Words …

President Biden gave a speech yesterday in Warsaw, Poland, before heading home.  The speech has been hailed by many, comparing it to two of what are considered the greatest speeches of the Cold War by U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.  While I have not listened to the speech, I have read the transcript … here are a few parts that caught my eye:

  • “A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people’s love for liberty. Brutality will never grind down their will to be free. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.”

  • “Let me say this if you’re able to listen: You, the Russian people, are not our enemy. I’m telling you the truth: This war is not worthy of you, the Russian people.”

  • “For generations, Warsaw has stood where liberty has been challenged and liberty has prevailed. In fact, it was here in Warsaw when a young refugee who fled her home country from Czechoslovakia was under Soviet domination, came back to speak and stand in solidarity with dissidence. Her name was Madeleine Korbel Albright. She became one of the most ardent supporters of democracy in the world. She was a friend with whom I served. America’s first woman Secretary of State. She passed away three days ago. She fought her whole life for central democratic principles. And now in the perennial struggle for democracy and freedom, Ukraine and its people are in the front lines.”

  • “My message to the people of Ukraine is a message I delivered today to Ukraine’s foreign minister and defense minister, who I believe are here tonight. We stand with you. Period!”

  • “President Zelenskyy was democratically elected. He’s Jewish. His father’s family was wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust. And Putin has the audacity, like all autocrats before him, to believe that might will make right.”

  • “And earlier today I visited your national stadium, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees are now trying to answer the toughest questions a human can ask. My God, what is going to happen to me? What is going to happen to my family? I saw tears in many of the mothers’ eyes as I embraced them. Their young children, their young children, not sure whether to smile or cry.”

  • “I didn’t have to speak the language or understand the language to feel the emotion in their eyes, the way they gripped my hand, little kids hung on to my leg, praying with a desperate hope that all this is temporary. Apprehension that they may be perhaps forever away from their homes. Almost a debilitating sadness that this is happening all over again.”

  • “I also want to thank my friend, the great American chef Jose Andres, and his team for help feeding those who are yearning to be free. But helping these refugees is not something Poland or any other nation should carry alone. All the world’s democracies have a responsibility to help. All of them.”

But in keeping with the way this nation is today, the media and others seized on one of President Biden’s last lines …

  • “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

He uttered the heartfelt words that so many of us are thinking … one way or another, Putin cannot remain in power for if he does … if he does, it is a near-certainty that the world will see another massive war that will touch every nation, every person on the globe.  But immediately people jumped to the conclusion that the president was calling for regime change and that he was willing to be the one to make that happen.  NO, people, that is not what he said nor what he meant!  A statement was issued by the White House to clarify the president’s remarks …

“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

I hate it when people try to ‘interpret’ what someone has said.  If I say I’m not hungry right now, that’s precisely what I mean.  I do not mean I am not feeling well, I do not mean that what you’re offering does not appeal … I simply mean I’m not hungry.  Every word President Biden utters is picked apart ad nauseam by those on the right side of the aisle, by the media, and by people who don’t even understand the situation.  Sometimes it’s okay to take a person at their word, to take what they say at face value.  Why on earth would people let 9 short words colour their view of a 30-minute, 3,097-word speech, one of the best Biden has ever given in my view?  Because the free press jumped like a pack of hungry dogs on a bone.  I support freedom of the press to the fullest extent, however with freedom comes responsibility — in this case, the responsibility to speak with conscience, not to put words into the mouth of another, not to twist and turn words into something they were not meant to be.

We, as a nation, really need to get over the finger-pointing, the seizing on every word a member of the opposing political party utters, the lies, the hatred, the divisiveness.  There is much work to be done, but we cannot do it as long as the nation remains so divided that we cannot even listen to one another.

117 thoughts on “Words …

  1. Unfortunately, the president complicated a diplomatic end to this war. The president correctly stated that Putin is lying about NATO and its intentions. Since its establishment after World War II, NATO has, in fact, been a defensive organization which kept the peace in Europe for almost eighty years (with very few exceptions). Without NATO, Europe would likely have seen more wars of this type sooner. Putin’s actual goal is territorial ambition, pure and simple. NATO’s courting of Ukraine was intended to be a response to the very real threat from Russia. Unfortunately, after emphasizing these points, President Biden told the world that Putin needs to be deposed. The two statements are incongruent. Which is our policy, sir? Depose Putin or stay out of Russian internal politics? Do you realize how quickly Vladimir Putin uses your remark to further justify his actions in Ukraine and how much more support it buys him back home? The president made Putin’s claims seem justified. It’s not smart politics.

    The White House quickly walked back the president’s statement, making the ridiculous explanation that what the president really meant was that “we should remove Putin from power in Ukraine, not in Russia”. Does anyone believe that cobbled together explanation?

    The opposition response is not quite so simple-minded as you make them out to be. The president’s comments in this instance were consequential, along with many of the other ill advised statements he made during the trip, including one that the U.S. would respond “in kind” to a chemical weapons attack in Ukraine.

    For more on this perspective, see my latest post: https://seek-the-truth.com/2022/03/31/what-is-really-happening-in-ukraine/

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  3. I was furious with the White House staff for “walking back” Biden’s remark about Putin, thereby making it the focus of all the discussion–instead of his very powerful speech that is indeed one for the history books. Today (Monday), Biden said he was speaking from the heart. I’m sure that was the case. Context is everything: He had just been visiting with some of the refugees who have been devastated by Putin’s horrors–hugging the children, hearing the fear and desperation–and minutes before he spoke, he was informed that the Russians had sent missile attacks into Lviv, very close to his locale in Warsaw.

    He’s balancing a nearly impossible series of priorities here and abroad. I think he’s doing a remarkable job. I’m sure there are covert operations in which Americans are helping the Ukrainians, as well as the very public ones, and there will be more assistance. I think we all want more because it’s so wrenching. (I wrote a post about how tough it is to simply bear witness when you want to see the damn war end!). But it’s clear that we’ve had remarkable intelligence to date that was very close to Putin (and Xi–knowing when they’d spoken), so there may well be more to the plane decision than we understand.

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    • I fully agree with you, Annie! President Biden has shown a deep sense of caring and compassion and I find that much preferable to the former guy’s attitude of “me me me me me”, or his isolationist policies of “America First”. I was glad to see him stand up and say that he spoke from the heart and makes no apologies for it.

      Like you, I think he is doing a remarkable job and receiving far too little credit from the media! The lowest unemployment rate in decades, but they focus on gas prices, ignoring the fact that gasoline is high all over the globe! He is blamed for so much that is out of his control, and given credit for almost nothing, though he has done so much good. The press is failing in its duty to unbiased, responsible reporting, and half the nation … maybe more than half … is buying into it.

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    • No, I do not see a scenario where Putin scratches his bald pate and says, “Hmmmm … y’know, maybe I’ve gone too far. I’ll bring the troops back home and we’ll sing Kumbaya ’round the camp fire.” No, Putin is in it to the death, I think. Sigh. Have a great week, my friend! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. As I said above/below(?) in my comment-reply to Nan and Jill…

    Now it is Much Ado About Nothing and grossly inflated into “Something” from nothing! Ridiculous, just crappy foresight on the part of Biden’s WH staff.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Is it? I wouldn’t say that President Biden is necessarily the most powerful man in the world, but even if that were true … he got where he is as a result of his beliefs, his ideology … I’d rather have a president who says what he honestly believes than one who willingly speaks the “party line” or what is “politically correct” all the time. The war in Ukraine is a very emotional subject and a bit of emotion from the president was not, I think, out of order. The people’s response was out of order.

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  6. Despite all of these, words of supports, and the, we’re behind you sentiments, where’s the actual, physical help(like actually, sending some of the U.S.’s troops)to help Ukraine fight for its, independence from Russia that Ukraine is in need of? Nonexistent, it’s, exactly like how after the Vietnam War, the U.S., shut it self in, and besides, U.S. can’t win, if Russia bands toghether with, China, and, that’s what it looks like, Russia’s, leaning towards right now.

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    • Well … it’s a complex issue, my friend. We have sent assistance in the form of military hardware, but sending troops opens a whole ‘nother can of worms. That can of worms could very easily lead to WWIII … a nuclear war … and I don’t think anyone in any nation wants to see that happen. I hope that Xi has more sense than to support Russia, but time will tell. If he does, the dynamics change and … I just don’t know what the end result will be. We must tread with an overabundance of caution at this point, though.

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      • I agree that America shouldn’t send troops into Ukraine, but much more military assistance could and should be provided, such as the jets Zelenskyy has been begging for and missile defense systems to protect Ukraine from the utter devastation caused by long-range missiles being fired from distant points (including from Russia).

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  7. That’s all the Australian media were talking about too. It’s a sad indictment of all of us that the media gurus believe we only respond to sensationalism and gotcha moments. Sadder still, most of the time they’re right. What the heck is wrong with us?

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    • You are so right, my friend … it is a very sad indictment. As they say in the news industry, “If it bleeds, it leads”, and that seems to be the case. It’s all about selling advertising, not presenting facts and truth to people. And, let’s face it, half the people only believe what they want to believe anyway. Sigh. I don’t know what’s wrong with us, dear Andrea … the human species is flawed and it seems to be a fatal flaw … we seem bent on our own self-destruction. Hugs to you, my friend.

      Liked by 3 people

      • -sigh- Yes. We’ve been flirting with global destruction for such a long time. One day our luck will run out. I know this is scifi pie in the sky but…I’d prefer a global AI to rule us. We’re like children who can’t be trusted. 😦

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        • Yep, one day our luck will run out, likely by the end of this century. Heh heh … I’m trying to picture that scenario … a global AI ruling us … could be a fun scenario to think about! Has one of your books covered that?

          Liked by 1 person

          • -grin- No! At least not yet. Trouble is there are too many interim steps that need to be hurdled before we could make such an AI. And then there’s the problem of /accepting/ it. I fear it would take a terrible catastrophe for the survivors to accept a digital ‘overlord’.

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                  • You could be right. I was thinking about the 75 years /without/ a global conflict, but then our ability to fight on such a huge scale is very new, and there have been lots of ‘smaller’ conflicts inbetween. -sigh-

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • The perspective changes depending on what part of the globe you live on. I’m sure if I lived in Afghanistan, as a woman, I would feel that I’ve been living in the midst of some form of war all my life. But yes, for us it is new … I was born during the Korean War and a teen/young adult during the Vietnam War, but neither felt quite like this does. Like we’re holding our breath, waiting for that proverbial ‘other shoe’ to drop. Yeah … sigh.

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  8. When I saw this ridiculous mania of the media and others and all the trying to back it back by Biden’s staff, it made me I’ll. He said what every normal sane person is thinking. Do you think trump or his people would be worried about something he said?
    The “normal” media can’t make up its mind whether. Iden doesn’t do enough or may do too much. Or he doesn’t sound strong enough or my stars and garters, he said a simple statement from the heart and people have gone nuts..I guess it’s the PC police in action. Plus this gives red meat to the republicans that old Joe has lost his marbles. It’s absurd.

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    • You are exactly right … “He said what every normal, sane person is thinking”. Heck no, Trump would be applauding Putin and probably sending troops to help the Russian military destroy even more lives … we would have blood on our hands.

      The media has failed in its duty to be non-partisan, to report the NEWS rather than political garbage. I could almost believe that the entire press corp is under Trump’s thumb, or at least the influence of the GOP, for it seems that no matter how many positive things Biden has done, there is never a kudos for him … all there is is criticism. Sigh.

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  9. Pingback: Words … — Filosofa’s Word | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  10. The fact that others can’t/don’t want to see that his remark was simply an utterance of frustration and not a political statement shows full-force the idiocy of the news media.

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    • And they are STILL talking about that ONE SINGLE LINE/statement today as they were yesterday! I suspect the news outlets will still be talking about it tomorrow and the next day as well ad nauseum! By doing so they dilute the rest of his inspiring speech and its impact every half-hour & hour they persist to spend on those nine words! 😡 Pull your heads out of your rectums news reporters and see, promote the greater message! DUH!

      I haven’t bothered to listen how much Faux News & NewsMax are attacking that one single statement—I’m quite sure they are acting like sharks & piranhas in a blood & meat-filled tank—but if they are… it isn’t President Biden’s fault in the least. It’s the White House staff’s fault for handing the radical Republicans, Faux News, & NewsMax the bloody opportunity to ravage & feast on a silver platter! 🤦‍♂️

      Now it is Much Ado About Nothing and grossly inflated into “Something” from nothing! Ridiculous, just crappy foresight on the part of Biden’s WH staff. And for some mind-numbing reason(s) Biden’s popularity-rating is already (unjustifiably) struggling and they had to go and oppose/contradict their own President! Dumb, dumb, dumb. (SMH)

      Bottom-line… Biden only stated what 99% of the Western world has been thinking/wanting for many years, but ESPECIALLY now that Putin is being a Butcher & War Criminal.

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      • “If it bleeds, it leads”. This is rather like the Oscars last night when the only news the media seems to be able to focus on is Will Smith slapping Chris Rock for his inappropriate attempt at humour. Why? Because that’s what the people eat up like popcorn! And, like popcorn, it might be fun, but no substance. We need to find a way to hold the press to their commitment to report unbiased news, not gossipy garbage, else the “free press” becomes naught but a joke.

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        • Jill, it all reminds me of Maximus (Russell Crowe) in the 2000 film “Gladiator.” We all know that clinical psychology & sociology humans, being descendants of the primal apes/monkeys, to some large or small degree LOVE being pandered to by violence, revenge or hate (villains), lust & passion unfettered, and most of all… ENTERTAINED! Whether it is virtuous or immoral, stoic or fervid, honorable or ignoble, by compassion or blood-thirst, it doesn’t matter… as long as we 21st-century audiences are…

          For cinematic purposes, a most dramatic scene for sure. But NOT qualities—for the ordinary mediocre fans/audience that is—that benefit the human soul, the human good, the greater good for the short-term, mid-term, or long-term of each in the greater whole. As long as I’ve been an adult, from my late teens until now, humans, Primates have always had that gene or genome for the graphic and the vile that make a less human and sadly more ape-like. 😔

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          • Good points, Prof! Yes, the ‘news’ today is far more about entertainment for the masses than serious and unbiased factual reporting. And the masses jump on it like starving dogs on a chunk of meat carelessly tossed out. ‘Careless’ … that is how I view both the GOP and the media today … no thought for the consequences of their words and actions … just keep people coming back for the next act. Sigh.

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    • Well … I don’t imagine the Secret Service, who are expected to protect his life with their own, would have liked him standing where bullets were flying. Had he been struck by one of those bullets, the world would be at war now, as we speak. Sometimes, my friend, it is truly best to err on the side of caution.

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      • Again, I was not saying Biden should literally stand where bullets are flying, just that he should be doing more for the people who ARE STANDING WHERE BULLETS ARE FLYING. And, moreover, so should every other nation on Earth that does not want to see a nuclear war, or any kind of war. Despite everything that has been done so far, everything, Ukraine has been hung out to dry. They are being sacrificed to the War God Putin.
        And whatever Biden meant when he said those “nine little words,” he meant them when he said them. I meant them every time I said similar words. Whatever it takes, Putin has to be removed from power. Biden had no need to walk back on anything!
        But he did. And that is why I say he is weak. That is my opinion.

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        • Unfortunately, Biden has to operate under certain constraints, but overall I agree with you that this should be of interest to every nation on the planet, and each should help to the best of their ability.

          No, he didn’t walk back — his people did, and for the sake of him being able to accomplish anything. Politics is not a pretty game, and far too often the players have to make some concessions. Do I like it? NO. But I understand it.

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          • I just completed my follow-up to my earlier post on What Does Democracy Do For Us. I know how you feel about Democracy, Jill, but I hope this post will at least help you to question it a bit more. If not, then I have failed.

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                    • My mind and my body fight constantly! The mind rarely lets the body win! I think that’s probably why the body took its revenge last September and tried to prove to the mind that the body is really the boss. I object! The body is lazy and the mind needs to be active to stay fit! Sigh. If they ever stop arguing, I suppose it will be time to light the fire, eh?

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                    • Yes. But! The body needs to take care of itself, or the mind will not have a home. When the body insists on resting, and recuperating, let it. Don’t fight it. That way the mind gets to live to fight another day. Please.
                      I like you where I can talk to you.

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                    • Not sure I will be though. Nothing serious, but tests are being done as we speak. My GP suspects I may have had symptomless Covid (I had 3 PCR tests in the last 2 years, all negative) which has now turned into Long Covid. Gail has never had signs of anything, I never had all the symptoms, only a few a couple different times. But now he says I am showing significant signs of long Covid, with cardiac complications. I am only telling you this now because of where this conversation is going. Hopefully I will get early results tomorrow, but for now he is somewhat concerned. He knows my medical history.

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        • And Ronald Reagan said (loudly) ‘Mr Gorbachev, open that gate. Mr Gorbachev tear down that wall,’….And everyone applauded, even if politically it was arguably incendiary because Reagan was by that statement demanding regime change of the GDR…I know, I know, different times and no one was shooting (in Europe anyway).
          IF Biden had not said something like that then folk would have been saying ‘Oh he’s still weak, he shoulda said something more aggressive…blah…blah..blah’
          Never mind that Putin has been spitting venom and threats in a westerly direction since the whole business started.
          ‘Let’s get Joe’ (again)
          He just can’t win can he?
          (Actually he could have used a sharper little dart, but we can all think of something better, after the event)

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        • As much as many of us would like to do ‘a lot more’. There are certain practicalities which are part of the European Way, honed over 1,500 years. Supplying the Ukraine in the most useful Realpolitik way. The next step would be for NATO to physically support Ukraine on the ground for ‘Humanitarian Reasons’. This would have two very large conventional armies going head on and escalating quickly turning the whole nation from a war zone into a wasteland as Russia would turn to NBC warfare straight away.
          I would suggest that there may be a shadow war going on where units are unofficially operating under terms of very plausible deniability; particularly as the Ukrainian forces are using guerrilla tactics and the current Russian set up does not seem to be very flexible.
          There will also be folk in Western capitals (and other locations) who will be watching and calculating how secure Putin is (currently very secure….but the war has only just begun)

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          • My thought is not more battle, but calling Putin’s bluff with a NATO BLUFF. Putin is off his rocker, we all know that. But the army can be threatened. Already their morale is low, if what we hear can be trusted. If NATO stepped up their efforts and began to assemnle a force 10 times the size of Russia’s force, the soldiers on the battlefield would would retreat. And no sane person would follow an order to use nukes. If they do, that is on the whole human race for allowing nukes to exist in the first place. If this is how the human race is going to end, better sooner than later. Other life has more of a chance to survive right now. Human life is subordinate to Life. And humans are the only real threat.

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            • Playing a numbers game against a Russian army is riddled with problems rawgod. For Russia can always find more troops, the numbers in Ukrainian represent about maybe 10 -15% of those it can call on….What their quality would be is questionable.
              Nukes are at this stage still ‘a word.’
              This is beginning to resemble World War I, a slow grinding one of attrition and small gains, while one side faces a tightening grip of sanctions and blockades.
              That suits the West / NATO, and sadly for The Ukrainians possibly the only way out. Wars are never clean surgical things- who ever claim such a thing never read military history, much less served at the business end.

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              • Which partly is why I am a pacifist. War does not respect life, although most General’s are cowards who fight from well behind the lines. They see “their lives” as valuable, but the life of the poor schmuck on the ground as cannon-fodder. Their overgrown senses of ego is what makes most wars possible these days. I listen to Buffy Sainte-Marie and Donovan a lot these days. Without the “Universal Soldiers” the Generals would have to fight their own wars, and they would be over very quickly.

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  11. There are those who worship money and will not be swayed by an appeal to human rights or dignity. However, even that group should recognize that Putin is a threat to the economic stability their wealth requires. As he ages and becomes more erratic — and it is said that he is paranoid about treason in his inner circle — that is likely to worsen. And then there is after. Autocrats fall, invariably. Historically, each has a limited time, and Putin is no exception.

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    • In the last few years I’ve come to the conclusion that people see and believe what they WANT to see and believe, not what is before their eyes. Yes, they should realize that Putin is endangering the future economy of Russia and it’s the people, the average Joe, who will pay for his perfidy. I think most Russians DO see and understand that, but there are those who deny that what he is doing is anti-humanitarian. I do have a fear that whoever follows him may be even worse … although at this moment I cannot imagine how anybody could be worse than a man who bombs apartment buildings, killing families, murdering children. Yes, the day will come when Putin either dies or is ousted … the question is, what then? And meanwhile … how do we stop the killing of innocent civilians?

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