Thursday, June 21, 2018

The news

Stanley - Thursday

My mind has been overflowing for the past seven weeks. We rewrote the manuscript for Dead of Night from first person to third person in about four sleepless weeks. We dealt with the edits of that, and we started the seventh Kubu mystery, due to the publishers in mid-December. In addition, I have a commitment to write a golf article for the Minnesota Golf Magazine. Needless to say normal STUFF has been largely neglected.

So as I started to look around for a topic for this week's blog, I found it really difficult. Not because there are so few, rather there are so many, most of which I'd paid scant attention to.

What has taken centre stage here in the USA is Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy that purposefully separates children from their parents as a deterrent to future immigrants. The situation has been so sickening that not only did the spineless Republican elected representatives actually stand up to Trump, but some of his political base did also. That is what tipped the scales, in my opinion. It wasn’t any softening of his attitude that made him sign an executive order yesterday doing away with child separation. It was his recognition that he was losing support of his strongest supporters.

The run up to his change of position was astonishing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was quoting the bible as justification for what the Trump administration was doing. Secretary for Homeland Security, Kjersten Nielsen (no relative to Mette, I’m pleased to report), flat out lied by saying no children were being separated from their parents. Period. That despite records showing over 2000 had already been taken and the daily number was increasing rapidly. I suppose she would argue that the photographs of it happening had been photoshopped. Both she and Trump insisted that the problem had been created by the Democrats, and that it was up to them to fix it. This lie continued even on Tuesday, the day before Trump signed his executive order, which he had repeatedly stated, he wasn’t able to do. 

Kjersten Nielsen lying.
However, the executive order fails to address how the kids already separated are going to be reunited with their parents. Many people believe that many will never be reunited either because their parent or parents have already been deported or because the federal bureaucracy won’t be able to match parents with children. Sickening.

Secretary Nielsen decided to eat at a Mexican restaurant near the White House on Tuesday evening. Bad idea! She was loudly booed by protesters. Good for them.

Kudos have to go to the press, both print and electronic, for picking up this horrendous story and running with it. There’s no doubt in my mind that the photographs and sound clips had a profound impact on the country – to such an extent that a variety of polls showed that two thirds of the country opposed what was happening.

I think this is the end of the beginning of the story, not the beginning of the end. There are going to be many more horror stories as time passes.

On a totally different topic, my interest in football (soccer) is minimal at best, even when the World Cup is being played. Neither of my two countries are in Russia – South Africa and the USA failing to qualify. Today Denmark plays Australia. Of course, I am sticking up for Denmark, both because of Mette, but also because South Africans support any team playing against Australia! The only good thing about the Cup is that it provides a mindless diversion from politics.

Russia's strange World Cup symbol.
Finally, did you read that the mighty De Beers, for years the monopoly controlling the sale of diamonds worldwide, has just announced that it is going to make and sell artificial diamonds for about $800 a carat, considerably undercutting its competitors? Huh? How does that make any sense when it mines millions of carats of gem quality stones? From what I can read, the idea is to get the public to equate artificial diamonds with costume jewelry. The idea is that no self-respecting woman would then want an engagement ring made from costume jewelry. Will it work? I don’t know, but then the value of a real diamond is not intrinsic, but merely what someone will pay for it.

And then there is the upcoming trade war: the USA versus its closest allies. My mind is too boggled to think of that. But also the USA versus China. I think Trump may have miscalculated here (if he thought at all about it) because the USA's leaders are elected. If midwest farmers start losing their export markets, their votes will move to someone who will improve trading relations.

And then there's Brexit and the rebels, who seem to have capitulated.

And Canada legalising recreational marijuana.

And did you read that Trump wants the USA to have space police? 

Vice-President Pence talking at a meeting of the Space Council. Looks as though he's shouting, trying to be heard.  And is that the Space Police's cruiser?
And that the USA withdrew from the UN Human Rights Council, citing its bias against Israel.

Nothing is simple anymore. Unless you are Mike Pence, Vice-President of the USA, who is Trump's lap dog mimicking everything he does. Watch here: you can't make this stuff up.

Upcoming event:

July 15: release by Orenda Books in the UK of our stand-alone thriller DEAD OF NIGHT. Not available in the USA at the moment.


  1. Stan, a lot of furore about the immigrant children has reached me here in Italy. Horrifying stuff. Once again, I have taken up describing myself, not as an American, but as a New Yorker. I've met people who have suggested that I try to pass myself off as a Canadian, but when I say 'Sono newyorkese,' they settle and accept the fact that I am not one of "those" Americans. OY! Or as we say here: Oi!

  2. I agree with your points on the migrant crisis. Apparently, White House adviser, Stephen Miller, proposed this when Trump was inaugurated. He is an ally of Europe's far right and is a vile xenophobe.
    Trump doesn't care about the children, just the optics of it. He said, "it don't look good politically."
    The government has tried to stop photos from being taken and public officials and journalists from entering the detention facilities.
    Calif. Sen. Kamala Harris entered a detention facility (I think the tent city in Tornillo, Texas) and said it's like a prison.
    And non one is saying where the girls and young children are being held.
    People are calling this internment.
    I, too, am calling myself a New Yorker, which I've done since the Vietnam War. But I'm saying it now and wearing my "Solidarity with all immigrants" button wherever I go.
    I wish I could do more.
    I am heartened upon hearing that some sympathetic people in California tried to raise $1500 for legal aid for migrants at the border. $5 million has come in from 130,000 people. There are really some good people out there, countering the group in the White House, ICE, etc.
    And there is no play to reunify families. Parents can't find children and many are barred from making calls.
    One woman deported back to Guatemale had to sue the DOJ to get back her young son.
    Legal help is so needed as well as public support.
    I and so many others are sick over there, including the racist tone used by the White House resident. It scares me, reminds me of disgusting terms used by the Nazis against the Jews, Roma, etc., during and before WWII.
    A lot for people to do here. Protests continue and there will be national demonstrations on June 30. See Families Belong Together's website.

  3. Sadly, these times are sorely testing one's ability to proudly speak of American values...especially while living abroad.

  4. Just remember there a lot of good people donating, going to the border, demonstrating. That's what gives me hope.

    Two attorneys wrote an op-ed in the NY Times representing 34 law firms with thousands of lawyers. They vowed to help im/migrants with legal help.

    A shocking fact: Immigration court does not appoint public defenders for children! Some young children appeared without lawyers in court.

    Is this the Twilight Zone? OR life on Jupiter? Or a dystopian universe?-

  5. Oh, and the Willners who set up a Go Fund Me to raise $1,500 for legal aid for immigrants. That amount is now up to $16 million with over 130,000 people donating.