Archive for Donald Trump

a journal of the plague year [deconfited reviews]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Running, Wines with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2020 by xi'an

Found a copy of Humans by Donald Westlake on the book sharing shelves at Dauphine. And read it within a few hours, as it is very light reading but quite funny nonetheless. If hardly ranking as a mystery novel. Or crime novel, unless the crime is Gaiacide and the criminal God. Reminded me of the equally light Bobby Dollar series by Tad Williams. As the main character is an angel, falling for humans as he tries to steer them towards the Armageddon. The setting is the early 1990s, with the main scares being atomic disaster (Chernobyl) and the AIDS pandemic. Plus the rise of environmental worries and of Chinese autocracy. I put it back on the shelves on my next visit to Dauphine, hopefully for someone else to enjoy!

Baked radish stems with basil for making pesto, with a bit more bitterness than usual. Cooked plenty of fennel since this is fennel season. Continued making my weekly rhubarb preserve. Keeping the garden active, now watching squash vines invading new territory, hopefully with an eatable reward in the Fall. Tomatoes are growing incredibly fast as well..! Saw another fox in the Parc before official opening times, quite close if speeding away from me and barely avoiding bumping in a pair of greyhounds which fortunately sounded completely unconcerned.

Watched Children of Men after an exhausting week online for a grant panel. While a parabola for the coming collapse of civilisation under political, biological and environmental apocalypses [is there any meaning to use apocalyse in the plural tense!?] and a premonitory tale on Brexit and the buttressing of Britain [or Trump and his Big Wall mania] induced by anti-immigrant rethorics, the film is over the top in terms of plot and action, with symbolism taking over realism, even on the slightest degree, every shot being filled with references to religions and arts (like the Pink Floyd flying pig), to previous environmental disasters (with long shots of burning cows reminiscent of the mad cow crisis) and geo-political upheavals (including a Hamas type protest in the refugee camp, with a short appearance of a jeep with a French flag more reminiscent of the liberation of Paris in August 1944). Characters are charicaturesque, with a very Manichean division between very few good ones and mostly bad ones. The most ridiculous part of the scenario may well be the battle scene in the refugee camp [tanks versus pistols!]… Once again stunned by all the awards and praise piled upon that film.

Read two more volumes of the Witcher [bought during BayesComp for my son!]. One being Sword of Destiny and a series of short stories, like the first volume. The second Blood of Elves and the beginning of the novels. The first season on TV borrows mostly from the first two collections of short stories. Which are somewhat better than the novel, as the latter is very slow paced and overly sentimental. Not terrible, mind.

Completed with uttermost reluctance the Horde du Contrevent [translating as the windwalkers] by Alain Damasio (no English translation available, but an Italian version, l’Orda del Vento,  is). Book that I again picked for figuring in Le Monde 100 bes&tc list! And felt like constantly fronting a strong, icy wind when going through the pages of that unusual book. The style is unpleasant and rather pretentious, with numerous puns in French.. The story is one of a (religious? mystical?) group walking against the wind(s) for decades to reach the source of these winds and to find the last types of wind no one has ever met. Their dreary pilgrimage is described by the 23 membres of the group, called the Horde, with a heavy-handed typographical symbol at the start of each paragraph identifying who’s speaking (and a convenient page marker with all these symbols). A bit heavy handed as a polyphonic novel (appropriately composed in a Corsican retreat!) and even more in the crypt-Nietschean philosophy it carries… The background universe there is somehow eco-steam-punk, with the wind producing most of the energy. The most exciting part involves rather realistic ice climbing. However, I clearly stand in the small minority of those less than impressed by the book as it is highly popular among French readers, one of the highest printings in the Folio collection, with side products a BD (above) and a movie (in the making?). (And enough votes from fans to almost reach the 10 most favourite novels in Le Monde list. )

and it only gets worse [verbatim]

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2020 by xi'an

“When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” DT, 28 May

“Trump has long advocated for selling off the Postal Service and recently called it “a joke.”The New Yorker, 30 May

“The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” DT, 30 May

“Statt Öl ins Feuer zu gießen (…) Demokraten dürfen nie eskalieren – auch nicht durch Worte. Mit Gewalt zu drohen löst nur weitere Gewalt aus. Statt uns auseinander dividieren zu lassen. Heiko Maas, 3 June

“If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them..” DT, 1 June

“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see ’em thrown in, rough, I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’’” DT, 28 July 2017

and it only gets worse [verbatim]

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2020 by xi'an

“They always said nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.” DT, 03 May

“We’re on the other side of the medical aspect of this [pandemic.]J. Kushner, 29 April

““We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here, we will not see terrorism come here, and isn’t that refreshing when contrasting it with the awful Presidency of President Obama?” K. McEnany, 25 February

“You all know what happened in 1917.” DT, 27 April

“Leadership may be hard to define, but in times of crisis it is easy to identify. As the pandemic has spread fear, disease and death, national leaders across the globe have been severely tested. Some have fallen short, sometimes dismally, but there are also those leaders who have risen to the moment, demonstrating resolve, courage, empathy, respect for science and elemental decency, and thereby dulling the impact of the disease on their people.” NYT editorial, 30 April

“In the past month alone, the [US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)] has dialled down regulations on automobile emissions and fuel efficiency put in place under former president Barack Obama; it has weakened rules on mercury and other pollutants emitted by power plants; and it has shied away from strengthening standards to reduce fine-particle air pollution. Nature, 28 April“

“It would have been bad even with the best of government. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset — of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ — when that mindset is operationalized in our government.” Barack Obama, 09 May

““Trump’s constant antics are a danger to the American people. The current approach to science and expertise within the Trump administration is a shame on many levels. Trump’s talking nonsense risks misleading the public, and it distracts top scientists who spend emotional energy neutralizing the damage he causes when they should be tackling the virus (…) Many scientists were dreading that the president would be faced by a test just like coronavirus. “ John Holdren, 03 May

“Probably it was incompetence. Somebody was stupid.” DT [an expert in the field], 10 May

DT, 18 May

and it only gets worse [verbatim]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2020 by xi'an

“With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible. The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion. If we cannot trust them, if this is what we will receive from the WHO, our country will be forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals.” DT, 14 April

“It is also not the time to reduce the resources for the operations of the World Health Organization or any other humanitarian organization in the fight against the virus.” Antonio Guterres, 14 April

“The president of the United States calls the shots. [State governors] can’t do anything without the approval of the president of the United States. When somebody’s the president of the United States, the authority is total.” DT, 13 April

“…the US Treasury has ordered Donald Trump’s name be printed on cheques to be sent to tens of millions of Americans affected by the coronavirus outbreak, a decision that will slow their delivery by several days.” The Washington Post, 15 April

“Very simple. If [both chambers of Congress] don’t act on getting these people approved that we need – we need them anyway, but we especially need them now because of the pandemic – we are going to do something that will be … something I’d prefer not doing, but which I should do and I will do if have to.” DT, 16 April

“It is vital to avoid the collapse of any country’s medical system – given the explosive impact that will have on death, suffering and wider contagion. At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended. In a context of global pandemic, impeding medical efforts in one country heightens the risk for all of us.” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, 24 March

and it only gets worse [verbatim]

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2020 by xi'an

Iran is facing a catastrophic toll from the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. sanctions should not be contributing to this humanitarian disaster. As a caring nation, we must lift any sanctions hurting Iran’s ability to address this crisis, including financial sanctions.” Bernie Sanders, 20 March

“The whole world should know that humanitarian assistance to Iran is wide open, it’s not sanctioned (…) The Wuhan virus is a killer and the Iranian regime is an accomplice,” Mike Pompeo, 20 March

“Expelling Médecins sans Frontières [from installing a  field hospital in Isfahan] will be a decision based on wisdom because their presence is a cover for non-humanitarian activities. As France has in practice repeatedly proven its enmity against Iran, the question is why our officials allowed the group to enter in the first place,” he said, describing the permit as “dangerous recklessness.” Hossein Shariatmadari, 24 March

“We lose thousands of people a year to the flu. We never turn the country off. We lose thousands of people per year to automobile accidents.” DT, 24 March

“The economic sanctions are working. If we didn’t have these sanctions in place, literally Iran would have tens of billions of dollars. They would be using that for terrorist activities throughout the region. There is no question that by cutting off the economics to the regime we are having an impact” Stephen Mnuchin, 10 Jan

“…we have [the coronavirus pandemics] totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine..” DT, 22 Jan

“I think the numbers are going to get progressively better as we go along.” DT, 18 Feb

“I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ‘How do you know so much about this?’ Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.” DT, 9 March