For those who have been paying scant attention to the news-worthy articles tucked between Trump headlines, the on-going humanitarian crisis in Venezuela may be but a blip on an already disorienting radar screen. However, with the pending collapse of President Nicolas Maduro’s government looking more inevitable as the days pass, along with limits to immigration being high on the agenda of many countries, this is a crisis to which we should all be paying attention.
Each day, Venezuelans are dying from malnutrition and treatable diseases due to hyperinflation that’s driving up prices and causing severe shortages of basics like food and medicine. The callous mindset that rules in Caracas was once again placed on international display this past week when President (and dictator) Maduro and his wife dined on the finest cuts of beef at an expensive soirée in Istanbul while his own people were starving back in Venezuela.
Just to prove the wisdom of the old adage ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same,’ I ran across some photos from an art show I had in Seattle back in 1995.
Pan Man: The Right Icon? 1995
The show was entitled “Pan Man: the Right Icon?” and featured a group of vaguely male-looking plaster casts covered in decorative bead work. Each of the 10 figures was graced with a large penis made from a variety of found objects ranging from pieces of rusted metal to a strange looking wood-working tool. The figures were inspired by a cartoon I did during the 1994 US midterm elections when Newt Gingrich and his fellow Republicans took control of Congress.
…the US Government instead chose the path of aggression and death in partnership with Saudi Arabia…
The civil war in Yemen began in 2015 and has been particularly deadly for innocents–men, women and children. It’s been made even more so due to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s use of remote-controlled weaponry, much of it produced in the USA which is one of the coalition partners.
On August 9th, a coalition airstrike killed at least 51, 40 of them children on a bus which was parked outside a market at the time of the strike. The deadly bomb used in the attack has been identified as a laser-guided MK-82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the largest US defense contractors.
This week I’m re-blogging an update to my very first post. Since this blog has been accused of rambling without any clear direction (just like its author!), I’d like to inform my readers of my original purpose for developing My Quest Blog. Thanks for reading and please feel free to share any and all thoughts you may have!
Ask people in other countries what they admire and respect most about America and they will mention, without hesitation, cutting-edge technology and scientific investigation (linked with higher education), specialist medical care, environmental safeguards, freedom of the press as well as religion and America’s amazing National Park System and other ‘protected’ areas.
Aren’t those also things Americans should care about? Do these positive quality of life factors really have to be obliterated in order to create decent paying jobs as Trump purports? Wouldn’t investing in science and technology–especially in the creation of technologies to produce carbon neutral sources of energy–not create more jobs for the future rather than using those investment dollars as direct payments to long-established major corporations whose only goal is to increase profits in the short term for their shareholders?
Trump’s Egotism Knows No Bounds
At a rally in Duluth, Minnesota this week, President Trump claimed that’s he’s smarter and richer than the elite. By the elite, I assume he means the same generalized ‘liberals’ to which he often makes reference in his speeches. I hate to be the one to break the news to him, but Americans who might label themselves as ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ span the full socio-economic spectrum in America. But I won’t be waiting for him to clarify that point. The last thing I expect to come out of Trump’s White House is clarity.
For centuries, cities have competed with their rivals to attract and retain humanity’s best, brightest and strongest. The battles fought between Athens and Sparta during the Golden Age of Greece more than 2,000 years ago provide a good example as did the competition between Florence and Sienna to be at the epicenter of the Italian Renaissance.
A similar competitive spirit has been on full display over the past year as more than 100 cities in the USA and Canada vie for Amazon.com’s second headquarters (HQ2) and its promised 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in investment. While it isn’t surprising that mayors from coast to coast–especially those leading rust-belt cities such as Detroit–would be pulling out all stops to win such a prize, they would be wise to get a first-hand view of the challenges such instant prosperity can bring.
I had a dream this week–one of those part whimsical, part terrifying nocturnal romps through the subconscious mind. I’ll warn you, the dreams that I remember the morning after are in vivid color and peppered with detail.
In my dream, I found myself standing in a crowd that had gathered along the fence facing the North Lawn of the White house. Between the fountain and the north portico of the building stood Donald Trump, dressed in full-on matador costume complete with a glowing red cape he held aloft in his tiny right hand.
The North Lawn of the White House with the sidewalk along Pennsylvania Avenue at bottom–the setting for my dream. Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Many of you have seen the images from Saturday’s protests calling for sensible gun legislation in the USA as “March for Our Lives” events were held in cities all across the USA along with solidarity marches in cities world-wide.
The protests, which saw hundreds of thousands of marchers take to the streets of Washington, D. C. alone, were largely organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a young white male gunman using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle killed 17 students and wounded 17 others on February 14, 2018.
Anti-NRA banner at the March for our Lives
I love meeting new people along my journey, the kind that, due to their intelligence and awareness, cause me to question my assumptions about the world and the daily habits I take for granted.
Such was the case this week when I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with an extraordinary young woman who was visiting my closest friend here in Colombia. This young woman studied and lived abroad and now runs an NGO in Mexico City (which she founded) called “Ollin,” which roughly translates to Youth in Movement.
During one of our discussions on international issues, she casually asked if I would describe myself as an expat or an immigrant.
Hum, I thought, as conflicting thoughts raced through my mind. This is a quandary. Based on my current status here in Colombia, how would I label myself?
I was shocked to just find a blog posting entitled “How to Survive a Mass Shooting”, a full-on technical combat guide for American citizens. It’s professionally put together to sell the idea to buyers who seemed to be flocking to the post.
After describing some basic combat training techniques, the guide ends with the following:
“Stay vigilant, maintain situational awareness at all times, plan for the worst, and stay survival fit – body and mind!!!”
It’s a soldiers guide
[I WILL NOT provide a link to this!]
Is this really where we are in American society? I’m not surprised that it looks more and more like the USA is entering another period of civil warfare, but I am shocked that its happening sooner than I predicted.