28 April 2022

Thanks for support

Thanks to everyone who had nice things to say about my harpsichord flute duo concert streamed from The Old Church yesterday. We are our own worst critics and I felt there were several problems, especially with my solo piece, but it was great to get everyone's support and realize that some folks actually took time to listen. The concert will be up on the website indefinitely. www.theoldchurch.org/lunchtime-concerts/  April 27 2022

Now looking forward to a little downtime... after my icky medical procedure this morning, but the less said about that the better.  

21 April 2022

Looking way ahead on Ukraine

 I disagree with John Mearsheimer's interpretation of recent history in regard to Ukraine, which sees the US and NATO relationship with Ukraine over the past 20 years or so as exploitative and Russia-centered, and actually claims that Ukraine's policies pre-invasion constitute an "existential threat" to Russia. This is total nonsense, in my view, and completely fails to recognize that Ukraine itself, government and people, has sought and pushed hard for "Westernization," for its own reasons and as a sovereign state. Not everything that happens in former Soviet states is about Russia, for crying out loud. And there simply is no basis to claim that Ukraine, or even NATO for that matter, are threatening Russian existence or its sovereignty or self-determination. That's just claptrap. 

But having said that, his proposed solution for this war is probably about right. Somehow the Ukrainians will have to accept a sort of Finland-style neutrality, bound in a treaty. And probably have to cede part of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the Crimea. But beyond that, the Russians will have to accede to the sovereignty and security guarantees that such a treaty would also have to bind. This will not be easy to achieve, but it's the only way. 

Putin has done immeasurable damage to his own country and made himself into almost a second Stalin. There will be a long time for recovery, no matter what. But in the long run, NATO should be remade into a "Northern Alliance" including Russia, and Russia should join the EU. When this might happen I can't say, but it's the best possible outcome. One thing is for sure. Putin will be long gone before that day dawns. 

20 April 2022

Upcoming live stream concert Wed. April 27 2022 12 noon PDT David Studhalter and Jas. Adams

In case anyone is interested, my friend Jas. and I are playing a short amateur baroque/early classical concert next Wednesday, livestream only.  Wed., April 27, noon PDT. The recording will be up on the site for a time at least after the concert. Wish us luck. Thanks. 


19 April 2022

Dems need to wake up and start bragging!

 Could I just say? Y'know, "just sayin'".... 

We Democrats need to wake up and start fighting for our congressional majorities. Like yesterday. The Republicans have absolutely nothing to offer the American people. Except higher taxes on most people (the Scott agenda), banning books, attacking human rights, lying about everything all the time.... oh jeez we can go on and on. But the successes of the Democrats, while not what progressives would've hoped for, are not being messaged. We passed relief bills that saved us from a COVID depression. The management of the pandemic has been pretty good; the response to the Ukraine War has been remarkably good, and but for some noncooperatives in the Senate we would've passed the most historic progressive legislation ever. Despite global inflation that no president could control, and an oil shock actually worse than the one in the 70s that, again, no president could control, our economy is at full employment, and real income growth for lower wage jobs has been better than at any time in many years. We have a ton to brag about! So let's get bragging. And let's get to calling misguided "both sides-ism" in the media. Any Republican who had posted the successes of the Biden years so far would be receiving accolades and suggestions that we rename Washington after him, for crying out loud. 

Thank you and good night. 

14 April 2022

Military Outcome of Ukraine

 From a purely military perspective, I believe and hope that the Russians are testing the concept of using the thermonuclear threat as a shield to enable them to punch above their weight in a type of power politics aggressive warfare that typified the late 19th century to World War I, and which Hitler tried to carry to an ultimate extreme in World War II. I say I hope this because, whether it's Putin or others smarter than he is in the Russian military and government, their lesson should be that this cannot work. The shield works both ways. Their incursion into Ukraine has undermined their geopolitical position rather than strengthened it, and cost them at least two decades of progress. I hate autocracies and kleptocratic systems, but my point is entirely military: they are failing in their aggressive war against Ukraine, and have united and strengthened their opponents to an extent that they obviously did not anticipate at all. Even if they manage to fight to a stalemate and a long occupation of the East, they will have suffered a serious setback and reduced their overall position geopolitically, probably for more than a generation. And, somewhere, somehow, sometime, Putin will be deposed and castigated in his own country for this failure. 

10 April 2022

Democratic vs. Antidemocratic

I suppose it's a sign of the times that I find it nearly incomprehensible that any significant number of Americans would vote for Trump over essentially any Democrat. I feel the same way about Macron v. LePen. Trump is worse than LePen, surely, but the division is parallel and pretty unmistakable. It is almost like the 1930s Fascists vs. democratic/republican western leaders. Except the weird twist (maybe not so weird if you recall the Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact) is that Russia is clearly the leader of the Fascist pack at this point, and the apparent incipient alignment of India and China, half the world's population, with the anti-democrats, is quite alarming. 

Those of us who came of age in the Vietnam era tended to see the CIA and the American government as the Great Imperial Power. But the US is no longer nearly so powerful, and while some of its alignments (such as with Saudi) are horrible and very, very problematic, it seems like the alignment of the world into "democratic" and "anti-democratic" forces has our government, for the moment, at least, on the side of the angels. 

Or so I maintain at least. But if we re-elect Trump, all is lost. 

07 April 2022

Ex-guy's obvious guilt of crime

People often misunderstand what is required for proof of "intent" in various crimes of which this is an element, including the kind of seditious conspiracy that I truly believe the ex president is almost certainly guilty of. What is needed is not direct proof of state of mind, that is, a deliberate intention to commit the specified crime, but rather evidence from which a trier of fact can reasonably conclude ("beyond a reasonable doubt") that the individual knew and intended to do the things that are, in fact, the crime, regardless of whether he intended to commit a crime or knew that the actions or omissions were a crime. This is an important point, and the fact that the ex guy is now saying he regrets not having marched on the Capitol himself (instead of retreating to his private dining room to cheer the insurrectionists on) is yet more evidence to nail this inference.