The big news from “Great” Britain today is of the government approving a controversial high speed rail line linking London with the north of England. This is controversial due to impact on the countryside, ballooning cost estimates, and the usual disagreements people have. The cost estimates started around 30 billion, have now reached 80 billion, and are estimated by pessimists (ie. realists) to reach 150 billion. This is government dissimilation and bungling at its best.
What is interesting to me is the timing. This is the country that claims to have invented the railroad some time in the 1800s. (I refuse to waste my time checking either fact.) Japan introduced high speed rail some 50 years ago; the French some 40 years ago; and the Germans some thirty years ago…give or take some years. Anyway, my point is that the two great empires (their opinions of themselves) have not managed to equal these feats. One probably never will and the other is stumbling into the future. I am certain that most of the technology will have to be imported, which politicians will try to hide as much or more than they try to hide the runaway costs.
A story has been raging for months in the UK media, which might not have made a ripple in the rest of the world, especially in the good ol’ U. S. of A.
Here’s what happened: an American woman, supposedly the wife of a US “diplomat” stationed at a base in England killed a young man on a motor cycle…because she was driving on the wrong side of the road. (For those geographically challenged, the Brits drive on the left side of the road.)
Anyway, after the accident, the woman and her husband immediately fled the country on a private jet. The Brits have demanded that the woman be extradited, but she and/or her husband have claimed diplomatic immunity. You see, “diplomats” can do anything they want…just like Republican crooks.
Now, it turns out that this woman worked/had worked for the CIA, therefore cannot be delivered to a foreign country for trial, no matter how “special” the relationship or egregious the crime. Even if they admit guilt.
Irregardless of the legal battle, my point is different. If a CIA agent does not know on which side of the road to drive, we learn again about the incompetence of this organisation. Remember how well they did in predicting the fall of the Soviet Union or the September 11 attacks or…the list goes one.
This is a bad time to be of Asian descent. Most people, especially Americans, lump all Asia peoples into a single identity. Few, if any, recognise national differences. Anyone short in stature with black hair and slanted eyes belongs to a single nationality. Even the Japanese trend to color hair has not freed them from prejudice. Now, all are seen as “Chinese” and therefore a threat. Why? Because, as you know from Fox News, all Chinese carry infectious diseases.
Prejudice plays a major role, but more so do ignorance, laziness, and lack of intellectual curiosity. Most do not care enough to learn about other cultures. Americans do not even bother to learn about other states!Ethnocentricity is a common ailment. That is why Hollywood has often cast well-known actors in films about Asia. For example, In The King and I, Yul Bryner played the Thai king, or in the My Geisha, Shirley MacClaine played a Japanese girl.
Sadly, this seems to help the nasty Republicans and their emperor.
TRUMP ACCUSES BUTTIGIEG OF SUSPICIOUS TRAVEL TO AFGHANISTAN
By Andy Borowitz
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In the aftermath of Pete Buttigieg’s strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, Donald J. Trump accused the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor of engaging in “suspicious travel” to Afghanistan.
“People are saying that he went to Afghanistan for seven months in 2014,” Trump told the hosts of “Fox & Friends” in a phone call. “Seven months is a long time to be running around in a Muslim country full of terrorists, don’t you think?”
He added that Buttigieg reportedly had a gun with him while he was in Afghanistan, a fact that Trump said “sounds fishy to me.”
“Let’s see, you fly all the way to a Muslim country full of all of these terrorists who need guns, and you’re bringing a gun into a country like that?” Trump said. “Who was he planning to give that gun to?”
“I don’t know if he was part of some caliphate or just helping them out, but we ought to find out,” he said. “I have a call in to the President of Afghanistan.”
Trump said that his suspicions about Buttigieg’s “totally unexplained travel to Afghanistan” spiked when he saw a photo of the former mayor “dressed up in some kind of weird camouflage suit.”
“You have to see this picture—he’s all dressed up in camo or whatever, like he’s ready for some kind of battle,” Trump said. “You’ll never find a picture of me dressed like that.”
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.