Thursday this and that’s

Thursday has arrived bringing the last day of November. One month is left in the most interesting, befuddling and alarming of years. A few “this and that’s” on varied topics follow.

2017 will be remembered for two major global events, one good and one bad. And, the bad may have helped open Pandora’s Box on the good. The good will be the “year women fought back.” The bad will be electing a global leader who is known for his lying, his narcissism, his maltreatment of women, his bigotry and his bombast.

Women have been sexually harassed and assaulted for years. In some places in the world, their rights are secondary to men and/ or their husbands. Starting with Bill Cosby and Donald Trump, women are coming forward with claims of sexual misconduct. The sad part is this was not enough to prevent a man, who boasted of his assault in at least three taped settings and the fact he could get away with it, from getting elected. To me, it takes a huge effort to come forward, so these women should be heard and heeded.

The bad is the election of a man who is far from being qualified for office. Last year, I was told many times he would hire good people to make up for his inexperience. The more capable people either refused or would not kiss his ring. So, we have had a parade of folks who had to resign or were fired and our White House is filled with “chaos and incompetence” per several staffers noted by David Brooks. But, the worst part is the daily degradation of the our standing in the world, the office of the Presidency and civil rights and decorum. If not remedied, this period will be remembered as the time the US ceded its global leadership role.

Another key storiy is 2017 will be the year of backlash against the refugee crisis. With all of the turmoil in the Middle East and Africa, the flood of refugees has caused massive problems for Europe. Welcoming countries had more refugees than they could handle. So, nationalistic movements grew in size and clout. Some groups won seats in their parliaments and a few won majorities. Refugees need our help, but it has to be managed and we need to realize the US minimized its role, which further exacerbated Europe’s issues.

The other big stories are the reality of Brexit negotiations, China extending further its reach and clout with the diminishing US role, the reemergence of Russia along with its cyber manipulation of other countries, and Kim Jong Un accomplishing the build-up of nuclear weapons and ICB missiles.

Going into 2018, I worry most about the man in charge of the United States. He is not trusted, he attacks critics, he uses false news as much as Putin, he belittles legitimate news sources and he not only remains inexperienced, he does not care to do the work to become so and is rather incoherent when he defends what he does. Read a transcript of what he says and it is embarassingly nonsensical.

Let’s forget all of this and enjoy our remaining holiday season. I can leave you with this one thought – there is far more good news than bad, it just seems the opposite since the good is vastly underreported and bad is overreported. Here is one such good story – a team of Afghani girls won the global robotics competition this week, after being initially denied entrance to the US due to our Muslim travel ban. You go girls!

21 thoughts on “Thursday this and that’s

      • Hugh, so true. The Senators push for the Tax Bill are using the ploy that said economists have differences on the impact. OK, Mr. Senator tell me what economist agree with your position, because there is a long list of nonpartisan economic groups who say this benefits the wealthy and adds to the debt. This is a way a lazy politician like our President can try to sand over the issue. Keith

    • Linda, thanks. That bright spot speaks volumes illustrating the capability of women, in general and from a place where their rights are threatened, plus against Trump showing what limiting Muslims (or immigration and travel) means, as we have many capable Amercan Muslims. Keith

  1. A good write, and a great ending. However I want to question this line: “the worst part is the daily degradation of the our standing in the world, the office of the Presidency and civil rights and decorum. If not remedied, this period will be remembered as the time the US ceded its global leadership role.”
    From my non-American, rather Canadian and European viewpoint, the only “leadership role” the US has ever had in the world was corporate malfeasance and military/para military oppression and subjugation of popular movement by people seeking liberation from, you guessed it, American-backed vile and violent dictators. Civil rights? Yeah, right! Remember that presidential quote regarding the bloody dictator of Nicaragua, Somoza: “He may by a son of a bitch but he’s our son of a bitch.” Should I mention Fulgencio Batista of Cuba, the Shah of Iran… or Pinochet of Chile? The global oppressive military industrial complex makes its nest in Washington, Wall Street and the Pentagon. There is plenty more I could say about American global “leadership” but what is happening now is the world is seeing America for what it always was behind the hypocrisy. Nuff said, hm?

    • Sha’Tara, many thanks for your comment. You have certainly pointed out all of our warts which are many. But, other leaders have said about America is they are the guard rails in the world. If we abdicate that role, the world becomes less safe.

      With that said, our leaders have done many poor things abusing that power. Invading Iraq under false pretenses is an obvious one. Overthrowing a democratically elected leader in Iran is another.

      The comment about civil rights is we seem to be going back in time. That is so very frustrating. As an American our leaders often fail to live up to our ideals. This President does not know what our ideals are.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. There really are good people in America, underneath the loud noise at the top. Keith

    • When I was a small child growing up in the UK, I saw America as a vast modern place where my relatives would visit and bring back some nice gifts.
      The Cold War then featured on TV screens and the Watergate Affair, not to mention the Race Riots and Vietnam war. I saw America as a nation of war, unrest, and violence.
      Later, when living in Canada, I came to see America as the bombastic, overbearing neighbour to the South… Just a little louder, a little more aggressive and a little scary.
      Wars came and went with such ‘revolving door’ mentality that it became the dismissed norm.

      Of course my biased view was nothing more than the blinkered view of international media, and we were fed a diet of mixed awe and fear of the ‘American way’ so it is not surprising that the international view of the US is a lot lower than most American’s might think.
      Lord Chaos is taking that view to an all time low! The good Americans are invisible on the World stage.😖

      • The planet has shrunk so much, relatively speaking that we, that is, people, need to come to terms with a new, and very ancient, reality: we are “the people”. We’re not Canadians, or Americans, or North Koreans; not Russians or Puerto Ricans. We’re not white or black or otherwise coloured. More, we’re not separate from all other life trying for a decent life on a small world on the outskirts of the arm of a spiral galaxy, lost and alone in space with no place to go. We need, we must, eliminate our bigoted thinking, our artificial nationalities. We need to force ourselves to think of all and sundry as “the people.” We need to “let live” BEFORE we say “live.” Or, say it this way: “Let live, then live.” We need to clue in that if living a decent, normal life is our goal, then every other life here is entitled to the very same thing. We must grow up, as a species and stop overreaching, grabbing and fighting to keep – that’s childish and the most childish, stupid, idiotic people on this world are the rich. Why emulate them? Why make them the “leaders”? I was thinking today, if an honest, hard working OR nurse and mom ran for president just on her personality and experience in the real world, how many votes would she get? Yet how much more qualified would she be than Mr. Trump? We need to look inside ourselves and ask, “What the hell’s wrong with me?”

      • Sha’Tara, I very much agree with your sentiments here. Well said. We are seeing this to a certain extent with social media cutting across the world. Younger folks are telling British leaders to not limit them with Brexit. Americans of all ages are telling the White House to stay out of the way if you are not going to help with renewable energy and conservation. Folks in China are using and enjoying economic freedoms to buy and own things.

        Hugh and I have chatted that if governments are not going to help people, they will just be ignored. Most change occurs at the ground level and works its way up. The US leadership will lose its place at the Climate Change planning, being replaced by forward thinking leaders in city, state and businesses.

        Like you said, people need to tell their leaders enough with the games. Start worrying about doing your job, than keeping your job. Many thanks, Keith

      • Colette, our position in the world matters, but too many of our leaders forget this, including this one. Our standing improved when Obama was elected, but he, too, showed he was far from perfect.

        We occasionally do the right thing, but not near enough. We can blow things up with the best of them, but the hard, long term work is helping rebuild infrastructure and people’s lives. We help the Afghani’s drive out the Soviets in the 1980’s, but pass on helping them rebuild the country. We side with a corrupt leader in South Vietnam and it became obvious to American troops we were fighting on the wrong side.

        And, the list goes on. What I take more comfort in is we did finally help Vietnam rebuild at the initiation of vets, and they are an ally and business partner. Japan and Germany are two of America’s most fervent allies and business partners. Telling GIs at the end of WWII and Vietnam War that this would be the case would not have been believed.

        This President worries me on so many levels, but backing away from global agreements and not supporting climate change planning are my greatest fears. Keith

      • Indeed. And you and Sha’Tara are right. We certainly can fix all the wrongs. It will take a shift in humanity to get it right and make that a permanent state.

  2. Good, thoughtful, reflective post, Keith. And just two hours ago I got a news flash from WaPo that the Senate passed the tax bill … I think around 1:00. Sigh. But I love that you ended this piece with that good news story. It puts back a little of the joy that the WaPo newsflash took away.

    • Thanks Jill. Senator McConnell declared it a victory for the American people. But, which people? From my reading the people doing a touchdown dance already have an awful lot of money. 52% of Americans disapprove of this bill, but only the opinion of the privileged few matters. Keith

      • No, it is a victory only for the 1%. My last hope is that they cannot come to terms on the reconciliation between the House and Senate versions, but we both know that won’t happen, so … pbth to them all. I am still somewhat speechless over this one, disappointed in McCain, and trying to figure what happens next. Trump may gloat for a moment, but there’s still Mike Flynn who must be haunting his dreams about now.

      • Jill, the pressure needs to be placed on legislators asking for call backs. The GOP leaders need to know they have put us on a far worse path. You don’t make cuts like this at the top of the market and with one of the longest growth periods. We will need to make tax increases at the worst possible moment in the future. Think Kansas’ debt and economic woes. Keith

    • Lisa, thanks. What leaders should know and never forget is you don’t know where Innovation comes from. If our country limits immigration and study from abroad in America, the Innovation could easily occur elsewhere. And, innovation is portable, so where it occurs, that is where the first jobs occur. A strong message to a certain President is you cannot make a country built on immigration “great again” by squeezing immigration and visits. Keith

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