Media (241)

 

Tealeaves


(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

During the football season every Sunday morning on CBS, ESPN and Fox panels of sportswriters, former coaches and former players analyze the upcoming games.  By the time the first games start, at 1 pm, every play has already been made and every touchdown has been scored, so that it’s hardly worth watching them, were it not for the fact that sometimes something happens that the experts have not foreseen.  Something similar is going on with the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  A cable network like MSNBC will spend Sunday evening and all of Monday previewing the debate, and although I don’t regularly watch them I’m pretty sure that CNN and Fox News will do the same.  I’m hesitant to add some thoughts of my own to the choir for fear of redundancy, but since this blog tries to be a full record of the campaign I’ll do so anyway, fresh off reading today’s New York Times, with a column by Frank Bruni telling the readers what Trump has to do to win, and a similar column about Clinton by David Axelrod.  On top of this, Ross Douhat advises us to ‘expect the expected.’
      Everybody seems to agree that Trump won’t lose part of his base of approximately 42% of the voters no matter how he performs in the debate, but that he won’t expand his base either, while Clinton has an opportunity to win back some of the voters who once planned to vote for her but since have become undecided.  The leading theory is that Trump has to come across as restrained to appear ‘presidential,’ because his temperament is what voters have the most doubt about, but avoiding personal attacks on the Clintons, name calling and creating mayhem also contains a huge risk for him.  It would turn the debate into a civilized exchange of ideas about policy, of which Clinton has many and Trump virtually none.  His choice is therefore between coming across as a boor or as an airhead.  Hillary Clinton’s biggest handicap is that she comes across as untrustworthy, largely because of the email ‘scandal,’ and since over a span of twelve months she has demonstrated that she cannot explain that away she should not even try to do that during this debate, but just apologize again if it comes up and try to move on to policy issues.
      There are no clear policy areas where Trump could gain advantage over Clinton, but since he leads in the polls where it comes to handling the economy that is the  area on which Clinton should focus her attacks.  Trump’s tax plan is astoundingly irresponsible and would increase the deficit by trillions, with built in benefits for him and his family.  Clinton will quote many prominent economists to illustrate that, while Trump only has a clown like Larry Kudlow backing him up.
      With the police killings of two black men in Tulsa and Charlotte dominating the news, race relations are certain to be brought up, and since Trump has dubbed himself the ‘Law and Order’ candidate and called for reintroducing ‘stop and frisk’ on a national scale, its merits are going to be discussed.  This is one of those areas where Trump won’t lose but Hillary can win votes.
      After her campaign’s inviting Mark Cuban, who estimates Trump’s wealth at $150 million and has offered him $10 million to release his tax returns, to the debate, Trump has responded with inviting Jennifer Flowers, now an aging courtesan, suggesting that it will be a circus after all.

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Hoog overleg rechtstreekse uitzending

 

Precies 59 jaar geleden op 25 september 1957 werd in het Olympisch Stadion de voetbalwedstrijd Nederland-Oostenrijk gespeeld. Dat was in de voorrondes van het WK in 1958. De wedstrijd werd op woensdagmiddag gespeeld en dat was bijzonder voor die tijd. Nog uitzonderlijker was het, dat deze gehele wedstrijd rechtstreeks op de T.V. werd uitgezonden.
     
Nog maar weinig mensen hadden toen een T.V.-toestel. Men ging bij elkaar op bezoek. De gordijnen gingen dicht en er werd hier en daar een alcoholhoudende consumptie geschonken. De werkgeversorganisaties vreesden, dat de mensen massaal zouden wegblijven, vrij zouden vragen of zich ziek zouden melden. Daarom belegde de KNVB (Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbal Bond) een bijeenkomst met de NTS (Nederlandse Televisie Stichting) en de werkgevers- en werknemersorganisaties om een regeling te treffen, die massaal werkverzuim mogelijk zou uitsluiten. Het resultaat van dat overleg treft u hieronder.
     
De wedstrijd eindigde overigens in 1-1. Doelpunten van Hanappi en Abe Lenstra, die vlak voor tijd nog een opgelegde kans miste. Oostenrijk kwalificeerde zich met dit resultaat voor het wereldkampioenschap. De opstelling van het Nederlands elftal was als volgt.
Doel: Frans de Munck (DOS)
Achter: Roel Wiersma (PSV), Kees Kuijs (NAC) en Cor van der Hart (Fortuna ’54)
Midden: Jan Notermans (Fortuna ’54) en Jan Klaassens (VVV)
Voor: Piet Van der Kuil (AJAX), Faas Wilkes (VVV), Abe Lenstra (Sc. Enschede), Kees Rijvers (Feyenoord) en Bart Carlier (Fortuna ’54).

 

 
Medisch onderzoek naar vluchtelingenverhalen

 

 

Luister komende zondagavond eens naar de radio. Om negen uur is er op NPO Radio 1 een bijzondere documentaire; de Littekenatlas.
      Mijn voormalig VPRO-collega Guido Spring volgde maandenlang de arts Evert Bloemen, die onderzoek doet naar de waarheid van vluchtelingenverhalen over martelingen. Op mijn verzoek schreef Guido het volgende stukje:


DE LITTEKENATLAS

(Door Guido Spring)

Al jaren volg ik het debat rond de komst van asielzoekers naar Nederland. Maar tot anderhalf jaar geleden had ik nog nooit gehoord van artsen die als vrijwilliger asielzoekers medisch onderzoeken nadat hun asielaanvraag afgewezen is. Dat doen die artsen – en psychologen – voor het Instituut voor Mensenrechten en Medisch Onderzoek, het IMMO, in Diemen.
      Het gaat hier niet om de grote groep Syriërs, die vanwege de oorlog vrij snel een verblijfsstatus krijgen, maar om mensen die zeggen te zijn gemarteld in landen als Ethiopië, Sri Lanka en Burkina Faso. Ondanks hun littekens worden hun verhalen vaak als ongeloofwaardig beoordeeld. Dan is zo’n medisch onderzoek de laatste kans op een verblijfsstatus, omdat 't ‘medisch steunbewijs’ kan opleveren.
      In heel wat gevallen wordt na de uitkomsten van het onderzoek alsnog besloten dat iemand recht op bescherming heeft en dus mag blijven.

      Maandenlang volgde ik arts Evert Bloemen van het IMMO: ‘We bekijken de causale relatie tussen het vluchtrelaas en de medische klachten. Hoe waarschijnlijk is het dat een bepaald litteken veroorzaakt is door marteling. In onze nieuwe digitale littekenatlas documenteren en beschrijven we foto’s van littekens, compleet met een beoordeling erbij’.

      Op de jaarlijkse studiedag van het IMMO presenteert Evert de littekenatlas voor de vrijwillige artsen. Er staan nu foto’s van 111 littekens in. Evert Bloemen beschrijft een voorbeeld waarbij vaststaat dat het litteken door marteling is ontstaan: ‘Hier hebben we een foto van een litteken van een ingesneden tong. Het verhaal was dat de persoon veel weerstand bood tijdens het verhoor door zijn folteraars. Zijn tong werd eruit getrokken en half afgesneden. Dan gaan wij bekijken of er medisch gezien andere oorzaken kunnen zijn. Dus kan dit gebeuren als iemand zijn mes aflikt bijvoorbeeld. Maar de tong is extreem gevoelig. Dus het oordeel was hier: het kan niet anders dan door marteling zijn ontstaan’ .  

       

 Evert Bloemen

 

 

The Final Stretch


(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

With seven weeks remaining in the campaign, the press is being accused of partisanship for the other party by both parties, as you would expect.  Some journalists wear that criticism as a badge of honor, proof that their reporting is fair and balanced.  It may be a comfortably self-serving attitude, but it’s based on a false premise, namely the abstract notion that, as candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are ‘equal,’ which they are not.   One is a dedicated public servant, who has been too greedy while not in any service and exercised poor judgment handling communications as Secretary of State, not rising to a level where it would be prosecuted.  The other is a narcissistic megalomaniac, a prolific liar and racist, a con man and a huckster, who seems to delight in insulting and hurting people and neither has the knowledge nor the skills for the office he’s seeking.  Any reporting that doesn’t emphasize those differences serves Trump’s campaign interests and is therefore ‘objectively partisan.’  Most recently the press is becoming more critical of Trump, even calling him a liar, but he had to scam them into his new hotel first.
      Recent polling of likely voters shows that Trump’s voting block is stable around 42%, but that Hillary Clinton’s support has been declining in the last couple of weeks.  This is caused by the fact that Trump can say anything without losing any future votes, because his supporters either agree with him or think that he’s kidding, while Hillary Clinton gets punished for every minor mistake, like speaking the truth about Trump’s followers in poorly chosen words and failing to reveal a walking pneumonia immediately.  The good news for Clinton is that she can win back voters who once intended to vote for her, while Trump has reached his ceiling.  For her to do that the upcoming debates, in particular the first, are crucial.  According to ‘experts’ from both parties Hillary is facing two choices, either to go after Trump on personal or on policy matters and either to be positive or negative.  It is partly a false choice.  Her task is to establish herself as a leader who will make people’s lives better, and the best way to do that is to challenge Trump on every ‘policy’ he ever proposed, no matter how rudimentary, and show she has a better one.
      Everything Trump has presented as policy so far comes straight out of la la land.  His tax plan would add trillions to the deficit and only benefit the super-rich.  He wants to grow the US military to a level its leadership is not at all comfortable with, without indicating how that would be paid for, and his recent childcare proposal, also unfunded, would work through tax deductions that only make the rich richer, while the people who really need the services don’t get them.
      Hillary is a policy wonk with an impressive agenda, all potentially paid for, so challenging Trump on policy would play into her strength.  Trump cannot possibly remain standing in a one-and-a-half  hour policy debate, so he’ll try all kinds of distractions, but if the moderators have bigger balls than Matt Lauer, Martha Raddatz included, they won’t let him get away with it.
      Hillary can easily leave the non-policy attacks on Trump to Barack Obama, who is better at it and will campaign profusely from now on to secure his legacy.  Another piece of good news is that she gets better with her back against the wall, while Trump still flies off the handle every day.

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Deplorables


(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Friday night Hillary Clinton violated one of the fundamental rules of an election campaign: criticize your opponent, but never his or her voters.  At a fundraiser she said that you could put half of Trump’s supporters into the ‘basket of deplorables,’ specifying the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic among them.   Although Clinton called her remark ‘grossly generalistic’ the damage was done, and Trump and his cronies capitalized by blaming her for insulting some 20% of the population.  Hillary’s slip of the tongue, if that’s what it was, has been compared with Mitt Romney’s statement in 2012 that 47% of Americans would not vote for him because they only want ‘free stuff’ from the government.  The comparison, however, is false, because what Mitt Romney said was untrue and what Clinton said is basically correct.  Donald Trump is the Birther and Islamophoob in Chief of the United States, and his campaign has been racist, sexist and xenophobic since he announced his candidacy.  The estimate that therein lays his attractiveness for 50% of his followers is probably on the low side.
      Hillary Clinton’s generalization is damaging in a different way than Romney’s, whose bluntness established him as an elitist and a snob.  She won’t lose any votes over her remark, because the people who it pertains to were not going to vote for her anyway, but her campaign will lose precious air time explaining her remarks.  Other than Romney at the time, Clinton has been pro-active by stating that she ‘regrets’ what she said, albeit without issuing an apology, but she can still expect it to dominate today’s political talk shows, and that is unfortunate because at Wednesday’s ‘Commander in Chief’ forum Donald Trump said a number of outrageous things that otherwise would have gotten all of the attention.  Just to cherry pick a few, Trump stated that US generals had been reduced to ‘rubble’ by the Obama administration, expressed his admiration for Putin’s leadership compared to Obama’s, and, most astoundingly, inferred from ‘body language’ of his national security briefers that Obama had ignored their advice.   The latter is a serious violation of protocol and proves once more that he’s unfit for the office he’s seeking.
      After the initial impression created by most of the press that Donald Trump had done well at the forum, partly because he is held to a very low standard, partly because moderator Matt Lauer asked him only softball questions, and partly because Hillary Clinton was grilled about her emails and had very little chance to talk about national security issues, it dawned on the media that Trump, being his unscripted self, had once again acted like the existential baboon that he his.
      All of that would have been explored much deeper in today’s talk shows were it not for Hillary’s remark creating a distraction and getting in the way.  She’s actually lucky – although the word is hardly appropriate – that today is 9/11 and that all the talk shows have been banned to the afternoon, where they have to compete with the opening of the American Football season.
      After Donald Trump’s campaign appeared to be a total mess for quite a while it’s now time to ask some questions about Hillary Clinton’s campaign, for instance who, if anybody, is vetting her statements, and if he, she or they are aware of the basic rules they should operate by.

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