Watching History: “I Got a Baaad Feeling About This”

Luckily, I keep a diary. My entry for the 9th of November was thus.

“The election was yesterday and Trump won.  It reminds me of when Bush won, except that Trump is a different animal.  Bush could pretend to be decent, Trump is seen as their savior but he’s a mean-spirited bully. Oh well, start saving money, I got a couple of things today.  I’m still trying to put together the Blog post on it. It’s too fresh and painful. Yay, I finished my blog. More important, I went into photoshop and threw in a lightsaber on my favorite selfie. It looks noice. Gilles says it’s like the new Mona Lisa.” Not exactly pithy stuff but it keeps me sane.

This is an illustration of the denial and “self-care” that people in blue states, insulated by media predicting a Hillary win, have been dealing with.  In another class, I’m doing a project on Anne Frank, of whom I’ve been obsessed since I was a child.  My mother made sure I read her book as soon as I could comprehend the words and knowing my mother lived as an allied’s child in Germany after the war, it gave me an understanding of the aftermath that her six-year old mind struggled to grasp.  It was through Anne Frank that I learned the true meaning of empathy as I cried to my mom, “Why would anyone kill her she was just a young girl?”. My mom didn’t have any answers and we watched every History channel WWII documentary back when the History channel actually taught history instead of making popular shows about truck drivers and aliens.  We wanted answers, we wanted to know how Hitler (an obvious madman in hindsight) gained power.  We ate up every documentary which explained his tormented childhood and tried to spot the moment when history could have turned a good corner.  We listened to my grandpa (when he had drunk too much port) and he told us what he went through as a soldier fighting at Die Burenhaus, in Villengen-Schwenningen (known as “the Brown House” by my grandpa and the English Allies).  His closest friend shot dead next to him, he had to wrap him in a blanket and put his dog-tags around his feet so that he could have a chance at being identified and maybe sent home to his loved ones. Two Polish boys from the Ghetto, barely in their teens, who joined the Allies when their entire village was murdered by the Nazis.  Grandpa said that when the war had turned and the Allies were taking in the lower-level privates and the drafted Germans who were surrendering in droves, the two Poles notified the Sergeant in charge that one of the lower surrendering officers was in fact the S.S. Officer who they watched murder their entire family and village.  Grandpa’s Sergeant then asked for TWO volunteers to “interrogate” the prisoner.  The rest of the unit understood and only two hands went up.  Grandpa: “Those Polish boys interrogated him within an inch of his life.” He admitted to being the S.S. Officer in question and provided more intel after that.  While what the Sergeant did was probably against the Geneva convention, it earned him the undying respect from his men as a fair leader.  That is the line I walk every day. I understand the draw and the attraction of unorthodox methods that fly in the face of convention, however, I also understand spin and ultimately how it can make monsters out of the ordinary man. Others have been feeling the same. On Youtube there are videos of everyday people expressing and processing this moment in history. I found this man’s sentiments lovely.

I hope that President Trump proves me wrong, but history leads me to worry about his methods and whether he will uphold the Constitution of the United States or look at it as another legal contract to weasel out of and get around.  Many dictators before him have done this as soon as being elected.  Whatever happens, we should all keep on journaling.

Eye Across the Pond: What Does England, Scotland, and Ireland Think of This Election?

World leaders are reacting to the triumph of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election.
World leaders are reacting to the triumph of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election.

Well, this is embarrassing! The British Isles seem as perplexed as we are about the outcome of this election.

The BBC has looked to world leaders for a reaction to Donald J. Trump’s winning the Presidency.  On their Political Blog- Trump wins US election: How world leaders have reacted

UK- Prime Minister, Theresa May

In her message of congratulations, Prime Minister Theresa May focused on the “special relationship” between the two countries. She said that she hoped that Mr Trump’s win would mean a continuation of shared values, including “freedom, democracy and enterprise”.

“We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defence,”

“I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.”–UK Prime Minister, Theresa May

The United Nations- Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that “in the aftermath of a hard-fought and often divisive campaign, it is worth recalling and reaffirming that the unity in diversity of the United States is one of the country’s greatest strengths”.

“I encourage all Americans to stay true to that spirit. Today’s global challenges demand concerted global action and joint solutions. As a founding member of the United Nations and permanent member of the Security Council, the United States is an essential actor across the international agenda,”–UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Mr Ban added that “people everywhere look to the United States to use its remarkable power to help lift humanity up and to work for the common good” which included the battle against climate change, advancing human rights and “promoting mutual understanding… to achieve lives of peace, prosperity and dignity for all”.

Trump in Front of Turnberry Clubhouse
Trump in Front of Turnberry Clubhouse

I love that this is how America is viewed officially on the World Stage.  However, to get a little bit more info on Trump’s interests overseas and some of the problems he’s going to have Worldwide,  Scotland’s The Scotsman Newspaper has a more personal take.  You see, he has business holdings in Scotland. His portfolio in Scotland – comprises of Trump Turnberry, Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, and DT Connect Europe, a helicopter operations firm.  While his legal battles with locals protecting their land has earned him a bad reputation in Scotland, that’s not where it gets sticky.  “Such a scenario has invited widespread speculation over how the controversial magnate would reconcile a political life with his multifarious business interests. As an executive, trustee, director or member of around 480 corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies, Mr Trump’s corporate empire would pose a unparalleled ethical dilemma in the 227 year history of the presidency. It is a network that spans the globe, with his interests and holdings in countries such Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Turkey sure to be seen as particularly sensitive given they could clash with – or indeed, shape – future US foreign policy under a Trump government.”-
What Would Happen to Trump’s Scottish Businesses if He Wins?- The Scotsman Newspaper

The one legal hurdle Mr Trump would face is the emoluments clause, an obscure provision in the US constitution which prohibits officials from taking money or gifts from foreign governments without the consent of congress. In practice, this could extend to bank loans extended to Mr Trump’s businesses by the likes of the Bank of China.

However, the emoluments clause also extends to banning payments from entities controlled by foreign administrations, meaning that Mr Trump’s dealings with Prestwick, owned by the Scottish Government, would invite close attention.

Richard Painter, who was the chief White House ethics lawyer under the administration of George W Bush, the last Republican president, told The Scotsman that Mr Trump would effectively have to run his businesses side by side with the nation. “The problem is, he can do pretty much whatever he wants as president, even though he has financial conflicts of interest,” he said. “The statute that applies to everybody else does not apply to the president.”

Such arrangements, Mr Painter said, would have to come under the microscope. “Every one of these holdings outside of the US would need to be scrutinized to make sure that money was not going getting into them via the front door or the back door from a foreign government,” he said. “Any effort to get money into his pocket from foreign governments or corporations controlled by foreign governments would be a violation of the clause.”
Read more at: http://www.scotsman.com/news/what-would-happen-to-donald-trump-s-scottish-businesses-if-he-wins-1-4281303

Give this article, by MARTYN MCLAUGHLIN,  a look-over, it’s fascinating stuff. Apparently, the emoluments clause could see Trump tied up with legal battles on all fronts from his overseas businesses while he should be “Making America Great Again”.  Also, his idea of letting his kids run his businesses is in violation of the emoluments clause since they are his heirs. That won’t fly. This could get really nasty and really embarrassing.

I’ll leave you with a Tweet and a link from The Irish Times, the only of these countries I’ve visited and who have the Craic to call it how it looks.

What must they think of us.? Oh, yeah. :-/
What must they think of us.? Oh, yeah. :-/

¯\_(ツ)_/¯   Sorry, World!

 

The Political Poster Show at SUNY Ulster- A Study in Controlled Anarchy

The Graphic Art and Design students’ “We The People” Pop-Up Political Poster Show in Vanderlyn hall is definitely turning some heads. Some of them will be nods of agreement and others a vociferous “nope”, depending upon one’s view of the candidates and subjects in question. Its main goal is to get the student body fired-up to vote this Tuesday. It has certainly done that and more. What struck me as wonderful is that next to the display is a pedestal with a supply of Post-It notes for the student body to use: to write their approval or outrage on and place next to or on the poster responsible.  This is not Professor Sean Nixon’s first time at the rodeo, as they say.  The professor of Graphic Design understands that with controversial content there is also that urgent need to get the other side of the story out when one’s core values feel threatened.  Realistically, this would probably otherwise be expressed in vandalism. An Example:

SUNY Ulster Graphic Design "We the People" exhibit courtesy of Stepanie Ferrarro
SUNY Ulster Graphic Design “We the People” exhibit courtesy of Stepanie Ferrarro

All of the posters were controversial, however, one had more Post-Its than the others. One poster “Secular Government Now” shows Jesus in front of the Presidential seal holding a stack of money.  Powerful imagery, no doubt, but its message can be interpreted by each person so differently. One Post-It says, “Organized religion is a plague 10/10 poster”; that person really dug the message they received from it. Another Post-It says, “It’s not about Religion but a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is offensive.”; this person took an entirely different message from the same poster. My favorite Post-It on this poster just says, “White Jesus?”. Well, it was an image of a white Jesus, which, him being Middle-Eastern is a keen observation. My interpretation of it? When politics (the Presidential Seal) combines with Religion (Jesus), it corrupts (the money) and uses its faithful to their own ends (back to the Presidential Seal). Your ideas about it may be completely different.

Go check all of the posters out, eighteen in all. They’re being displayed in Vanderlyn hall, and are thought-provoking and insightful. You may or may not agree with them but will definitely have an opinion on them. Check out SUNY Ulster Design Program Real World Classroom on Facebook.

Oh yeah, and on Tuesday, November 8th, Get out and VOTE!

 

 

 

The U.S. Embassy in London Posted the Most Wonderful Video for Day of the Girl

The Most Wonderful DotG Video

This picture shows girls, of different faiths and backgrounds attending an assembly at the Mulberry School in Tower Hamlets, London. The all-girls’ school is rated as “outstanding” by The Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED).  This is especially important to girls whose families might come from parts of the world where the importance of educating girls is traditionally forbidden.  Girls like Malala Yousafzi , whose attempted assassination by the Taliban in 2012 made her an outspoken advocate of girls’ education worldwide. In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring education to her native Pakistan and the world. That is why the girls in U.S. Embassy video is so powerful. Historically, there has always been backwards fundamentalists trying to keep them “in line” and subserviant, using tradition and religion to keep them from reaching their true potentials.  No matter their background, each of these girls is like Malala, willing to change the world, one girl at a time. #LetGirlsLearn #whengirlsgraduate #DayoftheGirl

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai reads a card as she recuperates at the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, in this undated handout photograph released to Reuters on November 8, 2012. Malala, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, was flown from Pakistan to Britain for specialist treatment after the Oct. 9 attack. REUTERS/Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/Handout (BRITAIN - Tags: CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY EDUCATION) NO COMMERCIAL OR BOOK SALES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai reads a card as she recuperates at the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, in this undated handout photograph released to Reuters on November 8, 2012. Malala, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education, was flown from Pakistan to Britain for specialist treatment after the Oct. 9 attack. REUTERS/Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/Handout (BRITAIN – Tags: CRIME LAW TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY EDUCATION) NO COMMERCIAL OR BOOK SALES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS

Why Would Anyone Want to Vote? Show up, Stand Up, It’s Your Right!

When looking at our major party candidates this election, one may be more enthusiastic towards picking their favorite flavor of cough syrup.  The red (cherry flavor) or the green (doesn’t taste like anything a human would ingest unless on death’s door): they both do about the same things and are really neither palatable.  However, guess what?  You’re a grownup now, if you’re 18 and over and not registered to vote by the 14th of October, you’re like the benched kid on the softball team that never plays and doesn’t really wanna be there.  Apathy is understandable under these situations.  Hey, I get Facebook updates from Anonymous too (they do not forgive, they do not forget). Do I believe some of it? Yeah, probably most of it. But I’m still gonna hold my nose and take the medicine come November 8th. It’s not so bad.

civil-rights-protests-black-vote-1965

These guys and gals seemed to think it worth fighting for, not metaphorically either, I mean actual fisticuffs and throw-downs with police and various old white dudes, over their rights to put a piece of paper in a box and be counted equal to said various old white dudes.  Sorry old white dudes, nothing personal, it’s just yall’s history is not pretty.

doris-stevens

This lovely lady, Doris Stevens, spent 60 days in jail for women’s suffrage.  That’s two months, in the early 1900’s.  Do you have any idea what jails were like then? If you want to know, She wrote a book chronicling it, which is still sold on Amazon today. You can even get it in Kindle.

arlington-national-cemetery

Then there’s these military folks. Many of my family are among them, and it is my heartfelt belief (and maybe a little superstition) that if I ever missed a chance to vote in a major election, said family members would come back and haunt my dreams. Ain’t nobody got time for military ghosts.Incidentally, this lovely pic of Arlington National Cemetery is from a CBS article of a rule which prohibits female WW2 pilots from being buried there. I gave you the link just in case you wanna feel outraged all over. The article is from December 2015, last year. So you see, in so many ways, the fight for equality continues to this day. Vote for who you think will do a good job, vote for who you think sucks less, heck, even a protest vote is a vote for or against something! It’s your right to do so, and a right which women and minorities have fought for you to have. So whether you’re female, male, straight, gay, trans, the many colors of the rainbow, black, Hispanic, Asian, or white; children, take your medicine and register to vote, now. Cause, they, historically speaking (sorry old white dudes, calling a duck a duck) didn’t really want your ancestors to.  theskimm.com in conjunction with Rock the Vote, have put together a fast, easy site to help everyone get registered.  Oh yeah, and November 8th, VOTE!  

 

HuffPost Politics: Preaching to the Choir, LOUDLY!

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the JetCenters of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 17, 2016. / AFP / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the JetCenters of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 17, 2016. / AFP / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Article for above picture reads, “BEYOND REPAIR” in red, bold,  sixty-point font. However, another title could read “Rich Man Inhales Microphone”. A bit unflattering.

huffingtonpost politics

huffingtonpost Robert Gates discusses Donald Trump “Beyond Repair”

Huffington Post Politics  is the go-to source for the progressive political posts which inhabit our Facebook feeds.  If it’s in red sixty-point bold font over a very unflattering picture of Donald Trump (let’s face it, it’s not hard to find bad pics of him), there’s a good chance it’s from HuffPost. I’m not complaining, as I realize that I am biased in my being Lefty McLefterson from Leftsville, Leftsylvania. However, I am the daughter of a newspaper ad man and know this technique is used by both sides.  It’s still tacky when my side resorts to it.

When you first go on HuffPost Politics, the first thing you wonder is, “Do the writers think their readership carry white canes and need service animals?”   The reputation of HuffPost when it started was of an egalitarian, voice of the people, source for intelligent opinion-based news. Its origin being that Arianna Huffington realized that her friends and connections had a unique point of view to share.  Why are they stuck on shouting in bold and using pictures of people mid-strange-speech-pattern? (the Trump “grimace face” is one of the worst)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the James L. Knight Center, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the James L. Knight Center, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the James L. Knight Center, Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Miami. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

This practice is a way of focusing on how unlikable he is in a very dumbed-down way.  Upon scrolling down, I see no less than eight pictures and articles of him and only three of Hilary.  In pictures of Hilary, they pick ones where her face is open and inviting.  She is looking sane and Presidential.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's 39th Annual Gala Dinner in Washington, DC, U.S. September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 39th Annual Gala Dinner in Washington, DC, U.S. September 15, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

huffingtonpost “Racism, Accountability, and Baskets of Deplorables”

If you are given candidate A (above) or B (below) and knew nothing about them, who would you vote for?  Each media news-source has an underlying narrative which most people are unaware of.  Each media exposure either reinforces or changes beliefs about a candidate. If you receive your news from only one source, you only receive one narrative and are thereby programmed. (“For the benefit of whom?”, is the question we must always ask.)  Most of HuffPost Politics’ page is going to be focused on the upcoming election. I can choose to dive-in to all of the muck, but there’s nothing that they can tell me that would make me vote any differently.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts as reporters yell questions to him after he stated that he believes U.S. President Barack Obama was born in the United States at a campaign event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts as reporters yell questions to him after he stated that he believes U.S. President Barack Obama was born in the United States at a campaign event at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

huffingtonpost “Donald Trump Is The More Extreme Candidate, Americans Say”

I don’t know of anyone who is enthusiastic about this election, on either side.  In English class, last semester, we were split up into groups and we all started talking about the election.  We assumed, because we were in college, that we were all going to be voting for Bernie or Hilary.  This one girl got quiet and looked uncomfortable.  She said she wasn’t voting for Hilary. Oh, so you’re with Bernie? She looked more uncomfortable, I whispered, “You’re voting for Trump?” She nodded, we were all uncomfortably silent.  A million questions ran through my head and I never asked one.  The biggest was, “Why?”  She didn’t look terribly like a racist. She looked sane, I never once saw her wearing a tinfoil hat (I used to live in Woodstock, I grade on a curve.). We’re in New York so the whole “Build that Wall” thing is more for the Texans and Arizonans. I wondered if her parents maybe voted Republican and it was a, “As long as you’re under my roof, you’re gonna vote my way!”, kinda thing. Maybe she’s been hurt and is lashing out against Democrat parents, we’re not all bad. From that moment, I found myself being overly-nice to her.None of us in class asked her to clarify her thinking, but there was a distinct “wall” around her. Maybe that was what was in it for her. That’s why this election cycle is so insidious, it is dividing us. I haven’t seen her this semester, I hope she graduated and got a good job, no matter who she votes for.

The Political Climate- A Tale of Two Blogs

Jill Stein’s Blog,  She’s Running for President Too…

http://www.jill2016.com/news

whats-the-message-here-jillThe first impression I get when opening the page for Jill Stein’s blog is that the banner for the page shows a man talking with his hands and two women sitting politely across the table from him.  Since Jill Stein is a candidate struggling for recognition, this image is confusing.  The picture is tinted green (for the green party) but for the life of me, I can’t tell which of the women is the candidate. The focus is on the green of the green party. However, the man in the picture is “grabbing the attention” with his hand gestures, while the actual candidate is sitting with her hands folded.

This blog has a lot of humanistic appeal. Under the News category, it covers current progressive issues such as Jill Stein being actively involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, complete with a photo of her talking to a Standing Rock Native man.  There’s an article about how the Presidential debates are corrupted by big business and monied candidates.  The other categories all reiterate the need to introduce her and her running-mate, Ajamu Baraka, to the American people.  The Home category goes to the Donation and Volunteer page, which is done in shades of green and the Donate button itself is a demure daffodil yellow color. You may actually sign up for their mailing list without having donated.

jill_quote_web

The actionable portion of the message lacks clarity and focus.  She has links to get involved with Louisiana Flood Relief, the Standing Rock cause, and many other micro goals, but what I want to know is why doesn’t she have tee-shirts and bumper stickers which say something simple, “People, Planet, & Peace. Vote for Jill Stein 2016”.  I look under the categories Flyers and Tools, Campus Organizing, and everywhere else on the site.  There’s a lot of good press releases and the amount of information is staggering but also what you’d get in your Facebook feed if you’re friends with anyone who goes to Burning Man (we got ‘em, we love ‘em).  It’s too tasteful and doesn’t hit you over the head with, “Hey, Vote for me or Satan Wins!”.   It asks, “If it’s alright, I’d appreciate it if you would consider me for the position of President.  I’m sure you’ll find I’ll do a lovely job.” In any other year, that would be enough, but this year she’s not the only woman running against the orange menace.

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Official Blog

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/

On the home-page of this blog, there is a static entry called How Will Hillary Clinton’s College Plan Help You?, which links the audience to an interactive calculator based on whether one already has student debt or are planning for college.  It’s focused on people who have student debt (a demographic in their 20’s and up) and people who will have it (a younger demographic but also aiming at their parents, 40’s and up).  All the while, in the top right corner of the screen, no matter what category you browse, there is a bright red Donate box. The psychology involved is , “I’m going to save on college, so I can afford to donate a $20.”

Swag is a way to reinforce a brand’s message on those rare moments when we aren’t in front of a media-outlet. This site has it’s own Store category and it has tee-shirts and bumper-stickers, but also its own Homewares section. A $55 cross-stitched pillow exists with “A Woman’s Place is in the White House.”  with a little stitched White House with a pink frilly border around it. https://shop.hillaryclinton.com/collections/homeware  

a-womans-place-is-in-the-whitehouse

The category Issues is possibly the most comprehensively clear portion of the blog.  Its banner says “Learn About Hillary’s Vision for America” and each press-release focuses on a different subcategory: Economy and Jobs, Education, Environment, Health, Justice and Equality, and National Security.

Each subject is accompanied by video interviews with people like Warren Buffet, Bernie Sanders, President Obama to grab the attention of the audience and lend confidence in her brand.  The actionable message can be summed up in the three word slogan which runs throughout each page in one way or another, “I’m With Her.”  Vote, Donate, Volunteer: for who? For her.  Even though there’s another woman in the race, Hillary doesn’t have to struggle for recognition.  As first-lady, she was already a household name.  The happiness being sold is two-fold, the audience voting for the first female President of the United States and voting against Donald Trump. On any page, there may be eight separate articles but only one will address Donald Trump at all. This seems to show that her people have been studying public opinion carefully and testing the less is more strategy.. The blog posts which address him are of a neutral brand b(Trump) is different to brand a (Hillary) voice. She is making it clear that she finds his tactics beneath her while staying on the real message, “Vote for me, Who Else Can Beat Him..”.