Russia Mobilizes

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After seven months war of attrition in Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin is forced to announce this morning a mobilization of 300 thousand arm forces.

Specifically, Putin asked for those “who are currently in the reserve and . . . those who have served in the army, who have certain professions and have necessary experience,” will be recruited for his special military operation.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky mobilized in February, at the beginning of this conflict, all males between the age of 18 to 60 to fight the Russian invasion. Without question, it’s an uphill battle. But, with the help of West support in arms, supplies, sanctions, and here is an important point, its will to fight, Ukraine is holding its own.

Will the pendulum of support swing against Putin with additional Russian families involved? Will the cold harsh winter change their will to fight? Will the protracted conflict diminish the Russian military moral? When adding them all up, it does not bode well for Putin.

How long do you think Putin will last in this conflict?

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Is The Pandemic Over?

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President Biden said this past weekend that the Covid-19 pandemic is over. Not sure where he got this idea, but his statement shocked many people (myself included). The president’s off-the-cuff remark contradicted the experts and world leaders alike.

The White House and others from the administration had to clarify or play down the president’s statement later. What a mess! I believe Mr. Biden meant that the American are over with the pandemic. Which should not be construed as the pandemic itself is over.

However, that was not what came across.  A way to test my theory is asking yourself the following questions:

  • Are you still wearing mask indoor, on an airplane or bus?
  • Are you fist-bumping instead of shaking people’s hands? And
  • Are you vaccinated?

The answers to your desired state may be negative (i.e. wanting the pandemic to be over), but reality requires the opposite answers for the pandemic to be over.  Your actions can  help to make it happen, our knowing-doing gap notwithstanding.

Do you think Mr. Biden had a left brain versus right brain moment?

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Office Politics – A Necessary Evil?

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Office politics is the politics with a small ‘p,‘ and it is a game that I love to hate for its nebulous practice and pervasiveness.

Let’s face it. As long as there are more than two people, in-person or online, hierarchical structure, office politics is guaranteed to exist regardless we like it or not. Why?

People have preferences and bias. To organize resources and get the job done, boss must hold power over subordinates. And rules, policies, and procedures are suppose to be in place to support the mission. Their effectiveness depends on implementation.

If done right, office politics can grease human relation, smooth over individual difference, and incentivize employee performance. But more often than not, the opposite happens against our better angels.

Particularly, when selfishness gets in the way, office politics circumvents merit promotion, defies logic of sound policy, and stifles innovation. Instead of empowerment, it becomes nepotism (birds of a feather flock together) or power struggle.

What is your thought on office politics?



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Week In Review – 18 Sep 2022

The Queen Elizabeth II of UK, the longest reigning monarch, has been lying in state at the Westminster hall pending her funeral tomorrow.  An historical transfer of monarch from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III will be witnessed by the world.

Meanwhile over in Ukraine, Putin’s special military operation is not going well.  It has gotten a beat down by the rapid Ukrainian counteroffensives that recaptured a large swaths of land in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Closer to home, the 2022 primary season is over.  In all but 51 days will be the midterm election. Will the rising inflation help the Republican party to regain control of the Congress? What about the White House in 2024?

Backdrop to all these happenings is the transition from summer to autumn for us in the Norther Hemisphere. Seasonal change has a way of putting me in reflective mood. As can be seen on the topics of self care  (maintenance) and relationship (finding soulmate), my introvert side comes through.

Stay safe & have a nice week.

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What Would Putin Do?

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Ukrainian military is handing Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, a beat down in recent week. Which open a window for anti-Putin factions inside Russia to voice their opposition against the Russian leader’s specialized military operation.

Internationally, Western sanctions against Russia and support to Ukraine play a key part in fueling this dissatisfaction within the country. Both India and China who have kept the Russia economy afloat thus far express their concerns to Putin’s face.

Is Putin’s back against the wall? Will he return to the negotiation table with Ukraine? Or will he double down and deploy nuclear forces? No one knows.  But maybe, just maybe, the pendulum of justice is finally swinging back.

Optimistic thinking on my part? Perhaps. Victory is far from certain on either side of this conflict. Nevertheless, it’s clear that one should never give up on their faith (as the Ukrainian people have demonstrated) because tyranny will not last forever.

Do you think Putin will be foolish enough to deploy Russia’s nuclear forces?

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On Finding Soulmate

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Finding or developing your soulmate? That is the question. A soulmate is, by definition, a perfect or near-perfect match. Before answering the question, one assumption is that a soulmate exists for each one of us.

Then, how does one go about getting matched up with his or her soulmate? Dating App, fortune teller, or something else? I contend that to find a soulmate, one has to have a clear understanding of themselves first. Otherwise, how do you know that you got a match?

So it is quite possible, given the finite time we have, developing a soulmate is a reasonable approach. Meaning instead of bumping into someone perfect, the connection gets developed over time.

Sorta like a plant needs water, sun, and time to grow. Isn’t it the same for a relationship?

What is your vote on this? Finding or developing your soulmate?

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Why Maintenance?

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Maintenance is not glamorous. Not a centerpiece in most discussions.  But without the  maintenance most things will not last. Flashy sport car won’t hum rhythmically, fancy house won’t keep its luster, and healthy person won’t have a full life.

On that last point, have you noticed, after certain age, folks start to gain weight, develop bad posture, or have health issues. Quite common in our hustle culture.  Other “priorities” always get in the way. Family, work, travel, etc. are all too familiar excuses.

Not saying that maintenance can avoid the inevitable (it can not). But if you want to keep, extend or prolong the useful life, maintenance is indispensable. This high leverage activity produces returns on the investment. That’s why businesses do it. But for many  people the idea is lost or simply ignored.

Adding insult to injury, the older things get (our bodies too), the more maintenance are necessary. It’s a fact of life. I know this first hand being a retiree: more initiatives and TLC on self care. The alternative is clear – hastened end-of-life.

What is your favorite maintenance activity?

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2022 Primary Season Is Now Over

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Yesterday, the last round of the primaries wrapped up the 2022 primary season (197 days). With 55 days to November 8th, there are some clear signs for the upcoming midterm election and potentially the 2024 Presidential Election in two years.

For the Republicans, the party of Lincoln is now the party of Trump.  96.5% of Trump endorsed candidates have won their party’s primaries.  For those non-Trumpian candidates only 30% won their contests. Clearly, Trump dominated the Republican Congressional Primaries.

If the Republicans are gravitating to extreme right, the Democrats are not going the opposite as one may expect. In fact, “nearly three quarters of all the Democratic candidates stayed away from the far left wing of the Democratic Party” represented by likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Covid pandemic must had stifled the socialist or revolutionary minded candidates.

However just because the Republican candidates wrapped themselves around former president Trump that does not mean the Party is unified. Not by a long shot.  Party in-fighting and never-Trumpers are very much alive. No need to take my words. Just ask Liz Chaney.

Moreover, the rise of the election deniers among the Republican nominations is radical and disconcerting wave for our democracy. Because some of them are running for  secretaries of state. Why would that be a concern, you ask?

The secretaries of state oversee the election process within each state.  If the 2020 election was “stolen”, what would happen to the 2024 presidential election if these election deniers win this November? Would our democracy really able to stand the assault? It makes me cringe just thinking about it.

What’s your thought on the primaries?

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The Feeling Of Fall

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This morning I noticed lots of loose leaves along the route I ran.  Crunchy sounds as my feet landed on them reminded me the passage of time that once again fall is right around the corner (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere).

Temperature was 70 degree Fahrenheit, and an overcast sky provided a canopy for all kinds pleasant outdoor experience. Whether it’s parents chaperoning their kids to school, neighbor walking their dogs, or others like me taking advantage of the weather, all bathed in this feeling of fall.

It is also my favorite season of the year for running.  Colorful scenery like nature’s brush on canvass distinctly marks the contrast in seasons.  From a spectator point of view, I get to witness its happening and soak it all in without the worry of pollen.

Are you ready for fall?

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What Inflation?

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“Inflation in the US and around the world is a big problem right now.” There, I just told you what I know about the inflation. Even that much I heard it from somewhere.

But seems everyone is talking about it. Be it elected officials, candidates, economists, or my barber. They all point to the Fed on how much it will raise the interest rate to tame the inflation. Is this an echo chamber or do they really know?

Certainly, I do feel the effects of the inflation. Looking at the prices at the grocery store, gas pump, and monthly rent, they  have been going up and up. Hence, a problem for folks on fixed income. Which is most of us.

Commonsense wise, I would be more selective and purchase only what is necessary. Which incidentally is what the Fed trying to achieve – cooling off the economy.  But how long will that take? Would people lose their jobs as result?

Don’t ask me. I have no slightest clue.

How long do you think this inflation will last?

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