I want to start by saying that I haven’t really ever been a fan of Donald Trump. That being said I want to offer to him my congratulations. In one day as President Of The United States of America Mr Trump has managed to do more in the fight on obesity than President Obama managed in eight years of office, by inspiring hundreds of thousands of men and women to take to the streets in protest, Mr Trump is directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of people, estimated at half a million in Washington alone, going out and getting some much needed exercise.
Not only this, Mr Trump is also directly responsible for getting more people from Black, Latina and other ethnic backgrounds involved in the political process, which is surely a good thing. Especially given that yesterdays marches were predominantly Women Against Trump marches, this shows that Mr Trump is already giving women a rallying point in the male dominated political elite, he’s giving them a voice, even if it is to just shout curses against him.
I think this post reflects how my mind works, its a dark place. Especially if I can put a positive spin on massive protest marches, but my moral flexibility would probably allow me to take a press job in the white house if one were going.
I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics
ON BEING IDLE.
ON BEING IN LOVE.
ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
ON BEING HARD UP.
ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
ON THE WEATHER.
ON CATS AND DOGS.
ON BEING SHY.
ON EATING AND DRINKING.
ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)
On Being In Love
Have you ever seen someone and known that they would be a terrible distraction to your life. That was how I would describe it, that feeling of knowing that this person is going to really change your life. That knowledge that this is going to be massively inconvenient.
That’s how it all begins then you slip into it, the early days are all wine and dinner and flowers and dancing, but then comes the big pants and netflix, the cups of tea, the farting and the lack of make up, if you can get through that, that is true love. The enduring real world version of the thing.
Foreigner wanted to know what love is, well its two people who have decided to just give up and settle with each other because they find the other person somewhat less detestable than the rest of humanity, that my friends is love.
This is the second in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.
Its that time again when the great circus that is American politics is looking for a new ringleader, the man (or woman) to try and get as many acts on message and in the right place at the right time. This is something that seems to happen every four years. I cant believe its been four years since the international community was treated to the absolute bore that was Mitt Romney going up against the political irrelevance that is the incumbent, President Barack Obama, a man whose greatest achievement in two terms of office has been a second term in office. But enough about the legacy of President Obama (or lack thereof) and on to the next inhabitant of the oval office.
For those not in the know and who are we kidding there are many who just don’t care and have never bothered to look too closely into how these things are done. America is a two party state. Representing everything from the neo-fascist to the centre right is the The Republican Party (sometimes know as the GOP) and representing everything from the centre left to the borderline communist you have the Democratic Party.
Now in order to select a presidential candidate both parties hold open primary elections where members of the party vote for who they want to represent their party in the final push for presidency. So the four main contenders on the side of the democrats are:
Hillary Clinton: who was a former first lady to president Bill Clinton, she became the first first lady in history to hold elected office as senator for new york in 2000 and stood for president in 2008 (losing in the primary to Barack Obama), during the Obama presidency she served as Secretary of State until 2013. Mrs Clinton is avid supporter of women’s rights and is an active campaigner against wage inequality. (find more about their campaign here)
Lawrence Lessig : is an Ivy League academic, attorney, and political activist. He is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. (find more about their campaign here)
Martin O’Malley : has served as the Governor of Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore after beginning his political career as a Baltimore City Councilor in1 991. He is pro immigration and as governor, he made illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children eligible for in-state college tuition, and in 2012, he also oversaw the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Maryland. (find more about their campaign here)
Bernie Sanders: is the senator and former congressman for the great state of Vermont serving as chair of the senates committee for veteran’s affairs between 2013 and 2015, and before coming to Washington was mayor of the City of Burlington, Vermont. Mr Sanders is known as a leading progressive voice on issues such as income inequality, universal healthcare, parental leave, climate change, LGBT rights, and campaign finance reform (find more about their campaign here)
And here are the many more contenders for the Republican Nomination:
Ben Carson: Was the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland until his retirement in 2013, and is now an author and political commentator. (find more about their campaign here)
Ted Cruz: Is currently a serving senator for the state of Texas and also a former solicitor General for Texas. He is pro outreach and thinks that growth and opportunity should be the hallmarks of a republican government. (find more about their campaign here)
Carly Fiorina: Former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard and former advisor to republican John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. (find more about their campaign here)
Mike Huckabee: Former Governor of Arkansas, former Chair for the national governors association, has previously stood in the 2008 presidential primaries losing to John McCain. (find more about their campaign here)
John Kasich: The Governor of Ohio and former member of congress for Ohio’s 12th district where he served as Chair of the House Budget Committee from 1995-2001. Before leaving Ohio for the capital he served with distinction as a member of the Ohio State Senate for the 15th district. (find more about their campaign here)
George Pataki: Former Governor fo New York, and member of the New York State Senate for the 37th district and former representative for the 91st district on the New York State Assembly as well as a former Mayor of Peekskill. (find more about their campaign here)
Marco Rubio: US Senator for Florida, former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and former member of the Florida House of Representatives for the 11th district. (find more about their campaign here)
Rick Santorum: Is the current Senator from Pennsylvania and former chair of the Senate Republican Conference as well as a former Congressman for the 18th district of Pennsylvania. (find more about their campaign here)
Yesterday saw a tragedy take place in the United States. The 45th mass shooting of 2015, taking place at Umpqua Community College, which has now left nine dead (ten including the gunman himself) and a further seven injured.
I just want you to take a moment for that to sink in, the 45th mass shooting in under a year, in a so called civilised, first world country. Now undoubtedly the gunman had some deep psychological problem, either treated or untreated, but the fact that this sort of person had access to a powerful firearm is astounding, this is why I’m glad things are different in the UK.
Chances are that in Britain, the only time anyone will ever encounter a gun is through the television, or at a major tourist attraction such as Buckingham Palace (where they are there for ceremonial purposes more than defensive). In Britain thanks to stringent firearms legislation fewer than 2.5% of all homicides were gun/firearm related in 2011 and by 2013 there were only 30 homicides caused by gun in England and Wales with fewer still in Scotland (5 in total). Statistics also show that since 2010 the number of gun related crimes in the United Kingdom has fallen year on year, thanks in no small part to our boys and girls on the thin blue line, the figures also show that in 2014 the number of gun deaths in the UK (homicide or accidental) is 21, which is less than 0.25% of the 8512 gun death victims in the US in the first 3 quarters of 2015.
When it comes to America the use of guns is something of thorny issue with the pro gun lobby citing their constitutional right to bear arms and arguing that any new gun legislation is an erosion of their constitutional liberties (one of the many downsides to having a written constitution) and then of course the anti gun lobby citing every bit of butchery from Custer to Columbine as reason enough to tighten gun law, with a split congress and a beleaguered president caught in the middle.
As an outsider it’s easy for me to say that they need to outlaw guns in the same way that Britain and Australia have, but I don’t know if it would work for America, as the US is a country with 50 different sets of laws at the state level and then federal law trying to keep a lid on that, but it’s this sort of thing that must make President Obama’s heart glow with the knowledge that an end is in sight for him, knowing that after January 20th this sort of thing is someone else’s problem. But whoever President Obama’s replacement is they will certainly need to make headway into firearm reform its this sort of tragedy that should be the shot in the arm that America needs to wake up and see sense. In the UK after the Hungerford Massacre we got the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 making it illegal to own a semi automatic firearm, so what will America get after this its 45th gun spree of 2015.
American comedian Chris Rock said that American’s will never go for gun control, the best you could hope for is bullet control, put the price of bullets up so high that if someone winds up shot to death you know that they probably deserved it.
On that note I would like to pay my respects the victims’ families of this latest monstrosity.
*statistics courtesy of the Home Office and The White House*