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USA: It Was Your Choice

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 9, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

Millions of people in the United States of America, and millions more worldwide, cannot believe let alone understand what has happened here. The polls all pointed to a different outcome, the general opinion seemed to favor the other candidate, the press was predominantly on the blue side. And yet… America shows its true colors. That, at least, is the opinion many hold after this surprising outcome, after Donald Trump won the election to become President of the United States of America. And these true colors are not pretty and bright, they are covered – to put it bluntly – in excrement.

Trump Wins

Screenshot Source: Twitter / The Independent

I don’t think this term is too harsh or strong to describe what has happened. The voting public has elected a man who, as The Independent comments, is accused of multiple instances of sexual assault; denigrated in sexual terms his own daughter; insulted countless ethnic minorities and several foreign countries, and advocates physical, sexual attacks against women. He has cheated and lied; his companies have gone bankrupt; he has refused to pay workers a fair wage, or refused to pay them at all; he has damaged the US economy by purchasing from China whilst claiming the opposite. The list could be extended further.

But, even as the immigration website for Canada crashes from the number of people taking their first moves towards running away, it has to be said: this was the choice of the people through their chosen election system. The popular vote might show a different decision, could put Clinton on top, but that is not how the system works, and the American public knows it.

And I don’t think too many people need think about moving to Europe: we’re busy looking after refugees who, through no fault of their own, have had to flee their homes.

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The Future For US Elections?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 8, 2016 in News & Opinion |

We’ve read countless reports during this election cycle about disenfranchisement, suppression and intimidation of voters in the press. We’ve seen people being thrown out of campaign meetings because of their color, their religion, their personal opinion. We’ve seen people being physically assaulted and abused. we’ve heard of polling stations being closed, or wiped completely off the map, to ensure that fewer minorities have a chance to vote easily. Now the extreme right, through Ann Coulter, appears to be taking the whole one step further, and in a manner which should awaken fear and loathing in every single person throughout the United States of America.

Her Twitter post this morning suggests that only people whose forebears were born in the United States should be allowed to vote. I write ‘suggest’ because I am sure Coulter will claim that is not what she meant, that she has been taken out of context, and that she was merely implying that if it was so, the results would be different after today.

Ann Coulter Racism

Screenshot Source: Twitter / Ann Coulter

Regardless of which, the very idea that only people whose grandparents were born in the United States should vote is abhorrent and goes against everything our country should stand for. It reminds us of the laws enacted in Germany in the Thirties by the fascists whereby citizenship had to be proven, by producing birth certificates of a person’s grandparents and, to clear up the religious side and prevent Jews being able to sneak in, their religious leanings.

Could this be the future for the United States of America when a certain party or person comes to power? I am not suggesting that Donald Trump would consider, or be capable or forcing through, such a piece of legislation, but I can imagine several thousand people rubbing their hands in glee, and checking their ancestors.

The amusing part of the whole, the suggestion that Trump would be elected, is the impossibility of it all. Trump would not be eligible to vote and, if I have read things properly, only one of his direct relatives would be. Which means he would also not be eligible, if the extreme right takes this to its full conclusion, to stand for election as President.

No matter how it was meant, or how people read it, this comment from Coulter has no place in a democratic society and she, along with all those who support the idea, who have marked the Tweet as a favorite her comment, should be vilified and educated in democracy, the Constitution and reality.

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Turkey: A Future In The European Union?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 2, 2016 in News & Opinion |

It seems almost like an eternity since Turkey first made tentative moves to join the European Union. Since then the moves have expanded into a full investigation on the possibilities and, to the dissatisfaction of the Turkish government, a series of demands which must be met before membership can seriously be considered.

Among many things listed, press freedom is one of the vital necessities expected from all European Union members, and one which is closely followed and held up as a prime example of the advantages of membership, certainly as far as the normal citizens are concerned. A free press allows a wide variety of opinions to be expressed and a broad knowledge base – for those who read all sides of a story – to be gained.

Turkey and the EU

Screenshot Source: Twitter / Daily Express

It is fair to say, especially when we read the news of the many changes taking place in Turkey at the moment, that press freedom is not quite so important to the Turkish government. There have been countless arrests; newspapers have been closed to taken over; prosecutions have followed which clearly show that there is no freedom to criticize.

From this stance alone it is clear that all negotiations with Turkey over a possible European Union membership should be ended right away. A country which behaves towards is journalists as if they are only a propaganda machine or mouthpiece for the government cannot be called free, cannot be accepted as upholding the Rights and Liberties which the other members hold dear. Such a country has no place in the Union.

As with so many things it will probably be the German government which is expected to take a lead on this: the main supporters of Turkish membership have been the Germans and now, as it is clear that there is no chance of Turkey meeting even the most basic requirements, the government must step forward and make it clear. There is no place for Turkey in the European Union. There can be no further negotiations.

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Single Digit (Millionaires) And Justice

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 1, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

It is sometimes hard to understand the apparently blind, irrational stupidity of some of the things we get to hear and read these days. I have no doubt such matters were common in the days before the Internet, but they come out even more now, and give us all pause to think and reflect.

I’m not sure that I have a great deal of sympathy for single digit millionaires, or for any other millionaire, if they honestly believe they do not have access to justice in the United States of America. Justice is a given Right for us all, or it should be, regardless of whether we have several zeros on our bank account, or just zeros.

Single Digit Millionaires

Screenshot Source: Twitter / Market Watch

One thing I would like to know from Peter Thiel and people like him: if it is s hard for a person with plenty of money to gain justice, how difficult is it, then, for those with a normal income? For those without access to anyone but a court-appointed attorney? Who can they turn to when it comes to getting justice for wrongs done against them?

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Halloween: The Big Let-Down

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on October 31, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

I may well not say it, but I certainly think it every year: Halloween was a let-down. Halloween in Germany, at least outside of the big cities, is boring. I am sure there are plenty of parties and theme nights amidst the bright lights, but here, well, no.

In fact, I have hardly seen a single lit-up or carved pumpkin, although pumpkins are aplenty, and next to no one in a scary costume.

Happy Halloween

Photo Source: Kevin O’MaraCreative Commons

Fine, Monday is not the best day to throw a party; much like the last day of the market in Bremen, the next day is a working or school day, so there are limitations. I had thought, though, that I’d see a few children out and about, Trick or Treating at the very least, but there was only one: a young wizard in the supermarket who was given two sweets by the cashier, and that was it.

So, there are drawbacks to living in a small town if you’re into the nightlife; I always knew that, but it has never changed my determination to live here. St Martin’s Day is far more important to German children, when they go around singing and collecting sweets as a prelude to Christmas. I can look forward to that, and pack my small, china pumpkins and other decorations away for another year. They looked good, in the windows, even if we two were the only ones to appreciate it.

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Another Hour Well Spent

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on October 30, 2016 in Personal |

What would you do if you suddenly discovered that you had an extra hour of life? I guess this is a little like asking what you’d do if you discovered you only had one more day to live, but it is a recurring question, much the same as what you’d do with one hour less. The clocks changed again today, as they do twice a year, and we are faced with the question of what to do with this extra time, as if it is extra and not merely a balance.

For me it was quite simple: I awoke, as usual, roughly three minutes before the alarm would have sounded and felt annoyed at myself for waking. Three minutes is hardly doze time, you need a good ten to make it worthwhile. Except that I had sixty-three minutes because of the time change. What to do?

Time

Photo Source: Jean L.Creative Commons

Cuddle, of course, but that’s a given.

I raked leaves. Not first thing in the morning, I admit, but I did it all the same. Cleared the sidewalk in front of our house, and wondered how we could have so many fallen leaves all of a sudden. They look wonderful, up there on the tree, but take up a lot more space, or so it seems, when Fall comes round and we need to get rid of them again. Bonfires here, in this town, are no longer allowed, everything goes into a recycling bin and gets carted away, for a price.

I could have gone into Bremen and failed to enjoy the last day of the festive market there, but it was raining and I know most people would not have enjoyed it. Last day on a Sunday? Next day is a working day? I think not.

But the sidewalk was clear, for a while, and that’s something. With my lost hour next March I plan on letting the leaves grow again. They can do that without my help.

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Halloween: Now With Age Certificate

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on October 29, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

Almost everything in life comes with an age recommendation, whether it be films, games (0-99!), sex, smoking, driving a car, but most of them are a start by age – aside from games, which have both start and finish, and are a great disappointment to all those who have made the full century. Aside from rebukes from parents, teachers and boyfriends, there are few things where it can be said you’re too old.

Now, it would appear, someone wants to change all that, and they’re starting with the traditional Halloween Trick or Treat. Made it to fourteen and thinking about beginning your driving license, as some States allow? Sorry, no more sweet or sour for you!

Screenshot Source: Twitter / Slate

Just coming into your second childhood, or believing that life begins at forty? You’re out of the fold too.

I always thought it was only Christmas that some green people with comical ears and noses wanted to spoil, now it appears that the Grinch is expanding his work and attacking Halloween. Better warn the Easter Bunny, before it’s too late, because once these Grinch people get going, there’s no stopping their meanness!

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Vine: A Strange Glimmer Of Hope?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on October 28, 2016 in Internet |

It didn’t take long. I wrote and posted by last on the death of Vine with the idea that another company could split the video channel from Twitter and make it a separate, successful entity, and less than twenty minutes later a possibility looms. Not, perhaps, that which many would hope for, but a possibility; the start of a movement.

Screenshot Source: Twitter / The Independent

PornHub, for those innocents not in the know, is probably the most successful pornographic, decidedly NSFW, site in the world. Could they be considering a venture into the more acceptable world of clean videos? Do PornHub executives read my blog for their inspiration?

Fine, that last is probably, on a scale of zero to minus ten, unlikely, but still. PornHub could, if they handle it properly and keep the site clean, turn a profit quickly and keep the popular video site running. Whether those who presently partake in Vine would be as accepting is another matter entirely.

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Vine: Another One Bites The Dust

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on October 28, 2016 in Internet |

Perhaps it was just too good to last: Vine, the short video / film platform which changed the lives of many people throughout the world is condemned to the archives. Twitter, faced with problems, decided recently to ditch one of its popular attractions, and give up the battle against YouTube and other video hosting services, a move which has shocked and disappointed countless people on both sides of the camera.

That Twitter has problems should be clear to everyone by now. They don’t make enough money with their services – turnover being a mere six hundred million dollars recently – and so cuts have to be made. People are going – again – and the services offered reduced. The big loss, as far as many are concerned, is Vine. And so Vine is now – ironically – being celebrated on Twitter with hundreds of postings, links to the best, the worst, the most memorable, the most inspired short videos made.

Screenshot Source: Vine / Amanda Cerny

People like Amanda Cerny (above) will have to post their talent elsewhere, and change the designs of their promotional t-shirts, hoodies and other goodies. Amanda, it is worth noting, is one of the Vine stars with over two billion hits – or loops – to her name. Any other claim of something going viral pales by comparison.

And countless other talented people will also have to find a new platform which, possibly, could be a good thing. A new Vine channel on YouTube? Facebook Vines? They are already there, but not in original. Perhaps that will all change now. Perhaps this upset will be merely a minor hiccup in the Internet of Things, in our lives and leisure, our pleasures. Or, perhaps, someone will see the benefits of keeping Vine going, cut it off from the Twitter portfolio, which Twitter could have done themselves, and buy the idea. It would be a good investment.

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No Matter The Outcome, The Future Is Dark

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on October 27, 2016 in Immoral Conversations |

Political life could be so much better in the USA, if only a few people would stop turning over the same old rocks and pout their prejudices to one side. Every single politician claims to be working for the people of the United States, for betterment, for consensus, advancement, the American Dream. Sadly, when you read what they say, you can hardly be blamed for gaining a completely different picture.

We have seen blockades over the last few years – from both sides of the political spectrum – which have done nothing but harm. Jobs have been placed at risk; wages have been frozen or not paid out; investigations costing millions of dollars have been initiated and held alive without good cause or result. And, despite the experiences which should have been gained, no one seems to have learned anything.

Political Stalemate

Screenshot Source: Twitter / Politico

That the two main political parties work against one another is a given, the same as in every other country around the world where a multi-party democratic system tries to work. That this political focus tends to obscure the good of the country is something which seems almost uniquely an American thing. No matter how good a piece of legislation, no matter how it could help those in the most need, some politicians will try to block it by any means possible if it was not proposed by their own party. Rather than working together for the People, which should be their only aim in political life, they allow party lines to reject anything and everything not of their own. Government is blocked or there is a stalemate, and things do not get done.

Then come the complaints when an Executive Order has to be issued, when government and legislation are kept alive by the last means available.

Isn’t it about time that our elected representatives, with their ample pay packets, their comfortable life styles and promised pension security, took time out to remember why they were elected? Do they really need to be reminded that they are there to serve us, the ordinary people on the street who elected them?

No matter the outcome of this election, we can already see in which direction the sore losers will go, whether they accept the outcome or not. Blocking, delay tactics, outright disruption. Not in the best interests of the country, and certain not for you and me.

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