I would like to thank the Queens Jewish Link for placing an ad wishing me and my family Mazal Tov on my daughter Yael Rebecca’s engagement.
There were two big stories this past week. The 2022 congressional elections are finally over. The Democratic Party wishes to thank Donald Trump for his help. Without it, they never would have increased the number of Democratic Party senators from 50 to 51or lost so few members in the House of Representatives.
Georgia was a perfect example. Republicans who were not Trump-endorsed, such as the Governor and Secretary of State, won reelection handily. The only Republican candidate for statewide office to lose was Trump’s hand-picked candidate, Herschel Walker. Just in case there could be a possibility that Walker would win the special election, Trump came in to save the day for Senator Warnock. Trump put out a statement that what happened in the 2020 election was so horrible that he should be reinstated as president even if it violated the Constitution. Then he denied making the statement, even though it was in writing. Of course, this happened right before Election Day, when people had already started voting by mail.
One person who seems to be in denial besides Trump is President Biden. He seems to think that the Democratic Party’s success in the mid-terms was due to him and thus seems poised to run in 2024. Big mistake. Most Democrats, including me, don’t want him to run again. We are tired of his gaffes and kowtowing to the progressives too many times. If the election was a referendum on him and his administration, the Democrats would have been wiped out. Fortunately, it became a referendum on Trump and his extreme election-denying candidates. The only Republican that Biden can beat is Trump. As time passes, it is becoming clearer that both parties want to move on from Trump and Biden to a new generation of leaders. It is time for change on all levels, including the next president.
The Democratic Party in the House of Representatives understood the mood of the country by selecting new, younger leadership in the House of Representatives led by Hakeem Jeffries, a strong supporter of Israel, as party leader, replacing Nancy Pelosi. The irony is that of the octogenarians in power, she was the most effective.
The other big story was the prisoner swap with Russia of WNBA player Brittney Griner for convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout. The United States is not the only country to deal with having its citizens taken by other countries who are then used as bargaining chips for a prisoner swap. Israel has had the same dilemma. Do we get back one of our own in exchange for a dangerous person? The Biden administration decided that it was worth the risk to get Griner back home for the holidays. There is no question that Griner’s celebrity status had something to do with it. She was convicted of the same crime as Marc Fogel, who is a teacher. Before she was arrested, not much was done to try to get him home. There had been little publicity about his plight. In contrast, there has been a full court press, especially by progressives, to get Griner home. Even now, Mr. Fogel’s situation is being ignored.
I thought it was a bad idea to do the swap, especially with the current situation in Ukraine. Russia needs weapons to continue their invasion of Ukraine. The United States released someone who has a history of obtaining weapons for third-world countries and other entities. He is the perfect guy for Russia. It is naive to believe that he will not get back in the business. In other words, we have given Russia the means to win its war against Ukraine. In exchange, we got a basketball player. It is like the Yankees trading Aaron Judge to the Mets for a class-A minor league player and claiming it was a good deal since it was one ballplayer for another. Although the Mets getting Judge does not guarantee that they will win a World Series, it increases their chances.
Secondly, the trade gave Putin a big public relations victory at home at a time when the war is not going as planned. There have been grumblings in Russia about the war. This occurred the same week that three drone attacks occurred deep inside the Russia, which were a big embarrassment for Putin.
Moreover, it sets a bad precedent, since it incentivizes the seizing of Americans overseas to be used as bargaining chips. This may not be the first time such a deal has been made, but here it involves a celebrity.
Griner was not the only American held by Russia. The justification by the administration was that it was Griner for Bout or nothing. At this time, I would have sat back and left it at nothing. Either get a better deal or wait until the war is over until you trade an arms dealer back to Russia.