Bomb the Bastards?

On the day when the US Secretary of State says that attempts are being made to hold talks with North Korea, Numpty Trumpty tells him – via Twitter, of course – not to waste his breath trying to negotiate peace for the world’s sake. Presumably Tillerson will be the latest through the revolving door if he doesn’t do what he’s told. This could be his replacement

I despair. How can this idiot be the leader of the country that likes to think of itself as the major power in the free world? How can someone so manifestly unsuited to be a political leader blag his way into such a powerful position? What kind of electoral system allows someone who received 3 million fewer votes than his opponent to ‘win’ an election and impose his stupidity not only on his own country but on the rest of the world? Does he not realise that two lunatics leading their countries into a fight with nuclear weapons could result in the world being destroyed? Does he even care?

Am I being overly melodramatic? Maybe, but if the US President’s only approach to international diplomacy is to go to war, WW3 could be closer than we think. I hope that diplomacy can re-establish some sense of balance, but as Numpty has surrounded himself with a mixture of pugilistic cretins and sycophantic cowards, that may be a forlorn hope. He may not believe in climate change, but I’d appreciate it if he would give the world the opportunity to find out if he is right. Mutually assured destruction isn’t an attractive long term proposition, is it?

Sorry for the rant, but I needed to vent my fear and anger at what that idiot is doing! A couple of recent cartoons sum up for me what these two supposed leaders are up to: 

© Toronto Star









Hopefully common sense will prevail, both in Washington and Pyongyang, but reading today’s news is a depressing prospect. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a political blogger, as you can no doubt tell, but I’m a citizen of the world who is really worried about what is happening around us. Of course I know that political leaders often say things they either don’t mean, or which will never become reality, and I very much hope that this is what is happening here. I would hope and expect that, behind the public sabre rattling, diplomatic attempts are being made to defuse a potentially ruinous situation. Should I be holding my breath for a diplomatic solution? If not, well, it’s been a pleasure knowing you.

Watching The Wheels

I seem to have lost a month. How careless of me! As you may have spotted from the recent hiatus, I’ve been ill and just didn’t feel up to blogging. They told me the virus would take 6 weeks to get out of my system – and they were right!

Firstly, I’d like to thank all of you who have wished me well, both here and on Facebook. Good blogging friends are irreplaceable! Also, a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has visited my blog while I’ve been absent. I’ve been stunned by the levels of views, likes, comments and new follows even at a time where I haven’t given you anything new.

So, what have I been doing? The short answer is….not much, if I’m honest. In the early stages the viral infection caused me so much pain and soreness that I didn’t feel like doing anything. I then got into a routine of watching far more daytime TV than is good for anyone’s sanity! If the programmes don’t get to you the adverts will – what exactly does it mean to be ‘so moneysupermarket’ anyway, other than being a total moron behaving inappropriately? But mostly I’ve been a watcher of life and events as they have been unfolding: that poses risks to our sanity too!

We are living in strange, unsettling times. I wrote a piece some months ago about politicians’ need to tell lies to get what they want. Recent events, particularly in the US, have shown how spectacularly I underestimated their capacity for untruths. Or ‘alternative facts’ as we are now informed they should be called. And it seems I was wrong to hope that the Orange One would tone down his views after being elected. But he had record crowds for his inauguration, everyone loves his executive orders, the protests against his ‘it isn’t a Muslim ban’ are orchestrated by paid stooges, so all is going swimmingly well, isn’t it!

One thing I haven’t done during my absence is watch any so-called ‘reality TV,’ as these programmes bear no relation to any form of real life that I know or would want to be a part of. Even the names can be misleading: be honest, how many of the participants in the recent series of ‘Celebrity’ Big Brother had you heard of? It’s not as though anyone from a reality show has ever gone on to succeed at anything in real life, is it? Oh, wait……. It would appear that the American people have elected as their President (or POTUS45 as he is known) the former host of their version of the Apprentice. Please, UK, don’t even think about doing the equivalent of that here! The thought of Lord Sugar running this country fills me with almost as much dread as the thought of the Orange One on his mission to destroy the world in four years or less. And a quick aside: why do they call him POTUS45 yet they try to give the Superbowl a touch of class by listing it with Roman numerals, i.e. Superbowl LI? Shouldn’t they try to give their President some class too? POTUS VL has a certain ring to it, I think. But then again, no matter how hard you polish a turd it’s still a turd…. although he may have given some meaning to what I think it means to be ‘so moneysupermarket’ – see above for the definition!

There have been some good points in my recent absence, though, in respect of this blog. My post Mental Health Matters seems to have taken off like none of my posts has ever done before. I wrote it 4 months ago and it is still receiving ‘likes’ on an almost daily basis – over 90 now. I’m grateful to all of you for this, as it is an important issue. I now have over 500 followers for this blog, and more are joining every day – again, my thanks to you all! This has encouraged me to keep writing about the topic which seems to be attracting most of you – mental health – particularly since the UK Government’s recent announcement of more support for mental health treatments. A post on that will follow in the not too distant future. Spoiler alert: I’m not convinced by them!

My Facebook friends will have noticed that I have been sharing many more political posts recently. No one has unfriended me yet, but I suspect that some may have hit the ‘mute’ button! Taking time out to become an observer of life has filled me with many fears for our country – Brexit means being a poorer relation with a totally uncertain future – and for the world as a whole. Can any of us sleep soundly knowing that the nuclear codes are in the very small hands of a petulant, thin-skinned, childish, bullying tyrant who clearly hasn’t the slightest clue what his new job actually means? In my own small way I’m trying to do my bit against him – I’ve followed him on Twitter and have taken to retweeting his comments with my own added. I don’t know if this will work, but I’m hoping he blocks me as I could wear that as a badge of honour!

I chose the title for this piece from a song by a man who was sufficiently committed to stand up and protest for what he believed in. The anti-Trump protest movement in the US and around the world needs to keep doing the same, or we’ll be watching the wheels fall off, not go round:

I’m off to catch up on all your blogs – I’ve missed a lot in the past month or so! See you again soon.

Orlando – A View From Britain

What happened in Pulse bar in Orlando on Saturday night was shocking, horrific, and utterly terrifying for anyone caught up in it. I can only write about it on the basis of the information I have been given by the British media, which may or may not be correct, but this information has got me thinking.

My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I cannot begin to comprehend the horror of being involved in such an atrocity. From a European perspective the obvious initial reaction was that as the murderer was called Omar Mateen this was likely to be another one-man terrorism act. Stereotypes, huh? We learned that shortly before he went out to kill people he had made some phone calls claiming allegiance to Islamic State. That just added to the image. But in the past few days it has emerged that he had also claimed to support a number of other terrorist organisations, some of whom hate each other, so that theory began to lose whatever credibility it might have had. It is further weakened by the fact that although his parents are from Afghanistan, Mateen was born and raised in the US and was a US citizen. So, not an imported terrorist, then.

Where to go next for an explanation? Pulse is a gay club, so this then became a crime committed by someone who hated gay people. Simple, huh? No, not simple: simplistic. Again, information started emerging that questioned the idea that this was ‘just’ a homophobic crime. A number of people have since come forward to say that they have seen and spoken to Mateen on several occasions at Pulse, going back over as much as three years. Why would he frequent a place filled with people he hated? Again, the simplistic answer would be that he was preparing for his crime, getting to know the club’s layout. But the evidence that he had been going there for three years would suggest otherwise. Today’s paper contains the theory that he was a latent gay, fighting against his inner feelings, and that killing gay people was his disturbed mind’s way of dealing with this. The suggestion by one of his ex-wives that he was bipolar adds to the picture of a troubled, complicated man, unhappy in his own skin and trying to find a way out. No doubt further information will become known in the days ahead, but it does appear that this may well be the explanation for what Mateen did.

The LGBT communities in the US and across the world fight an ongoing battle to be accepted and respected as people, in the hope that all civilised societies will reject homophobia as the crime that it is. Here in the UK I saw the Lord Mayor of Manchester on the BBC Breakfast programme, explaining why this was an issue affecting all LGBT communities, not just in Orlando. He spoke eloquently and movingly of how what had been expected to be a small memorial event in Manchester had become much bigger. And then there was this response, from the London Gay Men’s Chorus, at a very well-attended vigil in London to show support for Orlando’s victims. I think this is stunningly beautiful and moving:

Amidst all the coverage of why Mateen murdered 50 people, there is another question: how did he manage to do it? There is one very simple answer to that: because he could. Here in the UK we have homophobia, racism and all the other troubles that afflict the US. We have people who are troubled with their own sexuality, and we have people who suffer from bipolar disorder. But they do not have easy access to guns. In the recent past we had two major atrocities here: in Hungerford when 14 were killed in 1987, and at Dunblane School in 1996, when 16 children and a teacher were murdered. Our gun control laws have been substantially tightened since then. Of course, people can get around these, and always will if their intentions are strong enough. But they can’t just walk into a shop and buy a gun. The UK Government took on the pro-shooting lobbies and introduced the legislation anyway, arguing that the human right to life was greater than the human right to bear arms. I for one am pleased that they did. They did not have such an organised opposition to contend with as the NRA and commercial interests in the US, but they still acted to provide their citizens with as much protection as possible.

I read that this is the 15th time that Barack Obama has had to make a statement about a mass killing during his presidency. That is around two per year! Yet every time any politician raises the question of gun controls, they are howled down or, worse, declared to be unpatriotic, as the right to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution. But that was written in 1775, and times have changed a little since then. It was no great surprise to me to see Donald Trump using events in Orlando to blame Muslims – all Muslims – for the crime and to reiterate his racist demand that all Muslims should be barred from entering the US. I doubt that he will be retracting these comments now that it is clear that this was not a crime of racial or religious hatred, or an act of terrorism. That would be too much to hope for. A cartoon in yesterday’s Times summed this up rather well:


Sadly, it appears that many Americans agree with Trump on this issue and on everything else he stands for. The possibility of Trump becoming President is a scary prospect, not just for the US but for the whole world. It would be likely that, if anything, the pro-gun lobby would become even stronger. Even if they don’t, the ready access to guns will continue to mean that troubled people will still have few obstacles to shooting their way out of their problems. I accept that much is wrong with our UK society, but at least we don’t make it easy for people to become mass murderers.

America, when will you ever learn?


Footnote: This post had been mulling around in my head for a day or two, but has been written at the prompt of Bernadette, who blogs at Haddon Musings, as part of a theme week on her Senior Salon. This week’s posts can be found here.