Category Archives: International news

Feeling pain for Iranian team

Rarely do I ever comment on matters involving soccer, as I am not a fan of the sport. Hey, it’s just me … or maybe it’s an American thing.

Still, I am left with a feeling of empathy and dread for what might await the members of Iran’s national soccer team, which lost to the U.S. team 1-0. The loss eliminated the Iranians from the World Cup.

What now? Well, members of the Iranian team refused to sing their country’s national anthem the other day, drawing scorn from the ayatollahs who run the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian soccer team now must return home.

What will they face? Imprisonment? Or worse, for God’s sake?

The athletes were expressing their support for the demonstrators who are rebelling in Iran against the government’s treatment of women. The only way they believed they could make their feelings known would be to remain silent when they played the Iranian anthem at a World Cup soccer match.

Do you recall when sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their gloved fists at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 during the playing of our national anthem to protest the plight of Black Americans? The public response in that moment wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy, but the government took no action against these men. The sprinters are now considered heroes for the courage they demonstrated at the time.

Not so for the Iranians. The potential reaction from their government is frightening.

Biden needs policy reset

I trust you’re sitting down while reading this brief blog post, so with that I’ll offer something some of you might not expect.

President Joe Biden needs to perform a serious reset on what is a serios foreign policy blunder: the immigration crisis along our southern border.

The first task at hand for the Biden administration is to use the term “crisis” in describing what is occurring along our border with Mexico.

That said, I will continue to resist Republicans’ demagogic accusation that President Biden favors “open borders.” He damn sure does nothing of the sort, given the number of immigrants our Border Patrol and state law enforcement officers are rounding up daily.

I get that using certain terminology doesn’t constitute a substantive policy change by itself. It does, though, fill the air with rhetoric that the administration understands the problem with which it is dealing.

The refusal to call it a crisis appears to be a Democratic Party thing. Recall that Texas Democratic governor candidate Beto O’Rourke refused to call the immigration issue a crisis. It cost him votes on Election Day.

Do I favor deporting every single illegal immigrant immediately back to the country from where they came? No. I do believe there absolutely needs some serious streamlining of the process that enables those seeking refuge from tyranny to seek permanent resident status.

What appears to be developing on our border is chaos feeding more chaos. That has to stop. The Biden administration also needs to call it what it is: a crisis.

Presidents cannot control global oil prices

Presidents of the United States inherit an office with enormous power … of that everyone agrees.

However, there are limits to that power. Such as the price of oil and other energy-producing resources. The price of gasoline and other motor vehicles have skyrocketed — again! — in recent weeks. Does the president have as much control over that as critics suggest? No! He damn sure doesn’t.

Yet the current president, Joe Biden, is paying the price politically for a trend over which he has little control. OPEC nations decided all by themselves to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day. Someone has to remind me how the president of the United States can control OPEC’s policymakers.

Joe Biden’s foes are trying make hay out of decisions that are made far from the White House. They are pounding him. I just want the world to know how this blogger feels about the pummeling that Biden is getting. He doesn’t deserve it.

Having stated that here, I am acutely aware it won’t stop the non-stop — and unfair — criticism he is getting.

It’s part of the political game Joe Biden entered all those decades ago.

Don’t turn back on Ukraine

Memo to Kevin McCarthy: If Republicans take control of Congress after the midterm election, y’all will trifle with trouble if you resist delivering as much aid as possible to Ukraine, which is fighting — successfully — for its independence against Russian aggressors.

The U.S. House GOP leader has said Congress might keep the checkbook open as the war progresses. My own view is that McCarthy is sending a chilling message to Ukrainians and is giving a bit  of comfort to Russian thug Vladimir Putin as he continues to prosecute his immoral and illegal war against Ukraine.

It seems plausible, in a bizarre way, for the Republican congressional leader t threaten to pull back on aid to Ukraine. The GOP’s titular leader, Donald Trump, has been cold-stone silent on the Russian invasion, seeming to imply an endorsement of the action that Putin took against a sovereign nation.

Is this the kind of congressional leadership this country needs in this time of dire peril? I think not!

Borders aren’t ‘open’!

I want to dispel another bit of demagoguery that is beginning to dominate the 2022 midterm election season. It deals with our borders, north and south.

Now I shall declare that the southern border isn’t an “open border,” which is what Republican candidates for state and national office keep insisting.

Normally I might chuckle at some of the rhetoric coming from Texas GOP candidates. They keep attaching their Democratic opponents’ name to President Biden, suggesting that Biden and all other Democrats favor “open borders.”

This makes me want to pull my hair out … which is saying something, because I don’t have quite as much hair on my noggin as I used to have.

The demagogues, of course, refer to our southern border, which is where so many of these migrants are approaching. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently declared his department would send those from Venezuela back to their country if they seek to enter it without proper documentation. Is that the policy of an open-border-loving administration?

Hah! Hardly.

Yet the GOP continues harping on that falsehood. To suggest a politician favors “open borders” implies someone who wants to turn a blind eye to criminals who might be among the migrants seeking entry into the Land of Opportunity.

Well, demagoguery manages to score political points. It does nothing else if it doesn’t include policy proposals. I hear damn little in the way of policy discussion from the GOP demagogues.

I agree with those who contend that the Biden administration needs to treat the southern border problem as the “crisis” that many of us contend it is. However, I will not accept the notion that U.S. immigration policy has turned our borders into a thousand-mile-long sieve.

We continue to round up illegal migrants every day. Thus, the borders aren’t open.

Ukrainians expose Russian myth

Many of us outsiders never really saw this coming, that the Ukrainian armed forces would expose Russia’s once-vaunted military machine to be a third-rate fighting force.

It has occurred.

Now, to be sure, I did once assert as war loomed more likely between Ukraine and Russia that the Ukrainians weren’t “defenseless.” The now-sovereign nation once was part of the Soviet Union and, thus, benefited somewhat from its exposure to the Red Army’s legendary battlefield prowess.

The USSR is gone. What is left is a country, the Russian Federation, that comprises roughly half of its former population. It does maintain a significant nuclear force.

What we’re seeing played out on the field of battle in Ukraine is a case of a nation fighting desperately — and effectively — to preserve its independence while its opponent is suffering from a lack of morale, incompetent battlefield leadership and a national leader who has become a pariah among world leaders because he launched an illegal and immoral war.

What’s more, the Russians have committed war crimes with their indiscriminate attacks on women, children and other “soft targets.”

I don’t expect Russia to surrender to Ukraine. I am now beginning to believe the reports that Russian goon Vladimir Putin might be exploring a possible face-saving way to end this conflict.

Do I believe he will use tactical nukes on Ukraine? No. He knows the consequences would be catastrophic. Indeed, President Biden has dropped broad hints that the allied response to any such act of madness could produce even more economic pain on the Russians than they ever imagined.

The course of this war has simply blown my mind. It has produced at least a glimmer of hope that battlefield incompetence will succumb to a nation’s will to survive.

Ukraine moves toward victory

I once posited on this blog that I didn’t believe Ukraine would be able to declare a battlefield victory against the rogue invaders from Russia.

Today, though, my view has changed. I cannot predict that Ukraine indeed will declare victory at the end of this immoral and illegal war. I am now of a mind that such a thing isn’t so far-fetched.

The trick, though, must be to find a way to bring Russian goon Vladimir Putin to the negotiating table. Ukrainian officials are in no mood, either, to negotiate a peace agreement with Putin and the Russians.

The Russians have killed helpless civilians. They aren’t targeting military objectives. They are striking hospitals and schools. They are killing old people, children and every civilian in between.

Putin has “mobilized” the Russian population. Russians have responded by fleeing the country and protesting in the streets. He has sought to bring more Russians into the fight as Ukrainians have scored monumental battlefield victories against the invaders.

Does the Russian madman need to save face? Looks as though he needs to in a big way. I am not opposed to allowing him to pretend he is saving his mug from further embarrassment.

He also needs to be tried by the World Court for committing crimes against humanity.

Just imagine all of this occurring with Ukrainians signing a victory statement.

Don’t let this death recede

Mahsa Amini’s identity, I believe, well might become a household name soon in a place where one wouldn’t expect.

That would be the Islamic Republic of Iran. Amini was a 26-year-old Iranian woman who was taken into custody and who later died. Why? Because she showed a few too many strands of her hair outside the hijab she was wearing.

Women must follow certain conservative tenets of Islamic faith, such as ensuring their hair is tucked away. The penalty is the fate that befell Mahsa Amini.

Amini’s death has prompted protests the likes of which have rarely been seen or heard since the Ayatollah Khomeini’s forces seized control of Iran in 1979.

Iranians have marched onto city streets seeking justice for Mahsi Amini, who by any measure of human decency should be alive today. Indeed, she should be walking free in her country. But, oh no. She’s now dead because that hideously named “morality police” squad took her into custody and quite likely killed her.

As Time Magazine reported on its website, Mahsa Amini has become a martyr to a cause unknown in the power circles of the governing Islamic Republic: human rights.

On social media, her name became an Iranian version of #MeToo — a prompt for ordinary people to post experiences of loss and oppression at the hands of the Islamic Republic, gathered under #MahsaAmini.

The Protests in Iran Have Shaken the Islamic Republic to Its Core (

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been on the U.S. sh** list of nations that flout basic human rights for its citizens.

Too often people become victimized in nations such as Iran. The world wrings its hands and calls go out for justice. Then the emotion subsides, and the world’s attention turns to other crises.

Let us not allow Mahsa Amini’s name to recede into the background. She needs to remain at the top of our consciousness and must become a cudgel for the civilized world to use against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

How ‘Christian’ is this?

Ron De Santis no doubt calls himself a devout Christian, not that I really care specifically about a politician’s religious affiliation.

It’s just “normal” for conservative Republican politicians, such as the Florida governor, to hoist a cloak of religious fervor to explain why they do certain things. In De Santis’ case, why he would take families — including babies — place them on an airplane and fly them to a mystery destination after they had entered the United States in search of a better life.

De Santis has been taking considerable joy in these actions against those entering this country while fleeing the communists in Venezuela and Nicaragua. He wants to make some sort of point about how Republicans are tougher on undocumented immigrants than Democrat.

I guess here is where I should mention that De Santis might run for president in 2024 and that his foe in two years could be Democratic President Joe Biden.

Devotion to one’s faith requires, it seems to me, that politicians adhere to all its teachings, not just cherry-pick those that suit the pols’ ambitions.

The Bible I read instructs me to show compassion and caring. Its New Testament teachings — you know, those that come from Jesus Christ — tell me to reach out in love to those in need. So help me, I cannot find a single passage that instructs me to hand those in need over to someone else.

Yet we have Ron De Santis and his GOP pal, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shipping desperate human beings to points unknown and, in effect, telling them: Y’all are on your own. Good luck and we’ll see ya in funny papers.

Simply disgraceful.

Trump reveals his smallness

Donald J. Trump just can’t help himself, as he takes every opportunity he can find to reveal his smallness, his pettiness and shows with graphic clarity why he is so profoundly unfit to serve as our nation’s head of state.

Consider what he said about President and Mrs. Biden’s attendance at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral. Trump just had to denigrate the current president by taking note that he didn’t have a front-row seat among the dignitaries invited to attend the service.

Trump went on social media to declare that had he been POTUS, he would’ve had a much better seat than those offered to the Bidens.

Is there anything more remarkable than this, anything that demonstrates more just how idiotic the ex-POTUS can be? Yeah, there probably are other examples. I just cannot let this demonstration of moronic self-indulgence pass without mentioning — once again! — how unfit for public office this guy has been for his entire adult life.