Posts Tagged ‘Panama Papers’

Letter From New York 04 14 2016 Moving down the Hudson River…

April 14, 2016

The Catskills are covered with a soft haze as I move south on the train; the Hudson River glistens like rippled, burnished steel.  I am headed to the city for a few social get togethers, more about pleasure than business.  Tomorrow morning, I am going to the exhibit “Pergamon” at the Metropolitan Museum.  It chronicles the art of the Hellenistic period, from the death of Alexander to the rise of the Roman Empire.

I have a late lunch with my childhood friend, Mary Clare, and then drinks with Nick Stuart, of whom I have seen too little in the last few weeks and then back to Hudson on tomorrow’s 5:47.

The sun glitters but it is not yet warm and yet so pleasant that it feels decadent.  Speaking with friends this morning, we reminded each other that we were incredibly lucky:  we are not Syrian refugees or fleeing Boko Haram or fearing suicide bombers in Baghdad.

Nor am I in southern Japan where an earthquake measuring 6.5 struck, toppled houses and buckled roads.

All those things happened today, the 14th of April, 2016 CE.

It is a good day for Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who will not be charged with battery over his altercation with a reporter recently.

It was a good and bad day for mothers whose daughters were kidnapped two years ago by Boko Haram.  CNN aired a “proof of life” video that showed many of the lost girls alive and at the same time highlighted the failure of the Nigerian government to free them.

For 3 hours and 40 minutes Putin fielded questions on his annual call-in show.  He described the Panama Papers as an “American provocation” and assured viewers that the economy will get better next year.  He ordered an investigation into two women’s complaints they hadn’t been paid in months.   It gave him a chance to seem grand and magnanimous while underscoring the illusion that Russia is a democracy.

As he chatted with his constituents, Putin’s jets flew low passes over a US warship, something that disturbed Secretary of State John Kerry.

We are putting combat troops into the Philippines as the South China Sea dispute ratchets up with the Chinese, who have now deployed combat jets in the area.

Isn’t there a better way?

Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, a Republican and a supporter of gay sex marriage, was booed off the state at an event in Boston when he didn’t say he would support a bill that would give transgender people the right to use the bathroom of their gender identity rather than that of their gender at birth.  It’s not what he expected.

Trump and Cruz are accusing each other of strong arming delegates to the Republican Convention, which has been pointing out to the general population on both sides of the political spectrum what an arcane world convention politics is, with super delegates, strange rules, and all sorts of other traditions that can manipulate the popular vote.

That is what Kasich and Cruz are hoping for the Republican convention, a brokered one that will allow one of them to grab the nomination.

Hillary is counting on those same things in the Democratic Party to ensure that she gets the nomination on her side.

Brings up images of “smoke filled rooms” from past generations.

The Hudson River in the afternoon sun is impossibly beautiful and I am privileged to enjoy the view, comfortable that I am probably not going to have to flee in the night, that I will get an evening meal and that I will be safe as I sleep.

Hudson River

It is these simple things we need to keep remembering or, at least, I need to keep remembering.

Letter From New York 04 05 2016 The Panama Papers and other things…

April 6, 2016

Dusk is descending on the creek; I am watching the light fade from my dining room table while classical music plays.

And I am thinking over the day, one of seemingly endless frustrations with an email problem Apple could not seem to fix and a group of errands squeezed into a short period because of all the time Apple had consumed.

When they couldn’t fix the issue, I turned to the local computer guru, Jonathan Simon, who does not work on Macs but who solved my problem in about twenty minutes.  My Apple Faith is shaken.

There was a meeting this afternoon in which one of the participants became so upset they walked out; unnerving for all.  The rest of us retreated to a local restaurant, had drinks and food and attempted to continue.

In other words, a day that did not run smoothly.

Last time I wrote, the predicted snow had not fallen.  The next morning it was all there and more; instead of three inches we had close to seven.  Only five intrepid students made it to class.  We called it early and went home.

Last night, I fell asleep reading a mystery and woke lazily into a sunny but chill day.  Predictions are that tonight and tomorrow are to be two of the coldest of the season.  What climate change?

“The Panama Papers” have exploded onto the world stage and the President of Iceland is no longer President, having resigned today after he was named in them.  As were several of Putin’s closest friends including one who was once close but had a rift with Putin and is now dead after blunt force trauma in a DC hotel.

It seems the President of Ukraine, a chocolatier billionaire did not, as he said he would, divest himself of his holdings but transferred them to offshore companies.  Prime Minister Sharif of Pakistan is distraught that relatives are named with having accounts.  China has tightened censorship; one can only wonder what will happen there? 

These leaks create messy, messy situations while one cannot help occasionally having a moment of schadenfreude, relishing the misfortunes of others;  thinking these others deserve their misfortune.

While I am typing exit polls are being held in Wisconsin.  Cruz and Sanders are both hoping to take a little wind out of the frontrunners’ sails there.  Hillary has not had a good history in Wisconsin, having lost it in 2008 and Trump is facing a coalition of conservative talk show hosts who are determined to bring him down, exploiting all his wonderful gaffes to the fullest.

Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed into law a bill that allowed for anti-gay discrimination.  As in North Carolina, he is facing a barrage of blowback.  Long lamenting the lack of a Fortune 500 company in his state, he is less likely to get one now.  Mississippi’s largest employers are not happy, including Toyota and Nissan and MGM Resorts.

Is the Civil War being fought again over gay rights?

As a gay man, I am astounded at the progress made in my lifetime.  Gay marriage was something I thought would never happen and yet, here I am, not yet dead and it has happened.  That states like Mississippi and North Carolina would attempt to turn back the clock is disheartening, if not surprising.  They are setbacks, not defeats and they are not on the right side of history.

What is amazing is that the Governors of those two states are ignoring the businesses in their states; pandering instead to bigoted voters. Well, they do have to re-elected!

The soft classical music is mellow, comforting and encasing the living and dining rooms with a gentle feel.  I’ve turned on the floodlights over the creek and am thinking it is close to time to curl up with my mystery and slip out of the night into the land of Nod.