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Chickens and Roosts and Dogs and Boycotts

121216-uspreselection2-1050x600As Monday dawns, the chatter from the weekend has been about Russia “tampering” with the US election. This has people posing all kinds of scenarios from a Manchurian Candidate to outright fraud. Of course, nothing is further from the truth, but neither side lets go of a good conspiracy theory if it feeds their confirmation bias and gets people to donate money to their cause.

Consider for a moment a couple of things, internationally countries have always “tampered” with other countries elections to very little avail, but also always deny it. In 1960, the Soviets were very clear that they preferred Kennedy over Nixon, and while they were not accused of directly interfering, they were accused of doing things that favored Kennedy. Which was weird because Kennedy was the hardliner who kept talking about the “missile gap” and the need to contain communism. As we would later learn, the Soviets were flat out scared of Nixon and believed that he would not have hesitated to start a war, whereas they believed Kennedy was bluster and bluff, especially since he knew that there was no “missile gap” but it appealed to voters he needed.

In the end, there is something rather amusing about the same Administration that openly admits that it tried to influence another countries election – a close ally –  and in fact spent your money to do so, but failed, crowing now about how Russia tried to “influence” our election. You can’t really have it both ways. Either you stay out of it and accept the outcomes or you try to influence them and then whine about how the chickens come home to roost. Read the rest of this entry

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VE-DAY II

It was May 9, 1945  when the Germans surrendered officially to the Soviet Union. Since that day, it has been celebrated as Victory Day with a parade and the requisite mouthing of approved political phrases.

Since 1963, my entire life, those same Soviets have been the enemy. The idea that communism had to be defeated filled my every living moment.

6R3gNxajGrIX4ZBWj1SYfwfLCaPbCahz_QFTacWEnfYOnce upon a time I set out on a journey to understand the Russians, and then by chance, I ended up related to one. That chance was infinitesimally small. First it required that two people survive the Great Patriotic War in which Russia lost 20,000,000 people. But when you get to know the Russian people, it does effect how you understand their understanding of things in the world.

World Socialism or Communism still is an evil totalitarian system, but that doesn’t mean that every person who lives in Russia is a dyed in the wool communist. It means that there are weak points in the system that can be pushed upon.

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There Once Was A Time…

I grew up in a world where the Soviets were the enemy. From my 1st Grade memories of Duck & Cover Drills at Ashley Elementary School in Denver, to sitting before the Fire Control Panel of USS Michigan with my fingers dancing over the buttons that controlled 24 TRIDENT C-4 Missiles with their load of deterrent nuclear weapons (which I can neither confirm nor deny were aboard), my life has almost always been with the Soviets as the ever present but respected enemy.

So it’s hard for me to imagine a time when the Russians weren’t the enemy. But there was such a time.

My Sister (in-law), as I have mentioned on many occasions, is originally from Moscow, Russia. On this, VE Day in Russia, she shared a set of photographs that are touching, emotional and enthralling to me. They are of her Grandparents, who served in the Red Army during the Second World War.

11174589_10153344806182369_4827301604823652041_oAs you look across time into the eyes of these men and women who fought the Nazi’s from the East, it is inspiring to know that they too, were fighting for their Родина (Motherland). Twenty Million Russians died during the Second World War, a number that goes beyond the ability to even grasp or put into context. It’s a number to which we can’t even relate. That her grandparents survived the war isn’t just a happy occurrence, it’s a miracle.

A miracle that led to her birth, and my wonderful nieces who today live in a world and a country that is free from the dangers of our Grandparents era.

11059985_10153344805997369_423566770676287632_oI wanted to share these pictures with you to put a personal face on the second VE-Day. I’ve stood next to my Sister as she got married, I’ve held my nieces and hugged them. None of that happens without the sacrifice of the men and women in these pictures, and their millions of Comrades who did not live to see VE Day.

There once was a time when the Russians weren’t the enemy…

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