A Leader is one who shows the way.
Listening to the wireless yesterday, I happened to hear part of a speech / response to a question by President Trump on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Allegedly some 100 men, women, and children were killed by Sarin Gas / and or Chlorine Gas, on Tuesday of this week. This ‘massacre’ took place in Khan Sheikhoun, in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, allegedly the ‘massacre’ was carried out by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Russia says this atrocity was caused by gas leaking from a terrorist / Syrian rebel chemical weapons depot.
Sarin Gas is particularly nasty stuff, invented by Hitler’s boffins, odourless and deadly in 10 seconds, it’s a perfect terrorist weapon. The use of Sarin was banned in 1997 under the UN chemical weapons convention. Chlorine Gas will also kill you pretty quickly, and obviously chlorine isn’t banned, but chlorine stinks. The 1925 Geneva Protocol specifically prohibits the use of Gas in Warfare, but apparently allows the use of chemical weapons within a state’s own borders in a civil conflict. So it wouldn’t actually be completely illegal for Syrian forces to use Chlorine Gas on rebels in Idlib Province.
However, the rights, wrongs, culprits, retaliations, and possible solutions for this terrible incident wasn’t what struck me about President Trump’s words during his Rose Garden Press Conference. My first thought was that Mr. Trump didn’t sound ‘Presidential’. His presentation skills were, quite frankly, terrible.
Strictly speaking, this wasn’t a ‘presentation’ by President Trump, but anytime a President of The United States of America speaks, shouldn’t he radiate authority, clarity, confidence, gravitas, and complete command of his brief? For me, Mr Trump just sounded like an amateur speaker at a golf club tournament.
The President committed the cardinal sins of deviation, hesitation, and repetition. I have a strong feeling that Mr. Trump speaks totally ‘off the cuff’, and ‘shoots from the hip’. At the same time I believe that Mr. Trump has spent far too long using facile social media such as Twitter, and not long enough reading modern history written by statesmen such as Winston Churchill.
Listen to one of Mr Churchill’s great speeches, such as the ‘Finest Hour’, and then listen to Mr Trump on Syria, and note the differences. If you like, you can also listen to someone like the actor Morgan Freeman, who sounds far more ‘Presidential’ than President Donald Trump.
The question is; does sounding and acting like a great president, make you a great president? Well, partly it does. Some say that John F. Kennedy was a great president, and that his greatest speech was his 100 days speech. All I know is that Kennedy ‘sounds’ like a great President, and sadly Trump doesn’t, not quite, not yet. Although Mr Trump does have a pretty cool sense of humour, and maybe that’s why a woman like Hillary Clinton couldn’t get herself elected.
Some say that a man should ‘fake it to make it’, and that looking and sounding like a leader is nine-tenths of the battle. All I know is that presentation skills are part of urban survival skills and something every man should learn.
To travel is to take a journey into yourself.
Doing a little research on something else, I was bored enough to read a narrow-minded American’s opinion of visit to England, which pissed me off somewhat. Here are some real facts about Americans;
64% of Americans do not own a passport.
In states such as; Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Carolina only about 25% of US citizens own a valid passport.
When most Americans visit another country it’s to either Mexico or Canada.
Annually, less than 5% of Americans travel overseas.
More than half of all Americans have never been outside of America.
Most Americans have not been to more than 5 US states.
Many Americans have never been more than 100 miles from where they were born.
The commonest complaints of Americans visiting England are;
- ‘the bacon is terrible…’
- ‘few ethnicities are represented in London cuisine…’
- ‘there is no Mexican or Latin American food in Britain…’
- ‘British people are cold and hard to befriend…’
- ‘the London subway is unreliable…’
- ‘the British are obsessed with the Queen and Royal Family…’
- ‘it always rains in England…’
- ‘the English drive on the wrong side of the road…’
- ‘British cars are undrivable…’
- ‘free healthcare is such a stupid idea…’
- ‘British TV sucks…’
- ‘refrigerators and washing machines are very small…’
- ‘there’s no dress code…’
- ‘black people are just people…’
- ‘they eat with their forks upside down…’
I’ve travelled all over the world, I’ve worked, lived, and had many vacations in the United States, I have some close friends in America, and none of the above surprises me one little bit. American culture is so in-your-face and all-pervasive, (you only had to watch the recent Oscars ceremony to realise that), that all Americans think the rest of the world is just like America ~ trust me, it isn’t.
In addition, working Americans are allowed and take so few vacation days, (average 10 days a year), that the idea of visiting some of the great cultural sites in Europe just never crosses their minds.
The whole world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a single page. ~ Saint Augustine
Which is why it does not surprise me that;
- Middle America elected Donald Trump as their President.
- Americans are obsessed with social media like Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
- More than 80% of Americans believe in conspiracy theories, and that the Government has kept secrets about UFOs.
- More than 85% of Americans believe in one or more of; aliens, flying saucers, angels, astrology, extra-sensory-perception, Big Foot, ghosts, reincarnation, the healing power of crystals, witchcraft, that they can win money in Las Vegas casinos, and that winning the lottery is a viable financial plan.
- Over 75% of Californians believe that more than 25% of Americans are Gay or Lesbian, (the true figure is 3.5% of Americans are LGBT).
- 25% of Americans believe in creation theory and that the Earth is the centre of the universe.
- 25% of Americans believe they won their Independence from a country other than Great Britain.
- All Americans feel they need a planned and fixed itinerary before setting off on their travels.
A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. ~ Lao Tzu
To a well-travelled, well-read, and well-educated Englishman like me, it’s very sad that most Americans are like a Monday morning quarterback ~ they think they can talk a good game, but mostly they talk bullshit. Actually, it’s worse than that, most Americans think their opinions matter to others. They need to get out into the world a bit more.
And in England, ‘Trump’ is still another word for ‘Fart’.
Have a nice day.
every snowflake is the last of the great individualists
In English, there’s often a new meaning for an old word, it happens every day. Yet, never in my long and interesting life have I seen such a meteoric rise of an all-purpose insult created out of a familiar word, in the way that Snowflake has instantly appeared everywhere. I like snowflakes, real snowflakes that is.
To be clear, a snowflake usually refers to; often a younger person, prone to taking offence, emotionally vulnerable, unable to cope with views that challenge their own, easily distressed when met with rejection, incapable of seeing an opposing point of view, unable to hold a cogent argument, and liable to pointlessly futile demonstrations of anger. In my time I’ve met a hell of a lot of people like that.
Back in the day we had a few other words for those of the snowflake ilk; wazzock, prat, jessie, dil, and many more that are considered extremely politically incorrect today. All in all I quite like snowflake. There, there, don’t cry.
Older snowflakes do exist; for example our own Archbishop of Canterbury, who used a major speech to call President Trump, (and almost everyone else), a Fascist. Oh! Do get a grip Welby. Then there’s loathsome Ken Loach, who used the BAFTA awards ceremony to say the that current UK Government is callous, brutal, and disgraceful. Champagne Socialist is a good insult to Loach the Roach. And, my award for Old Snowflake of the Year goes to that limousine liberal ~ Meryl Streep. In a speech at a New York Gala, mad Meryl seemed to equate President Trump with Hitler, and intimated that Mr. Trump was likely to start a nuclear war. No dear, that was your beloved JFK in 1962. It’s always nice to see the old Buffs again.
When they are not using awards ceremonies to give us unopposed foul-mouthed tirades, or shouting down opponents, or holding pointless marches, snowflakes have their own interesting range of insults. My own political views could easily get me labeled as an old-fashioned, misogynist, racist, war-mongering, climate change denier, and supporter of populist politics. I’ll admit to a couple of those.
My views are mine, and mine alone. Other than I will not usually break the law, I will not be told what to do, and I will not be told what to think. My views are based on things like a lifetime’s study of; hard science, engineering, geography, geology, history, finance, literature, current affairs… My views do not come pre-packaged from the pages of the Huffington Post, the Guardian, the New Statesman, or even the BBC.
Providing that you are polite, I will take care to hear your opinions, and the opinions of anyone else for that matter ~ your opinions tell me many things about you, and that’s interesting. But that’s about as far as it goes. If you think the Earth is flat, the Moon is made of green cheese, and that man-made carbon dioxide is destroying the planet, then that’s interesting too. Those views will tell me that your opinions are mostly misguided, that you don’t know much hard science, and that you need to widen your circle of friends. Have a nice day.
If you regularly use social media like twitter and Facebook, then that tells me a lot about you too. It tells me that your brain is slowly turning to mouldy oatmeal, that you have a lot of ‘friends’ you’ve never actually met, and that you really don’t know anything that’s worth listening to. (Or, maybe you still do, but soon you won’t.) By demographic definition, all regular users of twitter and Facebook are soft snowflakes.
Generally, I find a lot of sound sense in most blogs I read. It takes time and effort to write a decent blog post. It takes a lot of time, effort, and a little money, to maintain a regular, high-quality blog. Any wazzock can write 140 badly worded characters and stick it on twitter. Maybe President Trump is a snowflake too? Anyhow, where I come from trump is just another word for fart.
these views are mine and mine alone
Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.
There seems to be a lot of angry people in the world today, mostly angry that recent events didn’t turn out the way they wanted, and the future is looking very different to the way they wished it to be.
Angry people are not always wise. ~ Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Even very recent events are beyond our control. The past is the one part of our lives over which we have absolutely no influence, none whatsoever. No amount of regret, bad feelings, or anger can ever change what has already happened. All that anyone has any control over is what they do right now, and what they do right now will shape the future. If people choose to feel angry about the past, then they are denying themselves the opportunity to enjoy the present, and thereby create a better future.
Life is difficult and painful. This is the first of The Four Noble Truths. Things often don’t turn out the way we would like them to. Dwelling on the past and being angry about it isn’t necessarily the best way to make either the present or the future a better and happier place.
We don’t have to get angry, and we don’t have to stay angry. There are other and more positive emotions we can create from our anger. More often than not our anger does not get us what we want. Anger often turns inward and makes angry people bitter, twisted, and ineffectual.
Anger is an acid than can do more harm to vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. ~ Mark Twain
We shouldn’t suppress our anger, but there are positive and constructive alternatives to aggressively inflicting our anger on other people. Intentionally hurting other people is almost universally a bad thing. All to often angry people won’t listen to calmer counsel. All too often angry people will not listen to opposing viewpoints. All to often angry people try to shout their opponents down.
If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. ~ Noam Chomsky
We can use anger to spur ourselves on to greater and better things. The energy, the adrenalin, the drive our anger arouses in us can be used to make positive and healing changes to the world around us. We all need to learn to tame our temper.
The best fighter is never angry. ~ Lao Tzu
We don’t always have to get mad. We don’t always have to get even. We don’t even have to tell other people that they are wrong, stupid, ignorant, uneducated, ungentlemanly, and childish. We can keep our opinions mostly to ourselves, and instead work quietly for the greater good.
We may not like recent events like Brexit, President Trump, Populism, and a lot of other crazy stuff going on in the World today, but getting angry and then belligerently expressing your anger probably isn’t the answer. More often than not, anger isn’t nice, it isn’t often pretty, and it isn’t really healthy. People die from too much anger.
And, depending on who has been in the wrong, then every once in a while, a sincere apology helps. Sometimes.
these thoughts are mine, and mine alone
The Steel Of The New Iron Lady.
There is a wailing and gnashing of teeth among Britain’s left-leaning inner city liberal elite today. The snowflake Guardian newspaper has completely thrown its toys out of the pram. Tim Farron, the pathetic failed Leader of the Liberal Party, says that Teresa May has completely betrayed Britain.
All because, in a landmark speech yesterday, British Prime Minister Teresa May signaled that she fully accepts the will of the majority of the English Peoples and will negotiate the hardest of hard Brexit with the moribund European Union.
There is a 12 point plan for when Britain finally exits European Super State, the major elements of which are;
- Britain will leave the European Single Market.
- We will end freedom of movement and take control of immigration.
- Britain will no longer accept rulings from the European Court of Justice.
- We will leave the European Customs Union.
- Britain will look to the whole world when we make our own trade agreements.
The Prime Minister gave European politicians a stinging ultimatum and said that she will just walk away from a bad deal, and that if they don’t negotiate a mutually beneficial trade deal with the United Kingdom they will be committing an ‘act of calamitous self harm’.
Addressing stunned European Union ambassadors she threatened that Britain will set itself up as a low tax rival if European leaders tried to impose a punitive exit deal on Britain. If Europe doesn’t play ball, then Britain will just walk away and let them get on with it. Anyhow, it’s likely that the European Union will implode after Britain leaves.
Teresa May is waving both the carrot and the stick, and it’s a pretty big stick. Britain is the fastest growing G7 economy, the fourth biggest economy in the world, the second biggest contributor to NATO after the USA, London is the world’s greatest financial centre, and English is the only truly world language.
The original Iron Lady was British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who had a close political relationship with President Ronald Reagan. Perhaps Teresa May and Donald Trump will forge a similar history making Special Relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Perhaps Mr. Trump could even persuade Teresa May to throw cold water on the whole stupid, tax funded, man-made climate change CO2 hysteria. After all, England has bugger all in common with Europe, and a hell of a lot of shared history and culture in common with America.
Some say that all Britain will regret turning our backs on the European Union. And, that our economy will falter and fail. All I know is Europe ain’t seen nothing yet.
these opinions are mine and mine alone
So, what about politics? There’s nothing useful for this Englishman to say about the US Presidential election. Less than useful is I thought British politics was bad until I took an interest in the political goings on in the world’s most powerful nation.
Right now, politics in the United States of America seems just a bit… extreme.
Here’s a song for whoever wins.
Please Listen Responsibly.
Whoever does get into the White House, I hope my American friends will continue to survive and thrive in Freedonia.
Most of the news media has confidently predicted that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.
Most of the news media confidently predicted that the United Kingdom would vote to remain in the European Union in our referendum of 23rd of June 2016.
In the event England decisively voted to leave the European Union, and a new word entered the language; Brexit.
Leave aside the political rights and wrongs, and instead look at the effect that politics has on the Pound or Dollar in your pocket.
The immediate impact of Brexit has been twofold.
- The value of the pound fell dramatically on the foreign exchange markets, (FOREX). There was no good reason for this other than the Political Establishment creating alarm and despondency in Project Fear, in an effort to persuade voters to opt to remain in the hated European Union.
- The price to the consumer of all kinds of goods and services has been increased by mostly unscrupulous suppliers and retailers off the back of Brexit and the fall in the value of the pound. Some of these price increases are fairly justifiable, for example the UK price of petrol, (gasoline), has soared. But then oil is priced and traded in US Dollars. Some price increases blamed on Brexit are just fatuous, for example Walkers Crisps, (chips), have increased their prices by 10% and blamed it on Brexit. Walkers crisps are made in Britain from British potatoes.
There is one lesson to be learned from this. Markets, manufacturers, retailers, service companies, and politicians will use any change in the world order to justify price rises / tax increases / rapid falls in the financial markets. What they are saying to the man in the street is; ‘don’t blame us, it’s all your own fault for voting for the wrong result’.
What you didn’t know is that the major players in any market; banks, brokers, governments, insurance companies, speculators and the like, can all make money in a falling market, (aka a bear market). Principally they do this by ‘selling short‘, that is they sell stocks, commodities, foreign exchange that they don’t actually own for delivery at a future date. Then, when the market concerned falls, they buy the stocks, shares, commodities, foreign exchange they need to complete the contract ~ but here’s the thing, they buy at a lower price because the market has fallen.
Now, you or I can potentially make money in a falling market by selling short through our broker, but this is a very bad idea, because what you are doing is creating a risk where none exists, and that’s just gambling. Entering into this kind of deal is a very fast way to go broke.
However, it benefits the major players in any market to create uncertainty, because where there is uncertainty and chaos there is profit for them. And, where does this profit come from? Actually it comes from you and I, the average man in the street. Because of political uncertainties the cost of just about everything I buy, including my overseas road trips, has gone up. The value of almost everything I own has fallen, including stocks, bonds, and hard cash.
Should Donald Trump be elected President it is likely that chaos will hit the US financial markets. You can even take a bet on what will happen to Wall Street after the election. I can firmly predict that if Clinton loses the value of the US Dollar will fall, as will the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And why is that? Because it suits the speculators to make it so.
As it happens, nobody yet knows what will happen to the UK economy now that we are committed to leaving the European Union. Nobody yet knows what kind of President Mr Trump will make, nor what kind of handle on the US Economy Mrs Clinton has either. Most of the short-term economic impact of politics is down to speculation and not fact.
Personally, I disagree with just about everyone in that I believe Trump will make a better president than Clinton, (as far as the US Economy is concerned), and that Brexit is better for the UK Economy than staying in the European Union and Single Market could ever have been.
But then, I’ve never been one to have fashionable views.
these opinions are mine, and mine alone
Burning coal is the most efficient and cost-effective way to produce large amounts of electricity. Unless you happen to live in an underpopulated country that is also blessed with many large lakes, mountains, and rivers, or Iceland.
However, apart from in the industrial powerhouse countries like China, Germany, and India, the idea of burning coal is an anathema to politicians, left-leaning media, and the metropolitan elite. They all
believe profess to believe that burning coal causes global warming, and unless every country in the world stops burning coal we are all going to die / drown / choke / starve.
We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. ~ Hillary Clinton
In that one sentence Hillary Clinton conclusively demonstrated that she is unfit to hold the office of President of the United States. Either she in scientifically uneducated, or a liar, or both. She shows that she cares far more for the few fashionable metropolitan elite than for the vast majority of real Americans. She demonstrates that she has no grasp of day-to-day economics, hard science, or industrial strategy.
Hillary Clinton doesn’t like coal or coal miners. Next to coal, the most cost effective way for Britain and America to generate large amounts of electricity is to burn natural gas obtained by fracking.
By the time we get through all of my conditions I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place. ~ Hillary Clinton
The really sad thing is that the other candidate for president is probably even worse than the harsh voiced harridan, albeit in different ways.
Where do the proponents of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change think the carbon in that coal came from in the first place? Outer space? (Well actually, it did, but that’s another matter.) It came from the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. Plants turn carbon dioxide into more plants, then over millennia that turns into coal.
It’s an inconvenient truth that predictions of doom by the man-made global warming alarmists, like Hillary Clinton, just have not come true.
If anyone bothered to learn some real hard science they would know that the only way mankind can possibly change the Earth’s climate is through all-out and total nuclear war. There is no empirical or hard scientific evidence that burning coal, oil, or gas can ever change the Earth’s climate. There is plenty of empirical and hard scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels in cities causes stinking smog ~ just look at London before the Clean Air Act, and Los Angeles, and any number of cities in China today.
Climate change is a normal, natural, and perpetual process which occurs, and has always occured, with sublime indifference to man’s puny input. ~ James Delingpole
Smog is not climate change. And, the ultimate cause of smog today is cars, buses and trucks. If some of the bone-idle, lazy, and indolent people would get out of their cars once in a while and actually walk places for a change, then there wouldn’t be anything like as much smog either.
Do yourself a favour and stop looking stupid by banging on about non-existent anthropogenic climate change. Learn some hard science, or just take a walk instead.
(By the way, the stuff coming from those ‘chimneys’ in the pictures is steam, not smoke.)
these opinions are mine and mine alone