Media (395)

 

The Second Amendment

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

The opening item in the local news was a police-involved shooting in the Bronx.  One man was killed, and according to an NYPD spokesperson officers fired thirty-one shots, “of which several hit the suspect.”  Several out of thirty-one doesn’t sound like an impressive performance, and it puts statements by the likes of Donald Trump that ‘if only more people in the Orlando nightclub (or in the Paris concert hall for that matter) had been carrying guns, there would have been less carnage’ in perspective.  If highly trained police officers misfire between 80% and 90% of the time, one can only imagine the damage random gun-carrying civilians would do.  Moreover, Trump ‘forgets’ to mention that there was an armed guard at the Pulse, who couldn’t take down the terrorist.  The news continued with an interview with a Republican US Senator, who declared that “this is not about guns but about terrorism.”  It sounded like a refurbished version of an old NRA slogan, which now says: Guns don’t kill, terrorists do.  The notion that terrorists with guns kill easier than terrorists without guns escapes these geniuses.
     
The real problem is the 2nd Amendment, or rather its interpretation by the American right. It was added to the Constitution in 1789, and says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” For two centuries legal scholars and politicians have debated what the founders and framers intended when they wrote these somewhat mysterious words.  Clearly it was not to protect the rights of the squirrel-hunters in Bernie Sanders’s Vermont, and therefore the arguments focused on whether only citizens who are part of an organized militia have the right to bear arms, or if it is an individual right of every citizen.  The matter was settled by the Supreme Court in 2008 with the Heller-decision in favor of an individual right, the crowning event of a process that started during the Reagan administration.  In this case the Court was probably right.  Both the Federalists and the anti-Federalists were very concerned about the potential power of a ‘standing army,’ and believed that an armed population would be a counterweight to that threat.

      Although most of the debate is still about militia versus individual right, it seems that there is a much stronger argument against the 2nd Amendment.  As the Bundys c.s. have amply demonstrated, individual citizens banding together, even when armed with AR-15s, have no chance against the local police, the FBI and the National Guard, let alone the US Army. So the original intention of the amendment has become obsolete, and it should be removed from the US Constitution.
      That is not about to happen, but as long as there is a 2
nd Amendment, even interpreted as an individual right, there is no reason why gun ownership cannot be regulated without infringing on that right, as many cities and a number of states have shown.  The unwillingness of politicians in DC to regulate is not of a legal nature, but only shows that they are in the pockets of the NRA.
     
Next week, in the wake of the Orlando massacre, the US Senate will vote on four window-dressing measures that would limit the ability of suspected potential terrorists to buy guns.  Two are proposed by Democrats and two by Republicans, so it is to be expected that none will pass.

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Hard Choices


(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

It is the title of Hillary Clinton’s recent memoir, but it applies more to Donald Trump than to her at this point in the campaign.  Trump has to decide who he wants to be, his know-nothing racist, misogynistic, bragging and insulting self, with no policy ideas to speak of, other than cutting his own taxes, building ‘The Wall,’ deporting 11 million people and keeping all foreign Muslims out of the US, or what the Republican establishment wants him to be: a controlled and civilized spokesperson for Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand-inspired policy agenda, who always stays on script, using the teleprompter to make sure that his vocal cords don’t go where his wacky brain wants to take them.  Trump tried the latter disguise twice now, first last Tuesday night, when he gave an uninspired victory speech in which he forgot to claim victory and to thank his voters, but incoherently rambled about his future greatness as president while his daughter Ivanka, who apparently co-wrote the speech, stood next to him looking like she couldn’t wait to get to the ladies’ room, which was caused by fear that he would go off the mental reservation she had confined him to.
      Yesterday Trump appeared similarly cloaked a second time, at a faith-based event in DC, and the result was even worse.  He stumbled through his sentences, occasionally looking slightly panicked from one part of the teleprompter to the other while skipping a line and thus mutilating a sentence because his eyes had lost contact with the text.  In the evening, at an event in Richmond, VA, he had decided to ditch the teleprompter and try to be himself again, by calling Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ in response to her blistering attack on him the night before, and subsequently apologizing to ‘the real Pocahontas’ for comparing her to Elizabeth Warren, undoubtedly securing a large chunk of the native-American vote.  But it was not easy for Trump to get back into his former belligerent shape, and you could almost see him think about all the things he now knew he should not be saying anymore, pretty much like a golfer who constantly tells himself not to shank his shots and therefore screws up every time.  We’ll know better what shape Trump is shifting towards during his ‘major speech’ about the Clintons on Monday night.
      The whole thing creates two dilemmas for Trump.  If he concurs with the demands of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell he looks like a neutered bull that’s trying to leave the china store without causing any more damage, and that will disappoint the under-educated white male rednecks who are the core of his constituency, possibly to the point where they stay home rather than voting for a spineless wuzz.  And if he doesn’t Ryan and McConnell might distance themselves from him.
      The second dilemma is that Trump cannot change who he is, as personality theory teaches us and as 70 years of his life, a milestone he’ll reach next Tuesday, have shown.  So although the first dilemma leaves him with only bad choices it’s inevitable that in the end he won’t capitulate to the GOP and will be a thin-skinned loudmouth bully until the bitter end of the campaign.
      The Democrats in the meantime won’t give poor Donald a chance to change, as they’ll make his head spin with simultaneous attacks from Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Bill and Hillary Clinton.  It will be hard for Trump, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie to respond.

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ALI


(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Today the death of Muhammad Ali appears to have stopped the parallel political campaigns for the Democratic nomination and the presidency.  On a normal Saturday morning CNN, Fox News and MSNBC would have had all their usual pundits rehashing the violence at Donald Trump’s rally in San José, Hillary Clinton’s first successful attack on Trump, and Bernie Sanders’s latest argument why the Democratic Party’s nomination process is rigged if he doesn’t become the nominee, even if ‘the Secretary’ has won more pledged delegates once the primaries are over.  Instead, all the cable networks are going back and forth between documentary stories and images of Ali’s career and life, studio guests with their own memories of ‘the Greatest,’ like William Rhoden of the New York Times, who appears on more than one channel, and reporters at the Phoenix hospital where Ali died and in Louisville where he was born, who cannot tell us anything more than that the family is in mourning in Phoenix and that preparations for the funeral are under way in Louisville, ‘news’ that of course you don’t really need to hear the whole day.
      In spite of the repetitions, however, one of the perks of spending a day memorizing Ali’s life, his courage and his wit, is that we are treated to the many hilarious statements he made, most of which were both heartfelt and true, albeit on occasion slightly exaggerated.  The way he intimidated Sonny Liston before his first title fight: “I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, the hands cannot hit what the eyes can’t see,” followed after his victory by the little poem “The fans didn’t know when they came to the fight, that they’d see the launching of the first black satellite.”  Or his confidence booster for the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ with George Foreman, a boxer he was genuinely afraid of who initially hit him so hard that it may very well have been the first cause of his Parkinson’s Syndrome: “Last week I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”  And finally the prediction of his victory over Joe Frazier: “It’s gonna be a thrilla when I beat the gorilla in Manila.”  But his most famous quote was not about boxing: “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Viet Cong, no Viet Cong ever called me a nigger.”
      The way Ali explained his refusal to go to Vietnam that cost him his title and the heart of his career deserves more quotations: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam when so called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?” In his view the war simply served to continue the domination of darker people by white slave masters.
      His statement went on as follows: “But I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. The real enemy of my people is right here.  I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.” In conclusion, Ali said: “This is the day when such evils must come to an end.” It was his own Gettysburg Address.
      Although Ali’s passing put the campaign on a back burner there was some interaction.  Trump tweeted an homage to the champion but didn’t seem to remember that Ali had fiercely criticized his attitude towards Muslims.  That and Hillary’s speech is only the beginning of his downfall.

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Mrs. Clinton’s Emails


(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

At a college where I used to work the Vice President for Information Systems was a former Head of the Computer Science Department, who had fallen upwards in the administration.  When I had just started in my position I went to his office to introduce myself.  He appreciated the gesture, shook my hand, and said: “don’t fuck with me and we’ll get along fine.” Obviously after that warm welcome we became good friends.  Next to charming the VP was also paranoid, so he had built firewalls around the campus that sometimes blocked all outside traffic of email and voicemail, which could be disruptive.  One of his specialties was setting up servers, and he had programmed them in such a way that everything anybody on campus saved on a computer was also saved on a server.  On a given day one of his assistants came into my office to upgrade my PC and told me that the Director of the Grants Office, an overweight and usually underdressed, man-hungry and totally incompetent woman, was taking lewd pictures of herself in her office and saving them on her computer.  He told me that he and his colleagues checked out the new additions every week.
      Which brings me to Mrs. Clinton.  She has been under attack from the right for as long as I can remember, and I have only been in the US for the better part of thirty years.  It started with ‘Travelgate,’ in which her husband was accused of cronyism but exonerated by an independent counsel, and she was not indicted at all. Next came the ’Whitewater scandal,’ in which Bill Clinton was accused of having pressured a bank in Arkansas into providing a loan to some friends after a real estate deal went sour.  Although some people went to jail in the matter the Clintons were not even called to testify.  The biggie was the death of Vince Foster, a former partner of Mrs. Clinton in the Rose Law Firm, who followed the Clintons to the White House and committed suicide in a park in DC.  Although there were abundant signs that Foster had been severely depressed the Clintons were accused of having killed him.  And when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, after Hillary was initially seen as another victim of her husband’s sex addiction gradually the stories emerged that she had tried to silence other women who claimed to have been abused by Bill.
      It’s possible that there is some truth to these allegations, although over the years very little proof has been produced by ‘journalists’ who are always ready to make anything they can use against the Clintons public.  In the movie ‘Primary Colors’ one of the characters says about a candidate who strongly resembles Bill Clinton: “he poked his pecker into a lot of trashcans,” and it’s not impossible that not all the victims were as vulnerable as they would like it to appear retroactively.
      Taking all this into account it’s more than understandable that Mrs. Clinton balances somewhere between extreme caution and paranoia, and that explains the current email ‘scandal.’ Knowing that there is probably nothing secure about the State Department’s servers she should have used its email system strictly for all work related messages, and a private account for everything else, like most employees do.
      She understands that now, has frequently said that she made a mistake, and is even acknowledging why she wanted to keep her emails private.  If the FBI doesn’t bring criminal charges, what nobody expects, this story will die well before the general election like all the others, even if Trump keeps bringing them up because he has nothing else.

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Ene niet geschreven geschiedenis

De VPRO bestaat vandaag negentig jaar. Dat is weliswaar een rond getal, maar niet zo belangwekkend rond, dat er grootse aandacht voor is. Hier en daar is wel wat verschenen, maar het jubileumboek dat zou worden samengesteld door diverse oud-medewerkers is er om triviale redenen niet gekomen. Dat is jammer, want over tien jaar als er echt een rond getal te vieren is zal een aantal van die medewerkers er niet meer zijn.
                                                                (Foto: Logo 1926)

     
Misschien hoor ik daar zelf ook wel bij, want mij was gevraagd om een stuk te schrijven over het radioprogramma Het Gebouw dat van 1984 tot in 1993 werd uitgezonden. Het zou dan vooral gaan over de rumoerige voorbereidingen en het opzij zetten van ego’s en persoonlijke belangen om er samen iets moois van te maken. Dat lukte vrij aardig, want het programma was vernieuwend en spraakmakend en werd in 2000 bij diverse polls uitgeroepen tot het beste radioprogramma van de eeuw.
      Ik had mijn dagboeken tevoorschijn gehaald en al diverse programma’s beluisterd.  
Bijvoorbeeld deel 6 van de OVT-serie over de geschiedenis van de VPRO.                                                     

Het Spoor Terug

In de serie over de geschiedenis van de VPRO vandaag het 6de en laatste deel , over de periode 1981-1992.
Toenmalig televisie-directeur Kleijwegt en programmamaker Wim de Bie belichten de campagne rond de B-status in 1982.
Programmamaker Van den Boogaard beschrijft de bloeiperiode die de VPRO-radio met het programma 'Het Gebouw' doormaakte, na het verkrijgen van zendtijduitbreiding in 1984. Directeur televisie Kiers en van den Boogaard belichten de politieke en maatschappelijke betrokkenheid van de VPRO in de jaren tachtig. Kleijwegt en de Bie geven hun mening over het nut van de campagne voor de A-status. Kleijwegt: "Groter worden is per definitie verlies van kwaliteit".
Geïllustreerd met HA-fragmenten en fragmenten uit het VPRO-archief waarin een reclamespotje voor de B-campagne van de cabaretiers Koot en Bie en Wim Kan. Tevens fragmenten van 'Het Gebouw' met de rubriek 'Persagentschap' van Hans Dorrestijn en een luchtalarm als protest tegen de plaatsing van de kruisraketten in 1985.

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NPO-Geschiedenis

Op de site van NPO-Geschiedenis is een groot aantal historische VPRO-programma’s te zien en te beluisteren.
     
Bijvoorbeeld deze uitzending van OVT, waar uw bloghouder bij de fragmenten 9 en 10 al weer aan het woord komt.

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OVT: Afscheid van de VPRO-villa 65

AFSCHEID VAN DE RADIOVILLA
Laatste uitzending van de VPRO radio uit de Radio villa aan de 's Gravelandseweg 65 in Hilversum.
In het eerste uur aandacht voor de bewoners van villa 65 en de programma’s die er vandaan kwamen vanaf 1931 tot 1968. In het tweede uur aandacht voor de programma's tussen 1968 en 1984. Presentatie Kees Slager en Kiki Amsberg.

Fragmenten:
In de tune van het tweede uur de Vietnamcantate uit 1963 van Han Reiziger.
1. Familie Spelberg vertelt over de sfeer in villa 65 waar zij woonden. 057"
2. Stukje uit een uitzending ( de oudste die wij hebben teruggevonden) van 30 oktober 1936. Een optreden van de Pollie Wollie Doodle Groep. 1'16"
3. Henk van Dorp over zijn tijd als medewerker van de postkamer van de VPRO. Hij moest zout strooien op de brandtrap en aardbeien halen voor mevrouw Spelberg. 2'15"
4. De laatste zondagsschool uitzending 16 juni 1963. Mevrouw Spelberg deelt bijbeltjes uit. 1'33" 5.Proefuitzending VPRO-Vrijdag. 3'15"
6/7 Fragmenten van Ry Cooder/Bonnie Raitt en Dr. Hook, die in villa 65 hebben opgetreden. 2'12"en 0'46"
8. Fragment uit Grote Momenten uit de Wereldgeschiedenis (1971). 2'23"
9. Inbraak van de Joodse defensieliga bij een programma over Palestijnen 10 oktober 1979. 1'58"
10. Aankomst van de twee teams van de wereldreis. 2'35"

 

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