Tag Archives: politics

EXTREME FEAR AND LOATHING IN NEW JERSEY Part II

So now the deed is done. All the pundits and the media got it wrong with their projections. The US is faced with at least four years full of potentially nasty surprises. Unless DJT is impeached for fraud and racketeering, human trafficking, sexual assualt….the list goes on, and one can only surmise what crimes he will/would perpetrate once ensconced in the Oval Office.

Of course, just under half of the popular vote (noting that only 55% of the eligible population voted) actually went to this man who thrilled his supporters by pushing all the right (emphasis here on right) buttons of angry white men, the poor souls who felt neglected by the political establishment, who resented a black man as POTUS for 8 years, who really believed T’s idiotic rhetoric, insane promises and hate tirades.

My challenge to you American readers is to go check out http://www.nationalpopularvote.com to find out about what is already happening to circumvent the rigged electoral college system. For there is a way and very few people are aware of it.

There are those voters who believe T will moderate his views now that he’s been elected. He has, in fact, deleted his promise from his website to ban Muslims from entering the country. We also have to take into account that a President is not the all-powerful dictator that T would like him to be. For example: How exactly does he expect to force Mexico to pay for that famous wall? I suppose he could hold a million illegal Latinos hostage at a secret location until our southern neighbor coughs up the dough.

And how pliant will the Congressional GOP turn out to be? Now that they are safely returned to the Senate and the House, maybe they just might recover some semblance of morality and courage. Oh dear, is that wishful thinking on my part? And I am not yet up to contemplating the field day T could have loading the Supreme court with his justices. My mind gets brain freeze from the mere thought.

I am reminded of the interview with the ghostwriter of T’s autobiography ( The Art of the Deal, 1987), Tony Schwartz, that appeared in the New Yorker (July, 25. 2016), in which Schwartz said that Trump’s attention span was no longer than ten minutes. That his brain is tuned into the short format of television sound bites, which is about all he can digest. How is this President-elect ever to deal with complicated policy issues that cannot be  reduced to  a TV sit-com format? Schwartz  stated that he deeply regrets having been involved in writing this book.

And now T is setting up his transition team. It seems no one has informed him that anti-nepotism laws and conflict of interest regulations exist. For he has chosen his three adult children and a son-in-law to be on this team. Oh, by the way, the same 4 rather close relatives will also be managing his companies while he is managing the country. Do you think there is something the man does not understand about the concept of a blind trust?

When exactly is the Justice Department going to catch up with this criminal who thinks that the laws don’t apply to him and his? Will this character make a laughing-stock of the US, similar to Berlusconi in Italy? One thing is for sure, the DOJ better get its skates on before T takes away their wheels.

Note: I have not posted any pictures of T — nor even spelled out his name — because his facial expressions are too ugly for a thinking person to bear. Say, if you like that I am in denial following Hillary Clinton only won the popular vote; however, I consider it self-preservation — something T is very adept at.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction and Other Truths, US Election 2016

GUILTY PLEASURE

A time-out from the cares of the world?

Monday morning I headed out to Frankfurt for an appointment made a couple of months previously. Thank God for my sat-nav which would guide me to the location in a city where I rarely drive. But even with that support, I felt up-tight about the trip which was actually to take me to a place to relax.

The moment the car was parked I sighed with relief. And the closer I got to the 18th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel, I began to feel more at ease. Entering the Heaven Spa, I found the place empty but awash in the kind of all-world piano / flute music that sounds vaguely oriental and is meant to relax you immediately. It was working.

I don’t often allow myself this kind of decadent pleasure, but I’d received a gift certificate from my son D for my birthday. Or was it Christmas? Hard to say since they happen on the same day. At any rate, I had to take advantage of it before it expired and there I was, in a deserted spa, as if I were their only customer and they were only there to meet my needs.

I can’t deny finding that idea attractive. And yet, out in the world around me, hell had broken loose. Weeks before, Britain had decided to leave the EU for all the wrong reasons and was struggling to find a path forwards. The USA was in the grip of a divisive presidential election campaign that was pitting one megalomaniac against the first woman candidate who, unfortunately, has more than her fair share of detractors.

Not to mention that all over the place people were being murdered in the name of Allah, or by individuals feeling at odds with their world. Bullets were flying, bombs were going off, throats being slit, and trucks driven into crowds celebrating liberté, egalité and fraternité. How could I just let myself be pampered while across Europe people mourned their loved ones and faced shattered lives?

Good question. Nevertheless,  on that Monday morning I found myself in that enviable situation. The music started having its way with me and lured me into a separate place where a talented masseuse massaged away the cares of the world. Or tried to. And to an extent she succeeded. My eyelids closed, my limbs relaxed, my thoughts were set free for a blissful one and a half hours to think more pleasant thoughts than those I’d brought with me.

I started mentally composing a blog post – for me, that passes as relaxation. I pondered how I could write about the massage, of the physical release I feel when warm hands stretch and knead muscles. About what an ephemeral experience it was. The relaxation, I knew, would be fleeting. If I were lucky, I would benefit from it the rest of the day, until gradually all the nasty news bytes would catch up with me again. And heaven forbid, another tragedy could flash up as breaking news. After all, what right do I have to let the sorrows of the world go by without taking at least some notice?

Not that my thoughts will bring anyone back to life or ease the pain of those left behind. Nor will my single vote ensure that the American people do not destroy themselves in this election. However, I can’t help but think of one of my favorite poems and feel that in these perilous times, I mustn’t forget this message. Amazing, how timely it is.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne, 1624

An excerpt from Meditation 17

2 Comments

Filed under BREXIT, Disasters, Europe, Great Britain, Poetry, Terror

Italian Politics – And the Beat Goes On and On….

I do apologize for blogging two days in a row, but my expat friend and Italy expert Nic Mudie stuck this piece in as a comment on a post. So thought I’d better put it where it belongs.

Here’s a new one for your Italian file, straight from the online pages of the Economist and the FT:

Burly Boy with his three governments has had, including a full 5 yr term, more opportunity to begin to set things aright in Italy than anybody else ( see below) .. The fact that he has not done so, is a not very handsome tribute to the political naivety of the Italians. He’s not the disease – just a symptom ; not that those can’t be nasty. Unfortunately there are still 10 million voters out there with the attention span of a gnat and the appetites and morals of a 14 yr old feral child. It beggars belief that some quite intelligent women are to be found in his political ( not domestic ) entourage . Maybe this is a comment on the misogynistic dinosaurs of the left, so the Gelminis, Santachès of this world can only have a political future as a Burly Boy handmaiden. It should be perfectly obvious but obviously is not , even to the self styled bien pensants , in Italy.that the constitution needs changing; especially re the senate and that the electoral law needs changing. Of all European nations Italy has the highest paid politicians and the greatest number of governments since 1945 (65 in all) and still counting (one lasted 9 days , two the eternity that is 11 days and two 12 days) . On the other hand it is quite possibly the worst run country in group that is much wider than just Europe. The conclusion that the entire polity, which was set up with the excesses of Fascism on the one hand and the fear of communist takeover in mind, needs a complete change is not one that most Italians seem able to draw. Until they do this mess will persist.

Tomorrow is the last, last well almost the last last for the last time critical day for Burly boy and his garden gnome plus Alpha No to see sense and realise that some kind of property tax is required. Otherwise 10 yr. spreads against 10 yr Bunds are going stratospheric as we look forward to an expensive, uncalled-for early election.

Gee, hope you all understood Nic’s cryptic message!

4 Comments

Filed under Fiction and Other Truths, Italy, Politics

THE WALL – ROGER WATERS IN FRANKFURT

ImageImage

All week the radio stations hyped the event. Last night it happened: Roger Waters and his crew staged a magnificent performance of THE WALL.

The music was as powerful as when first released in 1979. Live performances of the full-blown rock opera have been infrequent, thus making the Frankfurt gig a rare gem in the year’s schedule of big name appearances.

The special effects – light, sound and visuals – were stunning. The droning airplanes and thwacking helicopters, the crashing bombs and the flak artillery, were not only loud. You felt them shake the arena; your internal organs vibrated along.  They even flew a real airplane through the air to explode into the stage.

With all this sound and fury, it must be noted that this is an anti-war message par excellance.  Waters protests against the wanton destruction of individual human beings and their worlds with anger and irony. One bit of graffiti on the wall: “If at first you don’t succeed, call an airstrike.”  Waters takes to task every element of our society responsible for causing war: the three big religions, political ideologies and big business. Symbols of these forces fall as payloads from bombers, causing death and destruction as they hit the ground.

Behind the anti-war message lies Waters’ own private demons: the death of his father who he never knew in WWII, abuse by bullying teachers at school, an over-protective mother and his divorce.

This statement on the wall, however, conveyed Roger Waters’ entire message to me in three words: FEAR BUILDS WALLS. I couldn’t help but think of my own small-scale, non-explosive creative efforts. In THE PEACE BRIDGE Hannah Zimmer fights to bring down the wall of silence that her family has built around the past. Fear built that wall, too. Like Hannah and Waters’ protagonist, Pink, we each have demons that haunt us and make us fear what we are walling in. Or walling out.

Were you there last night? If so, what did you think?

BTW: The performance deserves better photos! Sorry I couldn’t deliver.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Fiction and Other Truths, Great Britain, Poetry, Politics, Remembering, Rock Music

GUNS R US – Just for the Kiddies!

A five-year-old boy shoots his two-year-old sister.

Words fail me, but I will try anyway to express my disgust with a mentality that considers guns and rifles suitable gifts for children. They aren’t even suitable gifts for ADULTS!

This news item does not represent an isolated case either. In light of this occurrence, several other similar instances were highlighted where small tikes, who should be playing with dolls or cars, have gotten a hold of weapons that are just lying around and manage to kill someone with it.

LETHAL SURPRISE EGGS

Our newspaper today brought up another absurdity which I already wrote about in a December 2012 post: German chocolate “surprise eggs” (a chocolate shell containing a plastic egg inside with a little toy to assemble) are banned in the USA because a child might not recognize that the plastic part and toy are not edible. They could choke on it.  Okay, maybe that is some kind of argument.

BUT: guns and rifles in pink and blue, BIG ENOUGH NOT TO CHOKE ON – specially made for the children’s market segment — well, they are just fine. Let’s sell ’em – advertise them on Saturday mornings when the kids are watching cartoons — or let’s face it, they are watching TV ALL the time these days! Mom and Dad are off doing…..whatever….just not doing any parenting.

I’m sorry, but the whole time I’m writing, I’m just shaking my head in despair. Does a society get….the kind of society it deserves? They certainly get the government they voted for: see my post linking to Jon Stewart’s Daily Show on GUN CONTROL!

Forgive all my BOLDness here. But I’m mad!

4 Comments

Filed under Endings, Fiction and Other Truths, Gun Control, Parenting, Politics

GUN CONTROL IN THE USA – JON STEWART’S INSIGHT

Just a quickie today, inspired by Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, aired here last night but from18th April on the subject of gun control. It is such a relief that there are Americans over there who think and can blast holes in the faulty (or non-existent) logic perpetrated by the opponents of gun control! The show left me cheering and punching the air. Here’s the link: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction and Other Truths

A Peace Prize for the EU?

As most of you will have picked up on, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, October 12. Although it is usually individuals who are honored, this is not the first time an organization was chosen. The International Red Cross, Amnesty International and the UN High Commission for Refugees are prominent in the list of previous winners. And the Nobel  committee has often made controversial choices.

Personally, I welcome this year’s decision. After two devastating world wars, I think it close to a miracle that France and Germany have been able to resolve their enmities to create an alliance run by bureaucrats  rather than soldiers. You can think what you like about butter mountains and milk lakes, and standardized condoms. But I prefer the pleasure of complaining about these attempts to create common ground to the pain of mourning the dead from World War III.  Europe – despite the Euro crisis – is experiencing an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity and we have the European Union to thank for that. The challenges this organization faces continue to increase and demonstrate the necessity of further integration rather than the preservation of cherished national sovereignty. The prize – which will have precious little impact on the EU budget – is a signal, recognition of the vision and the hard work of the past 50 years. Watch this space.

Was the awarding of this prize a wise and even long-overdue decision? Is it a political message to Norway itself, a non-EU member? Were other, more worthy candidates overlooked for this year’s honor?

6 Comments

Filed under Beginnings