Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’

Letter From The Train 10 21 2016 Parsing the post debate world…

October 21, 2016

As the train moves north, the Hudson River is steel grey while bordered by trees with leaves of rust, gold, crimson and green.  The beautiful day on Tuesday is a but a memory; this Friday ride is on a day of grey and chill, with intermittent spits of rain.

My niece, Kristen, and I texted each other throughout the debate, commenting on both candidates.  While we both support Hillary, we are not immune to her faults.  It seemed such an effort for her to smile and when she did, it looked so forced as to be painful.  But being on the stage with Trump must have been painful for her.

The candidates did not shake hands before or after.  I don’t think I remember that happening before.

It was no effort for Trump to be dour and sour.  It is his natural state it seems.

During the first part of the debate, he held it together better than he had and looked like he was on track to do what he was supposed to do – not lose his cool.  But then he did; not as badly as before but enough that he was damaged and more Republicans are distancing themselves from him.

Somewhere after about twenty minutes, he began to lose the thread, veering off the script someone must have given him.  Calling Hillary “a nasty woman” may hurt more than he ever meant as it might well be a catalyst to some women who had been leaning toward him to back away.

The thing he said that had most up in arms was his failure to agree to accept the result of the election. He’ll keep us “in suspense” on that one.  Newspapers around the country led with his statement.

Trump clarified later.  He will accept the results of the election — if he wins.  It also seems he has backed away from that a bit more, saying he would, maybe.

Donald called Hillary “wrong” when she said he had supported the Iraq War before it began.  Hillary told people to google “Donald Trump Iraq.”  And many did.  There is the evidence, in a tape on Howard Stern’s Radio Program, of Trump supporting the idea of the war before it had begun.

Hillary claimed her plans wouldn’t raise the deficit.  That’s doubtful.  Trump refuted claims his plans would raise the deficit by twenty trillion dollars, double what it is.  He claimed that it wasn’t true because he would create so many jobs.  Also doubtful.

Every year of a presidential election, there is the Al B. Smith Dinner to raise funds for the charitable foundation named after the man who was the first Catholic to run for President.

Hillary was on one side of Cardinal Dolan and Donald was on the other.  The civility and joking that is the signature of this traditional dinner was soon lost to hostility.  Trump was booed when he went over the line by saying something like:  Hillary is here pretending she doesn’t hate Catholics, a reference to a WikiLeaks released email from her campaign expressing concern about conservative Catholics.

But they shook hands at the end, an event that was announced from the stage.

President Duterte of the Philippines is in China, where he has declared that his country will “separate” from the United States as we “have lost.”  However, he didn’t give China the carrot they really wanted.  He won’t walk away from the 1951 deal that gives the US bases in the Philippines.

Duterte is quite the character.  He has been accused of mounting squads of killers when he was a Mayor.  The Philippines Senate is looking into those charges and some senior officials have been saying: oh no!  He didn’t mean separation.

He has compared his crusade against drug dealers and users to Hitler’s Holocaust.

The battle to retake Mosul carries on while at the same time, IS has launched an attack on oil rich Kirkuk with suicide bombers and gunmen targeting police.  In Mosul, Iraqi fighters have made significant gains, probably better than expected.  But Kirkuk pointed out the shift in IS tactics to “pop up” attacks rather than holding territory.  And that even when vanquished from Mosul, they will not have been defeated.

In forty or so minutes, I will be back in Hudson.  In my mailbox, it is my hope, is my Cozmo, my robotic toy, which I hope will divert me from the trials and travails of the “real” world.

Though my world has not been harsh to me today.  Last night I watched my friend Todd Broder present to the NY Video Meet-up, had dinner with a friend and, today, breakfast with my friends Meryl and Ray before a pre-op physical [my eye] and now the grey ride home…

Later.

 

 

Letter From New York 04 17 15 Clouds billowing, going north…

April 17, 2015

Stepping out of the apartment this morning, I encountered a world that was grey and filled with the promise of rain. Luckily, I had found an umbrella squirreled away so I faced the world with some verve, with a bit of jauntiness to my step.

It was cool but not chill, feeling a bit more like a fall day than one in spring but not unpleasant. Walking over to Amsterdam, I picked up my favorite pair of shoes from the cobbler and headed down to my friend Todd’s office.

He and my godson, Paul, are friends and the three of us went to lunch with another one of their mutual friends, Nick. It was good to see Paul again, for another farewell before his Sunday return to Los Angeles.

I had a couple of conference calls and then headed for the train, crowded with folks heading north for the weekend, now that the weather is better.   The sun came out, teasing us with hope for a fair weekend.

As the train travels north, I am perusing the news of the world, a rather grim pursuit, I’m afraid.

The market plunged today by 280 points. Greece’s woes are rearing their ugly heads again, rattling markets. China is working to temper its runaway stock market. Adding to the concerns, Bloomberg Financial Terminals went offline for two hours, causing the British government to delay a sale of bonds for a week because the terminals are so central to trading.

Not that I am sure I object, the Time-Warner/Comcast deal seems to have run into some serious obstacles. Certain sectors are giddy with relief; I am sure that M&A lawyers are in a funk.

Al Qaida is tightening its noose in Yemen with 150,000 now displaced.

Iran, as I recall no great fan of the UN, is appealing to that body to do something about the Saudi bombings in Yemen.

In Iraq, things happened: a car bomb went off outside the US Consulate in the Kurdish capital and Saddam Hussein’s #2, on the run for all these past twelve years, was killed today while forty more were killed in bombings in Baghdad. Despite the loss of Tikrit, IS continues to control much of northern Iraq and part of Syria.

China, flexing its muscles to the dismay of its neighbors, is building some artificial islands in the South China Sea. On them it is building a significant airfield. The Spratlys are also claimed in whole or part by Viet Nam, Malaysia and the Philippines. China seems to be operating on the “possession is 9/10ths of the law” rule.

The British elections are hotting up, with no clear leader right now. Labour has declared the Tories “in a panic.” However, the Tories are feeling a bit bolstered by some good economic news. May 7th is the election.

Anti-immigrant attacks have now spread to Johannesburg in South Africa, drawing rebukes from both within the country and without.

Two weeks after a “framework” for a deal with Iran was announced, the gaps between the two sides seemed to be widening instead of narrowing. Obama will sign a bill that would allow the Senate to reject the treaty if more than 2/3rds disapprove, another wrinkle in the process.

There was a moving ecumenical service in Cologne’s Cathedral today for the 150 victims of the Germanwings crash. 500 relatives attended. The city stopped to mourn.

And as has been for days, there is a war of words going on over whether the Turks committed genocide on the Armenians a hundred years ago. Some in Congress want to officially call it that but doing so is complicated by Turkey’s role in the current fighting going on in the Mideast. The Turks have hardened their stance in recent years about the events of a century ago, defiantly denying that there were any acts of genocide committed.

The sun is setting through billowing grey clouds over the Hudson River as I move north. Everyone is working or sleeping, winding down from the week. At the end of my trip is a dinner with friends at the Red Dot and then home to my own bed and a weekend full of activities.