IN DEFENSE OF SUICIDE

A few years ago I attended the funeral of a man whom I have known since he was ten years old. I knew him and his family, parents, and siblings.  He had a rich life until about 4 years ago when he was in his mid-fifties. He was gainfully employed and enjoyed his profession, the fruits of which were recognized by his students and co-workers.  He did everything a normal human does, had a family, friends and hobbies, was very intellectual, athletic, very talented linguistically, and above all smart.  Four years ago he developed severe depression.  He tried everything to get help, doctors, psychotherapy, medications, even electro-shock treatments.  Nothing helped! He sank deeper and deeper.  He self-medicated with alcohol and drugs to beat his profound sadness.  His first attempt to end it all was with that.  He almost succeeded, but with heroic medical intervention, he survived.  A new treatment for the dying brain was utilized by cooling his brain, and him down to a temperature of around 33̊ C, and then slowly bringing it up to normal, near 37˚ C, over a couple of days.  I have been impressed by how well this works under the right circumstances and saw another dramatic success of this in one of my employees who had a cardiac arrest for over an hour caused by a heart attack.  With CPR he got to the emergency room with a still viable brain. He too survived and is back to work with all his marbles.

My friend resolved to beat this horrible illness but alas nothing worked. He decided since he suffered terrible pain and had no help, he could not live like this, especially since his previous life, prior to the dark curtain of depression descended on him, was so rich and enjoyable.  On New Year’s Eve 2019, he laid down on the railroad tracks of Amtrack near La Conchita and ended it. 

At first, I was devastated.   What a waste I thought.  At the service, multiple speakers came up to tell us what a wonderful person he was.  So many people were influenced in a positive way by him.  He was truly outstanding and a good human being. 

How can a wonderful person do such a horrible and hostile thing?  Suicide is a gruesome final act from which there is no recovery.  It is definitely definite! One thing his brother said at his memorial service struck a chord with me.  “I am not mad at you! You did a good job all your life and you deserve to be remembered as that person who brought enlightenment, joy, and laughter to so many.”

Depression is a dreadful illness, for which we still do not have all the answers. “Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive.” (as quoted from Sally Brampton in Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression.) When a person dies who has endured cancer and finally is relieved of his suffering, we praise him for his prolonged torture and say he fought so hard and he is finally released.  Suicide is often not judged along those lines.  “He just gave up!”  We did not recognize nor appreciate the long-suffering that was relentless and not seen by us.  People who end it all do not make that decision lightly.  It is a conclusion they come to after much desperate thought, as there is no other answer to their pain and distress, and there are no other choices that they have not already tried and failed.

Ultimately it is our failure.  The failure to recognize the agony and pain of the depressed person, the failure of trying all the remedies we have at our disposal, the failure of the medications that just don’t live up to the promises they hand out in the television ads.  The failure of the society to understand the depressed person, the failure of medical science to recognize and treat this cancer of the mind, this illness without a proper diagnosis, without a precise explanation, and above all too often without effective treatment.

Painting by Marianne Stokes “Death and the Maiden” (Maiden photoshopped out) d’Orsay, Paris   

Roe v. Wade

Abortion is a divisive subject but not as divisive as you might guess. Most polls say that 60 % of the overall population favors continuing the status quo, 30% want to overturn Roe v. Wade, and 10% are undecided or don’t care whether to continue allowing abortion on demand before 24 weeks. Among Democrats, it is 70% for the status quo while Republicans are about half of that i.e., 35%. Women reflect the total population at 60%, while 55% of men favor abortion. Most of us would not favor killing the infant at or shortly after birth, something China has been practicing for years. That would no longer be abortion but infanticide and is generally considered uncivilized.
Since the debate swirls around killing babies, when does the fetus become a baby? Is it the morula, a solid ball of about 60 cells? Or is it the blastula or the gastrula? The answer mostly depends on your religion. Catholics declare there is humanity even before the sperm and egg meet. It is immoral to prevent conception! The idea of a fetus becoming human belongs to Aristotle, which St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine adopted. And that was when ensoulment happens at 40 days for males and 80 days for females. Don’t ask me why the female is double the time of a male. Islam puts that event at 120 days. Prior to that, no human life exists, and abortions were legitimately performed. It got a bit muddled with the invention of the microscope when Antonie van Leeuwenhoek made the erroneous pronouncement that sperm was in the shape of “tiny humans,” which suggested humans start much earlier than either Aquinas or Augustine taught. Yet both Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo pointed to the phenomenon of “quickening” as the definitive sign that the fetus had become a human. Prior to that, intentional abortion was always an act against God, but it was still pardonable, but once quickening happened, having an abortion was highly immoral and required a penalty, as for homicide, and also required ex-communication. Quickening usually happens at 18 to 20 weeks of pregnancy.          
I must confess that as a young doctor, I did hundreds of abortions. You would be surprised who actually opened the flood gates and brought abortions out of the back alleys into the sanctity of hospitals – Ronald Reagan when he was Governor of California. Reagan thought about abortion long and hard. And no one can say that  Reagan was a Godless baby-killer. I was a Resident at a Ventura County Hospital, learning the trade of General Practice. A very aggressive “Feminist” nurse took it upon herself to bring the new Reagan law into mainstream practice. She organized a clinic for young girls who found themselves pregnant at ages 11 on up. Initially, it was a necessary requirement that the life of the mother had to be at risk to comply with the law allowing abortion. That was easily sidestepped by having the girl claim to threaten suicide, and that was enough. Later that went by the wayside, and it was basically on-demand abortion. The only rule we had to abide by was that the fetus had to be under 500 grams. Over that it was murder. That, too, could be fudged. A few days of drying before the weighing would bring the weight down. I gradually found doing abortions troublesome and even started to question the morality, especially the late-term abortion, which required actively ending the baby’s life. I stopped doing all of them.
But then there is the question of the lesser of two evils rearing its ugly head in my brain. Is it not also evil to bring an unwanted child into the world with the inevitable years of maltreatment, malnourishment, pain, and suffering, the invariable increase of mental illness, crime, and a litany of other social ills that spring from throw-away children versus a 30-minute operation that undoes the evil? Other issues come into the mix like rape, incest, and risk to the life of the mother. And then there is the return of the back-alley coat-hanger abortions that killed young women! I saw my share of that especially egregious evil at LA County USC Medical Center during my internship. Birthing is only the beginning of a long process; feeding, housing, clothing, college tuition, vaccinations etc., that is what pro-life entails. Where are the pro-lifers for all that stuff? The moniker “pro-lifers” is a gross underestimation, and it should just be “pro-birthers.” Pro-life includes a lot of other things.
I have not gotten over my conflicted decision. It was John Milton in Paradise Lost who stated that if there is a choice between two evils, the lesser evil must be chosen. I must side with the lesser of two evils argument. I do think, however, that infanticide is homicide which I define as when the fetus can exist independent from the mother. This cannot be allowed to stand in a civilized society. It is an impossible decision as to when a fetus becomes a human, and my definition is prospective and for that reason not very useful. I must therefore go with the arbitrary wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine of Hippo. Quickening is my cut-off, as it happens to coincide with viability. For me, that is 20 weeks, no more. Surely that is enough time to make a decision. I am surprised that the Supreme Court is so shortsighted and fails to see all sides of admittedly a difficult argument. Others besides Justice Alito have weighed in on this subject from Aristotle, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, and 60 % of the US population. All have come up with a different view from Justice Alito’s Catholic opinion based on his narrow theological view of a canonical hypothesis that only he is imbued with the absolute truth. The other major world religions, Protestant, Jewish, and Islam, are much less dogmatic, more charitable, and more forgiving. They do not denounce it as murder until viability. Does one religion’s doctrine overrule all the others and require all others to obey their edicts? For half a Century, we adjusted and lived with a law, although imperfect, that could be justified, legally and morally for the majority. Do we really need this “stare decisis” (a legal term meaning “to stand by things decided” in Latin) issue that will undoubtedly be reactivated and cause harm, turmoil, and demonstrations in our already fractured society? Every dilemma has a bad or worse choice. We must exercise wisdom to pick. In a Democracy, the majority has a powerful voice, and the majority holds the opinion that more evil would be created by eliminating all abortion. The concept of viability is a compromise that gives both sides a bit of plausible defendability.
The majority will not likely accept judicial dogmatic imprudence no matter how well thought out the legal arguments are. There will be demonstrations, with possible violence from both sides. It will lead to moves such as attempts to rebalance the court and alteration of the country’s political landscape that eventually will manifest itself at the voting booth or congressional intercession. I predict the end result will eventually be no net change, except the destruction of one of our three pillars of government! That is why “stare decisis,” and precedence are such important principles.
Good going, Supreme Court! How many more nails will the Justices find to shut the lid on their own coffin?

Air on the G-String       

I have been a busy sculptor. My next piece combines a real violin with the sculpted bronze hands that are playing it. The note that is being played is on the G-String, hence the name of the sculpting. To let you in on the secret of how I named it is a true story that comes from history and has done its part to change it.      

Sometime between 1717 to 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote “Orchestration No. 3 in D Major.” He composed this piece for his patron, Prince Leopold von Anhalt. Bach was in his early 30s and not yet an established composer, furthermore, the Anhalt family was not enamored with Bach’s music. Orchestration No. 3 did not get much exposure and languished in a drawer for around 150 years, very much like J.S. Bach’s other famous Opus, the six Brandenburg Concertos, that he composed as an application for a new job, with the Margrave of Brandenburg. Since his career with Prince Leopold von Anhalt was at risk, he tried to entice the Margrave to hire him. He sent the six Concertos to him, but just like the “Orchestration No. 3 in D Major,” the Margrave didn’t even listen to any of them, nor did Bach get the job when Prince Leopold unceremoniously fired him.      

Luckily a wise and music-savvy scientist named Carl Sagan was in charge of picking the music for a gold-plated CD that was to be sent into deep space for a future Alien to find. The second Brandenburg Concerto went out on Voyager I in 1977, but the job application to the Margrave of Brandenburg was just a few hundred years too late. The Orchestration No. 3 in D Major at least had a second chance to be heard sooner.

A very talented violinist, a friend of Richard Wagner and the son of Prussia’s Chief Prosecutor, thought to be Germany’s best violinist, discovered Orchestration No. 3 in D Major. He re-scored it so that he could play it on just one string on the violin by changing the key to C Major and lowering the entire score one octave. That string happened to be the lowest string on the violin, the G-string. His name was August Wilhelmj. Audiences came to use the name “Air on the G-string” for it.  It was an immediate success and remains so still today. You would recognize it instantly as it is frequently played at weddings. 

So how did the G-string get its other, more lusty connotation? The 1939 World’s Fair opened in the Queens district of New York. We did not enter World War II until 1941 on the Day of Infamy. The World’s Fair attracted 44 million people, including  King George V and his Queen, along with Albert Einstein, and many more notables. But it also attracted a less lofty group, strippers! Mayor Fiorello La Guardia made it the law for strippers to wear a Bikini-like bottom in New York when performing. First, Fredericks of Hollywood and then Victoria’s Secret repurposed the  G-sting in their naming of the skimpy garment. The G-string on the violin is just a thin wire, and it happens to be the lowest in position and sound of the violin strings. What could be a more appropriate name for Mayor La Guardia’s mandated tiny modesty vestment?   


What Constitutes Freedom

Freedom is the ability to do as you wish, go where you want, think what you want, eat whatever and when you want. Enjoy hearing the music you want to hear, and look at the art with which you identify. No one can tell you what you can or cannot see, hear, or touch. Basically, you can live your life without being told how, why, and by what means you may do so. This concept came from the Age of Reason. Descartes, Spinoza, Voltaire, Kant,  Rousseau, Jefferson, Washington, Paine, and many others laid down the foundation that man is his own master. Our brain knows what is best for us. But there must be boundaries. You cannot go around taking what is not yours, destroying things others have built, killing indiscriminately.

Those actions are characteristics of the uncivilized! We must adhere to the rules of life. This is how evolved forms of government regulated what civilized people can and cannot do. We have rights, but we also have responsibilities.

We do not have the right to harm other people by our actions unless we are under threat of bodily injury, and that includes getting infected by potentially lethal organisms. If you are going to sit next to me for whatever number of hours shoulder to shoulder, sharing the same breathing space, I want that you are as least likely to harm me by infecting me with your “cuties” as possible. That means you must be vaccinated, and you must wear a mask.

Much has been said about the effectiveness of masks. The largest study has been done and published. It is a peer-reviewed study conducted by Yale and Stanford University. Three hundred fifty thousand people were involved. One-third of the study group wore masks, and two-thirds did not. The mask wearers decreased the spread of Covid by 11%. Statistics would suggest that if all participants had worn masks, the benefit would be 33%. This is proven beyond doubt, and the numbers are very convincing. That is a significant benefit of masks. Of course, it would have been better to be 100%, but that is not how nature works. That folks is the best it can get, and I will take that because it is better than 0%.

Your body, your choice does not extend to giving me Covid-19 if possible. If you find it so onerous to wear a mask, find another means of transportation or get your own plane. I wore a mask for half a century almost every day as a practicing surgeon, as a protection for you so I would not give you my bugs, and I am still alive. Why would you not do the same courtesy for me? That is as far as your freedom extends. The Constitution and Bill of Rights do not mention your right not to wear a mask when it has been scientifically proven at a 33% efficacy! And the Stanford Yale study is as good as science gets. You have the right not to believe it, but the CDC’s rule of wearing a mask in a closed space is still applicable as long as we are in a pandemic and 500 people a day die of Covid. It supersedes your opinion. They give us the rules. A single judge also does not have the right to nullify that ruling. He is a judge! Not an infectious disease expert and does not have the moral, legal, or intellectual standing to overrule the CDC, an organization of 15,000 people (1,700 of whom are real scientists) charged with overseeing the public’s health. I am glad that the Justice Department has appealed the decision of a misguided judge.

 

KILLING THE COMPETITION – HOW VLADIMIR PUTIN HAS EVOLVED

Jane Goodall studied chimpanzees by living with them for 50 years. She found out many of their secrets. One is that they are homicidal, perhaps more appropriately Pan troglocidal, their genus and species name. Chimpanzees go out and raid their neighbors, killing the males, abducting the females, and taking all their bananas! In the last few centuries, humans have become less violent and less murderous, except for some of us. Vladimir Putin is one notable exception.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s mother certainly chose the wrong first name for her son. My father’s name was also Vladimir, and when we were living in German-speaking lands, he proudly told me that Vladimir means “Peace in the Land,” which translates to Friede (Peace) and Reich (Land) in German. Friedrich convertes to Fredrik, the English version – Freddy Putin!

Putin started his career as a KGB agent in East Germany. East Germany was still very much influenced by the Nazi era. The Berlin Wall was a monument to that! He reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and resigned in 1991, after 16 years of service, to join the government of Boris Yeltsin. He rose rapidly in the hierarchy and became president of Russia, and was re-elected in 2004. He now has extended his presidential powers to 2036.

His competition has been eliminated by poison, bullets, strangulation, or just imprisonment. There are dozens of victims of Putin’s murderous actions. It is amazing how little press attention is given to those who gave their lives to these assassinations. The most recent who was arrested, Vladimir Kara-Murza, is a political rival that disappeared just yesterday, 4/12/22. He has so far survived two previous poisoning attempts. We shall see how long he lasts. The FSB, formerly the KGB, agents followed Alexander Litvinenko to London and there laced his tea with Polonium, which clearly did not come from the pharmacy next door. Viktor Yushchenko, former president of Ukraine, was fed Dioxin obtained from Agent Orange. He was in a run-off with the pro-Russian candidate for president. Victor lost the election and almost lost his life. Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist critical of Putin, was shot as a birthday present to Putin. Boris Nemtsov, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, was shot in the back near the Kremlin, apparently not that safe a place to take a walk. Putin took personal charge of the murder investigation. Surprisingly the murderer was never found. Boris Berezovsky, an out-of-favor Oligarch who had escaped to England, was found in his home with a ligature around his neck. Putin has jailed his political rival, Alexei Navalny, whom he also tried to poison using Novichok, a nerve gas, only available to the military. And this is only a fraction of the people that Putin has murdered.

Killing political opposition has not been enough. The totally insane trumped-up war with Ukraine, looking for Nazis where there aren’t any, has graduated Vladimir to a new level, the likes of a world-class murderer rivaling the historical greats: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pot Pol, and others. Anyone who claims Putin is brilliant needs serious psychiatric help, including some members of our past and present leadership and news anchors. Putin is a psychopathic murderous monkey whose homicidal genes have evolved into monsters. Can the world survive until 2036? Do  I dare say that if the world needs peace (Vladimir), and it does, it will take regime change?

 WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

The Kremlin, meaning Vladimir Putin, claims that the atrocities are staged by Ukrainian Nazis, to shift the blame on Russia and to incite world outrage against them. Here are the problems with that. It is difficult to believe a man who has lied to you repeatedly from the outset: that would be Vladimir Putin. “We are not going to invade Ukraine!” he said. Then he did. “We are not attacking civilians,” then he did. Maternity hospitals and shelters had inscriptions on the pavement. “Children” were bombed – with 400 fatalities. Pictures, witnesses, and international organizations that watch for War Crimes testify. All counter Putin’s lies. The Jewish population and their Rabbis, who are Ukrainian national figures, deny Nazi presence in Ukraine. Russians pull out and within hours there are 400 bodies of executed civilians in the streets and in mass graves. The Russians claim these are staged after they left Bacha. It takes time to kill 400 people and excavate mass graves. The Nazis had to work awfully fast to kill all those people from the time the last Russian tanks rolled out, to before the bodies were discovered. There was not enough time for the Nazis to get in and tie all those people’s hands and shoot them in the head. Actually, satellite pictures show many of the bodies in the exact position in the streets as they are now, weeks before the Russians pulled out at the time they were in control of the town. I suppose the Nazis snuck in at night while the Russians were sleeping. International journalists testify and show us pictures of the dead. There are witnesses. There is satellite and drone video, and cell phone video.  The lies are staggering and easily refuted. Do they think we are that gullible?
Putin and his Generals are war criminals, very much like Hitler, Göring, and, Göbels, etc. only documented better. You don’t need any more convincing evidence than the bombed-out apartment buildings in Mariupol to see the perfidious lies of the Kremlin. No Nazis lived there.

Are those bombed-out buildings part of the pretend destruction, along with the crisis actors, and those buildings are just photoshopped and made to look like civilian apartments? Putin and his henchmen must think we are blind too.           

What are these atrocities? To kill unarmed civilians whose hands are tied behind them shows disregard for morality and civilized behavior: bombing apartment buildings and theaters where civilians are sheltering, taking a family out in the woods, and shooting Mayor Olga Sukhenko and her family, husband, and son after being tortured, then dumping their bodies in a mass grave. In Irpin, Russians shot women and girls and then drove tanks over their bodies. The lucky ones just got raped and had their tongues pulled out. Some of the bodies were rigged with tripwires to explode. Those are atrocities, and those are the kind that real Nazis commit. 

In 1945 General Dwight David Eisenhower insisted on photographers taking pictures in the captured concentration camps of the mounds of corpses, because Eisenhower did not think the world would believe that human beings could inflict such monstrous despicable acts on fellow human beings. In one respect, Putin was right, there are Nazis, but as it turns out, he didn’t need to go to Ukraine to find them. They were right there in his own military, following his orders.

Ukraine’s Fight to Stay Alive 

My name is Gösta Iwasiuk. “Iwasiuk” is a typical Ukrainian name. The “iuk” ending is the giveaway. My parents were born in Czernowitz (German), Cernovitsi (Ukrainian – Чернівці́ ), or Cernăuti (Romanian) now in south-western Ukraine. At the time of their birth, it was Austro-Hungary. For a while, it was Romania, then Russia. After World War II it became Ukrainian. My father became a physician and, for a time during the Stalin era, he was the head of Public Health in the region, something akin to Surgeon General. Because he would not stop his Public Health programs of vaccinating children, along with food and clean water programs for the elderly; he was ordered to stop at first, then gradually demoted by the Moscow bureaucracy and eventually tried for being an enemy of the people and sentenced to death. That is what Stalin’s modus operandi was.

Before the war, he had a wonderful life. My father had married into a wealthy family who helped him in establishing a solid medical practice. He also worked as a resort doctor on the Black Sea near Odessa during the warmer seasons. Here he is at the water’s edge as a resort doctor.

The Communists changed all that, and he had to get out of Russia with his wife to avoid the hangman’s noose. He eventually wound up in the USA along with his family, including me, by way of Germany/Austria, but he considered himself a Ukrainian all his life and frequently reminded me that I was one too. We often laughed at my big feet (Ukrainian feet – size 13 www) as proof. Although I have never seen Ukraine, I do have family there. The current Russian unprovoked attack on Ukraine has revived my feelings for my origins. I watch the daily newscast with horror and sadness, the bombed-out cities, the dead bodies in the streets, and the unnecessary body bags of young Russian men, who had no idea why they were there, mostly being left where they fell by the retreating Russian army. This is all due to one man who has a crazy notion of reviving the glory of the old Soviet Union.    

I am shocked by some of our misguided leaders and their media representatives supporting Vladimir Putin. Their logic escapes me. It is our fault, they say. We provoked Vladimir Putin in this criminal act because he had no choice. They parrot Putin’s propaganda saying the Ukrainians would have done this to him. They malign Volodymyr Zelensky, a real hero, by calling him a “Thug” and calling the butcher war criminal Putin “smart.”            Putin is Delusional – yes, Paranoid, and definitely “not smart”! Putin’s lies about Nazis around every corner of Ukrain are denied by the Jewish population and the leading Rabbis of Ukraine. Bombing maternity hospitals because they are run by Nazis has got to be one of the most ludicrous lies ever told. “Normal people never would believe this rubbish,” so said the chief Rabbi of Kiyv.        

Putin will not stop with Ukraine. He has proven that by what he has already accomplished. He placed Georgia, Chechnya, Belarus, Crimea, and the Donbas region under his spell. If he wins in Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia are next. If Finland and Sweden try to join NATO, he will attack them too. I guarantee you China is watching very carefully. If Putin succeeds, we will have Taiwan to protect next. And I do believe Xi Jinping is smarter than Putin, and his armies are better trained and more competent than Putin’s army. China is much more nuclear savy than Russia and less vulnerable just because of its size. Keep that in mind.            

The fear of Putin threatening use of Nuclear weapons is not a likely scenario. He is paranoid and delusional, but he is not stupid and as scared of Nukes as the rest of us are. He is unreasonably afraid of catching Covid. You can see that by his fear of getting close to people with his long tables and the fact that he talks to his entourage by phone or zoom only. He is a coward, and he wants to stay alive! If we do not win this war with Putin, he will take us and NATO down, too, eventually! We must arm Ukraine with heavy artillery and better air defense, including modern jet fighters. The Ruble has almost completely recovered in the last few weeks. That is a clear sign that our sanctions are being subverted. They need to become more robust! I am not proposing that we put boots on the ground. The brave Ukrainians have decimated half of the Russian military assets and a large percentage of their fighting force. They deserve and must have more of our help! This is not the time to be weak and timid. If we don’t help Ukraine win this conflict now, we will not get another chance. Appeasement did not work with Hitler, and it won’t work with Putin either!           

           

UKRAINIAN NAZIS          

The main reason Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, he says, is to “de-Nazify” the country. He falsely claims Zelinsky and his government are Nazis. Amazingly Putin has some American News Anchors and even United States Congresspersons who parrot that propaganda.

It was a real Nazi who initiated the whole idea of repeating a lie. The more you repeat the lie, the more people will come to believe it. That is often attributed to the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Göbbels. If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. It was actually the biggest Nazi of them all, Adolf Hitler, who blamed the Jews for utilizing the Big Lie technique. In Mein Kampf, he stated, “What Luck for Rulers that Men Do not Think!” But it was Göbbels who did say, “the Truth does not matter.” Regardless of who said it, repeating the big lie does sink in! Mark Twain came out with the best one-liner of all, “The Truth has no defense against a fool determined to believe a lie.”    

Orthodox Jews who escaped the bombs in Ukraine, now living in Moldavia, came out belying Putin’s propaganda. The Chief Rabbi of Kyiv, Moshe Reuven, recently made an impassioned video where he accused Putin of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. He says: “Against whom is this denazification directed?… Only somebody who has been brainwashed could believe such rubbish. There is no Nazism in Ukraine. There aren’t even any nationalistic parties in Parliament. No normal person believes this drivel.” Rabbi Yonatan Markovitch,  recipient of the Ukrainian Parliament Medal of Honor in 2020, told Haaretz (the leading Israeli newspaper) he has no idea what Putin is talking about, and “anti-Semitic incidents” are very rare and the government takes care of them. Furthermore, he is quoted as saying what we all know, ” Putin is totally nuts!”

This would not be the first time that Putin has twisted historic truths into his own concocted scenario. He dismissed Ukraine as its own country with sovereign borders despite a thousand-year history that contradicts his delusions. He speaks of Ukraine denying Russians their own language and culture, a complete fabrication. All the rumors around Putin having some mysterious illness that warps his mind is getting traction in my mind. His physical appearance has also changed. He has facial puffiness, not unlike someone on large doses of steroids. When you look at his facial features just a few years ago, he is getting what is described in medical texts as “moon facies.” People who take steroids can also have mental changes, more aggressive behavior, anger, depression, antisocial behavior, and paranoia. All give credence to what has been called “roid rage” (steroid rage), which fit very well into what we are witnessing.

There are many Jews in the Ukrainian military and Israeli volunteers that are fighting against Russians. Zelinsky is Jewish, the grandson of a Holocaust survivor and his Great Uncles were murdered in Hitler’s concentration camps. Ukraine had the only government with both Jews as the head of state and head of government outside of Israel. Zelinsky won the election with a 73% majority of the country. Ukraine has one of the most pluralistic governments, which allows all political philosophies a voice. The United States has a Communist party with about 5000 members and a Nazy party with less than 1000 members, but it could be larger if one added all the “white supremacists” and KKK members, but it would still be below the Communist membership. Ukraine, being a democracy, also has a far-right contingent, the Azov Battalion. It is a minority of the Ukrainian military, and interestingly, they all speak Russian, have financial backing from the “breakaway provinces” of Luhansk and Donetsk, now under Russian control, and also have ties to a similar Nationalistic organization in the Russian military. The Ukrainian far-right may be closer to Putin than they admit. Besides, Putin fits into the definition of a Nazi a lot better than Zelinsky does.   

Trump keeps doubling down that Putin is very smart. Putin is unhinged, and I agree not stupid, but being a liar, a butcher, and a war criminal does not quite fit my definition of “smart.” It brings up other historical characters like Hitler, Caligula, Stalin, and other monsters that I don’t associate with smart. I am going to keep my eyes out for some other politician who has a better definition of smart.

THE HOLODOMOR

Russians are good at manipulating the truth. They killed millions of Ukrainians, men, women, and children, and no one knew for years. Stalin was able to keep it from becoming general knowledge. Anyone who talked about it was liquidated. That atrocity was called the Holodomor, sounds like the Holocaust, and it happened from 1932 to 1933,  engineered by Joseph Stalin to punish the farmers for not meeting the imposed quotas for grain harvest. Stalin confessed it to Winston Churchill. Then to quiet the uproar of protest, another half-million were deported to Siberia. My grandmother was among them. They let her out when she was over 80 years old. (I didn’t realize until now that 80-year-old grandmothers are also “Nazi collaborators.”) Russians know about misinformation and fake news.

                                               
Some   Americans seem to need little evidence to believe the Putin propaganda. The recent bombings of a maternity hospital in Mariupol were because “Nazis” were running it. Who knew? It is we, the Americans, who are disbursing fake news? Were the pregnant women, led out of the hospital, covered in blood-soaked sheets, professional crisis actors, as claimed by the Kremlin? I suspect that the newborns they killed had to be “Nazis” as well. They just didn’t know that they were actors!   

The apartment buildings the Russians bombed were infiltrated by “Nazis” using the people as human shields. They had to kill them to get the bad guys. Volodymyr Zelensky, the Jew, who lost many of his family to Hitler’s death camps, has now supposedly become a turncoat and has also become a “Nazi.” Of course, how clever of Vladimir Putin to bomb apartment houses. Trump got it right, “He is brilliant!”. Zelensky can’t fool him! It is unbelievable to me that people can believe this propaganda.        

Elena Branson, a convicted Soviet spy, has evidence that Zelensky is a false flag president bombing his own people. And why would you doubt her, just because she spent time in US jails? She speaks very convincingly. Tucker Carlson believes her, as he echos similar sentiments defending Putin!  

Russia is reviving the Holodomor, only this time they are adding bombs and missiles. Captured Russian pilots admit they are acting on orders to bomb kindergartens, hospitals, and apartment buildings. Just like Stalin, Putin is indiscriminate in his killing. Women, children, newborns, it does not matter. Putin is trying to hide his brutality by blaming the ever-present “Nazis.” It is the Nazis who are at fault! But his propaganda is not working very well except on a few American news anchors who are buying his nonsense. Russian jails are filling up with protestors who protest his inhumanity. So far, over 15,000 people have been arrested. The “Nazis” are a lot closer to Putin than he cares to admit. He does not know it, but he is one of them. He fits the definition!

The dictionary states that Nazis are a group that follows the principles of Fascism. Fascism is a form of government that is characterized by dictatorial power, regimentation of society, economy, forcible suppression of opposition by Putin’s favorite method, poison. Boris Vodarsky, a former KGB agent, wrote a book about many of the poisonings that Putin has carried out, among them Alexey Navalny, a presidential competitor. He was gassed with Novichok nerve gas developed in top-secret Russian labs by the Soviet military. Georgy Markov, a Bulgarian dissident, was pricked with a ricin-tipped umbrella, ala James Bond style,  KGB defectors met their end with Thallium, a tasteless and odorless poison, a standard practice for defectors. A journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, critical of Putin, survived an attempt with a poisoned cup of tea only to get shot as a present to Putin on his birthday. The hand of the Kremlin reached all the way to London in an attempt to kill Sergei Skripal and his daughter in 2018 again using Novichok gas. And it goes on and on.   

Putin is the single authoritarian leader whose personal philosophy makes all the decisions that are final and are backed by military and police enforcement along with assassinations. It sounds like Putin and Hitler have read the same playbook! Only Hitler is dead, but Putin is not.     

Holodomor Memorial in Kiev

WHAT IS PUTIN THINKING?      

Putin’s behavior has become so outrageous and unreal that people are missing the obvious. Putin has had a major personality change! When all you see all day on TV is the bombing and destroyed buildings in Ukraine, and he is talking by phone to the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, denying the obvious shelling of civilian targets, calling it “propaganda fakes.” This is a sign that Putin is seriously delusional. This is not just politics, cover-ups, or lying. It is crazy! That is a definitive symptom of a mind that has gone off the tracks. His inner circle must come to the same conclusion before he destroys Ukraine and Russia. 12,000 Russians have died so far, over two million people have fled Ukraine, thousands of Russians have been arrested for protesting, and many are leaving Russia.      

His position on negotiations is not what a normal person would do. He will only “negotiate” if all the conditions that he wants are met. That is not called negotiations. It is called a capitulation and further confirms his jumbled thinking. 

His obsessive thoughts that the West is responsible for his problems, instead of his own homicidal actions, and that Nazis are around every corner is classic of Paranoia. His face is swollen, suggesting that he is taking anti-psychotic and/or anti-depression drugs. Senator Marco Rubio, Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Intelligence, says, “I wish I could share more, but for now, I can say that it’s pretty obvious that something is off with Putin!” Putin used to pride himself on his ability to control his emotions. That has gone out the window. He has frequent flashes of uncontrollable anger. His body language displays anxiety. Licking his lips is a sign of a dry mouth. Shifting frequently in his chair is evidence of tenseness.The clenched fist and table-pounding displays anger and aggression.          

When an individual exhibits delusional thinking and does not use common sense in talking to other adults, it is obvious that other tactics must be considered. He has not and will not respond to sanctions. He does not care about his people, and the wholesale destruction of his economy means nothing to him. His only goal is to satisfy his imaginary unattainable goal of reconstructing the old Soviet Union. Rumor has it that he has moved his family into an underground city under the Altai Mountains in Siberia, which is a high-tech facility that is nuclear safe. Does that give you a clue as to his mindset?

Many people on both sides of the political spectrum have noticed that Putin’s thinking is off. Condoleezza Rice has commented on this change in personality. General H. R. McMasters, the former National Security adviser to Trump, stated that Putin is no longer a “rational actor.” Even Nancy Pelosi says, “he has brain fog.” His fear of getting close to people is also a symptom of his deteriorating mind. He is unreasonably afraid of any contact with people, as evidenced by his long table conversations with people clustered at one end and he at the other end. This is Paranoia, another classic symptom of insanity. It appears he is struggling with physical and mental issues.

 

This is what Paranoia looks like. There are people that say Putin has been like this for 20 years. He has done what he did in Chechnya and what he did in Crimea. He tells blatant lies, and a reasoning person cannot respond to such nonsense.      

But in summation, it does not matter if Putin is or is not crazy. The actions that he has taken are crazy, and all his intended objectives have been turned around to their opposites. Intending to weaken NATO has, in fact, led to strengthening it. Sweden and Finland are now contemplating joining NATO. Germany is putting up 100 billion to rearm itself. All of NATO is on high alert!

Ukraine may eventually be overrun by the vastly superior force of the Russian army. But that is the easy part. Just like in Afghanistan, the next phase of the war is not going to be so easy. Every street corner, every tree will have a sniper behind it picking off young Russian men. How long can that last? Russia had to eventually leave Afghanistan for that reason, defeated by a rag-tag army of amateurs.            

The Russian economy has been decimated and cast back to the Stone Age. Russian oil, their lifeline, will become shunned by much of the world. It will encourage the EU, and us to take a second look at Nuclear energy. France has done very well with it. 70% of their energy is Nuclear and has been for forty years. They have had very few accidents, none of them lethal. Oil and coal have been much more lethal. In the meantime, we could become independent of Russian and Middle Eastern Oil because we can, must, and really have no other choice if we want to continue to exist despite what Green Peace says or what the CO2 levels are. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is teaching us the new normal.