Category Archives: Blog

A Doolittle for Ukraine

What Ukraine could use is a Jimmy Doolittle. James (Jimmy) Doolittle was a pilot, a Lieutenant Colonel in 1942, when he led a bombing raid on Tokyo. It was just five months after Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese struck the American Naval base in a surprise attack.

Doolittle led sixteen stripped-down B-25 bombers carrying extra fuel and a reduced bombload taking off from the U.S.S. Hornet – a feat never attempted – and struck Tokyo. Fifteen of the planes then flew to the Chinese coast where they ditched and the crews were recovered by Chinese nationalist allies, while the other bomber landed in the Soviet Union.

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In Memoriam

Memorial Day, along with Veterans Day, are the days on which we honor the men and women in uniform who have given their lives to defend our nation. I have always had respect for those who wear the uniform. And I wonder if I would have been able to show their courage and dedication had I been called to do so.

I mean no disrespect, and I certainly hope our soldiers and veterans will not think ill of me, but I find myself moved to commandeer their day to mark another memorial and to write, for what seems the umpteenth time, about a mass killing in America. The twenty-one souls whose faces appear at the top of this columns died at the hands of an eighteen-year-old killer at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

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We Had This Beat

More than one million Americans have died of complications of Covid-19. Can you wrap your arms around that number? Does it seem possible? Everyone I know has been touched by Covid one way or another. I lost my mother-in-law. And it didn’t have to be this way.

American is in many ways like Australia. As reported by the New York Times (the link is probably behind the Times’ paywall, but it is excellent and worthy of credit), both countries are English-speaking democracies with similar demographic profiles. In Australia and in the United States, the median age is thirty-eight. Roughly 86 percent of Australians live in urban areas, compared with 83 percent of Americans. Yet Australia’s Covid death rate sits at one-tenth of America’s, putting the nation of twenty-five million people (with around 7,500 deaths) near the top of global rankings in the protection of life.

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Guns for All!

I’m beginning to think I have been going about this the wrong way. I write about the never-ending string of mass shootings. I tell the history of the Second Amendment. I deplore the right-wing Republican judges who overturn even the most reasonable legislation designed to curtail the endless supply of weapons. But here we are with another mass shooting. And on the same weekend, a single killing which would have been worse had it not been for some heroism by a church congregation.

A majority of the American people favor placing stricter limits on the ownership of guns. But the political leaders do not.

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Why the Surprise?

The news broke overnight. The online publication Politico published an exclusive, what it believed to be a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito which, speaking for the majority, overturns the seminal 1973 abortion decision Roe v. Wade. The text says, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” referring also to a subsequent 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”

In pledging to investigate the leak, Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed it is the authentic first draft. It is standard procedure for a vote on a case to be taken after oral argument, and if there is a clear majority, the chief justice assigns the writing of an initial draft opinion if he is voting with the majority, or the assignment is made by the senior associate justice in the majority if the chief is not.

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The Truth is Out There

This is the 21st century. The Russians deny they are responsible for the slaughter of civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, claiming corpses were planted on the streets after Russian soldiers had left the scene. Satellite pictures clearly show bodies on the ground and Russian troops still on the scene.

There is a fiction making the rounds that says the average Russian does not know what their country is doing in Ukraine. Don’t buy it for a minute. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union worked hard to keep the truth out of their territory. Western news media were blocked, jammed, and banned. But the truth leaked in, and when the USSR fell in an economic collapse, the truth flowed in with a vengeance.

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Zelinsky Speaks to the Swiss

I can’t think of a better use of this space this week than to post the following words, an address by the President of Ukraine to the people of Switzerland. We should all take notice. Everyone who values their freedom must be willing to fight for it.

My greetings to all Swiss friends of Ukraine! To all your beautiful people, the people of Switzerland!

I am grateful to you for supporting our people.

Thank you for defending freedom together with all those who value it.

This is very important now. Nowadays. At a special time period.

And especially important – from you.

When terror became the national idea of one of the largest nations in the world. The basis of their foreign policy.

When the crimes of terrorism are committed not by some outcast or group of persons and not by an organization, but by the state. Which has a nuclear arsenal.

When a permanent member of the UN Security Council deliberately destroys everything for which the UN was built. Having unleashed a cruel, bloody, senseless war against us.

But we now have a chance. A chance to show not only to Russia, but also to any aggressor in the world, any terrorist state, that war will destroy not the victim, but the one who came with it.

And, perhaps, this is the last chance for humanity – to stop the wars. Stop the state terror.

And I’m telling you now. Switzerland. A state that has a very long history of peace. And an even longer history of influence. In many areas – a decisive influence on the world.

Even before I became President, I was thinking what life of our beloved Ukrainians I would like to see.

I have often been to your country. And I know very well how you live. And one day, standing near Chillon Castle, I asked my friends – we were one company – why can’t we live like this?

To have such a standard of living. A high level. And with the same freedom. In such friendly communities. And with such confidence in our own strength.

And I sincerely wanted the Ukrainians to live like the Swiss. So that we can jointly decide everything about our own lives. About our land. Not expecting anything from politicians, unnecessary words, but voting in a referendum.

So that we can be sure, despite all the financial crises in the world, that our state will withstand and remain a leader. A leader of trust, a leader of stability. A dream for all people. Successful, not very successful – no matter what level, just for all people.

So that the Ukrainians, like the Swiss, can feel that they live in real communities that care about what is common to all – for the good of all.

Maybe these are all ordinary things to you. For us, these are reforms. And this is the path we are taking and we wanted to take.

And we passed the relevant laws. For all this to work. We gave opportunities. Opportunities for our people.

So that we gradually reach your standard of living.

And we did it until the black day. February 24. The day of the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of our land, Ukraine.

And then everything changed.

It has changed for each of us, Ukrainians. I’m sure it has changed for all Europeans. And it has changed for all world democracies.

It has changed for you, too.

I am grateful to you and your state for supporting us in such a difficult time. I am thankful that you did not stay away, didn’t say that it wasn’t related to you at all

Because, in fact, it is impossible to stay away from the fact that in the 21st century, in the heart of Europe, hundreds of rockets and bombs are flying at peaceful cities.

It is impossible to stay away when the army of the world’s largest state, albeit only in size, directs all its deadly potential to destroy us, to destroy hospitals, ordinary schools, churches, universities, maternity hospitals, residential areas.

It is impossible to be indifferent when children are killed. As of this morning, the Russian army has killed 112 Ukrainian children.

And just as I wanted the Ukrainians to live like the Swiss… I also want you to be and become like the Ukrainians. In the fight against evil.

So that there is no question about banks. About your banks. Where the money of all those who started this war is kept.

It’s painful and it’s hard. But it is also a struggle against evil.

It is necessary to completely freeze all the assets of these people and their accounts. It’s a big fight, and you can do it.

I want you to become Ukrainians who feel what it is like when whole cities are destroyed, peaceful cities. Destroyed on the orders of those who like to live in communities – different, European, in your communities, in beautiful Swiss communities.

Who enjoys real estate in your country.

And it would be fair to deprive them of this privilege. To deprive of what they are taking from us.

And I want you to be as Ukrainians in the issue of business. Business that works in Russia in spite of everything. Despite this war.

Despite all our murdered children. Despite the people killed. Despite the destroyed cities. Like our city of Mariupol, heroic Mariupol, which has been under complete blockade for weeks. Imagine – no food, no water, no electricity. Just under the bombs.

“Good food. Good life.” This is the slogan of Nestlé. Your company that refuses to leave Russia. Even now – when there are threats from Russia to other European countries. Not only to us. When there is even nuclear blackmail from Russia.

And I want all of you, Swiss people, to become like all of us, Ukrainians. I want us not to lose our common chance now.

A chance to restore peace, a chance to stop any wars in the world. Because when Switzerland is with you, you are definitely successful. Because when Ukraine is with you, you are definitely strong.

Last year we agreed on a big conference with the President of your country. Conference in Lugano. For the sake of economic transformation, for the sake of Ukraine’s reforms.

It was to take place this July. As well as the next summit of the first ladies and gentlemen.

And I believe, I know we can hold them. This year. On your land.

For the restoration and development of Ukraine. So that you have the opportunity to show again and again all the best that is in your hearts. In our hearts.

In the hearts of all those people who are fighting for freedom and fighting for life.

I am grateful to you. I am grateful to Switzerland!

Glory to Ukraine!

Office of the President of Ukraine
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