Wednesday walkabout

There are a lot of things to ponder this Wednesday, so let’s go for a walkabout. A young sixteen year old from Sweden has twice spoken candidly with members of the US Congress. Two take aways from Greta Thunberg’s comments:

– do something
– listen to the scientists

Yet, while she has been here, the US president’s head of the EPA, a former coal lobbyist, has rolled back an Obama regulation on clean water and overruled California’s ability to have tougher emissions standards for autos sold there. Call me crazy, but this 60 year old man sides with the 16 year old and the climate scientists.

The US president should thank Boris for taking some of the spotlight away from his inane antics. The UK is headed toward a cliff and Boris is saying follow me as he hits the gas. Brexit will be challenging enough, but a no deal Brexit would be a disaster. The British public should listen to the business community who is sharing its concern. An inability to govern this issue has been evident from the outset.

Somebody blew up oil refineries in Saudi Arabia. Iran is the most likely culprit. It is my guess someone is testing the waters with hawk John Bolton gone. Sadly, we are in this mess because of Trump’s decision to back out of a deal all other parties begged him not to, including US military and intelligence leaders. So, Trump’s building a coalition will be harder with our not listening to allies in the first place.

Finally, I am in the middle of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, “Talking to Strangers.” The thesis is we are horrible judges of when strangers are lying to us. Meeting the person actually is detrimental to the effort. A comment I just read is belief is not the absence of doubt; it’s the absence of a sufficient number of reasons to doubt. Fascinating read.

Have a great rest of the week.

10 thoughts on “Wednesday walkabout

  1. Nice walkabout … though I might have preferred a walk along the beach, or in a lush green forest. 😉 I read about Greta’s talk to the Senate, and only wish I believed that they would take her words to heart. Like you, I think this 16-year-old girl has more sense in her pinkie than most of the republican members of Congress have … collectively!

    I agree about Boris … I’ve long said he is Trump’s twin … and in this case, they are both the evil twin. I fear for the UK if Boris is allowed to take them over that cliff. But then, I fear for us if Trump is allowed to steer us into that iceberg up ahead. Sigh … not a good situation for any of us.

    The complexities that are the Middle East are way beyond Trump’s realm of understanding, and he is like a child with a cigarette lighter wandering around a gas tank. I truly fear that he is going to set the world afire, and the only solution I can see is not legal.

    Again, I enjoyed the walkabout! Have a great rest-of-the-week yourself!

    • Thanks Jill. I should have specified where we were walking. A hike in the forest would be nice. I love the filtered sun coming through the branches.

      The middle east (and North Korea) have issues beyond his willingness to study. Not knowing history means you are destined to repeat it. Coupled with his eggshell ego makes me worry as well. To me, it is beyond a cigarette lighter and more in line with a monkey with a hand grenade. Keith

      • You are so right … not understanding the history of any area, but especially the Middle East, which is the most complex area on the globe, and then trying to make policy decisions out of ignorance is a recipe for disaster. I saw a book the other day, and I was tempted to buy it for ol’ Donnie: “The Idiot’s Guide to the Middle East”. Perfect, don’t you think?

      • Jill, I don’t know if there can be a suitable “idiot’s guide.” Here is an example. We sided with the Kurds and Turks in Iraq to fight ISIS, but cannot support the Kurds in Turkey, because the Turks see them as an enemy. And, the Shia/ Sunni tension is not well-understood.

        Many of the troubles relate to bad parsing of land post WWI and where the oil. Bill McKibbens said moving to renewable energy will make the world safer. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: A couple of other thoughts on news items.

    President Duterte of the Philippines has announced a bounty on certain criminals. Help me understand how we cannot come to any other conclusion than Duterte is a thug.

    Climate change will continue to have an impact on business and industry. Maine lobsters are seeking colder waters north of Maine and deeper levels. Certain lobster food sources are sensitive to warming waters. A lobsterman said he if off 30% of previous years’ catches. Further, we bigger and slower hurricanes, tourist areas like The Bahamas and Puerto Rico are needing to rebuild. Puerto Rico is still recovering.

  3. Johnson as with Trump are hucksters concerned only with their own self-promotion and aggrandisement, they are of little character or real steel. You will notice Johnson refused to face the ire of some protesters at a summit. Also when out in public he has been shredded by more than a few people.
    As I have said before (probably too many times for some, but I’ll take that risk), the issue is not these transitory freaks of our respective voting systems, the issue lies with the voting population.
    Firstly we have those who either by self-indulgence, apathy, complacency or a false sense of judgement will not vote leaving the ground open to those of strong opinions and eroding the sense of compromise.
    Secondly we have those who subsumed their own senses of judgment to a steady diet by the purveyors of Fear, Ignorance and Hearsay, thus have lost any capacity for perspective and rational thought.
    These toxic conditions enable the second group to create manifestations of their Fears and Ignorance. Trump as a reaction by the Angry Right to the years of Clinton and ‘One of those people’ in the Whitehouse. Johnson as an hysterical reaction by the Conservative Party to the risk of losing ground to Farage’s latest vanity project The Brexit Party.
    The evidence that in each case a section of the voting population believes two persons of wealth (nebulous and not earned) and privilege are ‘champions’ of the ordinary people would be laughable if this were fiction.
    Of course, such groupings of the ‘ordinary’ people are a constant fact of human nature and history and why some Founding Fathers had concerns about giving the vote to ‘The Mob’ . The principal folk who are at fault are those who do not vote by passive or active choice. Not to vote is to support the extremists and such apathy or self-delusion will demand a price of those who do so.
    Meanwhile Trump and Johnson will earn very little in the way of credit by later historians, serving only to be of value as freaks and to some faintly comic (as was the ultimate fate of Mussolini)

    • Roger, so true on your many points. If someone told you ten years ago that ego-maniacal Donald Trump could convince many that he is a man of the people, they would have laughed at you. Now, it is too sad to be funny. Keith

      • I daresay over the past three years many commentators professional and otherwise are using H L Mencken’s acerbic commentary on democracy;
        “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

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