Posts Tagged ‘Liberal Democrats’

Letter From New York 10 19 15 Refugees, Politics and Canadian politics

October 19, 2015

Canadian voting. Stephen Harper. Justin Trudeau. Liberal Democrat. Pierre Elliot Trudeau. George W. Bush. Jeb Bush. Donald Trump. Benghazi Committee. Trey Gowdy. Kevin McCarthy. Hillary Clinton. Howard Bloom Saves the Universe. Domestic abuse. Joe Biden.

The drive at the cottage is scattered with leaves, even though it was thoroughly cleaned forty-eight hours ago. THE BATTLE OF THE LEAVES has begun. Sweeping out the drive today, I left them all behind and road the rails down to the city.

It was the first really chill day of the season; it was only 21 degrees when I checked the weather app this morning. I came into the city not sure whether I would stay in the city tonight or not but now think I will.

I have to be back tomorrow evening and am not feeling like a round trip.

Stupidly, I locked myself out of my own home today. In changing jackets, I took the keys out of the one I decided not to wear and failed to put them in the pocket of the jacket I decided to wear and left them on the table by the door.

While I am typing this, Canadians are voting for Members of Parliament and the results will determine whether Stephen Harper will continue to lead Canada or whether the baton will pass to Justin Trudeau, son of the late Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who headed Canada for a very long time.

Harper is a Conservative and Trudeau is a Liberal Democrat. The collapse of oil prices have stressed the Canadian economy and recent polls have the two running neck and neck.

I’m very fond of Canada after having spent a fair amount of time there in my college years and have watched Canadian politics with some interest. Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

The Canadian election season has gone on for an enormously long time, for Canadians. It began on August 4th.

Tomorrow will see many refugees continue their struggle to reach Western Europe. Cold weather is setting in and many of them were walking through cold rain today.

While the refugees strive to get across Europe, and Canadians decide their future, Jeb and the Donald are sniping about each other. Donald is declaring Bush was responsible for 9/11; Jeb is denying it, saying his brother kept us safe.

Some journalists are asking Jeb exactly what he means by safe? While there were no more 9/11 attacks, W. did invade Iraq and ignored Afghanistan. We have a broken Iraq and Afghanistan lingers. IS rose from the ashes of Iraq. Syria broke apart. Thousands of American soldiers have died and thousands more have been badly scarred.

I have no confidence that Trump can do the job of President but his lack of self- control has asked questions that might need to be asked of a Bush who has indicated he would bring back much of his brother’s team as advisers.

Hillary did well in the debate, according to almost everyone. But her numbers remain flat.

Republican Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina runs the Committee that is investigating Benghazi and is having trouble keeping his colleagues in line.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who has dropped out of the race to be Speaker of the House, opened his mouth and inserted his foot, giving the impression that the Committee was politically motivated.

As has Representative Richard Hanna of New York also indicated on a talk show recently.

Oh my!

Some key Democrats are suggesting it is not a good idea for Biden to enter the race; he keeps us guessing. Though rumors are swirling tonight he will run and soon.

While writing this I have been at a taping of the podcast, “Howard Bloom Saves the Universe,” where there has been a fascinating conversation about the nature of domestic abuse. Powerful.

Get it next week on iTunes.

Letter From New York 05 07 15 Rolling south on the Anniversary of Lusitania’s sinking…

May 7, 2015

As I write this, I am traveling south on the Northeast Regional Amtrak to Washington, DC, passing through an unattractive industrial zone right this minute. I am going down for a few appointments and to visit my friends, Lionel and Pierre, who are now living in Baltimore. I’ll take a train back up there this evening after I finish my 5:00 meeting.

They have already made dinner reservations at The Oyster House, one of their favorite restaurants.

As I am gliding down to DC the British voters are at the polls to decide who’ll be the next Prime Minister though I rather suspect there is going to some coalition building that will need to be done to form a government. It could all come down to the Scots, who have been surging in the polls and may hold the key to forming a new government, something neither the Tories nor Labour seem to want to contemplate.

The NY Times had an article about unusual polling places in the UK that included a pub and a hairdressing salon. Might be nice to have a vote at the pub, preceded or succeeded by a good draught of ale.

My friend Nick Stuart is going to a party tonight at the British Consulate for expats like him to watch the results. As I recall, Nick told me he tends to vote Liberal Democrat, the party brought in last time by the Tories to form a government.

France just strengthened its surveillance laws while here an appeals court has declared that the NSA, as revealed by Edward Snowden, has gone too far and has ruled its phone data collection illegal.

Tom Brady, quarterback for the Patriots, and arguably the biggest sports star today, has had his luster tarnished by fallout from Deflategate with the NFL saying it was probable that knew the balls were probably being deflated. It’s not a pretty tale.

A pretty tale for Maersk is that their ship, the Tigris, has been released by Iran and its crew is safe. In a sign of de-escalation of tension, the US Navy is no longer escorting American ships through the Straits of Hormuz.

To the west of the Straits of Hormuz is Yemen, now staggering under a humanitarian crisis triggered by the inability of ships to get permission to land their cargoes of food and fuel. Yemen imports 90% of what it consumes and there are at least ten ships laden with goods being prevented from landing by Saudi Arabia. It’s estimated that 80% of the country is going hungry. Anything that does get in finds its delivery delayed by the ongoing fighting, power outages and loss of foreign workers, who have fled the violence.

Continuing to the West, in Africa, disturbing allegations have risen against some of the French forces that were stationed in the Central African Republic last year. At least fourteen soldiers are suspected of having sexually abused minors in a refugee camp. Also disturbing is that it is also alleged that the UN slowed an investigation into the charges while suspending the UN worker who reported the abuse.

My impression of Thailand is generally that of a reasonably gentle country and one that is also reasonably safe. Yet mass graves have been found there. They are believed to contain the bodies of individuals from Myanmar [Burma] and Bangladesh, which had paid smugglers to get them into Thailand. Fifty police officers, some senior in rank, have been transferred from their current jobs to other positions. Eighteen arrest warrants have been issued.

General Prayuth, who runs Thailand after seizing power a year ago [I also forget about the regularity of the coups there] was confronted with the issue almost the moment he came to power but though he promised the US immediate action there was not much movement. Thai officials seem often to be passive about the issue or are actually involved in the game.

If you missed my note about it yesterday, today is the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania. After it was torpedoed, men on the deck exhorted each other to “Be British, boys, be British!” There were 39 babies aboard the Lusitania; only four survived. If you’re interested, I do recommend “Dead Wake,” a book by Erik Larsen chronicling the last voyage of Lusitania.

We are now south of Wilmington, Delaware and the scenery has improved. There is still another hour or so to go. I look forward to seeing Lionel and Pierre’s apartment and to experience a bit of Baltimore.