Category: Politics

More mandatory history….

I have been to Russia, eastern Russia, Kamchatka, 25 years ago, an unforgettable trip, 1994, three years after the Soviet Union dissolved. Long story, but along the way, on a bus coming from a little town called Anavguy in the north, a man in a uniform got on, from an army base we passed. He could speak a bit of English. He gave me a business card, because this was freedom, right? The hustle, and the Russians picked it up fast. I asked him what he was doing in his army base and he looked at me and said, “Protecting our nation from you.” He was dead serious. Back then I thought he was a little crazy. No more. Grab a cup of coffee, no, several cups, and listen to this piece by someone who is a true independent journalist, who has worked for Russian media and U.S. media. Well worth the time, believe me. The best summary of what happened after the Soviet Union ended I can offer….

 

Sobering, thoughtful, and damn necessary

I stumbled on this video tonight and, as someone who worked in China for several years, made many trips there, and made many friends there, and as someone who grew up listening to my father recount his year there in 1934 while on a scientific expedition, this video made compelling sense to me. It is dark, but it is real, and in the three years since it was produced I suggest nothing has changed….The initial section on Bikini Atoll is a work in itself…

Worth watching

Grab a cup of coffee an watch this interview with a candidate for Congress in New York City. I worked in NYC 1984-1990 and while there spent a lot of time in Brooklyn and the Bronx. I thought when I left in 1990 I was done with reading about Trump and Guliani, which clearly was not the case, and while there I had some exposure to city political machines and I also spent a lot of time at the Fulton Fish Market (another long story). I came to love working in New York, the people, the energy, the scandals, the…life! And, for all the articles we read and hear about how today’s youth are spoiled and entitled, this interview demonstrates there are those now coming into their power who should give us all reason to hope.  It will be interesting to see how she does on the June 26th election, coming up. I know this, if I were registered in New York, of whatever party, she’d get my vote….

 

This Facebook Stuff

I joined Facebook years ago and never used it much. I tried to cancel my page, also years ago, and they made it so difficult I gave up, just let the site lie dormant. Then when it seemed a book was going to be published, Strong Heart, I followed the mantra of everyone, it seems, in the writing community  – get a social media presence, join Twitter, Facebook, etc….Get a web page  – this one here – and build a community. Your scribe is, he fears, old school,  a reluctant warrior, entirely unwilling to become a slave to feeding the social media beast….I spoke to a highly successful writer, who broke into the big time through a free Kindle approach and now has bestsellers, a few years ago at one of the two wtiter’s conferences I had the budget (and stomach) to attend, and after he told me he spends “only” two to three hours a day keeping up with his web page and social media messaging I felt a great cloud descend upon me. That cloud lingers, and, now this, these reveals about Facebook, how everything done here is known, how we are all just “products” and all we do is used to sell us stuff.  The article below sums up very well some of the issues facing each of us, and suggests the so called Facebook problem may be part of a much bigger agenda. It’s enough to encourage me to take deep breaths and, once again, start the arduous process of fleeing Facebook forever…

 

https://ghionjournal.com/we-the-stupid/

Interesting and Thoughtful Article about Democracy

The following article from Atlantic Magazine, “America is not a democracy,” is, in my opinion, a really good summary of where we stand today as regards some of the problems we face, concluding essentially that our government system has become corrupt through the lobbyist system (which used to be illegal in the 19th Century) and because we live in a highly complex society and system that demands highly educated, sophisticated, expert thinkers and decision-makers to serve as authors of legislation and regulations – skill sets that can only be found in elite groups in the current era where “elite” is a bad word. I don’t think much of the author’s ending conclusions, which appear weak, but the history and information is really good, and worth thinking about. What this author misses, as so many do these days when discussing America’s founding, is understanding that a major reason we formed a representative democracy instead of a direct democracy is because across the ocean at exactly the same time France was having their own revolution and showing the world the dangers of total direct democracy – mob rule, the guillotine, and in the end choosing an emperor for rule. These days we forget this – the reason we elected representatives instead of directly voting on bills and issues. We even had senators once removed – they were chosen by state legislatures, originally.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/america-is-not-a-democracy/550931/