Posts Tagged ‘Rupert Murdoch’

Letter From Claverack 05 24 2017 Where is Robin Hood when you need him?

May 25, 2017

This morning one of my guests on the radio show was Tadd Mann, who is an astrologer and, in these parts, is THE astrologer.

He has been a guest at the cottage several times, including the last beautiful night of last year; the next day the damp and dark fell upon us but that night was a moment out of eternity.

He told me that among his skills are those of feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, and that he had just returned from advising some people on the best places to build on their new property.

His belief is that the cottage is so coddled in peace because of its feng shui; whether consciously or not the house was built in the perfect spot on the land, the creek flows correctly, all is good by the rules of the art.

Every time I walk in the door, I feel the pressure in my body fall.  And I need the cottage’s coddling sorely these days.

It feels like I am living in the time of King Richard, off to the Crusades, and Prince John is the keeper of the kingdom.  Prince John, with the Sheriff of Nottingham, is raping the land [and the maidens] while the King is away.

Trump is Prince John and someone is the Sheriff [there are many candidates for that role in this administration].

It feels we are living through an interregnum.  The real king will return someday.

And I am feeling much of this because Trump’s budget has been revealed and it seemed to be a steal from the poor and give to the rich kind of budget.  It is an outrageous plan for America and avoids so much we need to be worried about and hurts, deeply, many of the people who voted for him.

It is outrageous.

The policies being put forward by this administration are mind boggling.  Seriously mind boggling.

Churchill quote on Art

 

Everything needs to be fixed and it doesn’t need to be destroyed.  The ACA was flawed.  So, fix it.  Medicare was flawed and people worked to fix it.  There isn’t anything that can’t be improved and throwing something away isn’t always the best way of fixing.

The CBO analysis of the Republican AHCA has come out, revealed to be more harmful than the first version.

May the Senate stand strong.  On Health Care.  On this cockamamie budget.

If you have been reading me, you know I take breaks from all of this because I can’t take it.  Last week one day, I went through the wormhole and surfaced hours later, dazed, and feeling like I needed a good, long, hot shower with copious amounts of soap.

The New York Post, the mouthpiece for Rupert Murdoch, is reporting that our Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, did not reveal meetings with Russians in forms he filled out.  Nor did Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, reveal meetings with Russians he had had when he applied for security clearance.

Sessions says he didn’t think he needed to because he met them as part of his Senatorial responsibilities. Gosh.

The liberal press will be all over this.  What I find interesting is that the Post is all over this.  The New York Post.  The effing NY Post, the most conservative paper in New York, generally the excuser of all Republican foibles.  Is this the work of James and Lachlan, not fans of Trump?  Or is it that Rupert smells blood in the water and wants to be on the right side of the story?

All of this, and I mean all of this, is so extraordinary it boggles the mind.  Apparently my word for the day.

Which is why I am so glad I can return to my cottage, feng shui perfect, listen to jazz, have a martini or two, and center myself in the earth and realize that there are some things I can do and many things I cannot.

It is my obligation to be aware and to comment.

And it is my obligation to myself to center myself in the universe to survive all this, all of which feels like some dystopian novel I am living through and it is not a novel: it is reality.

So, go be good to yourselves and don’t forget we need to get beyond the interregnum.  The King will return.

Letter from Claverack 04 19 2017 A painful evening…

April 20, 2017

Outside, it is grey, drear, damp and dank.   Twilight is beginning to gather around the cottage; I have made myself a martini and am looking out at the still bare trees, thinking that tonight, I am screaming for real spring, real green, and real warmth.

Tonight, I did something that is going to make one of my friends very angry with me and it was something I had to do.  He sent me some suicidal texts and I couldn’t ignore them.  Since he had stopped communicating, I called the police and asked for a welfare check.  It will not endear me to him and I would not have slept tonight if I had not.

So bloody strange is life.  It would be great to say this was a night full of hygge.  It’s not; it will be a night of doing hygge sorts of things to get back to a hygge state.

Jazz is playing.

This morning I did my radio program and it went tolerably well, now three weeks in, I am beginning to get the hang of it.

Tomorrow, I am going into the city only to turn around and come back because tomorrow we are having a birthday party on the train for four of our Regulars, one of whom is making a birthday with a zero.

It will be fun; I will be playing bartender and am concocting a drink to celebrate the coming of summer – a “summertini.”

And, truthfully, I am looking forward to something fun after this afternoon.

Not probably having fun is Bill O’Reilly, who got booted this afternoon from Fox News, where he has been the cock of the walk for ever so long.  Truthfully, I was a little surprised it happened.  The allegations of sexual harassment had reached a fever pitch and name advertisers were leaving in the dozens but his ratings remained high.

It seemed to me they would send him off for a while, like Brian Williams, to do penance and then bring him back after a cooling off period.  But no.  Walking papers.

My suspicion:  James and Lachlan Murdoch apparently had had enough, convincing their father time was nigh after $13,000,000 in settlements by Fox News over 15 years for allegations of sexual misconduct by O’Reilly, with more coming in on a regular basis, including one by an African-American staffer that he referred to her as “hot chocolate.”

Don’t cry for his next meal.  He will, I’m sure, walk away with millions.

Fox News will suffer.  He was their highest rated star, making millions and millions for them.

Chief beneficiary:  the bow tied Tucker Carlson who will be getting his slot.  Wouldn’t want that pressure.

Jon Ossoff, a young, charismatic candidate in a special election in Georgia, failed to get the more than fifty percent he needed to win outright so there will be a run-off election in June but he came damn close.  It will be a fight to the finish.  The seat has been safely Republican for years and now an energized number of Democratic Georgians have put it in play.

Aaron Hernandez, once a rising star with the New England Patriots, was found dead in his cell in the prison where he was serving a life sentence for murder and everyone is asking how such a promising life went so far askew?

Venezuela is about, it seems, to explode.  Hundreds of thousands have been marching in the streets against Maduro, who succeeded Chavez when he died.  The country is in economic tatters and Maduro doesn’t seem to be able to fix it so he is blaming everyone and is threatening to bolster the militia he controls from tens of thousands to a half million.

This is an elected official on his way to dictatorship.  Which is what we must be aware of these days. Look at Erdogan in Turkey; elected and moving toward dictatorial powers.  Same in a dozen countries in Africa.

And I am looking at the pearl grey twilight of Claverack and am about to go on to some amusement as I need amusement while I wait to hear if my friend is okay.

Letter From New York 03 02 2016 The future keeps arriving…

March 3, 2016

On the nights before the days I teach, not only do I set my iPhone alarm, I also set my clock radio.  I want to be sure I am up in plenty of time to get myself centered, caffeinated and to gather everything I need for class.

Since I taught today, the clock radio went off, loudly, and the very first thing I heard this morning was “Trump.”  Loudly, gratingly, irritatingly…  The moment I heard his name I knew he had won big last night and I shuddered, hit the snooze alarm and buried myself underneath my pillow.

Trump did win big last night.  On the way to class I purchased copies of the New York Times, The New York Post, The Albany Times Union and our local Register-Star.  I broke the class up into four groups, giving each group a copy of the four papers and asked them to judge them against the points that Rex Smith had made about the ethics of journalism.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the New York Times got the best reviews for objectivity, followed by the Albany Times – Union.  One of the students pointed out that in the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch, that all the coverage of the Republicans was in color and had more pages than they gave for the Democrats, whose coverage was all in black and white.  Very interesting…

The poor Register Star didn’t really even register.  It had almost no coverage of Super Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton won but not as decisively as her supporters would have liked.  She battered Bernie but didn’t knock him out.  Yesterday did make his march to the nomination more difficult and possibly impossible.  Hillary won Massachusetts, which had been expected to go to Bernie.

Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican candidate, is expected to give a speech shortly about the 2016 race.  He has been very hard on Trump in his Twitter feed of late.  It will be interesting to hear what he has to say on Thursday.  I didn’t much like him as the Republican nominee as it seemed, to me, that he had no center which I had once thought he did.  Perhaps now that he is finished with running he will have returned to the center and will say things from his heart.

Ben Carson has signaled he may be ending his candidacy.  Ted Cruz is positioning himself as the only one who could possible beat Trump. Rubio won Minnesota, my home state, last night.  I think they thought of him as the least of all evils.

Aubrey McClendon, an energy entrepreneur in Oklahoma, died today in a fiery crash while he was speeding down a road.  Yesterday, he had been indicted.  Today he is dead.  It will take two weeks to figure out what really happened.  He was fifty-six.  He was accused of rigging bids.

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to earth today after nearly a year in orbit.  He has an identical twin brother, also an astronaut, and NASA is attempting to find out just what a year in space does to a person.  They are thinking toward Mars.  Pretty amazing, don’t you think? 

The UN has imposed the severest sanctions on North Korea in twenty years as a result of its continuing to develop nuclear weapons and delivery systems.  From what I have observed and certainly I am not a foreign policy expert, it’s the people of North Korea who will suffer and there is no way I can see they will push for a regime change.  The pudgy little dictator of North Korea will still find ways to get his delicacies while his people resume eating grass.

The Pentagon has begun using Special Forces to capture IS leaders.  They have had one success and aim for more.  But the Pentagon doesn’t want to get back into the prisoner business so after questioning, the IS individual will be turned over to the Iraqis. 

The evening is coming to a close.  The dryer has just buzzed, announcing that the last load of clothes has been finished.  The only sound I hear now is the ticking of an old clock that my parents had which one of their parents had.  I think of it as the heart of the house, ticking time away, each moment taking us further into the future, which none of us can know.

I have some friends who live down in the Caribbean. I am tempted to ask them what it would take for me to go there should Trump become President.

Letter From New York 01 12 2016 No mean spirits allowed…

January 12, 2016

It’s late afternoon, Tuesday the 16th, and I am in the Acela Lounge waiting for my train north.  I could grab an earlier one but it is probable if I wait for the 5:47, I will see one or two friends I haven’t seen for a while.

Before opening the laptop and letting my fingers tap the keyboard, I was reading about the death of David Bowie at 69.  He did not much share the news of his health and the announcement of his death did not reveal the kind of cancer which felled him nor the place where he died.

I was told not long ago that he had a place up in the Hudson Valley.  The now ex-wife of my friend Paul Krich, Lorraine, was a good friend of Iman, now Bowie’s widow and she was visiting them one night when I was there for dinner.  She was quiet and shy and was with their daughter.  She and her daughter retired early, smilingly and charmingly.

Bowie has been prolific in the last months of his life, co-writing a play titled “Lazarus” along with a music video of the same name.  Now he is dead, they can be seen as his communicating to the world his time was short.

Time is short for all of us.  It’s a blip of time we inhabit this planet, no matter how old we get. 

Making the most of his blip of time, media mogul Rupert Murdoch has announced his engagement to the ex-wife of Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, the former supermodel.  This is her second marriage, his fourth.  She is 59; he is 84.  Between them they have ten children.

In Istanbul, not far from the Hagia Sofia, a sixth century Orthodox church now a museum, a young Syrian blew himself up, killing at least ten, mostly Germans, and wounding more.  The Turks believe it is IS and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has decried the event.

Putin has hinted today that if Assad ever feels the need to leave Damascus, he might well find welcome in Moscow.  If he made that choice, it would lessen the complications for a Syrian peace.

Humanitarian workers who have reached the town of Madaya have found “barely moving skeletons.”  It is the worst they have seen in the five year Syrian wars and the image causes me to think of the photos taken of Jews as the camps were liberated from the Germans.

The political circus continues.  ANOTHER Republican debate is upon us with Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina now relegated to the “undercard” debate.  Rand Paul says no way and he is off to do more campaigning in person than appearing in the second tier debate.  Paul could be smart or desperate.  Remains to be seen…

Bernie Sanders has a lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and has just moved slightly ahead of her in Iowa.  Chelsea has been sent out to campaign.

Though it will probably offend my conservative friends, the NY Times today did a scathing piece on Ted Cruz accusing him of exploiting evangelicals and actually espousing actions that are cruel, painful, and harmful — ones that certainly aren’t very Christian.

As Solicitor General of Texas, he went to the Supreme Court to keep a man in jail who had stolen a calculator from Walmart.  Because of a judicial mistake, the man got sixteen  years instead of two.  When the mistake was discovered, Cruz went into overdrive to keep him in jail the full sixteen.  Eventually the poor man was freed after six.  All over a calculator?  Cruz seems petty and mean and mean spirited all the way round.

Not feeling specially mean spirited and with suspicions friends would be on the train, I went down to Penn Spirits and purchased a bottle of a nice Sauvignon Blanc and a small bottle of sake.  And I got several cups.

Now the train is moving. My friends are here.  Soon we will open the bottle and enjoy good spirited company.  Here’s NOT to you, Mr. Cruz!

Letter From New York 10 08 15 From Minneapolis…

October 8, 2015

Speaker of the House. Kunduz. Doctors Without Borders. Russia. Iran. Obama. Putin. Rupert Murdoch and “real blackness.” Paul Prudhomme. Spencer Stone. Sepp Blatter. Svetlana Alexievich.

Letter From New York originates in Minneapolis today, where the sun burst through the sky and it was charming this morning, warm after a light rain last night. But, alas, now the sun has slipped behind dark clouds and rain is threatening.

Tonight I will be having dinner with Jean Cronin Olson, who once, very long ago was a student of mine and in the intervening years, for the most part, we have kept in touch and often when I am in Minneapolis we gather for coffee and a long chat. Tonight it’s dinner at her home with her husband Jon and whatever of her four children will be about.

The idea that my students have adult children is very sobering to me.

Sobering to the Republican Party was the unexpected announcement that Kevin McCarthy, widely thought to be the man who would replace John Boehner as Speaker of the House, was withdrawing his name from consideration. Apparently, he, like Boehner, doesn’t want to content with the forty or so hard to the right, Tea Party Republicans who think they should be running the show.

By all accounts, it’s all rather mad and according to the Washington Post, very much like Neflix’s political drama, “House of Cards.” Now who will be playing Francis Underwood in this real life drama?

President Obama phoned Dr. Joanne Liu, the head of Doctors Without Borders and offered an apology for the bombing of their hospital in Kunduz. At least thirty-three workers are dead. She has acknowledged she “received” the apology but there is no indication that she has accepted it. She wants an independent investigation of the incident.

Russia has been firing missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria. Four of them fell short and landed in rural Iran. I wonder what the Ayatollah thinks about that?

Putin turned 63 and celebrated with a lot of hockey themed events. He and his staff played against a team of professional Russian players. Not so shockingly in today’s Russia, Putin’s team won! Imagine that! And Putin got a gold medal for the most successful shots. Amazing! Is there nothing this man can’t do brilliantly?

He is, in fact, if not in title, Tsar Vladimir of Russia. But let us not forget the brutal end of the last real Tsar. Nicholas II and his family ended in front of a firing squad.

Rupert Murdoch is one of the “Tsars” of global media. He has become infatuated with Ben Carson and tweeted that he wondered what it would be like to have a “real” black President. Rupert has since apologized. As he should.

In the 1990’s the great television gathering called NATPE [National Association of Television Programming Executives] met one year in Las Vegas and the following year in New Orleans. On one of the New Orleans’ excursions I met Paul Prudhomme, the Cajun chef, who passed away today after at short illness at 75. He shot around his restaurant on an electric scooter. He was near his heaviest at the time, weighing well over 550 pounds. It was a good meal.

Spencer Stone, who helped stop a massacre on a French train a few weeks ago, was stabbed in Sacramento early this morning after leaving a nightclub. Seriously wounded, he is expected to survive.

Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, has been suspended. So have a few other senior officials. One wonders who is running the place though one has wondered that even when they were there.

And finally, Svetlana Alexeivich, a writer from Belarus, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. She tells history through the voices of people who lived it. Hats off.

Soon it is time for me to go and get ready for dinner. May yours be good.