WHY DO WE SEND MILLIONS TO UKRAINE?

One good thing has come out of the impeachment hearings.   We’re now aware that our taxpayer dollars are being sent to support one of the most corrupt countries in the world. While the politicians fight it out in congress, we have to ask ourselves: Why do we send millions to Ukraine?

The cold war supposedly ended in 1991, when  U.S. President George H.W. Bush announced,  ” By the grace of God, America won the Cold War: ”  After that,  the average American stopped worrying about Russia .  Since Sept. 11, we’ve been preoccupied with ISIS, the Taliban  and terrorism.   So, why are we so invested in Ukraine?

Why send millions of dollars to corrupt Ukraine
Wikipedia quotes Ernest and Young as saying Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

It started in 2014, when Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and continued to occupy it. Many foreign policy experts believe that Ukraine,   caught in the middle between East and West., is the bulwark against Russian expansionism.  And so, through NATO,  we got sucked into sending aid to Ukraine.

 In 2015 The Guardian called Ukraine “the most corrupt nation in Europe”. According to a poll conducted by Ernst & Young (accounting firm) in 2017, experts considered Ukraine to be the ninth-most corrupt nation in the world.”

Marie Yovanovitch marching in gay parade in Ukriane
Marie Yovanovitch grew up speaking Russian.

So now, we’re in an impeachment inquiry about withholding money from  Ukraine.  At least two of the star witnesses have family ties to  either the Ukraine or Russia.   Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, Director of European Affairs for the National Security Council. was born in the Ukraine.  Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’ s parents fled Russia before she was born in Canada.  She grew up speaking Russian.

So, what will happen if the president is impeached because he demanded an investigation into  Ukraine corruption?  Will we keep sending  more and more aid,  with no strings attached? ?    Maybe we’re spreading ourselves a bit thin, fighting battles all over the world and giving away money  without getting anything back in return.

Can the average American understand why we sent $400 million dollars in aid  to the Ukraine?  One of the most corrupt countries in the world?  Honestly, I don’t think so.

WHY POLL TAKING IS OBSOLETE

The only people who believe in the benefit of taking polls are the organizations that take them. It has  been proven time and again, especially in the last presidential election, that polls aren’t reliable.  I’m sure some polls are accurate if they show a huge majority in favor of a certain  political candidate. But in a close election?  Not so much.  There are reasons why poll taking is obsolete:

 

Polls aren't nearly as accurate as they were 20 years ago.
90% of people don’t answer their phones.

90% of people don’t answer their phones  Remember when it was exciting to hear the telephone ring?  Unless it happened to be a wrong number, it was always from someone you knew.  Now, no one in their right mind automatically picks up their  phone when it rings. Most of us receive six or eight spam calls a day on both our landline and our cellphones.  To answer is a big mistake.  So, if someone does decide to speak with a stranger, there’s something a little bit unusual about that person.  Maybe they’re incredibly lonely. Or just not playing with a full deck.  Whatever the reason, I wouldn’t trust the validity of their answers to a poll.

Only about 35 to 40 percent  of registered voters in the United States actually vote.  And so, if you’re polling that group, you have approximately a one out of three chance that the person you’re talking to is actually  going to vote at all.

Why don’t people in the USA turn out for the vote?  It’s hard to say.  Maybe it’s because too many people believe the polls.  Voting is easier in some states than it is in others.  In states like Indiana, where we have early voting, it’s not nearly as difficult as in states that  only allow same day voting. And so, if the polls say  your favorite candidate is going to win, you might think there’s no point in going to the trouble of voting.

Often, I’m asked to participate in online polls.  That’s the last thing I  would ever do.   Why not advertise your political leanings over the internet?  It could be downright dangerous.  At the very least, you will be bombarded with requests for money to support your candidate of choice.  Don’t you get enough e mails already?

If you really want to know who is going to win the election, your best source is probably with the bookmakers.

WAKE ME WHEN IT’S OVER

Public hearings  in the U. S. House of Representatives impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump will begin next week. But I won’t  be tuning in.  I know it’s going to be upsetting and revealing and all that awful stuff, and I’m just not up for it.  We’re the greatest country in the world, and we should be proud of our politicians.  Instead, we’ve been subjected to three years of nasty, vicious politics and infighting.  I’m glad it’s finally coming to a head, but I don’t want to see or hear the gory details.  Wake me when it’s over, please.

Public impeachment hearings are an embarrassment to our natiion
Public hearings in the impeachment inquiry of Trump begin next week.

Maybe the British have it right, after all.  I’ve always wondered why they support the monarchy, but I’m beginning to understand.  The monarchy doesn’t change.  The royals  represent everything that’s good about England:  Dignity, Class, Courage, and Grace under Pressure.  They may have a Donald Trump clone for a prime minister, but it doesn’t matter.  No one outside England pays him much attention.

When we think of England, we visualize the magnificent Queen Elizabeth.  She’s always the same.  Regal, restrained, and strong.  Charles blew it with Diana, but the queen got everything back in control.  And now we have the future king and queen,  Kate & Will,  who  always do their duty and look glamorous while they’re  at it.  Poor Meghan  doesn’t understand the importance of a stiff upper lip, but perhaps she’ll come around.

Once upon a time, people felt passionate about the candidates they voted for.  Presidents like Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, stirred our souls and warmed our hearts.  But now, most of us vote for the candidate whom we dislike the least.

Whatever happens, Congress needs to act swiftly. As a nation, we’re anxious, depressed and tired of it all.  Worse yet, we’re ashamed of our country.

Wake me up when the national nightmare is over.

DO VOTERS CARE ABOUT KURDS OR BENGHAZI?

A Marine Reserve Center,  directly across the street from our house,  is a daily reminder of our brave Americans.  There’s a plaque near the building with the names of those in that battalion who recently lost their lives in the Middle East.   We’ve watched these fine men and women  come and go over the years. They seem like our own kin . Would I like to see a few  more names  on the plaque because we’re defending the Kurds?  Actually, no. And, will our retreat  influence the next election?  Do voters care about the Kurds or our mission in Benghazi?

This Marine Reserve Unit is directly across the street from our house
A plaque at the Marine Reserve Center has the names of four who gave their lives in the Middle East.

The 2012 attack on the American embassy in Libya brought about a two year investigation in 2014.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,  was  criticized for not coming to the rescue of the four American citizens who died in  Benghazi.  Because  the US ambassador was gay, he was singled out for extreme torture.  You might have thought this would  affect Hillary Clinton’s  support from the  LGBT community,  But obviously, it didn’t.  She easily won the popular vote in the 2016 election.

If we had stayed in Syria to defend the Kurds, how many of our men would have died?
If our troops had stayed to defend the Kurds, many of our soldiers would have lost their lives,

Now, we have the President’s decision to pull out of the Kurdish held territory in Syria, Apparently, the Turks informed the  President a massive invasion was about to take place.   If our troops  were to stay, many of our men would die 7,000 miles from home.   Questions about  the wisdom and integrity  of this  decision will drag on until the next presidential election.

But do these events  influence the way Americans vote?  In our modest, middle class neighborhood, yard signs supporting various political candidates proliferate .  From the looks of it, we’re fairly divided as to political party leanings.  In 2020 , will my  Republican neighbors  vote  against Trump–or Pence– because he decided not to stay and fight a losing battle? Will it be a deal breaker?  If we go on past history, I would doubt it.

THANK YOU, DANCING WITH THE STARS

Each morning upon awakening,  I pick up my i phone  The first thing I see. before unlocking the phone, are messages  about all the unpleasant things going on in the world. My stomach is churning with anxiety even before getting out of bed.  It continues all day and up until bedtime. Is it any wonder I have occasional nightmares? But last night’s television program  offered a respite from all the bad news.  Thank you, Dancing With The Stars, for a good night’s  sleep, and sweet dreams.

Dancing With the Stars is America at it's best
MANY CONTESTANTS ON DANCING WITH THE STARS ARE WAY OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE.

What I love about Danicng With The Stars  is its lack of perfection.  Some of the contestants are awkward and out of shape.  Many are way out of their comfort zone.  But they’re gamely trying their best not to make a fool of themselves.  Isn’t that where most of us have been at one time or another in our lives?

Dancing With The Stars has come a long way since it’s first season.  Then, it was mostly about the dancing. The sets and costumes weren’t so spectacular. Later, they went through a time when  the women were half naked in their revealing costumes.  My husband liked that, but I thought it not so good for younger kids who might be watching. Now, they’ve gone all out with gorgeous,  glittering costumes and glamorous sets.  It’s like watching a Broadway show.

Best of all, for two hours, you don’t have to see television shows and news reports  about murder, sex, gender issues, racism, politics.  Better yet, you don’t have to hear about:  impeachment, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Trump, Schiff, Pelosi, Isis, Turkey, or any of the other cringe worthy words or topics that make you grit your teeth and wish it would go away.

This show represents  America at its best. It takes our mind off our worries and gives us two hours of dazzling  entertainment.  Thank you, Dancing With The Stars.

EACH IMPEACHMENT IS DIFFERENT

Tolstoy began his  great novel, Anna Karenina  with this famous line: “Happy families are all alike; unhappy families are all unhappy in their own way”.  My grandchildren don’t know or can’t remember what it was like to live through impeachment  proceedings.   But this will be my third rodeo, and I can tell you that each  impeachment hearing is different–and unhappy– in it’s own way.

The Nixon resignation in 1974 was the first impeachment proceeding I had seen in my lifetime
NIXON WAS ON THE VERGE OF IMPEACHMENT WHEN HE RESIGNED

The Nixon debacle came at a time when my  personal life was in turmoil.  My then husband lost his job in the recession.  I  returned to school to get my dietitian’s license, while raising three children under 7.  I was so tied up with financial worries, exhaustion, and stress,  that Nixon’s impeachment was the farthest thing from my mind.  As a university grad assistant, I heard college professors  discussing Watergate. . I didn’t see impeachment  as a major concern, or anything that would change my life for the better or worse. . Nixon’s resignation speech was painful to watch, but life went on pretty much the same.  I know I voted for Jimmy Carter in the next election.

Comic photo of Bill Clinton wearing Monica Lewinski's blue dress
EPSTEIN HAD THIS STRANGE PICTURE OF BILL CLINTON IN A BLUE DRESS

The Clinton impeachment hearings came at a time when my children were raised, and I was nearing retirement.  That winter, I came down with the flu, and spent hours on my computer with  the Drudge report.  It was like reading an enactment of the National Inquirer; sex, lies, and the famous blue dress. It was great entertainment and got me through a rough bout with the flu.  For Republicans, is was schadenfreude at it’s best.  Even liberals found the cigar wielding president a salacious distraction.  When the impeachment didn’t pass the Senate, I don’t remember being upset.  My life would go on pretty much the same, although  I would miss the presidential soap opera.

Now we have the Trump impeachment inquiries.  I’m probably not going to watch the hearings during the day.  They won’t have near the entertainment value that we had with Bill Clinton’s time on the hot seat. And of course, it will be all over the news, night and day, until the final vote is taken.  But from my standpoint, this impeachment would have much more impact on our nation.

If Trump goes down,  a liberal president is a foregone conclusion.  And most  everyone’s life will change.  Like it or not, we will have Medicare for all.  Since I’m already on Medicare, it won’t make much difference to me. But as we seniors know, Medicare A doesn’t cover everything.   I’m wondering what will happen to the cost of supplemental insurance and Medicare part B?  My husband and I currently pay over $10,000 a year for this coverage. .  Will the premiums go up even more than they have the past few years?   For sure, taxes will increase to pay for all the freebies.  Since my time on this earth is limited, it won’t change my life so very much. .  But the direction of my grandchildren’s future will take a sharp left turn.

SHOULD SCHOOLS TEACH ABOUT SEX?

There’s a big controversy going in our city about sex education in the public schools.  Most parents  in our community don’t want their children to learn about different types of birth control.  They think teens  should be told that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy.  Well, actually, they’re right.  But it doesn’t take a six week class to explain that.    And do teens need instruction on the mechanics of procreation?  All they need do is go to the movies or watch cable TV to see how the act is performed.  The question is: should schools  teach about sex at all?

Having attended parochial schools for 12 years, I  never received  sex education.  From the  first  grade  on , we  children  celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception, without having the slightest idea what it meant..  What was a virgin, I used to wonder?    That was the extent of sex education during my school years.  On the other hand,  I don’t recall my public school friends attending sex education classes. .  But somehow, by the time we were teens, all of us understood” sex.” .  How did we find out?  Word of mouth, mostly.  Or maybe  pamphlets provided by our parents.  The nuns  warned against the sin of “petting” in religion class.  And yes, we knew that abstinence was the only sure way to prevent pregnancy.  Which led to a lot of fooling around without “going all the way.”

However, some people had sex, anyway.    Consequently, they  got pregnant, which was a major social  disgrace.  In 1965 only 3% of all white births were outside of marriage, and 24% of black births.  Somehow, the majority of young people had a pretty good idea about birth control, even though they didn’t learn about it in school.

But in 1971, all public schools were required to implement a sex education program.  Strangely enough, that didn’t help matters.   By 1978, 20% of white births  and 75% of black births were to unmarried women.  Now, movie stars and TV personalities brag about getting pregnant outside the state of matrimony.  Almost half  all births are now to single moms.  it’s ’s important for kids to know about STD’s, but  that topic could be covered quickly in a basic  health class.  It’s not rocket science.

Should teachers in public school be asked to teach about sex?
SHOULD PARENTS EXPECT TEACHERS TO ASSUME THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SEX EDUCATION?

I know this is going to sound old fashioned, but shouldn’t  parents be the ones who decide how  their children learn about sex? And if parents don’t take this responsibility, should it be passed on to the public school teachers. ? They’re teachers, not parents.  It seems like an unfair burden.

And why should strangers be allowed to tell our children how, where, and when to have sex?  Shouldn’t the parents’ cultural and spiritual values guide their children’s  decisions?

The problem isn’t  about what schools should  teach about sex,  but whether they should be teaching about  it all .