Friday, June 22, 2018

A Day At The United Nations

I spoke today at the United Nations. The topic was a consultation with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and ECOSOC (UN Economic and Social Council).  I spoke on the need for better working relations with member states and economies in transition (UN-speak for developing countries). In particular, no surprise, with an emphasis on Bosnia and Herzegovina since that is where our NGO operates and why I was invited.

Some pictures of me, then some of the UN as I wandered around after the meeting.
The room before the whole thing started.
The USA Representative (2nd from end), she was very supportive.

The Security Council Room (no meetings today)

Part of the mural outside the Security Council

Art


A Theme I Will Come BackTo...

Immigration is not a problem in this country. It just isn't. I can give lots of facts and figures (and have, after the jump) Our crime statistics have never been lower.

Area with high immigrant populations (legal and illegal) have lower crime rates. I'll get to those later.  So what is immigration?

A Red Herring.

If you don't believe me? Think back to the last thing Republicans said would destroy the country, the debt.

After falling during the last 4 years of the Obama administration, it was still touted as going to destroy our economy.

And yet, the Republicans came in and the ONLY major piece of legislation tripled the country's debt.

Now immigration. The Republicans will beat this horse until it staggers over the finish line in November. The only question is how many gullible voters will fall for it.  Don't believe me?

Well, first, understand there is NO immigration problem relative to the last 35 years. Second, look at the President's own tweet.

The President blames the Democrats, but the Republicans hold both houses of Congress and failed to pass any legislation because they won't compromise. The President WANTS a deadlock to get his voters to the pools. The fear of the great brown hoards is the only thing he can think of to motivate them.

Stats on crime after the Jump

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Sometimes a Predetermined Outcome is Nice

I just got back from visiting my mom and Nick in Montana. We talked and laughed and everything else.  But....

 
Their TV already had a lot of Senate race ads. At least a couple every hour.  In June!

That's a lot of ads they have to live with in Montana. Sometimes it's nice living somewhere where your vote doesn't count.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Exactly


Chaos Central (too many balls in the air)

President Trump likes chaos, his advisors say. And so chaos there shall be. Here is a short list of the things he is disrupting right now:


  1. Families asking for asylum. After separating kids and parents, the President signed an order to keep them together (which he said he could not sign for the past week). Now he will lock the families up together and hold them indefinitely, in violation of the Flores court order.
  2. Chinese trade war
  3. Support for Chinese company ZTE (after a loan to Trump Indonesia properties)
  4. Trade War with Europe
  5. War of words with Justin Trudeau and Canada - our chief ally.
  6. Iran Nuclear Agreement has been torn up - no talks to replace it (remember it will be replaced with a big beautiful new treaty).
  7. Possible mid-east war with Iran - being pushed by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
  8. Non-reality based investigation into FBI by Justice Department re:debunked rumor of a spy in his campaign
  9. Non-reality claim that FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's EMail investigation cleared him of Russian Collusion probes.
  10. Dropped out of Paris Climate Accords (remember it will be replaced by a big beautiful new treaty).
  11. Attack on the Independent investigation of Robert Muller. Slandering it as a witch hunt. It has produced multiple arrests and guilty convictions so, not a with hunt.
  12. North Korean Photo Op and new claim that he fixed the problem of North Korea, with no agreements or progress.

I Have Avoided the Child Seperation Issue - But Add Abuse, Sexual and Other - And I Must Say Something

President Trump has said that a zero tolerance policy is due to Democrats.  It's not, but that is our Dear Leader just lying, so I am used to it. He is holding children hostage to his whims, again, I am used to him being cavalier with people's lives.

But now a Texas paper (link) has found pretty rampant abuse, physical and sexual over years of operation and we aren't doing anything about it. A policy in Syria or Hungary of the government taking away children from asylum seekers and then physically and sexual abusing them would raise Americans anger. When we do it, the response is muted.



You may wonder why nothing is changing.  Well... Republicans like the policy (LINK to data).

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

But the Republicans Control Government???

President Trump's constant tweeting convinces his followers that up is down (I was going to say black is white, but he really insists that black is evil).  Take this....

But Republicans control all of government right now. The House of Representatives, The Senate, the Presidency and the Supreme Court. How could those evil Democrats being doing anything? The laws he bitches about were passed and signed into law by George W. Bush, and his party could change them anytime, by themselves.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Cody

Just got back from visiting Mom and Nick in Montana. There I meet this bundle of fun.  This is Cody a 12 week old golden lab.  He's adorable.  There is also a weird ass cat, which I blurred in my picture, so I don't have one.

The cat is about the same color and two years old.  He and Cody play slap and tickle and it is a crack up.

Mom and Nick are pretty good.  It was a nice trip.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Trump / Kim Summit Was A Good Thing

The Trump / Kim Summit was less impressive than Fox news portrays, and much more impressive than anti-Fox news portrayed.


In the end, not much was completed. Fox tended to overstate was was completed. On the other hand, very little was given away at almost zero cost. Had Obama come to the same result, MSNBC would be talking it up.

In the end, I think it is better to talk than lob bombs. So good for President Trump on this.

Generally: Well Done

Monday, June 11, 2018

"Special Placer in Hell" might be a bit over the top.

Trumps appalling asshole-ishness is now rubbing on on his advisors.  This was Peter Navaro's comments on the Sunday shows after the Canadian Minister rather innocuously answered a reporter's question.


The answer that got under Trump and Navaro's skin was this: (full context in link)

Trudeau: "I highlighted directly to the president that Canadians did not take it lightly that the United States has moved forward with significant tariffs on our steel and aluminum industry, particularly did not take lightly the fact that it’s based on a national security reason that for Canadians, who either themselves or whose parents or community members have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with American soldiers in far off lands and conflicts from the First World War onwards, that it’s kind of insulting. And highlighted that it was not helping in our renegotiation of NAFTA and that it would be with regret, but it would be with absolute certainty and firmness that we move forward with retaliatory measures on July 1, applying equivalent tariffs to the ones that the Americans have unjustly applied to us.
I have made it very clear to the president that it is not something we relish doing, but it is something that we absolutely will do, because Canadians, we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around.

Old and new buildings in New York

Friday, June 08, 2018

The Sutjeska National Park in Bosnia


So, in going through some pictures, I saw these from Sutjeska National Park.

It is a National Park in Bosnia with some of the last old growth forest (as in never cut) in all of Europe. Of course, I didn't see that cuz you have to hike a long way to see it. But I did try through the gorgeous park.

One of the most interesting things is a monument created by Tito, celebrating the victory of the partisans over the Nazi's in WWII.  There are a few left through old Yugoslavia and they are a fascinating mix of communist brutalism and celebratory sculpture.


I like it. In leaving I also ran across goats and cows that wouldn't get out of the road!

No people with these cows, just the bells.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Banchory Scotland



On our Balmoral drive day we started going through the hills of Cairngorms National Park.  I was rugged and beautiful.  It looked like it was going to rain (or snow!) on us, but by the time we left the hills it turned beautiful.




After traveling through the mountains, we visited Banchory Castle. We didn't go in (no one was there). It was interesting because it was purchased by the locals after it fell into disrepair.



Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Our Tour of Edinbugh

We took a tour of Edinburgh from the "tour by locals" folks when we first got there and we loved it.  Some highlights.

The gang (I was taking the picture) and out tour guide in the cemetery.

Headstones by people back wall.


The detail from the National Library
The Royal Bank of Scotland

An old church on the main street - now an arts center.

I liked the stylized unicorn.


On this site the rules of gold were laid out.

So I Think I Have Finally Figured It Out

There is something insidious about President Donald Trump that is unique in our history. I thought it was his lack of regard for our institutions or the truth, but it's not.  What I have finally figured out is that Donald Trump is the first President that I have ever known that doesn't attempt to be the President of ALL Americans.



That rhetoric, that all previous Presidents have used, is lacking in our current President. Other Presidents have divided us politically or even internally, but this is the first President who actively states that there are real Americans that he favors and "others".

Every other President has served the idea of All Americans. President Trump doesn't even honor that idea in spirit.  Look at today, he cancelled the visit to the White House by the Philadelphia Eagles.  His tweet implied that the Eagles didn't stand during the National Anthem. IN fact, the Eagles were one of the 7 teams where no member took a knee last year.



He divides to rev up his supporters at the detriment of all Americans.  I might now have liked Bush, and my mother may have hated Clinton and lots of people didn't like Obama, but each of them believed they were the President of ALL Americans - not just those that voted for him.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Donnottar Castle

In Scotland we visited Donnottar Castle with the gang.  It is an old castle out on a headland that played a large part in the wars between Scotland and England after James the 1st.

It was a hike down then up, but well worth it.