Monday, August 18, 2014

Obama apparently has not cured anti-Americanism

Remember when Obama attained the highest office in the land in 2008, and was reëlected in 2012, all the talking points of light said that the U.S. had now gained favor with the rest of the world? Now that progressives controlled Congress and the Messiah was in the Oval Office, we would be the world's darlings.
Still with me?
How then, perchance, that a letter-to-the-editor such as the following could be published during this administration's tenure?
Successive UK Governments and their relationship with the US, reminds one of those creeps in the playground who stick with the school bully, fawn and flatter to keep themselves onside. New British PMs cannot fly to the White House quickly enough to get on their knees and pledge allegiance to their masters and pledge the lives of working-class youth as cannon-fodder. With all in Washington rolling helplessly about the floor with laughter, those idiots in Westminster call this "the special relationship." Mao-tse Tung hit the nail on the head when he said that Britain was America's running dog.
Can the sanguine writer of this charming missive still be blaming Bush? Just asking.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Catch-up: Murietta, Hong Kong democracy and community displacement

Since I've been gone for well over a year, there is some subject matter catch-up I'd like to engage in. So, let's shake off the cobwebs ...

1. The Murietta protests and the alien invasion:
Early in July, hundreds of protestors of this southern California town blocked a main access road on which buses full of illegal alien women and children were travelling, forcing the vehicles to turn around and drop the illegals off in a Border Patrol compound in San Diego County.  They managed this not just once, but on two separate occasions.
Murietta mayor Alan Long had urged residents to take action. Speaking of behalf of the town's population, Mr. Long said, "Murietta expects our government to enforce our laws, including the deportation of illegal immigrants caught crossing our borders, not disperse them into our local communities."
Sounds logical, doesn't it? Except for the phrase "illegal immigrant," which is an oxymoron. There is only one type of immigrant: legal. Illegals are aliens, they do not belong. They are also criminals, even if they are not MS-13 gangsters.
President Barry O. is determined to change the face of this country through his complicit participation in this invasion. For the moment, we can only try to fend off the onslaught.
A massive rally held by talk-show host Jeff Kuhner in Boston earlier this month in effect cancelled Governor Deval Patrick's plan to take in thousands of these migrant "children" and house them in facilities in Chicopee and Bourne.
These Minutemen-like protestors are heroes. But do not expect them to be regarded as such by the media and the White House. That's par for the course, though. We know that decent American citizens will always be demonized and law-breakers placed on a pedestal. In the name of diversity and compassion, you understand.
The importance of the coming mid-term elections cannot be overstated. Honestly, if Americans do not wake the hell up and flood both houses of Congress with Republicans, we will end up with the third-world, Spanish-speaking, terrorist-sheltering banana republic with which Obama is so keen to saddle us.

2. The 'Big Four' firms oppose democracy protests in Hong Kong:
In Britain, there are four major accountancy firms: PricewaterhouseCoopers, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young. In late June, the Hong Kong affiliates of these four competing firms united as one to release advertisements denouncing pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.
At this time, a large protest known as the Occupy Central with Love and Peace was poised to shut down the business district of Hong Kong. The "big four" firms feared this would cause investors to flee the city and that it would disrupt the "rule of law".
I'm no hippy and I'm all for capitalism. But, honestly? Business is more important than a people's right to democracy? The people of Hong Kong have every right to let their feelings be known in the post-colonial climate they find themselves in, subject to China's whims.
Legal professionals in Hong Kong were especially within their rights to protest given Beijing's announcement that a basic requirement for those in the judiciary was to "love the country". Whatever that means to the Mao disciples in charge of the land.
Shame on the "Big Four". Their actions amounted to a travesty.

3. HS2 1, Homeowners 0:
In Britain (there's that phrase again), there is a transportation infrastructure project in the works known as "High Speed 2" or HS2. According to reports, homeowners living within 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) could receive compensation as little as £7,500 under a scheme announced by the Government.
Those opposed to HS2 assert that the compensation scheme is "derisory," and assert that hundreds of thousands of homes within one kilometer (roughly two-thirds of a mile) of the planned track will receive no compensation for the blight.
Hilary Wharf of HS2 Action Alliance opined that these homeowners will be "locked into homes made unsaleable" by the project. It will tear up thousands of yards of forest — as if this country isn't short enough on woodland — and displace people in villages such as Little Missenden in Buckinghamshire.
But, for me, this speaks to a larger issue: that of displacement. It's an age-old story. "We're going to make life so much easier for everyone," some planning committee will tell local residents. "But, in order to do that, you must move."
We saw the great effects that had on the community life of the West End of Boston after the construction of the Central Artery in the '50s. Aside from Massachusetts General Hospital, there was nothing there! Renewal of the neighborhood could only begin once it was torn down. The North End suffered too, having been separated by the massive fly-over from the rest of Boston.
Up until 1973, Neptune Road in the East End was a flourishing working-class residential street. Massport, the agency in charge of Logan International Airport, tore up the local Wood Island Park in 1967 and then started buying up homes along Neptune Road in order to demolish them six years later. This occurred as the airport grew in size and expanded.
Today, Neptune Road remains but it's as if an H-bomb had exploded there. There is nothing. It is the same for all surrounding neighborhood streets to the east of Route 1A around the Wood Island subway stop. Frankfort Street, Vienna Street, Lovell Street ... asphalt paths through a great deal of nothingness.
I watched a documentary a few years ago on the community of Deptford in south-east London as part of a BBC Series called The Secret History of our Streets. It demonstrates how Deptford was practically destroyed by urban planners.
The effort to clear "confusing" streets free of "slums", and shuffle everyone out of their homes and into nearby, newly built tower blocks was, according to the narration, "a vast, Modernist socialist experiment to be carried out in the working class East and South." Gee, ain't that grand? Ritzy West London, of course, was untouched. No plebs there.
People were displaced, good neighbors separated forever, the marketplaces that were their livelihoods dismantled. In the name of progress. The programme made it clear that, as with the Neptune Road area of Boston, modern Deptford, hardly a showcase today, is practically unrecognizable with nothing holding it together.
All this leads me to the overall point: Progress is all very well, but does it always have to come at the expense of ordinary people? You do not tear up communities unless it's comprised of squatters or a terrorist cell. Working, tax-paying citizens should not have to suffer indiginities at the hands of planning committees and their corporate kick-backs simply because it might be good for their children.
How do the children living on Neptune Road in 1973 feel about that one, I wonder? They watched what their parents went through, lost friends and probably still nurse grudges against Massport. I don't blame them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Time to treat this illness seriously

Nothing can accurately describe my shock when, after logging on to the 'net yesterday morning, I was confronted by the news of Robin Williams's death. I was convinced that the 63-year-old actor-comedian had died as a result of massive drug use. Not a binge, just the built-up effects of heavy intoxicants over the course of his adulthood. The same type of thing that took George Carlin out.
Turns out, however, that Robin Williams died of asphixation. The latest news from the coroner indicates that he had hung himself. His personal assistant had found him near the closet door of his bedroom. Initially, he looked to be in a sitting position but was suspended a little bit above the ground.
Sad, shocking, horrific stuff. People thought that because Williams was a "funny guy," that he could not be taken down by something as trivial as depression.
Only, depression is not trivial. It is sinister, insiduous and even downright aggressive. It can kick the stuffing out of anyone: 6-foot-3 boxer Frank Bruno's severe depression was well publicized. If a guy that big and capable can be afflicted, surely the more mortal among us can be so stricken.
It explains why I have been gone so long. Since April 2013, the last time I contributed to this dusty, cobweb-covered blog, I suffered myself from depression. I was too depressed to write. The longer I didn't write, the worse it became until it was like a vicious circle. I carried on working and enjoying evenings with my family. I laughed to the podcasts playing on my iPod. But I could no longer do something I loved: writing. I am fond of this blog and am proud of it. Why, then, did it suddenly make my stomach turn to think about it? Why was I rendered incapable of doing something I loved?
Depression is something that has long been with me. I remember having feelings of worthlessness at the age of 12. No 12-year-old should have to feel that. But this thing, dear reader, is a monster. I'm not bi-polar, but I do have chronic depression combined with social anxiety. I have OCD. Perhaps I even have a slight touch of autism; there is some evidence of that, although it hasn't been confirmed.
I do take an anti-depressant medication. It helps. I know they're not for some people. For some, pills make the depression and suicidal ideation worse. But it's up to the individual affected and it is the responsibility of the doctor to very closely monitor how any medication affects him or her.
Maybe, eventually, we will have a true understanding of depression. Society will no longer regard depressed people as mental misfits. We will move beyond the perceptions of the Mental Health Act of 1953 and enter the modern age where depression is recognized as an organic illness. People suffer from failing kidneys, diseased lungs and perforated pancreases. Is the brain no less an organ than the liver, the stomach or the intestines? I suffer from occasional renal colic as well. Is that disease really so different from depression? If your brain, as an organic body organ, is ill, will that not manifest itself in so many deleterious emotional manners? Should you be told to simply "pull your bootstraps up" or "look on the bright side"?
I'm not saying that we need to give people a free pass. The excuse of depression is too often used to avoid work and receive SSDI "crazy checks".
That doesn't mean depression isn't real. Fourteen years into the twenty-first century, we still don't understand depression nearly as well as we should. It is a disease and, in so many cases, it is a killer.
It is high-time that we gave this illness some respect.