Saturday, September 26, 2015

The most interesting topic in September 2015? Yes, it is still Donald Trump and his supporters!

By Patrick

As far as US politics are concerned these days, there is still only one thing I really want to talk about: The appeal or non-appeal of Donald Trump, who might be the most awkward (current) front-runner in Republican presidential primaries in living history.

Why do I want to talk about him, again? Because his continuing popularity exposes some major fundamental issues which everybody should be concerned about, for example:

1. Illegal immigration is an issue which apparently can very easily be exploited in US elections, if one is only ruthless enough to go "all the way."

2. Being a "celebrity" seems to be more important for many voters than actual policy issues.

3. Many voters do not care about details. They are easily won over by "buzzwords", and this is certainly not going to change in the future. The "Donald Trump phenomenon" proved this simple truth, again.

The list could go on and on.

Even without Donald Trump, the current line-up of GOP-candidates has never been scarier. The pure thought alone that one of these people could be the the next US president causes nightmares. So how did it come to this point? What went wrong?

While I do not have the final answer, I think I have some clues. Voters need education, Voters need guidance. Voters need good role models. These things are obviously in short supply. Don't get me wrong: I do know that there are millions of highly educated people living in the USA. In the USA, we find many of the best universities in the world. However, this did not stop very large parts of the Republican party to go crazy. They also seem to get crazier by the day. They might not win the general election next year, however, this large group of misguided and manipulated people is not going to disappear quickly. They are here to stay, and they are obviously the product of many years of propaganda.

The human brain is controlled by emotions. Thinking, the intellectual process, always come second. The brain is basically asking to be exploited, and if "political morals" are low, politicians are only too willing to comply, as well as their henchman and henchwomen in the media

I am living in a country where it is frowned upon, to put it mildly, to use any "demagoguery" in politics. The reason is of course that Hitler and his Nazi-party ruthlessly were very successful demagogues, and promptly led their country straight into the abyss. The memory of how the Nazis abused a democratic political system is still very much alive in Germany.

I do not like any of the GOP-candidates, but it still gives me some hope when for example Rick Perry says things like "Trumpism A Toxic Mix Of Demagoguery, Mean-Spiritedness That Will Lead The Republican Party To Perdition", and that other Republican politicians made similar remarks. However, the GOP has nurtured the "crazy" part of their constituency for many years, and now this group of people has simply become too large and cannot be ignored any more. They have "built it" themselves, and now they have to deal with it.

I always find it interesting to listen to "unfiltered" opinions of citizens about politics. Such kind of statements are often "cringeworthy", everywhere, in every country, however, they still contain some "truth" in it, they still reflect to a certain degree what the "man and the woman on the street" is thinking - and how they are thinking.

I found the following youtube-clip very interesting, because the interviewer does it right and asks questions which are "open", and therefore receives honest, unfiltered opinions, without putting too much in people's mouths. The interviewees explain why they love or hate Trump:

I find it interesting that Donald Trump is mostly "remembered" for his comments about the "Mexicans", the illegal immigrants. It is obvious that this is a subject which bothers a lot of people, and they "like" it that Trump is talking about it. This is of course exactly where responsible politicians have to step in: If it becomes an acceptable talking point that millions of people should be deported, and that huge "fences" should be built everywhere, the country is definitely in trouble.

Today, the following article was published, and it is really worth reading:

Well, virtually all the bad things you suspected of Donald Trump are obviously true - examples:

3. As a kid, Trump was a major bully — and he admits he hasn't changed.

As shoddy as Trump's behavior at debates is, just be glad it doesn't include any of the following:

Erasers hurled at teachers and cake flung at birthday parties were notable examples of the problem-child behavior that separated Donald Trump from the other kids at the private Kew-Forest School ... He once said that he gave a teacher a black eye “because I didn’t think he knew anything about music.”

What's worse than all that is that Trump point-blank admits that he hasn't evolved beyond that age. "When I look at myself in the first grade and I look at myself now, I’m basically the same," Trump told the author. "The temperament is not that different."

Where did this temperament come from? Two sources, really: a tough-as-nails father and a coddling mother. What we think of today as quintessentially Trumpian language is, D'Antonio says:

A family trait that may have been handed down by their tough-talking father. Donald Trump saw a world inhabited by winners and losers, allies and enemies. When displeased, he would indulge in tirades spiced with expletives. Employees, rivals, critics, and associates would become, in his words, “stupid,” “dumb,” “losers,” or “wimps.”

The Donald's behavior was set from childhood; he credits the respect he got from his father to the fact that “I used to fight back all the time.” As for Trump's Scottish-born mom, Mary Anne:

[British TV journalist Selina] Scott concluded that as a mother who had known true hardship in her childhood Mrs Trump had spoiled her son. “He was Mummy’s boy,” said Scott, “and terribly spoiled as a child. He had everything he wanted and never had much taken away from him.” Trump reminded Scott of bullies she had known in her school days: “I came across embryonic Donald Trumps. Usually people lose that trait of saying, ‘I want it. You give it to me, or I will smash you.’” Trump, she said, had not lost that trait.

4. Violence, and the need to win all games at all costs, dominated Trump's life at school.

Trump was faced with far worse than his father's anger when he was sent to cadet school in New York. There his bete noir was a "screaming US Army war veteran" named Theodore Dobias:

“In those days they’d smack the hell out of you. It was not like today where you smack somebody and you go to jail,” said Trump decades later. “[Dobias] could be a fucking prick. He absolutely would rough you up. You had to learn to survive.”

Dobias, who coached Trump in baseball and football, had no love lost for the kid either. "He always had to be number one in everything," he told the authors. "He was a conniver even then. A real pain in the ass. He would do anything to win.”

Later in life, this manifested itself in a skiing incident with his first wife Ivana, who was an internationally rated skiier (but may have lied about being in the Olympics). When Ivana beat him down the slope just one time, here's what she said happened next:

"Donald was so angry, he took off his skis, his ski boots, and walked up to the restaurant. So we find his skis down the mountain with the instructor. He went foot bare up to the restaurant and said, ‘I’m not going to do this shit for anybody, including Ivana.’ He could not take it, that I could do something better than he did.”

Read many more details at "Mashable,"

Again, it is frightening that this man has become so popular.

I do not believe that he will win the GOP-nomination in the end, but who can be certain at this point?

Here is another video with unfiltered opinions of Trump's supporters - this clip is very funny:

Haha! :-)

We really need a good laugh these days.

Finally, this is a great clip as well - the Rap-video "I won't vote for Trump":

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

CNN Live GOP Debate - Ronald Reagan Library. Open Post.

By Kathleen

Scaffolding goes up at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, the site of the tonight's GOP debate. (Scott Shafer/KQED)

Round 2 of the GOP debate on CNN tonight. Donald Trump is still the front runner but I predict that he will drop out towards the end of the race and endorse Ted Cruz. Watch this space.

Image from CNN Instagram

The first debate starts at 6pm ET and features Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki. These are the bottom four runners. There is a post debate analysis by Anderson Cooper at 7.45pm ET

The second debate starts at 8pm ET with the following candidates (in no particular order) Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Mike Huckabee. The post debate analysis by Anderson Cooper is scheduled for 11.00pm ET

I will be here for the live coverage of both debates. My hint is that you should take a drink of your favourite beverage every time Ronald Reagan's name is invoked by a candidate. Just don't drive afterwards.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Open Post - "Hedge Fund Billionaires VS Kindergarten Teachers" with Mayor Bill de Blasio & Robert Greenwald

By Kathleen

 "Hedge Fund Billionaires vs Teachers" is a new short film by Robert Greenwald of "Outfoxed" fame ( the film that exposed the fact that Fox is not a news channel but a conservative propaganda channel) and his production company is called "Brave New Films".

The film reveals the shameful fact that the "top 25 hedge fund managers in the USA make more than all kindergarten teachers in the country combined. These investors make millions - sometimes billions - of dollars investing borrowed money in hopes of realizing large capital gains. But what is most absurd is that these millionaires and billionaires pay a lower tax rate than kindergarten teachers -– and very likely a lower rate than YOU!"

The hedge fund managers pay less tax than many working class Americans because of a loophole in the taxation system called "carried interest". 

The producers of Brave New Films say:

"We wanted to know what kindergarten teachers thought about this insane disparity, so we talked to them. And the consensus is clear – this must end!

So together we are calling on all 2016 presidential candidates to commit to closing the carried interest loophole within their first 100 days of office. If we closed this tax loophole and taxed hedge fund managers like we tax teachers and every other American, we would generate $17.7 billion over a decade.

This is money that could go to public education – and into normal working American’s tax breaks! Join us to call on all 2016 presidential candidates to commit to closing the carried interest loophole within their first 100 days of office

The premiere of the film was live screened to an audience at Pace University in New York and the introduction of this important issue was led by Mayor Bill de Blasio who has also campaigned on the topic.

There was a good discussion after the film was screened and I urge all our readers to take time to watch the video which I have posted below. Readers might also consider contacting your favoured presidential candidate to ask what he or she is going to do about closing this ridiculous loophole.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday open post: Meet a future Trump-voter, meet a woman with many marriages, meet the Instagram barbie, meet some refugees - BONUS: Sarah Palin wants to become the Secretary of Energy for Donald Trump - in order to get rid of the Department of Energy!

By Patrick

It is Sunday again, and we hope that all you will make the most of the day. I will hopefully pull myself together to do some sport later, so wish me luck. But first, let's look at some things which are informative and sometimes entertaining as well.

As we all know, Donald Trump tirelessly works every day to poison the hearts and minds of Americans, and although he most likely won't succeed with his big goal of becoming the most powerful man in the world, his open hostility towards "Mexicans" and potential other troublemakers from the "outside" certainly will cause much damage. I guess that it already has, because once politicians encourage their base to hate others, it usually does not take very long for the hate to "break free."

This has been proven over and over again in history, and that is why in many countries "hate speak" is discouraged, either through laws, an "agreement" in the society, or both. Whether this is good or not is certainly debatable. Different countries have different concepts and traditions, and the American concept of "unlimited free speech" has been at odds for example with European rules on hate speech on several occasions in the past. For example, the fact that Germany made it a crime in 1985 to spread "Holocaust denial" theories prompted criticism for example from some American observers, and also from some UK commentators.

In reality, laws like the "Holocaust-denial-law" have been proven to be very effective in order to combat Neo-Nazism in Germany, as a vital "recruitment-tool" for young Neo-Nazis has been made illegal through these laws. But back to the USA: The reason why I am mentioning these issues is the fact that I firmly believe that the encouragement of hate that we have seen from people like Donald Trump, but also from others, will prove very destructive to US society in the long term. Once the genie is out of the bottle, and once "hate" will become a "mainstream opinion", then society will have a massive problem which won't quickly disappear again. The human mind, in combination with ignorance and low education, can be manipulated very effectively.

What politicians really have to do in order to achieve a better society is to encourage the opposite: Compassion and understanding. That does not mean that for example existing problems should not be tackled. However, if you have a high-profile "politician" like Donald Trump playing the race card, then people will eventually not end up discussing whether "Mexicans" are actually "rapists", but only will discuss how many of them are "rapists", and not whether there should be a wall to Mexico and Canada, but only how "high" this wall should be.

In short, if you plant bad seeds in people's minds, these seeds will grow, and this fact has been exploited by countless evil leaders in history over and over again.

During the last two days, a video went viral of a young American girl in a Kebab shop, and she is apparently hugely upset that the staff did not speak English, and this memorable as well as ugly video really demonstrates what I am talking about: The fact that "normal" people these days obviously feel encouraged to insult "foreign" citizens in public who are apparently not behaving like they are supposed to behave.

I am pretty sure that this misguided young woman will love to vote for Donald Trump - watch:

Therefore American politicians should be careful what they wish for, and this does not apply to Donald Trump.

So let's move on. I have seen that the topic of Kim Davis and her martyrdom for Christian America was discussed extensively in the comments during the last days, so I thought it would be good to post this wonderful graphic, which provides an overview to the rather convoluted marriage history of Kim Davis - good for sharing:

Well, as we already know from long experience, if you want to find a hypocrite, take a quick look at "conservative-constitutional" Americans, as "Hypocrite" is basically their middle name.

I also find this one very fitting:

What else do we have today - oh yes, there are lots of people who love to present their incredibly interesting private life for example on Instagram on a daily basis, and by doing so reveal more about themselves than they wish to reveal. In honor of these people, the Instagram account "socialitybarbie" has been created, and yes, one will quickly see similarities to real people which I am too polite to name right now - click to enlarge:

Well, I think this is spot-on indeed.

Moving on, back to Europe, a clip was posted yesterday showing refugees from Syria being warmly greeted a the Frankfurt Main Train Station. I was at first quite hesitant to put this clip up, because I do not want to give the impression that everything is perfect regarding the huge number of refugees coming to Germany right now. During the last months, there have been a number of arson attacks in Germany on houses which were designed to shelter refugees, and these despicable attacks still continue. However, I am convinced that the people who commit these attacks do not represent a majority of the citizens in Germany. Therefore, I find it important to show that there are also lots of people here who also welcome the refugees, and understand their desperate situation.

Watch the clip from Frankfurt Main Train Station:

These events are newsworthy because the massive migration of refugees to Germany has huge consequences for international politics as well. This crisis will continue, and I am happy that Germany steps up and leads in the right direction and will accept hundreds of thousands of refugees this year, the number reported being up to 800.000 people, for example in this excellent CNN TV-report from Berlin:

Please do not get me wrong, no misunderstanding here: I am not saying that everything is bad in the USA, and everything is good in Europe. This is not the case. What I am trying to express here is the fact that good behavior needs to be encouraged, and bad behavior, the sinister manipulation of the population, needs to be strongly discouraged.

Especially the Germans have seen first hand what can happen to a country if the minds of many people are being poisoned. It is about finding the right approach, about the fact that we are not just "one country", but one world, and we have try to find the best way to live together. It is never easy, and there always will be conflicts. But politicians need to encourage the good nature of people, and if they do the opposite, they will cause huge damage which will last many years.

BONUS - Sarah strikes again:

I planned this to be the end of the post, however, Sarah Palin just gave a wonderful new "Palinesque" interview on CNN, in which she already announced that she will quit this job as well (no joke), because as a Secretary of Energy in a Trump-administration, she would dissolve the Department of Energy. This could have actually been a SNL-skit!

As usual, Sarah "barstool" Palin is not helping matters.

Oh, and in this interview, she talks a lot about her "pregnancy" with Trig as well.

I did not find a way to embed this clip with Sarah's new interview, so please watch it here.

Have a nice Sunday, everybody!



Kathleen thinks I should end this post with an ultra-sweet baby-clip which public figure Jason Silva posted on facebook: Captivating the mind of a baby.

Here is his twitter. But this clip is not just "sweet", it also has a deeper meaning.

You can watch this amazing video also without a facebook account - click here.