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A new commentary every Wednesday - June 21, 2017



    Enigma: A puzzling situation, or a person of puzzling, contradictory character — Webster's dictionary.

    This past weekend, I watched a series of interviews presented on "Showtime" made by controversial American filmmaker Oliver Stone with Russian President-for-Life, Vladimir Putin. It is a fascinating piece of Russian propaganda (Why else would Putin do it?) that is nevertheless worth the four hours. (I watched one hour per night.) It's definitely about the President of Russia, up close and personal.

    Stone is known for taking on controversial subjects, some of which are unflattering fictions of American foreign policy. A recent project of Stone's is "Snowden," about the American security analyst who left a trail of leaked US intelligence secrets as he fled prosecution. Near the end of the second installment of the Putin interviews, Putin is driving a vehicle somewhere, with the young Russian interpreter seated behind them. Stone asks Putin if "Snowden did the right thing?" and Putin answered "No." Then when answering Stone's follow-up as to why Russia refused extradition, Putin, explained that "Russia was probably the only country willing to stand up to the United States in the matter." That's the reason journalists use the adjective "enigmatic" so often when trying to explain Vladimirovich.

    REPLAYED: Putin feels that Russia is surrounded by offensive weapons controlled by NATO and NATO is controlled by the United States. One must remember that Putin served for years in East Germany (reportedly speaks German fluently) as a Soviet Intelligence officer, during the high tide of Russian hegemony and it is apparent that he feels that most everything done by Russian leaders since the death of Stalin is regrettable.

   Most of Stone's questions could be called "slow pitch" softballs. Only in the final moments did he become truly inquisitive of Putin's wealth and plans for the future. Putin stonewalled him, while grinning like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I would not have been surprised if both had sung a duet of Kum-bah-ya. (Politicians are the same the world over. Only they have "The Answer" to making the world great again).

    Putin positively denied any Russian governmental interference in the U.S. presidential election. It seems to me that everyone in the United States can document precisely how it was done. Everybody that is, but you and me. I can't help wishing those Generals and Admirals running our many Intelligence services could share more of what they say they know about Russian hacking.

    Biggest surprise: Putin said he admired Senator John McCain. Called him a patriot!

    One worthwhile takeaway: Putin said that he realizes that a thermonuclear war would kill every living thing on this planet. He accuses us of breaking off disarmament talks, and expressed a desire for a resumption. Will someone please explain to me why we shouldn't?

    Lastly, Russia has the US beaten badly when it comes to gorgeous meeting rooms. Such chandeliers! I made the Washington, DC building tour of our House and Senate once, and was terribly disappointed.


  -Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken


Miguel: Narcotraficante

The life of a narcotics trafficker for one of Mexico's brutal drug cartels. Available in paperback or for any computer, including Kindle eReader—Only from (Enter "miguel: narcotraficante" in the search window). Sample it free.

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