There was a time—though nobody’s quite sure of when that was—when the culture clash between Christians and Muslims might have been avoided through mutually respectful conversations and compromises. But that time has passed and no amount of talking now will yield a quick solution. The issues are too encysted, the offenses too damaging, the retributions too exaggerated, the players too polarized. That said, something has to be done at least to try to begin some sort of détente with the Muslim world. The only alternative—an upward spiraling permanent war—would be infinitely worse.
Could some concessions to the Muslims, starting with an acknowledgment of and apology for the high-handed treatment the Christian West has always dispensed to them, serve to improve relations, if only marginally? President Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo looked like a tentative step in that direction but was soon buried under the pressure of military expediency. Continue reading “With All Due Respect—1/2”
It doesn’t have to make sense, unleash the dogs of war!
Many things in this world, some of them of great consequence, don’t make sense. That’s because the world doesn’t run on sense. It runs on greed and lust. It runs on envy and revenge. It runs on ambition. And let’s not forget cynicism and falsehood. That said, a minuscule part of the world is actually driven by love and loyalty, truth and sincerity, altruism and generosity. Say Iceland…
For most of the rest it’s half-truths and false appearances, vested interests, bribery and chicanery. (Want to know how it works? Read John Perkins’s book in PDF here.) Cravings for fame abound, along with hidden agendas and false-flag operations. Pride and obstinance coexist at the highest levels. Good God, I can’t believe I almost forgot sex, money and power, the aristocrats in this senseless world. I was tempted to include examples of all these sins, but I decided not to. It’s not necessary. Examples abound. Choose your own. Continue reading “Sex, Money, Power, Nonsense and Killer Euphemisms”
I wanted to write a piece on aging and the first thing I did was go to Google to check out images of old age. I was dazzled by what I found. More of the old people in the photographs looked more vital, interesting, engaging and actually beautiful than miserable for being old.
I’ve been following for most of my life, as I suppose most of us have, the debate/controversy/conflict over Americans’ second amendment right “to bear arms.” In the end I decided to shelve the issue along with cholesterol, transgenders in the military and monosodium glutamate in everything. It seemed to me, frankly, something of a tempest in a teapot. Sure, the odd teenager raised on Prozac would shoot his entire family and liquor stores would have to reinforce their security measures, but I couldn’t conceive of gun-toting Americans posing a life-or-death threat to their own country. Continue reading “It’s High Noon for the United States”
Can anybody remember a time when the United States was not at war, in some form or another, somewhere, with someone? I can’t, and I’m 74 years old. They seem to be in a permanent state of military conflict. Is this eternal war due to mistakes, coincidences or deliberate policy decisions? I’ll opt for the latter. It’s unlikely for any person or country to be so wrong so consecutively over more than three quarters of a century. The trend looks even worse if it’s the same “mistake” over and over again. As for coincidences, the statistical unlikelihood of these events occurring coincidentally is utterly off the graph. There aren’t enough nines to express it.
So, we’re left with policy. Where can such a demented policy come from and how does it come about? I think I can explain it. Essentially it’s due to a misunderstanding regarding “democracy.” The Americans’ think it can be promulgated by the sword and harbor a missionary zeal for spreading it around the world and into outer space. Curiously this missionary fervor grows in geometric proportions when the Americans are dealing with countries that are strategically located (eg. Vietnam) or rich in natural resources (eg. Iraq and Venezuela) or both (eg. Iran). It’s the 21st century equivalent of “civilizing and christianizing our little brown brothers.” Continue reading “The Myth of “Permanent War” Pervades American Democratization Efforts”
President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America’s 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. (Doug Mills/The New York Times)
President Trump’s Speech to the Boy Scouts at Their 2017 Jamboree in West Virginia Sounded Like a Hitler Youth Rally
His rambling, disconnected, lowbrow 38-minute talk, though wholly irrelevant and inappropriate for an audience of Boy Scouts, ages 6-14, did manage to establish some outstanding new negative moral and political benchmarks. This is a limbo contest in bad taste. How low can you go? President Trump has just reminded us that it’s time to lower the bar… again. Continue reading “President Donald Trump Redefines the Bottom”
España es el único país de Europa que penaliza con un impuesto específico las instalaciones de placas fotovoltaicas, incluidas las instalaciones domésticas
Esto fue un escándalo cuando se impuso en 2013 y se amplió en 2015 con una nueva tasa que se aplica sobre la energía autoconsumida, ya el gobierno entiende el autoconsumidor se beneficia del respaldo del sistema aun cuando no consuma energía del mismo. Y sigue escandalizándonos desde marzo de este año cuando el gobierno–con los únicos votos del PP y Foro Asturias–ha vetado la eliminación del impuesto porque dejaría de recaudar 162 millones. Con lo cual el gran negocio del futuro–la energía renovable–sigue en manos de los grandes grupos de interés liderados–¿cómo no?–por las eléctricas. Pepito Pérez, si no tiene espacio ni dinero para montar una granja de gigantescos molinos de viento en su huerto, no puede subir al tren del futuro energético. Ese privilegio está reservada a los grandes. Continue reading “El “impuesto al sol” clama al cielo”
En la estela del asesinato del Presidente John F. Kennedy en noviembre de 1963 salía paulatinamente a la luz una larga lista de muertes asociadas en mayor o menor grado con el trágico evento. Entre noviembre de 1963 y marzo de 1984 murieron al menos 103 testigos presenciales, periodistas, agentes de la CIA y el FBI, ex amantes de Kennedy, investigadores privados, políticos, policías y mucha más gente comprometida de alguna forma con los hechos, incluyendo por lo menos una “bailarina exótica” y un taxista y, para guinda, el mismísimo autor (“supuesto,” que era mucho suponer) del asesinato. Continue reading ““Muertes extrañas y convenientes””
Time Takes Its Toll, Regardless of Your Place on the Totem Pole
I was being driven around the countryside of the County of Essex one day by my English friend, Richard Milton, when we passed a large, level field with some slender airplanes sitting in a line. “What’s that?” I asked him. “Oh, they’re gliders, waiting to be launched by a tow plane.” “Do we have time to stop and watch them a bit?” “Sure,” he said, turning the car around and pulling into the edge of the field with the other cars.
As we approached the line of gliders on foot Richard spotted the cutest pilot in the line and went straight to chat her up. I tagged along. When he had struck out I said to her. “Could you please tell me approximately how long it takes to learn to pilot a glider?” She seemed relieved to hear a non-predatory question and replied, “The conventional wisdom maintains that it takes you the same time in hours as your age in years.” Continue reading “President Trump is Elderly with All That Implies”
Although this blog is entitled “Trump and All the Rest,” what you will read here in the coming weeks and months won’t be mainly about Donald Trump. There are lots of other issues we need to look at. Nevertheless, some reference to the most recent US president is unavoidable. Donald Trump is as ubiquitous as ants at a picnic. I’m not, however, as down on him as most of my friends, who blame him for everything and want his head.
The bottom line here is, I think, that Donald Trump is not responsible. In the first place he has neither the intelligence nor the professional level to be responsible for much of anything. He is burdened as well by a narcissistic, egocentric and truculent character that may actually be pathological. Add to this the fact that he delegates so many of his duties and decisions that we suspect that he’s not actually in charge, that he’s being “handled,” first by Steve Bannon, then by we’re not sure who else. Continue reading “A Left-Handed Defense of Donald Trump”