed up by facts or lies?

The war between Russia and Ukraine is nearly a month old. Too many have been killed, millions have been displaced, and a generation has been forever changed due to the ego of one man. Instead of doing what they can to stop Vladimir Putin from doing any more damage, some people have decided to distort the truth to fit their perspective.

Antisemitism is being used once more to twist what we know to be true. The claim is that Israel is to Russia as Palestine is to Ukraine. In other words, Israel is (again) the big bad and Palestine is the little person trying to defend themselves. As usual, the reality is being ignored. Not only is humanitarian aid being sent, but both the Israeli government and its citizens have welcomed refugees of all faiths and backgrounds.

Truth is powerful. It transcends disinformation and forces us to face facts. But, in order to do that, we must be willing to put aside our prejudices and what we think we know. The problem is that too many are unwilling or unable to see the truth.

From Russia With News: The Ukrainian Invasion and Kamila Valieva

When the Berlin Wall fell on November 9th, 1989, it was supposed to mark an era of peace and cooperation. Thirty-plus years later, that promise is nothing but empty words.

For the last few weeks, Vladimir Putin has been threatening to invade Ukraine. He also blamed the United States for opening the door to war and demanded that NATO not extend an invite to Ukraine to join this international organization. Thankfully, NATO did not give in.

Putin is not dumb, by any stretch of the imagination. He knows what he wants. He also knows the obstacles that stand in his way. If the Ukrainian government joins NATO, his bully pulpit is diminished considerably. Even if the invitation never comes, the support by the US, the rest of Europe, and NATO might be enough to keep his ambitions at bay.

The question is now, will this turn into the beginning of World War III, or is the rest of the world strong enough to stop Putin? The history nerd in me can’t help but see the similarities of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938.

While this is happening, a young woman’s life has been forever altered. Kamila Valieva was a favorite among the crowd at the recently concluded 2022 Olympics in Beijing. The expectation that she would return home with a gold medal seemed to be set in stone. During routine testing for banned substances, one was found in her system. This opened the door to questions of cheating and coming home without the highly anticipated first-place status.

My heart breaks for this kid. Getting to this level of competition requires more than talent. The drive that is needed to get to the Olympics is one that many would back away from. I don’t blame her, I blame the adults who were willing to cut corners to win, even if it meant sacrificing their star athlete in the process.

When this news broke, Sha’Carri Richardson spoke out about the obvious racial double standard. While she is 100% correct, what I think we have to remember is that Ms. Richardson is an adult. Ms. Valieva is a minor. It is possible that she may have been coerced or lied to about the reason for taking it.

I was in elementary school when the Berlin Wall fell. I can only hope that today’s elementary school kids will know a world of peace. But it looks like we may going to war, once again.

House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia Book Review

No one goes through life without having a few secrets in their proverbial closet. The problem with this closet is that when one becomes President, the hope is that he or she is honest about their secrets.

You know who has decided to keep his secrets in his own proverbial closet. But somehow, these secrets are finding their way out.

The new book, House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia, written by Craig Unger describes in chilling detail about the connection between you know who and the powers that be in Russia. The book starts in the 1970’s when you know who was then an up and coming real estate magnate and ends with the present day. In the book, Mr. Unger makes it clear that Vladimir Putin not only has fond memories of Soviet era Russia, but also has a network of oligarchs and mafia types that keep him in power. He also draws the connection over time between you know who, his Russian connections and how both led us to our current political state.

If anyone has doubts that Russia has a puppet in the White House, this book wipes away those doubts. By the time I finished this book, I was both angry and agitated to act.  I was angry because a foreign government whose leader prefers to rule using a totalitarian style has a hand in how American is being governed. I was agitated to act because I feel the urgency to get you know who out of office before he does any more damage to this country.

I completely recommend it.

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