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.
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
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.
The whole world is filled with news of violence and chaos.
In the United States of America the killing of white police officers by disaffected black men continues, with a new tragedy almost every day. The abortive military coup in Turkey seems to be the beginning of a Stalinesque purge by President Erdogan. An insane muslim petty criminal kills and critically injures over 100 people in the French town of Nice, with a truck.
The Middle East in still in flames with muslim fanatics in Iraq, (Daesh, IS, ISIL, ISIS, whatever), inflicting torture, rape, and murder on women and anyone they don’t like, (mostly non muslims, homosexuals, and women). The strangling of ‘selfie queen’ Quandeel Baloch by her brother is just the most recent and high profile honour killing in supposedly civilised countries like Pakistan and India. Millions of refugees are on the move, many of them trying to gain access to a better life in Europe.
Gentleness, self-sacrifice, and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
In the European Union, crime by these self-same refugees is endemic, particularly rape and sexual assault. Meanwhile, England has decided to leave the European Union, (Brexit), and today the British Parliament will vote to replace our fleet of nuclear ballistic missile submarines with something even deadlier.
What strikes me is that the vast majority of this mayhem is committed by men. One has to ask if deep within the male of the human species is an hereditary propensity to aggression, violence, mayhem, jealousy, and conflict.
You know what? There is. Males are naturally violent and competitive. Look at the entire natural kingdom, from the tiny robin bird, to alpine goats, to man, and we see violent competition for territory, food, and females.
It’s only common sense and a higher, (almost altruistic), need to protect the survival of the species, as against one’s own gratification, survival, and the promotion of one’s own genetic heritage, that keeps species, (including mankind), from wiping themselves out.
In the past I have been guilty of aggression, excessive competitive urges, violence, manipulation, a need for instant gratification, and insane jealousy. But, do you know something else? The better part of mankind sublimates aggressive urges and instead cultivates serenity and a strong desire to do no harm.
The better man is safe, reliable, dependable, altruistic, friendly, kind, and protective. Women feel safe around that kind of man. Going to the extremes of available responses should only be resorted to for the protection of oneself and others, especially those you care for.
Some day you will find out that there is far more happiness in another’s happiness than in your own. ~ Honore de Balzac
Randomly killing people is the sign of a diseased and inferior mind, body, and spirit.
Am I the only one who thinks that releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys to help combat the Zika virus is a terrible idea?
Not quite. Local residents have launched a campaign to stop the release of these mutant bugs on the grounds that this kind of idiocy almost always has catastrophic unintended consequences. It seems a British company, (Oxitec), has programmed a strain of male Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes to only have offspring which will die before they reach breeding age. Seems to me that these British scientists don’t know much about these nasty little critters. One obvious snag is there are just so many of these insects and they have such a fast life cycle. What’s worse is that these GM bugs have not undergone proper testing ~ the Florida Keys release is by way of a very large-scale test.
Another snag is that disease carrying mosquitoes are not just in Florida. If you believe in global warming they are also going to be a problem in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and California. And, just do not even think of going anywhere south of the Mexican border.
The US Food and Drug Administration loves to approve GM organisms which haven’t been thoroughly tested, and without understanding what the long-term effects are going to be. Why is that? Money or hubris?
Female Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, (females are the dangerous, blood-sucking, ones), mate in a swarming cloud of males, and can lay a clutch of 100 or so eggs on a damp surface near stagnant water. The malarial mosquito was just about eliminated worldwide by DDT, (now banned), and completely eliminated in Panama during the building of the canal by eradicating the open, still water, on which the larvae depend. (Spraying water with oil works well…)
The disastrous results of previous animal releases still blight the world. Just ask the Australians what they think of bullfrogs and rabbits. Or the more enlightened New Zealanders what they think about cats. Come to that haven’t the Oxitec people ever seen Jurassic Park?
Three outcomes are likely from this release, none of them good;
- This GM mosquito technique will cost a fortune and won’t work at all.
- The genetically modified Aedes Aegypti will mutate into something else.
- This will work, the Aedes Aegypti will die out and something even nastier will take their place, (the Asian tiger mosquito, for example).
Man has a habit of doing things because they are possible, and not because they are such a good idea. Nature has a habit of finding a way to exploit man’s best intentions.
You don’t need to be Einstein to see that this is all going to end in tears.
Southern California is one of ‘coolest’ places I know, some call it SoCal…
SoCal runs from Point Conception in the north to the Mexican Border in the south. A land area of about 56.5 million square miles, (which is six million square miles more than England). Geographically there is the coastal plain;
With a desert in-between.
For good reasons, hardly anyone lives in either the mountains or the desert.
Given that I’ve lived in England for most of my life, and I only know about half of that, I’m trying to get to know one small part of Southern California. Orange County CA covers a land area of about 800 square miles yet over three million people officially live there, (trust me, add in the number of illegal immigrants and the true population is probably nearer four million), and at times it feels like it.
The freeways are crowded all the time, yet what the Californians call the surface roads are usually quiet.
The architecture ranges from the quaint;
Best just to enjoy the strange fun of being in one of the coolest places on the planet.
Palm Springs is cool, weird, and fun.
pictures by the girl riding shotgun
copyright jack collier
Mature Englishmen are very sentimental creatures. We like older things. We call inanimate objects She, devote endless time and money toward their well-being, and pat their flanks affectionately when no one is looking. That doesn’t ever stop us wanting to play with someone else’s boat, aeroplane, lathe, workshop, or car. I love this Buick.
We don’t get Buicks in England, anyhow a car this big would not fit on an average European road ~ think small and twisty.
I have no idea what this cool sports car is ~ although the girl riding shotgun told me it was a Ford Thunderbird.
Because of our cold, damp, salty air in England, an older classic needs to be looked after every second of every day. Left outdoors in England, this early GMC would have turned into a pile of scrap by now.
In England, rust is the bugbear for unprotected and untreated metal. This Lincoln Continental was completely rust free.
It’s amazing to me how inexpensive some of these cars are.
A classic in England costs a lot more than you would think, to buy, run, and maintain. Although I’m not certain I would drive a purple, (cerise), car, this one is certainly eye-catching. We don’t see the Cadillac XLR coupe in England so often.
pictures by jack collier
From the sun rising in England, to the sun setting in California.
When you are in love, even the sunset is better.
If, like me, you were brought up on a diet of John Wayne Westerns, with a dash of Gary Cooper and Errol Flynn thrown in, then Carson City sounds like a one horse mining town at the end of a dusty stagecoach ride.
You know what? Driving through Carson City still feels like being in a place where the sherrif has to watch his back. Carson City is a town where you put the top up on your Mustang and lock the doors.
I had a cheerful trip down to Carson… crossing the divide between Silver City and Spring Valley… I felt a mighty inclination to party somewhere. ~ Mark Twain.
Carson City is on the California one-ten, and if you have sense you will take that fast on the toll lanes and never drive through downtown Carson.
We’ll give him a fair trial, and then we’ll hang him legal…
I was happy that the girl riding shotgun scores a solid 10 on the being intimidating scale.
On a good day, I could pass for Gary Cooper, maybe…
the girl riding shotgun