Who Will Tell The People? February 8, 2024February 7, 2024 Tom Friedman in the indispensable New York Times: Every so often there is a piece of legislation on Capitol Hill that defines America and its values — that shows what kind of country we want to be. I would argue that when it comes to the $118.3 billion bipartisan compromise bill in the Senate to repair our broken immigration system and supply vital aid to Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel, its passage or failure won’t define just America but also the world that we’re going to inhabit. There are hinges in history, and this is one of them. What Washington does — or does not do — this year to support its allies and secure our border will say so much about our approach to security and stability in this new post-post-Cold War era. Will America carry the red, white and blue flag into the future or just a white flag? Given the pessimistic talk coming out of the Capitol, it is looking more and more like the white flag, autographed by Donald Trump. Barring some last-minute surprise that saves the compromise bill, a terrible thing is about to happen, thanks largely to a Republican Party that has lost its way as it falls in lock step behind a man whose philosophy is not “America First” but “Donald Trump First.” “Trump First” means that a bill that would strengthen America and its allies must be set aside so that America can continue to boil in polarization, Vladimir Putin can triumph in Ukraine and our southern border can remain an open sore — until and unless Trump becomes president once more. Our allies be damned. Our enemies be emboldened. Our children’s future security be mortgaged. Today’s G.O.P. bumper sticker: Trump First. Putin Second. America Third. . . . Who will tell the people that America is the tent pole that holds up the world? If we let that pole disintegrate, your kids won’t grow up in just a different America; they’ll grow up in a different world, and a much worse one. After Ukraine inflicted a terrible defeat on the Russian Army — thanks to U.S. and NATO funding and weapons — without costing a single American soldier’s life, Putin now has to be licking his chops at the thought that we will walk away from Ukraine, leaving him surely counting the days until Kyiv’s missile stocks run out and he will own the skies. Then it’s bombs away. . . . Yes, America still has considerable power, but that power led to influence because allies and enemies knew we were ready to use it to defend ourselves and help our friends defend themselves and our shared values. All of that will now be in doubt if this bill goes down for good. Remember this week, folks — because historians surely will. Marjorie: “I am the person who bought 100 shares of BOREF at $22 quite a few years ago. Yesterday I saw it has dropped to $2. What’s happened?” → After they demonstrated that WheelTug really works, I thought we’d be off to the races. But as each year passes without their getting the funding to complete the FAA certification required to begin serving the two dozen airlines queued up to lease systems, more and more shareholders give up and take their tax loss. I can’t say I blame them. Yet with Borealis now valued at less than $15 million — and WheelTug’s potential to save airlines and airports billions of dollars each year, and travelers hundreds of millions of hours sitting on the ground — I cling stubbornly to hope. (Borealis indirectly owns a little more than half of WheelTug.) I guess you could say my hopes are as high as ever, but my expectations nearly as low as when I first wrote about it.