For all of my life, America has considered itself to be the Cradle of Democracy. The Land of The Free, where free speech is ingrained in the Constitution, and even the right to own and carry lethal weapons is supported by ancient rights.
Over the years, harsh treatment of Civil Rights protestors made the news, as did the violent reaction to Vietnam War protestors at times.
But the recent actions of the authorities in Portland has seen a worrying turn of events. Federal officers wearing Army uniforms and carrying Army equipment have arrived in the city to break up protests there. This is against the wishes of the city’s mayor, who did not ask for assistance.
These ‘Feds’ are using unmarked vehicles, wearing no identity tags or serial numbers. They are dragging protestors off the street and taking them away in those same unmarked vehicles. They are not reading them their rights and arresting them, and in many cases they are beating them hard with clubs, or using pepper spray on them.
I am not an American, and I do not know everything there is to know about the actions of the demonstrators.
But this cannot be right. Not anywhere, and certainly not in ‘The Cradle of Democracy’. Those agents involved are little more than ‘Trump’s Stormtroopers’, and if this was happening in Britain, France, or a hundred other countries, the rest of the world would be calling for sanctions to make it stop.
You can’t have failed to notice that there has been some big news surrounding some of our Royal parasites today.
Prince Harry and his American wife, collectively known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have announced their intention to ‘step back’ from royal duties. They intend to split their time between a new life in North America, and some time back in the UK. (Presumably when the weather is nice.)
Speculation has been rife. Meghan has been upset by newspapers making unkind remarks about her clothing, apparently. Harry is only sixth in line to the throne, so pending an unprecedented royal disaster, he will never live to be a king. Harry has a rift with his brother William, about royal ‘directions’ he should be taking. There are lots of quotes from the couple of course, all intended to back up their reasons for leaving this country.
Meghan, 38, said she was told “you shouldn’t do it because the British tabloids will destroy your life”.
In an ITV documentary, she admitted motherhood was a “struggle” due to intense interest from newspapers.
Prince Harry also responded to reports of a rift between him and his brother William, Duke of Cambridge, by saying they were on “different paths”.
The duke, 35, said he and Prince William have “good days” and “bad days”.
He added: “We are brothers. We will always be brothers.
“We are certainly on different paths at the moment but I will always be there for him as I know he will always be there for me.
They are set to launch a new charity, apparently, and there are more rumours that Meghan intends to return to a career in acting.
“This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.” (Harry)
The prince intends to give up the portion of his income provided by the UK taxpayers, but seems happy enough to continue to receive the annual small fortune bestowed on him by his father, drawn from revenues on the Duchy of Cornwall. (So, still ‘our’ money then.)
The couple has been quoted as saying that they feel more welcome in North America, as in the US, and Canada, than they do in Britain.
However, they do intend to keep hold of the free house they were given, Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Park Estate of the Queen. Considering the UK taxpayer forked out £2.5 million to ‘refurbish the cottage to their taste’ just last year, that’s very kind of them, I am sure you will agree. Nice to have somewhere to pop back to, when Harry fancies a trip home.
I hope they leave soon, and never come back. Let’s see how well they do earning a living when they are not being paid by the state. Oh, I forgot, Prince Charles will still be handing over wads of cash to make sure they can buy groceries.
And my message to the couple is simple. Take the rest of them with you when you go.
Build a Royal Theme Park in America, and walk around waving at the crowds.
You have had enough practice.
I read the blogs of a lot of Americans. The majority of my followers are from America, and they account for around 60% of the views on my main blog.
Some of them even follow this blog, and for that I thank them.
Since 2016, many of those bloggers have become very political, for obvious reasons. The election of Mr Trump has managed to divide opinion there in a way I have never seen previously.
Much like how Brexit has affected the UK, being for or against the Trump presidency has become a badge of honour for either side.
I tend to stay out of it, as I have little faith in the Democrat opposition to put forward a candidate that will interest me, or even manage to defeat the current President.
I confess that I do laugh at Mr Trump’s hair, every time I see him. I also think his outbursts are childish, and have caused many outside America to lose respect for that country. But my opinion doesn’t matter a jot, as around 40% of Americans support him, and want him to win in 2020.
But do the Democrats offer a real solution for the problems that beset the most powerful nation on Earth? I doubt it.
The Republicans and Democrats are both right-wing parties, with one slightly less ‘lukewarm’ than the other. Both support big business, and both receive funds from big business. Both support the continuation of private health care, whatever nice name they give it. Both support the rich getting obscenely richer too.
Over the past year, I have read a lot of accusations that the Democrats are ‘Socialists’, ‘Left-wing’, even (laughably) ‘Communists’.
Yes, there are people in the US who belong to a Communist Party. Here’s a link.
But the chances of any of their members ever being elected into a position of real influence or power is non-existent.
And honestly, the Democrats are nothing like these people, nothing at all.
Take it from me, America. You do not have a single (actual) Socialist or Communist in any position of power over there, however minor that position might be. At the risk of appearing to seem patronising, here is a list of some of what Socialists and Communists believe in, at least as far as the official policies are concerned.
State ownership of all Utilities.
State ownership of manufacturing and distribution.
Stare ownership of Transport Infrastructure.
State controlled education, fair and equal for all.
State provision of free healthcare, on an equal basis.
Before you all get on your high horses, I know full well that all that hasn’t always happened, even in those countries ruled by that political system. Humans are corrupt by nature, and will take opportunities where they present themselves. But you REALLY do not have anyone in the Democratic Party who would advocate such reforms, believe me.
I speak from experience, as I am from Europe, and have had a lifetime of being involved in the politics of what is known here as ‘The Extreme Left’.
So, please calm down.
If the Democrats win in 2020, you will wake up the next morning to find that the only thing that has changed is the hairstyle of whoever became President.
Please read the thoughts of chuq on this issue. An American blogger who is also a gun owner.
I have written my thoughts about the debate and the violence around guns….and once again I need to make my thoughts known after a bloody weekend last.
A few of the posts I have written about the gun violence culture we live within…..
Like I said…just a small selection of my thoughts and posts on the subject of gun violence….
After last weekend I feel I need to repeat myself on guns and violence.
I will begin by saying I am pro gun…I have many guns….but I also see the need for some sort of definitive action to try and put the brakes on this spiral of violence that we are living.
Tuesday night panic broke out in NYC because of a motorcycle backfire…..watch the video here….
View original post 622 more words
I never thought the ‘summit’ between Mr Trump and the leader of North Korea would go ahead. I have said that before, and I am now admitting my error. Apologies to those I argued with. I had long considered this to be a ‘blind’ by the Americans, something they pretended to want to happen, but hoped never would.
I am man enough to accept that I was wrong. Some basic ‘agreements’ have been signed, and will hopefully be put into action. Let’s hope that the region will be free of the threat of nuclear war, and that the people of the DPRK can look forward to a slightly easier life. We may never know what was on the table, to get Kim Jong-Un to sign away all the things he had said he never would. But it doesn’t matter what has been given away, if it brings some peace to that troubled country, and its southern neighbour.
I don’t wear a hat, so you will just have to imagine I have eaten it.
Politics tends to be quiet, at this time of year. But look between the headlines, and you may well discover that it is all still ‘happening’.
North Korea is making overtures. They say that they will negotiate the removal of their nuclear weapons, in return for talks on lessening sanctions, and a better relationship with the south. That might be a great thing to discover, if the DPRK actually had a viable nuclear weapons option, which they patently do not. Nice bluffing from Kim. Will that bluff be called?
The Brexit negotiations are apparently ‘bogged down’ over arrangements about a hard border, in Northern Ireland. That, and the argument over free trade, after we leave the EU. Anyone but the blind, and hermits, will realise that this is all just ‘Brexit stalling’, arranged by the pro-remain politicians who are laughably in charge of settling our withdrawal from the EU. Despite clarion calls to the contrary, it is looking more and more as if a ‘second referendum’ is likely, urging the British people to vote to stay in the EU, in all but name.
As the old saying goes, “Don’t piss in my face, then tell me it is raining”.
Mr Trump continues to play ‘silly buggers’, over in America. His latest wheeze is to threaten to impose trade tariffs, strangling imports of cars, steel, and other goods from countries outside the influence of the US. I don’t think he is mad, as many others assert that he is, but he is getting increasingly silly, that’s for sure.
People are still dying in Syria, every day. Assad is the leader of that country, like it or not. Most of his opponents are from fundamentalist Muslim groups, the kind of groups we are constantly fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet for some reason, in Syria, they are ‘good groups’, and Assad is the devil. Regime change is a slippery slope, as we have discovered in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries. Best avoided? Not in Syria, apparently.
So, as Mrs May hangs on for dear life to her job, Mr Trump continues to befuddle and confound, Assad seems to be winning in Syria, and Kim finally plays his ace in the DPRK; the EU try to cling on to British membership for fear of a collapse, and the Saudis remain unrestrained in their support of the terrorists, rest assured that everything is still very much ‘going on’.
I have only just found out, but Mexico has made generous offers of help to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The Mexican government expressed solidarity with the USA, and offered to send troops to aid with distribution of supplies, as well as providing medical teams and staff from rescue agencies.
This is the country that has been accused of so much by the current U.S. President, and the same country he wants to isolate America from, by building a wall along the border. There have been many appeals to help those suffering as a result of this hurricane. Donations to the Red Cross have been suggested, alongside many other disaster relief agencies. Mexico has offered unrestricted physical aid, and there is nothing to suggest that this is anything but genuine.
Not only did America decline this offer, Mr Trump took time to tweet that he will still build the wall, and will ensure that Mexico pays for its construction. Perhaps he should have been concentrating on sorting out this disaster in America’s fourth largest city, but no. Instead, he chose to be rude to a sovereign country and close neighbour, not only rejecting their offer out of hand, but dragging up the issues about the NAFTA trade deal and the wall at the same time.
Does he even know what ‘Diplomacy’ means?
Many of you may not be aware, and many will not even care, but there has been a great deal of controversy in America of late. Besides the antics of Mr Trump, his cabinet, and his family, or the bluster and counter bluster with North Korea, something else has been going on.
Some states have decided to remove statues and memorials dedicated to people who served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, from 1861-1865. Famous generals like Robert E. Lee, and some statues of other officers, as well as memorials to fallen Confederates are being removed by the authorities. The reasons given for this vary, but the overall idea is to stop ‘glorifying’ people who fought in a cause that supported slavery. I could add quotes, or write all day about the many other reasons why that war happened, but there would be no point. It has become seen as a war against slave states, by states who did not support slavery, and that seems to be the end of it. In other places, the display on public buildings of the Confederate flag, the famous ‘Stars and Bars’, has been outlawed too.
Much of the reason for this backlash can be explained by the fact that Far-Right groups in the USA, including the KKK, and other White Supremacist organisations have ‘hijacked’ this flag, and used it for their own reasons. Also that these monuments are honoured by these same groups, some of which would like to see Secession from the Union happen again. It is claimed that the descendants of slaves, the modern day African-American citizens, are offended by having to walk past statues of Confederate generals, reminding them of the enslavement of their forefathers. The issue has been warmly embraced by Liberal white groups too, and pressure applied to get these monuments removed.
Just yesterday, I became drawn into a heated ‘blog argument’ on the issue, on the site of a very nice lady. I don’t intend to do that again, so no need to look away now…
So, why do I care? I am English after all. American history is for Americans to sort out, surely? Best if I kept my nose out, and let them remove what they want, without me antagonsing their citizens on the blogosphere. But I do care. I care because it is history. Not just American history, but world history too. I care in the same way that I cared when ISIS destroyed religious monuments in Iraq and Syria. When the Taliban destroyed ancient art in Afghanistan, or when the post-soviet Russians pulled down statues of Lenin. Taking away any memorial does not make the history go away, or become any more acceptable to future generations. Something else has to happen, before that is complete.
That something else is the gradual erosion of history by default. Not bothering to stock the books in the library. Removing the teaching of the period from the school syllabus. Forgetting to report on the anniversary of a significant event. It is so easily done, and has been done many times before. In a few generations, it is all forgotten, like it never happened. There is nothing left to remind us, after all. And what about the double standards? Slave-owning Andrew Jackson is on the US $20 bill, and his former plantation home is a ‘national monument’. (Jackson is to be removed from the currency, by 2020)
Mount Rushmore is built on land stolen from Native Americans who were driven off of it, and Florida’s Disney World was once home to the proud Seminole people. How do their descendants feel about those reminders of the desecration of tribal lands, I wonder?
Every nation has an uncomfortable past. My own country spent centuries conquering foreign nations, and reducing their people to little more than servants. But the history of that is still there to be seen, with the statues of colonialists like Cecil Rhodes and Robert Clive sitting proudly on their plinths. It doesn’t mean that the later generations were unaware of their shortcomings, and for all I know, may well provoke debate about their actions. Tens of thousands of people from an Indian or South African background walk past such monuments in London every day. Yet there are no cries to have them taken down. Trying to remove ‘inconvenient’ history is the first step down a very slippery slope that has no end. It was an American, Henry Ford, who once declared that “History is bunk.”
Let’s hope he is not proved right.
When Donald Trump became the President of The United States last year, he did so on the back of a lot of promises to the American people. Those who believed his promises tipped the balance, and he was elected. Perhaps the most powerful of those promises was the he would ‘Make America Great Again’.
Looking back over this new administration, it seems to me that he has reneged on all his promises. From building the ‘Mexican Wall’, to turfing out all the illegal immigrants, creating American jobs for American people, and that one about making America great again. He and his merry-go-round cabinet and administration appear to have achieved very little. He didn’t manage to repeal Obamacare, and has also made the running of the world’s most powerful country a laughing-stock. He did get in some spiteful laws concerning transgender people and abortion, removed his country from any serious attempts to cut pollution and fossil fuel use and has played a lot of golf. The shameless promotion of the members of his own family has left him wide open to accusations of nepotism and favouritism too.
Not since the confusion of Italian politics, or the pre-war governments of France, have we seen so much disarray in the running of a country. Trump has lost the support of many influential politicians in his own country, and his appearances on the international stage have been marked by his lack of statesmanship, and obvious lack of political experience. Pushing past other leaders of countries to get a good spot in a group photo, or stumbling over embarrassing speeches when centre stage. Rather than extricate his troops from conflicts around the world, he has presided over increases of boots on the ground, missile attacks, and threats of action against other countries. The promises to build the economy of his own country, and to adopt isolationist polices if necessary have all just faded away.
His use of Twitter during the election campaign was inspired. He connected with people using the social media platforms as they did. But he didn’t know when to stop. His Twitter tirades have assumed the style of a spoiled child, with a school playground mentality of name-calling and ‘yah-boo’. He has sacked the people best qualified to carry out important tasks in his administration, and replaced them with others unsuited to those roles. He attacks his own appointees publicly, and criticises members of his own party too.
On the BBC News today, an American political analyst was offering an overview of the recent events in Washington, and the defeat of the repeal of Obamacare. At the end of the report, the BBC presenter was chuckling. Thanking the analyst, he concluded, “well at least it is entertaining.” The American government has become something to laugh at. The President of the United States is acting like the chief clown in a Washington circus.
I wasn’t smiling along with him though. A circus might be entertaining, but it has no place in the running of the most powerful nation on Earth. A nation that could well take us all down with it.
Judging by some news reports today, things are getting very heated between the US and North Korea. President Trump has called for a meeting of Congress, and the North Koreans are making ever-more threatening speeches, including suggesting the possible use of nuclear weapons.
Fairly normal events, like the visit of a US submarine to South Korea, something that happens often, are being seen as ‘escalation’ by both sides. North Korean artillery exercises, said to be a ‘celebration’ of the army, are seen as displays of aggression. China is getting nervous. They have asked the US directly not to attack the DPRK, which shows at least some belief that they expect the Americans are about to do just that. China suggests approaching the United Nations, and asking for their approval for military action. Russia has been quiet about the escalation in the region, at least today.
So, what can we conclude? Is Mr Trump really going to launch an attack on Pyongyang, and military targets such as airfields and installations around that country? That appears to be becoming more than a possibility, which makes it a probability. Will the North Koreans retaliate? (Always assuming they have a chance to) That’s almost a certainty. Should the rest of us be worried? Potentially.
If this was two dogs fighting on a hot summer day, someone would throw a bucket of water over them.
We are going to need a lot of water…