It’s A Concern

This is just a tiny communication to get over in a basic way my concern about the next four years with Trump as president of the USA. I’m going to quote the current POTUS, it is part of his response to being asked about being black and how he manages that when talking to people:

My general theory is that if I was clear in my own mind about who I was; comfortable in my own skin; and had clarity about the way in which race continues to be this powerful factor in so many elements of our lives, but that it is not the only factor in so many aspects of our lives; that we have by no means overcome the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow and colonialism and racism, but that the progress we’ve made has been real and extraordinary; if I’m communicating my genuine belief that those who are not subject to racism can sometimes have blind spots or lack appreciation of what it feels to be on the receiving end of that — but that doesn’t mean that they’re not open to learning and caring about equality and justice — and that I can win them over, because there is goodness in the majority of people; I always felt that if I really knew that and I just communicated it as clearly as I could, that I’d be okay.

Now compare that with PEOTUS response to a question about saying he would lock up Hillary Clinton:

Well, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to think about it. Um, I feel that I want to focus on jobs, I want to focus on healthcare, I want to focus on the border and immigration and doing a really great immigration bill. We want to have a great immigration bill. And I want to focus on all of these other things that we’ve been talking about.

And also what he said when asked about what the Bushes said when they called:

Well, it was very interesting. I got a call from Father Bush, who is a wonderful man. And he just said, “Congratulations. It was an amazing campaign.” And then I got a call from George and he said– “Congratulations. It was great.”  And, you know, look, it’s– it’s a tough situation. I went to war with Jeb. And Jeb’s a nice guy, but it was a nasty campaign. It was a nasty campaign. And, I mean, I’m disappointed in one thing. He signed a pledge and I don’t know how you sign a pledge and then you don’t honor it. It was a rough primary. It’s a rough primary. Although I think the general was probably just as tough. Probably as a combination, it was the roughest ever.

I fear for the English language and I fear for the world.


Stansted Airport, 24 April 2016.

POTUS departed for Germany. I feel quite privileged to be in a position where I was able to be there and see everything.


It was interesting. The airport was quiet for about the hour that I was there. No flights in or out, I wonder if that played havoc with the airlines’ schedules? The photos taken here are from the closest I could get without being shot by the snipers on top of the buildings or the Met Police Helicopter constantly circling around above us.

Stansted Map
Stansted Map

This map has three numbers drawn on it. Number 1 was the position of the C-17 parked, I didn’t see that move. Number 2 is where Air Force One was parked and number 3 was the closest I could get. Fortunately I was reasonably aware of the layout of the old side of the airport.

It was quite exciting knowing I had seen the President but in all honesty all we saw were figures go up the stairs. It was also pretty damn cold and we had hail/snow at one point! I believe Stansted was chosen because it is the go-to airport for hostages and hijacking along with having plenty of space to put important planes.

I will note that events from the film London Has Fallen did not occur.

Lone Survivor

It’s an American war film made with plenty of US military backing.

It was interesting to see a war film in the cinema again after such a long time. It was ok. It was trying to play on the heartstrings. Clichéd it was.  I got the idea that the SEALs were hard and “superhuman” from the opening and after that the action went on to prove it. The result of them following the rules of engagement was lots of pain and death, but we have rules of engagement for a reason.

Ultimately this film fails to deliver any critical view of a “just” war (hence the military backing) and just provides action based on real events with photos of people who are now dead as a coda.

Entertainment this is. Art or discussion forming it is not.

Olympus Has Fallen

As action films go this one is ok. It’s just like Die Hard but not done as well. Terrorists take over the White House and have trapped the President and some of his senior staff. Only Gerad Butler is there to save him.
The opening was sweet with a Christmas theme and the incident where Banning does the right thing is all well and good. Once the invasion of Washington DC started the whole thing became somewhat less realistic. It was nice seeing the views of DC again having been there recently. I recognised most of the places and the aerial views really made the layout of the city clear. I spent most of my time running around DC so I was quite aware of where things were, it was just nice to see a different view.
There were a few times throughout the film when I wanted to laugh out loud. The script was painful at times and it didn’t go smoothly. My favourite line was when a helicopter with people was taking off from the North Lawn and someone in the Pentagon said “it’s ok, we’ve got a tracker on board”. It’s a HELICOPTER. RADAR normally works quite well with big metal objects flying through the sky. What rubbish.
How you could fly an unidentified aircraft within 20 miles of DC and not get shot down for later questioning is something the film doesn’t address, but then it would mess up most of the film. It’s all rather silly.
Don’t expect anything sensible. Expect silly, get silly and suspend your disbelief. It’s not a complete waste of less than a tenner if you live outside London.

On a completely separate issue it really bugs me that the President ends his addresses to TV with God Bless America. I find it amusing that God blesses Americans and the land they stole from the indigenous peoples. The fact that God is on the side of the USA and not the Republic of Korea is even more amusing. I guess God is always on the winningest side! Read the US constitution and tell me where it mentions God!

DC Day One

This and the following communications will be a brief summary of my time in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. I won’t go into excrutiating detail, except possibly for the aircraft [come-on, I’m an aircraft geek].
I flew out from Heathrow, T5, on the 17:30 British Airways flight to Dulles it was a Boeing 777. I got bumped up to Premium Economy class which was nice and then did a seat swap so a family could sit together, this saved me and my new neighbour hours next to babies. The flight was wonderful [it says earlier I’m an aircraft geek] and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Upon arrival at Dulles, Rich was there to pick me up and question me about the flight. We drove home to Georgetown and had some rum and coke. Ended up sleeping at about 5am my time but did well and woke the next day feeling good.
After breakfast we drove past many sights to pick up Mazza and son from Union Station and from there we went the the Udvar-Hazy Extension to the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space Flight.
The extenstion part of the museum is absolutely, really excellent, so much space and so many aircraft of all types. The highlights:

  • SR-71A Blackbird
  • Orbiter Discovery
  • The Enola Gay [I know!]
  • F-14 Tomcat
  • A-6 Intruder
  • The second ever Pitts Special

After lunch and more geekdom we eventually drove back to Winfield Lane and had some drinks before taking Mazza and son to the railway station. We drove past more of the sights which will all be mentioned later in further communications. Dinner that first proper night in DC was a curry at the Taj of India in Georgetown, what else would three Brits end up eating?



Signed up to the Atheist out of the Closet campaign on Freedom From Religion Foundation website. Also starting to listen to their podcast. Like it.
They do very good work in USA making sure church and state separation is maintained. We could do with something like that over here, but our parliament is hard wired for religion. Our head of state is the leader of our church! We have bishops in the House of Lords ffs. When can we get rid of that? Current plans are to have representation from all major religions in the Lords. How stupid. When do you know to stop? How do you choose which religions? How big do they have to be? Remove all religious representation and let them lobby like everyone else (not that I’m keen on lobbying groups).