Open Response to Vladimir Putin

Vladimir,

I applaud your decision to end the 2020 Candidates tournament while regretting the tournament has only been postponed in lieu of terminated. As I posted in a comment at ChessBase:

The tournament should have been declared null and void. As far as what happens in the future that should be determined in the future because the sad fact of the matter is that one, or some, of the participants may not be alive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 devastation. In addition, there is the question of whether or not Chess will survive in the future. People of the future may have much more important things, such as survival, to occupy their time.
https://en.chessbase.com/post/breaking-news-fide-stops-the-candidates-tournament

You and I are old, Vladimir. There is much more sand in the bottom of our hour glasses than the top. For those we leave behind I think of the immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King,

https://projects.seattletimes.com/mlk/assets/triplet3.jpg

“We shall overcome.” (https://www.smu.edu/News/2014/mlk-at-smu-transcript-17march1966) Hopefully, the people of this planet will overcome this latest challenge.

I urge you to turn your swords into plowshares (https://biblehub.com/isaiah/2-4.htm), as I urge each and every other country to do the same. Be a force for good, not evil. It is time for the leaders of the world to, as the Beatles sang, “come together” in a spirit of cooperation. Give peace a chance. Be a force for construction, not destruction. As John F. Kennedy so eloquently said:

“Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

John F. Kennedy
http://www.humanity.org/voices/commencements/john.f.kennedy-american-university-speech-1963

Sincerely,

Armchair Warrior

‘We Are the World’: A Minute-by-Minute Breakdown

An Open Letter To Vladimir Putin

Mr. Putin,

Would you prefer to be called Vlad, or Impaler?

Now that one of your favorites, Ian Nepomniachtchi, has lost a game, while coughing his head off:

Coughing but winning: Russia’s ‘unwell’ Nepo destroys Chinese rivals & surges into World Chess Candidates lead
24 Mar, 2020 10:58
https://www.rt.com/sport/483928-world-chess-candidates-ian-nepomniachtchi/

and Alexander Grischuk has stated:

‘I don’t want to be here’ – Russian GM Grischuk asks for Candidates to be called off
https://www.espn.com/chess/story/_/id/28942387/russian-grandmaster-asks-chess-tournament-candidates-called-off

that leaves only one Russian player left attempting to hold up the ‘honor’ of your beloved Mother F’n Russia, your ‘boy’ Kirill ‘Shill’ Alekseenko,

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alekseenko-the-candidates-wild-card-should-be-abolished

currently tied for last place, the ‘wild card’ who should never have been allowed to play in such a prestigious event. Even the young man, who stated,  “The Candidates wild card should be abolished”, knows he does not belong.

Of two other Russian players, Nepo, one is physically sick, possibly infecting the other players and officials as I write, and the other, Grischuk, is obviously mentally weakened, with the possibility of becoming a ‘basket case’.

https://cdni.rt.com/files/2020.03/article/5e763331203027015b610134.JPG

Holding the tournament has done, and will continue to do irreparable harm to the Royal Game. By insisting the tournament be played you have greatly insulted Caissa. Your gambit did not work, Vlady.

Headlines such as the following have prompted emails from readers of this blog asking, “What is wrong with Chess?”

Players unhappy as Candidates chess continues

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/74781974.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

You, sir, Vlad the Impaler, are what is wrong with Chess!

Chess players have been taught by the famous example of former World Chess Champion Jose Capablanca

José_Raúl_Capablanca_young

to immediately correct a weak move by returning the piece to the previous square. Holding the Candidates tournament during this time of crisis when every other game or sport has been cancelled was a mistake. Admit your mistake and give the order to your minion, FIDE president Arkady Dvorkovich,

https://en.chessbase.com/portals/all/2020/03/Candidates-Tournament/pressconf/dvorkovich.jpg

to END THIS FARCE NOW BEFORE IT BECOMES A TRAGEDY!

End The Candidates Tournament Now!

The FIDE Candidates tournament should never have been started. The tournament was begun because Russian dictator Vladimir Putin craves attention in a way only superseded by POTUS Donald John Trump.

https://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180717132942-02-trump-putin-summit-0716-opinion-exlarge-169.jpg

Why is it Putin is invariably the only one smiling in pictures taken with Trump?

The Russians cheat at everything they attempt. Because of Russian interference in the previous Presidential election, Hillary Clinton

https://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Hillary+Clinton+yn8UZVJ7oV2m.jpg

was cheated out of becoming POTUS. Everyone other than the thirty something percent of people who support the obviously deranged Trump knows this fact, including the Hitlerian thirty something percent of deranged people who support any clown foisted on them by the Republican party.

The Russians have been banned from participating in the Olympic games in the coming years for cheating. This was a terrible for the ego of Vlad the Impaler because without attention he is nothing. Other than petrol and Chess Russia has nothing. Vlad the Impaler has previously said, “Chess is our Baseball.” Putin would like nothing better than for a Russian to face World Human Chess Co-Champion of Classical Chess Magnus Carlsen.

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/27/a8/8a/27a88adda64a1d4875d7d3cf2cc4d114.jpg

Two of the players, one quarter of the players, currently participating in the 2020 Candidates tournament were not eligible to participate. Kirill Alekseenko,

https://chess24.com/en/read/news/alekseenko-the-candidates-wild-card-should-be-abolished

a Russian, and by far the lowest rated player in the tournament, was a “wild card.” This was, and is, ridiculous to the point of absurdity because the Candidates tournament is played to choose a challenger for the title of World Human Chess Champion. The tournament is far too prestigious to have some local yokel battling against the very best Chess players in the world who have devoted their lives to the game and who have earned entry to the tournament with that hard work over the course of many years.

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave,

https://www.mvlchess.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/mvl-1.jpg

from France, was chosen to replace the only sane Chess player involved with the ill-fated Candidates, Teimur Radjabov,

https://thumb.tildacdn.com/tild3836-3335-4465-b537-626162323965/-/contain/760x500/center/center/-/format/webp/11_Tata2019_PHC00098.JPG

from Azerbaijan, who declined to travel to Russia because of the COVID-19 virus. The tournament should have been called off at that moment. If the Chess community felt strongly enough to hold the tournament, then certainly the young player Alekseenko should have been dropped, leaving six players who did qualify to play. But why would Putin agree to such an outcome when having an extra Russian player with no chance of winning the event to possibly take orders, directly from Vlad the Impaler, to intentionally lose to whomever Putin desired? As Chess player Oscar Al Hamilton was fond of saying, “Everything is rigged.” History shows us that is certainly true of Russia.

The tournament continues even with players saying things like this:

“Referring to the worldwide crisis we are going through, Caruana expressed his doubts as to whether he will be able to return to the United States by the time the tournament is over, while Giri is putting all his hopes on the International Chess Federation:

I have faith in a private jet of FIDE, that will fly all players to their houses.

This was certainly the least exciting game of the round. Grischuk did get a little pressure with White, but Ding played it safe once he realized he could get in trouble. After the game, the players were asked about their form. The Coronavirus crisis had a strong impact on Grischuk:

My form is terrible. I don’t want to play at all with all this situation. I mean, when it was beginning I did not have a big opinion, but now for several days I have a very clear opinion: that the tournament should be stopped. I mean, the whole atmosphere is very hostile.

Ding, on the other hand, is enjoying having made an adjustment to his living conditions in Yekaterinburg:

My form is much better comparing to the first two days. Since I moved to a new hotel, I got some fresh air and life became more beautiful.”

https://en.chessbase.com/post/candidates-2020-r5

Anyone who “…has faith in FIDE…” is a fool. Just because Anish Giri

is one of the best human Chess players on the planet does not mean he is intelligent in other facets of life.

How can Fabiano Caruana

https://en.chessbase.com/Portals/all/thumbs/086/86486.jpeg

concentrate on playing Chess when he has “…expressed his doubts as to whether he will be able to return to the United States by the time the tournament is over?” The United States government should send a plane IMMEDIATELY to bring Fabi home! If that is not possible how about the billionaire, who must be losing money as fast as a crazed gambler in Las Vegas, Rex Sinquefield,

https://static.politico.com/dims4/default/fb9ec96/2147483647/resize/1160x/quality/90/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fs3-origin-images.politico.com%2F2014%2F06%2F20%2F140620_fang_rex_proechel.jpg

sending a plane to Russia to save Caruana. Mr. Sinquefield could possibly pull some strings with other people from the super-wealthy class to make it happen. We are perilously close to a time like the Russian revolution of a century ago with Doctor Zhivago having to share his family mansion with the hoi poi.

Fabiano Caruana deserves a rematch with World Human Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. I call upon Rex Sinquefield to organize a match between the two Co-Classical World Human Chess Champions, as Magnus Carlsen stated, played in the opulent St. Louis Chess Club,

https://s3-media0.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/K0npFO8B2KuaxaHGF9xPCw/o.jpg

in the future, if we make it out of these dire times, played OUTSIDE OF FIDE auspices. The match could be of sixteen games, the number, if memory serves, chosen by former World Chess Champion Mikhail Botvinnik,

who ought to know as he played more matches for the World Chess Championship than any other player, I believe. If tied at the end of regulation then two game mini-matches could be played until there is a winner. Only Mr. Sinquefield could do this because there would be no obstacle to having a match that goes into overtime if held in St. Louis.

We are in the early days of a revolution. Chess will having little meaning in the aftermath of the virus that is changing the world. No matter how this plays out things will NEVER be the same. Certainly Chess will never return to even the weakened status currently held in society. Chess, like other games and sports, will take a back seat to SURVIVAL.

Much was expected of Ding Liren before the tournament but he was forced into isolation because of the COVID-19 virus. That in itself should have been enough for at least a postponement of the 2020 Candidates tournament. Ding said, “My form is much better comparing to the first two days. Since I moved to a new hotel, I got some fresh air and life became more beautiful.” Consider this when considering what isolation has already done to this person:

Man falls to his death from 16th floor of luxury flats during coronavirus isolation

By Andrew Gilpin

22 MAR 2020

A man has fallen to his death from the 16th floor of a luxury apartment block as people self isolate due to coronavirus.

The horror incident in the Tribeca Park apartment block in New York saw him die instantly when he hit the courtyard.

Shocked neighbours said the 64-year-old’s death has left them shaken as they are in quarantine from the deadly disease.

One woman saw what happened when we she went outside to smoke a cigarette told the New York Post: “You have to be mentally strong to take on isolation.

“The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is scary.”

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/world-news/man-falls-death-16th-floor-21735275

How can any human play Chess when “The uncertainty of what’s going to happen is scary.”

Where is the outrage from the American Chess community? Surf on over to the USCF website and try finding one word from any leader of US Chess concerning the sordid situation in which We The People find ourselves. I have gone to many Chess website, such as Chessbase, Chess.com, and Chess24, in a futile attempt to read the thoughts of any person in authority. The silence is deafening.

I have expected little from the current leadership of the USCF and have rarely been disappointed. That said, I now call on the Chess community to get “up in arms,” metaphorically speaking, and SPEAK OUT. Now is not the time to remain silent, people.

Like Mrs. Robinson, the world turns it’s lonely eyes to you. (https://genius.com/Simon-and-garfunkel-mrs-robinson-lyrics)

END THE CANDIDATES TOURNAMENT NOW!

 

FIDE Out Of Step With Rest Of World

The 2020 Candidates tournament began today in total disregard for what is happening in the world. This screams

how out of touch is the leadership of FIDE.

This can be seen at the FIDE website:

FIDE as the locomotive of the international chess
— Аркадий Дворкович, Президент Международной шахматной федерации

(Arkady Dvorkovich, President of the International Chess Federation)
https://en.candidates-2020.com/fide

FIDE is currently a runaway train.

Arkady Dvorkovich,

FIDE President, is only a titular figurehead. The real power behind FIDE, and therefore, International Chess, is Vladimir Putin, leader of the Russian ship of state. No decision by anyone in Russia is made without the approval of Vlad the Impaler. This is made clear in the excellent book, Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth by Rachel Maddow.

As former MSNBC host Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews

so eloquently put it, “Russia is a filling station with nukes.” Putin cannot stand being only a small “regional power,” as former POTUS Barack Obama

https://thehill.com/sites/default/files/styles/thumb_small_article/public/blogs/obama2_0.jpg?itok=5Lhux56-

so eloquently stated. Vlad longs to become the Impaler by resurrecting the old Soviet Union.

Vladimir Putin has wreaked havoc in the USA by illegally assisting the whacko, Donald John Trump, in subverting the election process in order to become POTUS. Putin has had a hand in Brexit. Vlad has impaled the rest of the world by fomenting dissension all over the globe. Where ever Putin puts his hands there is death.

It is time for the USCF to part ways with the Putin led FIDE. I call on the movers and shakers at USCF to immediately withdraw from FIDE. The United states of America, and the rest of the world, will be better for it. This is something those in power at USCF should have done a long time ago, but, frankly, there has been no one in a leadership position with the cojones to pull US out of Putin’s FIDE. It is long past time for those in charge of the USCF to “grow a pair.”

What follows is taken from Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett’s excellent website:

Vladimir Kramnik, former World Champion, has saved the reputation of the chess community proving that not all elite chess players are motherless whores only interested in easy money and online celebrity status.

Kramnik was supposed to be part of the Chess24 commentary team catering to the online chess community’s interest in the Candidates Tournament that started today.

Demonstrating utter lack of solidarity with the world community’s struggle against the lethal coronavirus that has already taken thousands of lives, Dvorkovich and some 2000 other brave (?) souls showed up for the opening ceremony last night! None of the participants appeared, apparently afraid of catching the damn virus!

Below is former World Champion Garry Kasparov’s take on things…

 

Kramnik distances himself from Dvorkovich/Covid-19

 

 

 

 

Magnus Carlsen’s Wager

World Human Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen

Magnus “The Beard” Carlsen

being named “Global Ambassador” for Unibet (https://en.chessbase.com/post/magnus-carlsen-global-ambassador-unibet) shocked

and rocked the pooh-bahs of US Chess. Sources report those involved with US Kiddie Chess “have their underwear in a knot and panties in a wad,” after learning the World Chess Champ (Some have begun referring to Magnus as the “World Chess Chump”) Magnus Carlsen, decided to head on over to…

It has also been reported some pooh-bahs have been staggering around the office…

…wringing their hands while uttering, “Woe is me” and “Woe is USChess.” Everyone has completely forgotten about the deadly virus unleashed by the Chinese (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7922379/Chinas-lab-studying-SARS-Ebola-Wuhan-outbreaks-center.html) because to them the use of the word “bet” or “wager” used in conjunction with the word “Chess” is anathema. One executive was seen crying like a baby as she stumbled around HQ wailing…

One Chess schoolmarm was heard lamenting the fact that, “Magnus used to be such a fine, clean-cut type fellow. Then he grew that scraggly beard and fell in with the wrong crowd.”

Another flatly said, “Putin is behind this because the nefarious Russians are known to foment dissension and are behind EVERYTHING!”

Heads nodded in total agreement.

The largest pooh-bah of all, The Big Guy, aka the “Fat Man,”

could be heard, even outside the building, (with some swearing the Fat Man was shedding tears) exclaiming:

It was more than a little obvious the US Chess brain trust was coming unglued when one asked, “What’s next? The Armchair Warrior writing a column for Chess Lifeless?”

There was total agreement when one said, “This is a real low blow from Magnus.”

 

Dvorkovich Is Putin’s Poisoned Pawn

Why have the nefarious Russians been allowed to control FIDE for decades? The iron fisted ruler of Russia, Vladimir Putin, once said, “Chess is our Baseball.” Putin also poisons former Russian citizens in countries such as England. Most of the people poisoned have died. It as become fact that Putin interference in the 2016 US Presidential election was the main reason We The People now have a corrupt fool sitting in the White House.

Is Putin a king maker for the World Chess Federation?

Paul Waldie Europe correspondent
London
Published September 18, 2018
Updated September 22, 2018


Russian President Vladimir Putin Russian, right, and Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich attend a government meeting in Voronezh, Russia, Oct. 13, 2017.

Mikhail Klimentyev/The Associated Press

The genteel and cerebral game of chess is being rocked by a battle for control of the World Chess Federation that’s become rougher than a wrestling cage match and features allegations of vote buying by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The organization, known by its French acronym FIDE, is hardly a household name but it’s one of the largest sports bodies in the world with 188 member federations. It’s been under a cloud in recent years because of the erratic leadership of Russian businessman Kirsan Ilyumzhinov who served as FIDE president for 23 years before being forced out this summer. Mr. Ilyumzhinov was best known for telling reporters that chess was invented by extraterrestrials and that he’d twice been abducted by aliens (he even toured their spaceship in a yellow spacesuit). His downfall came after he was put on a U.S. sanctions list because of his close association with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

His departure has cleared the way for new leadership at FIDE and sparked a war between two contenders: Arkady Dvorkovich, 46, a former Russian deputy prime minister who recently headed the country’s organizing committee for soccer’s 2018 World Cup; and Georgios Makropoulos, a 64-year old grandmaster from Greece who has been on FIDE’s executive committee for more than 30 years and spent the past 22 years as deputy president. Delegates from the member federations will vote for a new president and executive on Oct. 3 and the campaigning has been fierce.

Mr. Makropoulos’s side accuses Mr. Dvorkovich of being a puppet of Mr. Putin and the Greek has demanded that FIDE’s ethics commission kick the Russian out of the race because of vote buying. They allege Russian embassies have been lobbying chess federations around the world to back Mr. Dvorkovich in return for “sponsorship packages.” And they claim Mr. Putin recently pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to get Israel’s chess federation to switch its vote to Mr. Dvorkovich. In return, Mr. Putin allegedly promised Russia’s support for Israel to host the next world chess championships.

“It’s a simple contest between the Soviet state, which wishes to control chess, and the long-time officials … who wish to retain the sport’s independence and take it forward and rebuild its reputation, which has been trashed over the last 23 years,” said Malcolm Pein, a British chess journalist and accomplished player who’s running for deputy president on Mr. Makropoulos’s slate. Pointing to Russia’s recent history of doping in other sports, he added: “Russia has been humiliated in world sport and Putin really wants to be able to say; ‘Well at least we still have one of the most important sports, chess, under our control.’ ”

Mr. Dvorkovich denies the allegations and claims they are a desperate attempt by Mr. Makropoulos to salvage his failing campaign. He has also filed a complaint to the FIDE ethics commission alleging the Greek has doled out FIDE money to chess federations in return for their support. “I love chess – and I have done a lot throughout the years to promote it – in Russia and internationally,” he said in an e-mail. While he has acknowledged that Mr. Putin supports his campaign, he added: “There is no political pressure – and honestly I don’t think Russia is in the position to press 100 plus countries to support me. However, I do have such a broad support. And of course, I am supported by my country, but nobody instructs me what to do and how to proceed.”

The race comes at a pivotal time for FIDE. Chess has been growing in popularity globally and the current world champion, 27-year old Magnus Carlsen, is among a wave of young players who are transforming the game’s image. Many in the sport say FIDE has been unable to capitalize on the resurgence because of Mr. Ilyumzhinov’s eccentric leadership and his trouble with the U.S. government, which has crippled the organization’s finances and made it difficult for FIDE to even open a bank account. Mr. Putin has also been keen to maintain Russia’s prominent role in FIDE. The game is immensely popular in Russia and the country still produces most of the world’s top players, boasting 249 grandmasters, more than twice as many as any other nation.

Both Mr. Makropoulos and Mr. Dvorkovich have big plans for FIDE. Mr. Makropoulos wants to expand the game online, attract corporate sponsors and get chess into the Olympics. Mr. Dvorkovich is also promising to partner with global corporations in addition to developing an online platform and aligning FIDE with FIFA, the world governing body for soccer.

While the race remains too close to call, Mr. Dvorkovich is picking up support. He recently won the endorsement of the Association of Chess Professionals, which represents more than 1,200 players, officials and arbiters, who are akin to referees. And he has the backing of Nigel Short, a British grandmaster who is also running for president but announced last week that he is supporting Mr. Dvorkovich.

Canada’s chess federation is supporting Mr. Makropoulos, but Canadian president Vladimir Drkulec said he’d be happy to see Mr. Dvorkovich win. “Either one of them will be a better president than what we’ve had recently,” Mr. Drkulec said from his home in Windsor, Ont. “I think that chess is entering on an adventure here.”
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-is-putin-a-king-maker-for-chess-federation/

I lost all respect for IM Malcolm Pein when he compared GM Nigel Short to Donald Trump in an interview on The Perpetual Chess Podcast (https://www.perpetualchesspod.com/), while going on to say he had earned as much stature in Chess as Nigel, a man who played a match with Garry Kasparov for the Chess Championship of the World! International Master Pein will not live long enough to come near the stature of Grandmaster Nigel Short.

When Nigel announced that he is supporting Mr. Dvorkovich, I lost all respect for Mr. Short.

It is obvious that no matter who wins, Chess will lose.

Police Report Filed in Batumi
Oct 1, 2018

On September 30, 2018, Georgios Makropoulos’ team filed a police report in Batumi regarding a case of alleged violence against his team.

http://www.chessdom.com/police-report-filed-in-batumi/

Are We Just “Pawns in the Chess Game?”


A protest against the election of Trump outside the US embassy, London, November 2016

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

This is taken from the transcript of the Chris Hayes show on MSNBC. The headline:

Sen. Feinstein: This ‘isn’t Nazi Germany’

Every single Senate Democrat has now signed on to a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein to bar the Trump administration from splitting up families at the border.Jun.18.2018

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/sen-feinstein-this-isn-t-nazi-germany-1258688067865

HAYES: So then tell me this, what is the endgame here from your
perspective? It seems to me that the White House quite explicitly is
essentially using these children as hostages to try to get Democrats to
give in to a variety of demands they have on restricting legal immigration
as part of a legislative package. Is that something you`re willing to
entertain?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I think that`s exactly right. Of course, we`re willing
to entertain a legislative package if it makes sense but don`t hold
children hostage. I mean, you don`t have to take 2,500 children from their
parents to get support for something. I mean, that`s bizarre and it`s hard
for me to believe that even President Trump would want to do that. It`s
just bizarre.

HAYES: Well, he pretty clearly does want to do it, at least as advisors
do. I mean you have John Kelly talking about how it`s a deterrent. You
have Stephen Miller giving on-the-record quotes about how it`s a deterrent.
Jeff Sessions saying the Romans 13 commands us to obey the laws of man in a
godly fashion. I mean, there does seem to be a part of this administration
that knows what they`re doing.

FEINSTEIN: Well, this is the United States of – I mean, United States of
America, isn`t Nazi Germany and there`s a difference. And we don`t take
children from their parents until now. And yes, I think it`s such a sad
day. People are so upset. I just read a wonderful letter to the editor by
Laura Bush. I can`t believe that this is happening in the United States
and the President insists so we, of course, will do everything we can to
pass a bill which would prohibit this.
http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/all-in/2018-06-18

With all due respect to the Senator from California, if the POTUS walks like a Nazi, talks like a Nazi, acts like a Nazi, and howls like a Nazi, we have become Nazi’s. The RepublicaNazi Trump administration is redolent with the acrid smell of Nazism.

Consider the article, It Can Happen Here, by Cass R. Sunstein in the June 28, 2018 issue of the New York Review of Books,.

They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933–45
by Milton Mayer, with a new afterword by Richard J. Evans
University of Chicago Press, 378 pp., $20.00 (paper)

Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the Twentieth Century
by Konrad H. Jarausch
Princeton University Press, 446 pp., $35.00

‘National Socialist,’ circa 1935; photograph by August Sander from his People of the Twentieth Century. A new collection of his portraits, August Sander: Persecuted/Persecutors, will be published by Steidl this fall.

Liberal democracy has enjoyed much better days. Vladimir Putin has entrenched authoritarian rule and is firmly in charge of a resurgent Russia. In global influence, China may have surpassed the United States, and Chinese president Xi Jinping is now empowered to remain in office indefinitely. In light of recent turns toward authoritarianism in Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and the Philippines, there is widespread talk of a “democratic recession.” In the United States, President Donald Trump may not be sufficiently committed to constitutional principles of democratic government.

In such a time, we might be tempted to try to learn something from earlier turns toward authoritarianism, particularly the triumphant rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The problem is that Nazism was so horrifying and so barbaric that for many people in nations where authoritarianism is now achieving a foothold, it is hard to see parallels between Hitler’s regime and their own governments. Many accounts of the Nazi period depict a barely imaginable series of events, a nation gone mad. That makes it easy to take comfort in the thought that it can’t happen again.

But some depictions of Hitler’s rise are more intimate and personal. They focus less on well-known leaders, significant events, state propaganda, murders, and war, and more on the details of individual lives. They help explain how people can not only participate in dreadful things but also stand by quietly and live fairly ordinary days in the midst of them. They offer lessons for people who now live with genuine horrors, and also for those to whom horrors may never come but who live in nations where democratic practices and norms are under severe pressure.

Milton Mayer’s 1955 classic They Thought They Were Free, recently republished with an afterword by the Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans, was one of the first accounts of ordinary life under Nazism. Dotted with humor and written with an improbably light touch, it provides a jarring contrast with Sebastian Haffner’s devastating, unfinished 1939 memoir, Defying Hitler, which gives a moment-by-moment, you-are-there feeling to Hitler’s rise. (The manuscript was discovered by Haffner’s son after the author’s death and published in 2000 in Germany, where it became an immediate sensation.)* A much broader perspective comes from Konrad Jarausch’s Broken Lives, an effort to reconstruct the experience of Germans across the entire twentieth century. What distinguishes the three books is their sense of intimacy. They do not focus on historic figures making transformative decisions. They explore how ordinary people attempted to navigate their lives under terrible conditions.

Haffner’s real name was Raimund Pretzel. (He used a pseudonym so as not to endanger his family while in exile in England.) He was a journalist, not a historian or political theorist, but he interrupts his riveting narrative to tackle a broad question: “What is history, and where does it take place?” He objects that most works of history give “the impression that no more than a few dozen people are involved, who happen to be ‘at the helm of the ship of state’ and whose deeds and decisions form what is called history.” In his view, that’s wrong. What matters are “we anonymous others” who are not just “pawns in the chess game,” because the “most powerful dictators, ministers, and generals are powerless against the simultaneous mass decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.” Haffner insists on the importance of investigating “some very peculiar, very revealing, mental processes and experiences,” involving “the private lives, emotions and thoughts of individual Germans.”

The conclusion of the review:

“If the president of the United States is constantly lying, complaining that the independent press is responsible for fake news, calling for the withdrawal of licenses from television networks, publicly demanding jail sentences for political opponents, undermining the authority of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, magnifying social divisions, delegitimizing critics as “crooked” or “failing,” and even refusing, in violation of the law, to protect young children against the risks associated with lead paint—well, it’s not fascism, but the United States has not seen anything like it before.

With our system of checks and balances, full-blown authoritarianism is unlikely to happen here, but it would be foolish to ignore the risks that Trump and his administration pose to established norms and institutions, which help preserve both order and liberty. Those risks will grow if opposition to violations of long-standing norms is limited to Democrats, and if Republicans laugh, applaud, agree with, or make excuses for Trump—if they howl with the wolf.

In their different ways, Mayer, Haffner, and Jarausch show how habituation, confusion, distraction, self-interest, fear, rationalization, and a sense of personal powerlessness make terrible things possible. They call attention to the importance of individual actions of conscience both small and large, by people who never make it into the history books. Nearly two centuries ago, James Madison warned: “Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks—no form of government can render us secure.” Haffner offered something like a corollary, which is that the ultimate safeguard against aspiring authoritarians, and wolves of all kinds, lies in individual conscience: in “decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.”

The full review can be found at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/06/28/hitlers-rise-it-can-happen-here/

The Insane Clown President

Why is it that the POTUS seems more comfortable with dictators

whom he makes smile

and tyrants

leaving them happy, and smiling?

Yet the POTUS seems uncomfortable with our closest allies

some of whom he “blasts” with insults

President Trump Blasts Canadian PM Trudeau, Calls Him “Very Dishonest And Weak”

Imagine the liar and thief Trump having the audacity to call the leader of the country to our north “dishonest.” In the South there is an expression for what the Trumpster has done. We say “It is like the pot calling the kettle black.”


Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

Wish the US had a leader like Justin Trudeau. We can only hope…

Cartoons are drawn of our Commander and Thief

This is not a game


http://www.groundzeromedia.org/6-11-18-global-stratego-e-u-and-me-u-s-and-them/

I have always admired those who speak truth to power

It is wonderful to live in a free country where anyone has the right to express their opinion. Enjoy it while you can because the longer the Insane Clown

remains in office, the greater the chance the freedom we have enjoyed for over two hundred years will diminish, if not end completely.

Garry Kasparov Lives In Fear Of Being Assassinated By Putin

An article, Garry Kasparov told us what it’s like to live in fear of being assassinated by Putin, by Jim Edwards, appeared on the Business Insider website.


Garry Kasparov and Jim Edwards

These are the main points given in the article:

In 2007, a former KGB general warned that he believed former chess champion Garry Kasparov was next on a list of Putin critics to be assassinated.

Putin is suspected of condoning the assassination of 14 people in the UK.

Kasparov has lived in exile in New York since 2013. “Look I’m an optimist and I think it will not last forever,” he told Business Insider.

Putin will be a major issue at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year because US President Donald Trump will address the meeting. Putin and Trump have a relationship that baffles outsiders.

Trump gets unusually positive coverage in the Kremlin-controlled Russian media, Kasparov says.

Excerpts from the lengthy article:

When I met Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster and Putin critic, in Lisbon recently, he was sporting a large Band-Aid on his forehead. The wound had been sustained in the back of a taxi in London on the way from Heathrow Airport to a conference in Canary Wharf. With traffic crawling along, as it always does in London, Kasparov decided he didn’t need to wear a seatbelt.

Then the taxi driver slammed on the brakes.

“I was just talking to my wife, talking to my mother, looking at my phone. And next thing I remember I’m just lying on the floor with my head covered in blood,” Kasparov says. “At first, I was screaming because — now it looks fine — but I was bleeding for more than an hour, so it was pretty nasty. Then I realised how lucky I was because I had my glasses on me, these glasses, one inch down, could be my eyes. One inch on the side could have been temple.”

Kasparov went flying across the back of the Hackney cab, and hit his forehead on the top side of the jump chair. After a couple of stitches at Newham University Hospital Urgent Care, he posted a picture of his injury on Twitter. It spawned a rash of jokes in response: “Lame assassination attempt, Putin is desperate,” that kind of thing, Kasparov says. “The best one was, ‘are you preparing to play Gorbachev at Halloween?’ I was lucky, but now I buckle up.”

That Putin joke is only half funny.

Kasparov really is one of Putin’s potential assassination targets. In 2007, the former KGB general Oleg Kalugin told Foreign Policy magazine that Putin’s targeted killings would one day reach Kasparov.

Cryptically, Kalugin said: “People who knew them are all dead now because they were vocal, they were open. I am quiet. There is only one man who is vocal, and he may be in trouble: [Former] world chess champion [Garry] Kasparov. He has been very outspoken in his attacks on Putin, and I believe that he is probably next on the list.”

Kasparov is no longer one of Putin’s most visible critics, but Putin still regularly assassinates inconvenient Russians. Fourteen people have been killed in the UK on Putin’s orders, according to an exhaustive investigation by BuzzFeed.

As world leaders, billionaires, and oligarchs meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, again this year, Putin and Russia are suddenly one of the biggest issues at the conference.

That’s because US President Trump will address the Alpine gathering for the first time. Trump has repeatedly expressed his enthusiasm and admiration for Putin. And many in America believe Russia covertly interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a way that swayed votes toward Trump.

Russia is normally mere background noise at Davos. While Russia has a large military and is not afraid to flex its muscles in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria, the country itself is relatively poor. Its GDP ranks below Italy and Canada, and only just above Spain — a country whose economy was so heavily battered by the 2008 credit crisis that it still hasn’t fully recovered.

Russia’s influence in the West is limited in large part because European and US companies are afraid of doing business with Russia, precisely because of the ever-present threat of showing up on Putin’s radar.

That means individual ex-patriot Russians in the West who disagree publically with Putin — like Kasparov — can never go home. Does Kasparov worry about being in danger from Putin?

“Would it help? I live in New York, so what else can I do? I live in New York, I don’t drink tea with strangers,” he says.

“Tea with strangers” is a reference to the death of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian FSB secret service agent who was fatally poisoned in 2006 when he met two Putin agents at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair who placed radioactive polonium-210 into his drink.

“I don’t travel to certain countries where I believe that my security could be in jeopardy. So, unfortunately, the list of the countries I have to avoid is growing,” Kasparov says.

Of course, the big unanswered question for everybody in Davos is, what is the true nature of the relationship between Putin and Trump? Does Putin have some kind of hold over Trump — as the infamous Steele dossier suggests? Or is it simply that Trump really likes to be in the presence of powerful people, and that Putin — and ex-KGB man — is playing him like an asset, as James Clapper, the former US director of national intelligence, believes?

Kasparov doesn’t believe it is quite that sinister.

“No, what I saw from the beginning of the US presidential campaign is that the Russian press they like Trump but for different reasons. So they started liking him because he could help them to portray US elections as a circus. And this is, by the way, a part of Putin’s message, both inside and outside of Russia. Truth is relative — everybody’s bad. We bad, they bad,

we corrupt, they corrupt. We don’t have democracy, they have a circus. So that was the original message,” he says.

“America-bashing is 24/7 on all the Russian channels, on Kremlin-controlled media,” Kasparov says. “Trump is an exception. Trump personally is not criticised. The only criticism, mild criticism, is that he’s too weak to fight the deep state, which is amazing. … So everything’s bad in America. Except Trump, who’s a good guy.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/garry-kasparov-fear-of-being-assassinated-by-putin-2018-1

I have never understood what our Republican Presidents have seen in Vladimir Putin. For example, George Dubya Bush infamously said, “I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialog. I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.”

Dubya has even painted a picture of Vladimir Putin:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/the-26-biggest-bromance-moments-between-george-w-bush-and-vl?utm_term=.bn0KKbLgZV#.fkOaa5ylzQ

Now the Trumpster has a bromance with Vladimir.

I just do not understand what it is they find so mesmerizing when they look into the eyes of Vladimir Putin.

“They’re here”

Stephen Bassett

is the executive director of Paradigm Research Group founded in 1996 to end a government imposed embargo on the truth behind the so called “UFO” phenomenon. Stephen has spoken to audiences around the world about the implications of formal “Disclosure” by world governments of an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race. He has given over 1000 radio and television interviews, and PRG’s advocacy work has been extensively covered by national and international media.
http://www.paradigmresearchgroup.org/stephenbassett.html

Mr. Bassett appeared on the Phenomenon Radio program on KGRA web radio, Thursday, January 11, 2017, which is hosted by Linda Moulton Howe of Earthfiles.com.

Live KGRA worldwide web radio Thursday nights –
5 -7 PM Pacific / 8 – 10 PM Eastern.

January 9, 2018 – Tune In January 11th LIVE PHENOMENON Radio with co-hosts Linda Moulton Howe, Reporter and Editor of Earthfiles.com, and retired USAF Tech Sgt. John Burroughs.

Guests will be Eric W. Davis, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, EarthTech International, Inc., Inst. for Advanced Studies at Austin, Texas;
and Steve Bassett, Executive Director of the Paradigm Research Group (PRG). Dr. Davis will share some of his Institute’s 2008 technical paper about the November 2004 “tic-tac” AAV (Aerial Anomalous Vehicle) fighter jet gun camera 34-second infrared video with pilots reacting — as released from Luis Elizondo’s DoD Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) on December 16, 2017, to The New York Times.
https://www.earthfiles.com/

The program, which can be found here (http://kgraradioarchives.com/shows/phenomenon-radio/?loc=2018) concerns the possibility of disclosure in the near future of the fact that, “They’re here.”

Near the end of the two hour program Steve Bassett said, “They’re (governments of various countries of earth) playing a difficult game of Chess with the pieces that they have and I think the timing is also somewhat connected to the political realities of Donald Trump.”

Naturally, Vladimir Putin,


Vladimir Putin introducing a ‘Spaceman’

the Trumpster’s buddy, is heavily involved in the variation being played, or is it the TrumPet Putin is playing? It seems there is a battle between Russia and US as to which leader will be first to disclose the fact that aliens are among us.