Who Won the Week — 02/13/2022

The idea behind Who Won the Week is to give you the opportunity to select who (or what) you think “won” this past week. Your selection can be anyone or anything — politicians, celebrities, athletes, authors, bloggers, your friends or family members, books, movies, TV shows, businesses, organizations, whatever.

If you want to participate, write your own post designating who you think won the week and why you think they deserve your nod. Then link back to this post and tag you post with FWWTW.

In my continuing effort to avoid politics, this week’s Who Won the Week winner is Dillon Helbig. Armed with pencils and crayons, the Boise, Idaho second-grader wrote a book in which a boy finds himself magically transported to the North Pole. He’s chased by a moose into a time portal that transports him back to 1621, where he joins the first Thanksgiving in colonial America. Just when things can’t get any crazier, the boy is eaten by a giant turkey.

Dillon had been writing and illustrating his own stories since he was about six. But he felt that the audience for his fiction shouldn’t be limited to just his mom and dad. So, after he handwrote his latest story, The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis, during Christmas break, he decided to secretly slip the book onto the shelves of the local library on a trip there with his grandmother.

Dillon Helbig and his hit book

Alex Hartman, a library manager, discovered the 81-page novel and read it to his 6-year-old son, who giggled with delight. Library staff agreed that The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis belonged in the library’s permanent collection. The book now commands a 55-person waitlist, and Dillon is hard at work on a much-anticipated sequel.

So congratulations Dillon. You won the week this week. And best of luck on your budding career as an author. All of us bloggers are jealous of you.

What about you? Who (or what) do you think won the week?

Oh, if you were concerned that I was totally abandoning all things political, I give you this:

©Nick Anderson — Reform Austin News

22 thoughts on “Who Won the Week — 02/13/2022

  1. Marleen February 13, 2022 / 1:10 pm

    Both awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marilyn Armstrong February 13, 2022 / 1:54 pm

    Personally, I think the rider of the Sage from Hell, WAR won the week. War always seem to win. Why IS that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen February 13, 2022 / 2:17 pm

      Is there money in it? And a boost to sagging public attachment (which Putin is experiencing)?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marleen February 13, 2022 / 3:57 pm

        And in this excerpt, from somewhere in the middle of the (much longer than I’m quoting) news show, is at least a third motivation. Sorry I didn’t have the patience to separate out the paragraphs.


        VELSHI: Well, that`s a — Michael McFaul, this is your line of — line of expertise, right? When you get out of something that looks like it`s about to become military engagement, you need some diplomacy, you need some way of pulling out. Does that way still exist? The U.S. Government and the Russians have not stopped talking. NATO and Russians have not stopped talking. There are conversations underway. Is there a sense that this could end in some way that doesn`t involve anybody firing any missiles or guns? MCFAUL: Well, before I get to that question, I want to state categorically that I don`t know what Putin wants. I don`t know what he`s decided. President Biden doesn`t know. The director of the CIA doesn`t know. I don`t think Sergei Lavrov knows, the foreign minister. And from my experience dealing with Putin in negotiations, I don`t think he has made his own decision yet. I think that he likes this uncertainty. He likes that we`re all talking about, you know, negotiating with ourselves, making counter proposals. He likes to watch that. And a very important thing that Nina alluded to, think about what we`re not talking about tonight. We`re not talking about that he annexed Crimea. We`re not talking about that he is supporting separatists, let`s call them what they are. It`s a civil war. Think about, you know, they declared their independence. We`re not talking about the 14,000 Ukrainians that died. We`re not talking about the Georgian War in 2008, assassinations that he has ordered in European capitals. He`s changed the channel on us, right? And so already, from a diplomatic, and I would say from a kind of narrative perspective, he`s won because we`re all talking about NATO expansion versus not. So that`s the first thing. The second thing though to answer your question now, of course, there is room for diplomacy. I think the Biden administration has played this rather smartly. They are doing the coercive things, building up our soldiers there, sending military assistance to Ukraine, I think those are right. [22:15:04] And at the same time, they have taken a pretty bold decision, criticized by many in my world, by the way, as appeasement, but they have taken in my view the right decision to respond to Putin`s two treaties, right? One is supposed to be with NATO, one supposed be with the United States. And they even wrote it down, just like Putin commanded it. They even wrote it down. They sent it in yesterday. And from what I understand, in those documents, there is room for negotiation if Putin wants to negotiate. VELSHI: Stand by both of you. We want to do a quick break out here on something that our viewers may have heard about. You may not quite know how it figures into the current crisis with Putin. It`s called Nord Stream. Nord stream 1 is a pipeline. It`s owned and operated by Russia. [This only means Russian oligarchs or a plutocracy in Russia, not something benefiting Russians at large, this due to resources having been taken up by very few individuals after the fall of the USSR.] It transports natural gas from Russia to Germany. It`s been in operation for about a decade. Nord Stream 2 is a parallel pipeline that`s been built, but it`s not yet operational or online as they say. It`s now potential leverage in the negotiations with Russia. If Nord Stream 2 goes online, that would mean much more gas going from Russia to Germany, which actually could affect Ukraine, it`s not anywhere close to it, in several ways. For more on that, I want to bring in Chris Miller. He`s the author of “Putinomics: Power and Money in Resurgent Russia.” Chris, thanks for joining us this evening. Oil and gas power the Russian economy, but they`re different. Oil can be set anywhere by rail or by ship, but with some exceptions, most natural gas today primarily flows through pipelines like Nord Stream. How does this pipeline that takes natural gas from Russia to Germany, nowhere near Ukraine, play into this crisis? CHRIS MILLER, TUFTS UNIVERSITY, RUSSIA & EURASIA PROGRAM: Well, right now, Russia is Europe`s biggest supplier of natural gas and most of the natural gas that Russia ships to Europe currently transit via Ukraine through pipelines that date back many decades. Russia`s strategy with Nord Stream 2 is to eventually stop transiting gas through Ukraine and instead ship it directly to Germany. And that has two implications. One is that it reduces the ability of Ukraine to charge transit fees for shipping that gas. That`s bad for Ukraine`s economy if they lose that revenue. But more important is that it puts Ukraine in a much weaker position when it tries to negotiate energy deals with Russia because it would [rely] directly on negotiations with Russia rather than being the supplier for all of Europe because that`s where gas is transiting through. So, Ukraine has been (inaudible) against Nord Stream 2. Many other Europeans have been pushing against it as well. But Germany, thus far, remains committed to keeping Nord Stream 2 on track to become operational at some point later this year because Germany needs Russian gas. VELSHI: So how does this become a negotiation point in this particular issue right now? For the world that doesn`t want Russia to invade Ukraine, where it is the Nord Stream 2 going online come into it? MILLER: Well, the U.S. and a number of European countries have been pressuring Germany to cancel Nord Stream 2 as a signal to the Kremlin that we`re not going to tolerate the Kremlin`s use of energy as the political weapon in Europe. And the reality is that, over the past decade and a half, the Kremlin has used its role as a natural gas supplier to many countries in central and eastern Europe to pressure governments that get on the wrong side of Vladimir Putin, hike the prices for those country`s gas at vulnerable times for their economy or for their political system. And if Nord Stream 2 comes online, this will empower the Kremlin to do the same with Ukraine to an even greater extent than it does today. So, there is great pressure on Germany right now to cancel the pipeline and doing so would send a message to Russia that there is a unified front among the west that we`re not going to tolerate any pressure on European countries whether military or in the energy sphere. VELSHI: Is there some way in which western countries can deal with putting this kind of pressure on Russia, which depends a great deal on the sales of petro chemicals, of oil and natural gas to other countries in a way that doesn`t bounce back on them because Europeans end up with feeling the pressure of getting less gas and oil? MILLER: Well, the thing about Nord Stream 2 is that it`s not currently online and there is plenty of pipeline capacity from Russia via Ukraine to Europe. So, canceling Nord Stream 2 would have no effect on the European energy prices because it wouldn`t lead to a reduction in Russian gas to Europe. Russia has been saying it will ship more gas to Europe if Nord Stream 2 comes online, but that is just sort of political blackmail tactic by the Kremlin trying to get Nord Stream to approve, trying to increase Russia`s leverage against Ukraine and using energy prices as a tool to do so. The reality is, Europe doesn`t need more pipelines. [22:20:01] There is plenty of capacity currently going through Ukraine and other pipelines that supply Europe with Russian gas. VELSHI: It may seem odd to somebody watching this right now to wonder why we`re discussing a pipeline between Russia and Germany, but it`s going to become very, very relevant as this continues to unfold. So, Chris, we appreciate your analysis on this. Thanks to Chris Miller, Nina Khrushcheva and Ambassador Michael McFaul for starting us off this evening. We`ve got much more to cover this hour including a NATO deep dive. The Biden administration`s options and a live report from Kyiv. And most Americans know Ukrainian President Zelensky because Donald Trump was impeached for attempting to use him in a scheme to hurt Joe Biden`s presidential campaign. How much does what happened then play into what Biden is facing today? We will ask the very person who blew the whistle on Trump`s Ukraine scheme. Alexander Vinman at the end of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) VELSH: Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is a sprawling mutual defense alliance between North America and Europe founded after World War II to counter the Soviet Union. And Vladimir Putin wants to keep it that way. One reason why is that here`s what NATO looked like before the fall of the Soviet Union. Notice the space between the NATO countries in the west, all those in yellow, and Russia or the USSR as it was in the east. There`s a whole lot of countries in between. Here`s what NATO looks like today. Most of the countries that were in the middle, the former pro-Russian Warsaw pact countries are now facing democratic NATO allies. But if Ukraine isn`t in NATO, what`s NATO`s role in the current crisis? Well, for more on that, we turn to retired U.S. Navy Admiral and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, James Stavridis. [22:25:00] Admiral, it is good to see you. Thank you for being with us. For those in our audience who don`t have their NATO pact with them, their handbook, there is something that we often refer to called Article Five in NATO which is the thing that says that any NATO country that is attacked, all the other NATO countries will come to their defense. How is that different when it applies to Ukraine, which wants to be in NATO but is not a member of NATO? JAMES STAVRIDIS, MSNBC CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, there are a lot of countries that would love to be at NATO because so many countries have (inaudible) Russian tanks roll into them. Going back to the cold war, Russian tanks rolled into Hungary. They rolled into the Czech Republic. More recently, they rolled into Georgia. They rolled into Ukraine in 2014. If I were in Eastern Europe, I would certainly like that Article Five guarantee, Ali. One thing I would recommend readers, Google NATO treaty and read it. You can read it in about 10 minutes. It`s only 14 articles, maybe 30 sentences long. You correctly point out Article Five, an attack on one is an attack on all. The only time that Article Five has been energized is during 9/11, when NATO jets flew over our cities after the attack on 9/11. So, all of these nations would like to be part of NATO. They are not, where do we end up with Ukraine? Ali, they are [a] NATO partner. They have deployed with us. Ukrainian troops deployed under my command to Afghanistan, to the Balkans. They have been with us at sea. They have been a very close partner, but not quite a member of the alliance as much as they would like to be. That`s where it sits right now. VELSHI: What`s the argument on Vladimir Putin`s part? Because lots of those countries, as we showed on that map, a lot of them have become NATO countries in the year since the late `70s. What`s Vladimir Putin`s fear that this one is going to be the one that matters? STAVRIDIS: He is not really concerned about a NATO invasion. And I spent four years as supreme allied commander. I`d looked at every war plan, classified, unclassified, that NATO has. We don`t have a war plan to go invade Russia. News flash. But Vladimir Putin wants the prestige of kind of rebuilding the old USSR, the Union of Soviet Republics. And so, he`s going around former republic to former republic, to include Azerbaijan, Armenia, in this case Ukraine, Kazakhstan, all the stans, and trying to put them back into Russian sphere of influence. I don`t think he`s going to be successful with that overall nor should we let him, particularly, in the case of Ukraine. VELSHI: Admiral, please stand by. Here is where our European allies stand on this. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, spoke with Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in separate phone calls today, in an attempt to defuse tensions. Macron faces reelection in April by the way, but he hasn`t yet announced that he will stand. The new chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, took office in December. He says Germany will not supply weapons to Ukraine, but has made clear that a Russian invasion would have a high cost.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango February 13, 2022 / 3:40 pm

      As the old saying goes, “War is swell,” or something like that.


  3. bushboy February 13, 2022 / 2:10 pm

    I loved Dillon story and read a whole piece and saw a video on how he snuck the book in and the librarians discovery. He looked so sweet in his re-enactment 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marleen February 13, 2022 / 2:33 pm

      Thanks for mentioning the reenactment; this search worked for me: dillon helbig crismis reenactment

      Liked by 2 people

  4. rugby843 February 13, 2022 / 5:05 pm

    How cool is that?

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sadje February 13, 2022 / 6:32 pm

    Great story Fandango. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nope, Not Pam February 13, 2022 / 9:26 pm

    How heartening ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

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