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Bird’s Eye View (July 6, 2016)

Greetings one and all. Are you are sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.

I am about to set off on my way back to the Valley and “normal service” will be resumed next week. However, before I leave Europe, here are a few thoughts on the concerns that folks over here have with regards to the possibility of Donald Trump becoming President in terms of his foreign policies.

As reported in the Economist magazine, a survey of global attitudes towards America released on June 29th by the Pew Research Centre shows a derisory 9% of foreign respondents expressing confidence in the Trump’s ability to handle foreign affairs. Some 85% are actively skeptical.

It should be pointed out that many Americans do not care what the rest of the world thinks of them and Trump is certainly one of those who couldn’t care much less. He is far from alone. A friend of mine in the Valley, a broad-minded, thoughtful, well-informed, and respectable man in his seventies, when informed of the increasing antipathy toward the US among Europeans simply said, “Who gives a shit?” And he is not a Trump voter.

But global attitudes are not irrelevant and Trump must surely realize this at some point. Even the “most brilliant deal-maker” needs someone on the other side of the table with whom to shake hands and agree. Though Trumpian threats and swagger sometimes work, America may need foreigners to offer their consent willingly, not least when those same foreigners are being asked to endure some political or financial pain, or risk a backlash from their own publics.

The Brits and Europeans began to adopt a significant degree of anti-US feeling during the presidency of George Bush Jr. Many items on the following charge-list against Mr. Bush were either unfair or exaggerated, but he was called “a hypocritical, proudly ignorant, America-first, unilateralist bully pursuing a sectarian crusade against the Muslim world. His claims to be invading the Middle East to help liberate the Iraqi people and promote democracy were scorned, as European politicians and placard-wielding protestors alike asserted that he was bent on selfishly grabbing Arab oil. His willingness to use torture on terrorist suspects was not seen as a reluctant act of self-defense. Instead many in Europe, certainly, saw the revelations about enhanced interrogations and secret prisons as proof that America is a violent renegade power. When Mr. Bush expressed sorrow about the collateral killing of innocent civilians during the war on terror, he was called a lying war criminal.’

Quite a list, and yet here in 2016, just eight years after the Bush-era, those charges are now Mr. Trump’s boasts. It is quite an amazing turnaround in a very short time. He tells supporters that he is an America-first unilateralist willing to ban Muslims from entry into the country because there is so much “incredible hate” in the Muslim world, and so many Muslims are “bad people.” His lack of diplomacy, and any air of presidential prowess whatsoever (Intellect? Decorum? Humility? Wit? Integrity? Reasoning? Insight?), are things that will surely be a constant source of embarrassment should he win in November.

Trump derides the idea of nation-building overseas and explicitly says that America should “bomb the shit” out of enemies in the Middle East and grab their oil, spending the proceeds on American military veterans and their families. He brags that he would reintroduce waterboarding and worse, sometimes tells rallies that even if torture does not work it is in any case what terrorists deserve. As for collateral casualties, he is proud to say that he would target the families of terrorists—a war crime. In short, the caricature of America that so much of the world distanced itself from in the years 2001 to 2008 is the basic pitch of Mr. Trump’s run for the presidency in 2016. Faced with a potentially very divisive US election campaign over the next few months, a befuddled Europe dealing with barely controlled migration and the continuing threat of terrorism, and Britain in utter confusion following the exit from the European Union, it would seem to be the ideal time to retreat to the bucolic bubble of AV. I’m on my way.

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Public Service Announcements. #544. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital have two visits this month to the AV Farm Supply on Highway 128, north of Philo. These will be on the first and third Thursdays, tomorrow, July 7 and on July 21 from 2-3.30pm.G ood to turn up at around 3pm. Pevious visitors can call 462-8833 so they can bring your pet’s charts. #545. The Bookmobile returns to the Valley Tuesday, July 12  (alternate Tuesdays) 45 minutes at: the Navarro Store 9am (for just 30 minutes before heading out to Comptche); the Floodgate 12.30pm; Philo 1.30pm; Boonville (Apple Hall) 2.30pm. Phone 463-4694 for further details. #546. The AV Museum is open every Saturday and Sunday, from 1pm-4pm. Situated in The Little Red Schoolhouse next to the Elementary School on AV Way, a way to spend a weekend afternoon at “The Best Little Museum in the West.”

Here is the menu for the Community lunches and dinners next week at the Senior Center at the Vets Building in Boonville. $6 donation from seniors for both lunches and dinners and $7 for Non-seniors for lunches and $8 for the dinners. Tomorrow, Thursday, July 7, the lunch, served by Marti Titus and her crew at Noon, will be Kung Pow Chicken and Birthday Cupcakes. Next Tuesday, July 12, the evening meal served at 6pm, will feature Honey-Mustard Chicken and Cherry Crisp with ice cream for dessert. Vegetables, salad bar, and fruit, plus milk, coffee, tea, and lemonade included. Maybe the best value for money all week! This is the 2nd Tuesday, so the dinner will be followed by Bingo at 7pm. Tai Chi is available every Tuesday at 11am, and on Thursdays at 11am it is Easy-stretch Yoga, part of the Active Life Club from 10am to 2pm with games, crafts, and music. The Senior Center/Community Bus goes to Ukiah on Mondays and Santa Rosa on the first Wednesday of the month. These trips fill up fast so don't forget to sign up early at 489-1175. ALL ages are welcome! Hope to see you there.

In my absence, The Three-Dot Lounge is closed.

I’m outtahere. I’ve got to see a man about a sheep. Be careful out there; if you break a leg don’t come running to me; stay out of ditches; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; show love to your pets, they will be faithful and true to you to the last beat of their hearts, and please remember to keep your windows cracked if you leave them in your vehicle; think good thoughts; Keep the Faith; and may your god go with you. A final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. Contact me through the Letters Page or at PS. On the sheep, Grace. … Keep on humming, Hummingbird. … Missing the Venerable Pheasant.

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