Media (382)

Jersey City

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Jersey City, the second largest city in New Jersey with 265,000 residents, is located south of Hoboken, where I live.  You can only enter Hoboken from the south through Jersey City and vice versa, so the populations are well acquainted.  Ethnically Jersey City is divided into four major groups: Hispanic or Latino (28%), Black or African-American (26%), Asian (24%) and Non-Hispanic White (22%).  Racially Whites are the largest group, with 33%.  A more detailed look reveals that Jersey City is the ultimate melting pot:  The Hispanic contingent primarily comes from Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba, and there are African-Americans from Nigeria and Kenya.  The Asians come from India, the Philippines, China and Vietnam, and for the Non-Hispanic Whites the most reported ancestries in the last US Census were Italian, Irish, Polish and German, although there are also leftovers of earlier English and Dutch populations.  With so much diversity there has to be a high level of cross-cultural tolerance in Jersey City, maybe only similar to the level of tolerance in New York City, the neighbor across the Hudson.

Muslims constitute 4.5% of all religious adherents in Jersey City, and among them there is significant diversity as well. Surprisingly, the fastest growing segment of the Muslim population is Latino, but there are also African-American, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims.  Although Jersey City’s population has a significant Arab-American segment it does not constitute the majority of the city’s Muslims, because it includes a large Egyptian Coptic community.  At a rally in Birmingham, Alabama, last Saturday, Donald Trump declared that on 9/11/2001 he watched thousands and thousands of people in Jersey City cheering as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were coming down in lower Manhattan.  He could only have been referring to the local Muslim community, but his ‘eyewitness’ account was quickly debunked.  The Jersey City police department denied that something like that ever happened, and there was no video footage of it, which if it existed would have been shown by all networks, both immediately after 9/11 and frequently during the years that since have passed.  So Trump was lying, plain and simple.

From the beginning racism and xenophobia have been at the core of Trump’s campaign.  Playing into the sentiments of the white part of the American underclass, he used the announcement of his candidacy to proclaim that Mexico is sending rapists and drug dealers across the border, and trumpeted that 11 million undocumented aliens should be deported.  After the Paris attacks he found something even better, now mobilizing the anti-Muslim feelings of the same group.

Trump’s only campaign issue is destructive on three levels. Geopolitically it plays straight into the hand of ISIS, which is desperate to frame its quest as a war against infidels and the West, and undoubtedly appreciates that Trump obliges. Domestically it weakens the tolerance that is the fabric of the US society, and finally it sows fear in the hearts of Hispanics and Muslims alike.

Last Friday ABC showed a special by Barbara Walters, showing Trump as a family man with wife and kid, children from earlier marriages, and grandchildren playing in his office.  I was reminded of footage of Hitler playing with his dogs, an appropriate association in this case.

 
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It Ain't Over Until the Fat Lady Sings


Hugo Kijne is een Nederlandse kennis van mij, die al heel lang in de USA woont. Met regelmaat verzorgt hij columns op mijn blog onder de titel Home From Abroad. Daar ben ik hem dankbaar voor.
      Hij heeft een nieuwe roman geschreven onder de titel ''It Ain't Over Until the Fat Lady Sings''.

U kunt hem -en mij- een plezier doen door het boek HIER te nomineren.

Het wordt genomineerd om door Kindle/Amazon als e-book gepubliceerd te worden. Het is een nieuw soort competitie, die de 'breakthrough novel' competitie vervangt.  Hoe meer nominaties des te groter de kans dat het gepubliceerd wordt. 


De Inhoud:

How working for a crazy boss could kill you

Martin Noordhof’s employer replaces his boss with a creature that has no management skills and not the foggiest idea about the work that he does, but at the same time has no inhibitions about telling him how to do his job. His new boss has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Martin finds out that being in a subordinate position to such a person is constant torture. The creature demands the immediate execution of every insane instruction, and the book tells the story of Martin's resistance.


Voorwoord

This is a little book about something that could happen to almost anybody who is in the workforce. Unless you are a CEO or a business owner your boss’s boss can suddenly decide to get rid of your boss, and replace him or her with a creature that has absolutely no management skills and not the foggiest idea about the work that you do, but at the same time has no inhibitions whatsoever about telling you how to do your job.
      If you are particularly unlucky that creature suffers from a condition known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Dealing with someone with NPD is always unpleasant, but being in a subordinate position to such a person is torture. The creature with NPD cannot accept the notion that it is less than perfect, and therefore cannot learn, because acquiring new knowledge would imply that something had previously been missing and it had therefore been imperfect.
      So the afflicted person who is now your boss will never try to understand your job, listen to your ideas about how problems can be solved, or allow you a certain amount of autonomy. Contrarily, this creature will only accept complete obedience and demand the immediate execution of every one of its instructions, no matter how damaging to the operation for which you are responsible. And as if that were not enough, it won’t accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong, even if its orders were followed to the letter.
      For your new boss could not have made a mistake: the only explanation for any disaster is your intentional failure to obey. That perceived insubordination will lead to punishment, the only contingency of reinforcement that the creature considers effective. Unlike it, you are the one who has to learn, and that will be hammered into your brain until it bleeds and your life slowly starts flowing away.

 

   Home From Abroad

   1. Guns
   2. Trump's Narcissism
   3. Ben Carson
   4. ISIS
   5: It Ain't Over Until the Fat Lady Sings

 

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ISIS

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Since ISIS has claimed responsibility for the most recent terrorist attacks in Paris the question has again come up in the US media who exactly is responsible for ISIS. Answers are being provided on three levels. First, there are dummies who simply blame ISIS on Islam.  Although undeniably there are strong inhumane, intolerant, violent and misogynistic elements in Islam the large majority of Muslims in the world is not involved in terrorism, so apparently religion alone is not enough. Second, there are those who blame the emergence of ISIS on Dubya and Cheney. As an immediate explanation this makes a lot of sense. Without the invasion of Iraq on false premises in 2003, the subsequent disbanding of the Baath Party and the Iraqi army, and the installation of a Shiite-friendly anti-Sunni government in Baghdad, there probably would never have been Al Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor of ISIS.  Republicans have tried to shift the blame to Obama, claiming that everything was going according to plan in Iraq until he halted the surge and started pulling US troops out, but that fantasy has been effectively debunked.

And then there is a third explanation that puts the ultimate blame with the ruling cliques in the Muslim world who promote an ultra-conservative branch of Islam, Wahhabism, finance radical clerics and madrassas, are consumed by anti-Shiite paranoia, and keep Sunni populations in the Middle East uneducated and dependent.  In July 2013 the European Parliament identified Wahhabism as the main source of global terrorism, and although Obama still has some peculiar difficulty calling radical Islamic terrorists for what they are, the US Government concurs with that opinion.  But that creates a problem.  The main promoters and sponsors of Wahhabism are the Saudis, who are among America’s best customers when it comes to purchasing military equipment, and are also considered one of the US’s best ‘friends’ in the Middle East, second only to Israel.  It would appear that when your second best friend is responsible for the existence of your worst enemy it is time to either reconsider the friendship, or, if US business interests are more important than fighting terrorism, accept part of the responsibility for ISIS.

The idea that the US is partly to blame for ISIS through its support for the Saudi rulers was forcefully brought forward by author and former talk show host Dylan Ratigan on last night’s Bill Maher Show, and it contains bad and good news.  The bad: it undermines the US authority to speak critically of and act effectively against ISIS.  The good: it identifies the ultimate source of ISIS’s relative strength and gives the US more than military tools to fight it.

It is almost too absurd for words that King Salman of Saudi Arabia, the number one sponsor of Islamic terrorism in the world, is received with full protocol at the White House by Obama, and that John Kerry cannot stop lavishing praise on the Saudis for their ‘constructive role’ in the Middle East.  What is he hoping for, that miraculously his words one day will come true?

Barack Obama is right that putting US boots back on the ground in the Middle East will only make the mess in Syria and Iraq bigger, but there is no excuse for not putting maximum diplomatic and economic pressure on the sponsors of terrorism who are our ‘allies.’

 

Home From Abroad

1. Guns
2. Trump's Narcissism
3. Ben Carson
4. ISIS

Ga HIER naar de blog van Hugo

 

 

Embellishment
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
It happens occasionally in the US that someone gets caught for embellishing a resume.  Often that person is in college athletics, as a coach or director, with false claims of having graduated, misstatements about athletic achievements, or the listing of positions never held.  Depending on the seriousness of the falsifications and the current record of the culprit’s team either an apology or resignation is in order, but other than that there are no serious consequences.  Of course embellishment of resumes happens in all walks of life, including the corporate world, academia and politics.  I once had to review the resume of an applicant who falsely claimed to have a graduate degree from the college where she was applying, apparently not realizing how easily that could be verified.  And it can happen to the best and the brightest: Elizabeth Warren took flak for having chosen ‘native American’ as her ethnicity at Harvard Law School, in spite of the fact that her Cherokee bloodline was only a family rumor, and if she would ever decide to run for a higher office than the one she currently holds that would certainly be recycled against her.

Ben Carson is the latest case of a would-be politician who has a complicated relationship with the truth regarding his own past.  In the autobiographic books he has written he tells the rags-to-riches story of an African-American kid from a single parent home who becomes a world famous neurosurgeon.  On the way he has to deal with his own violent nature, which makes him once attack his saintly mother with a hammer and on another occasion stick a knife in the belly of a classmate.  After that last incident he finds God, or the other way around, and he becomes a star student and a leader of the local ROTC, which earns him a scholarship to West Point.  Since Carson is now the frontrunner for the GOP nomination his life’s account is being vetted more carefully than before, and very little of it turns out to be true.  There is no doubt that he’s black and a retired neurosurgeon, but reporters are still looking for the hammer and the classmate.  Moreover, West Point has no record of anything ever having been offered to Carson, and reminds everybody that as a tuition-free institution it doesn’t give out scholarships.

For Ben Carson the scrutiny comes at a bad time.  He had already been criticized for comparing Obamacare to slavery and blaming the Holocaust on gun control, and more recently became the butt of jokes for his theory that the biblical Joseph built the pyramids to store grain rather than dead Pharaohs.  In ‘Mother Jones’ David Corn wrote a fascinating piece revealing that Seventh-day Adventists like Carson expect to be imprisoned for celebrating Sabbath on Saturday.

Of course the good doctor is not the only GOP candidate with a millstone around his neck.  Jeb! has his family, Rubio used a Republican Party credit card for private expenditures and failed to pay his mortgage, Carly Fiorina ran a high tech company into the ground, and Chris Christie can expect that the prosecution of his former staff members for Bridgegate comes back to haunt him.

The only candidate who is invulnerable for this kind of vetting is Donald Trump.  About his three marriages he says “all my wives are beautiful,” and about his four bankruptcies “everybody does it.”  He gets away with that and it gives him the freedom to make fun of all the others.

 

Home From Abroad

1. Guns
2. Trump's Narcissism
3. Ben Carson
4. ISIS

Ga HIER naar de blog van Hugo

 

 

NPD

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

The following description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can be found on the website of the Mayo Clinic: “Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” On the PsychCentral website it says: “Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a longstanding pattern of grandiosity” and “people with NPD often display snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes. For example, an individual with this disorder may complain about a clumsy waiter’s ‘rudeness’ or ‘stupidity’ or conclude a medical evaluation with a condescending evaluation of the physician.” Wikipedia, finally, observes that people who suffer (and make others suffer) from NPD are “mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and others.”  NPD was first identified by psychologists in 1968, as a combination of megalomania and egocentrism.

For those who have closely followed Donald Trump since the beginning of his business career, or only more recently, it is not hard to see that he perfectly fits the description of someone with NPD.  This hurts his chances of becoming US President in various ways.  Like every narcissist he considers himself perfect, and therefore he cannot accept the criticism from competitors and the press that is inevitable during a political campaign.  He makes the mistake of constantly lashing out at his opponents and reporters and belittling them.  Since he cannot admit mistakes and learn from them, because admitting mistakes would be a sign of imperfection, he’ll repeat them over and over.  And because he is perfect he considers himself superior to all others, ethnically and culturally different people like Mexicans and the Chinese, but also politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, who are stupid and cannot make a deal.  True to the definition of NPD he is unable to see the damage he is causing to Hispanic immigrants, by threatening eleven million of them with deportation, and how by doing so he antagonizes an important part of the electorate.

Until November 2010 NPD was listed as a mental disorder by the US Department of Health and Social Services.  Most mental health professionals consider its de-listing a big mistake.  The reason why it happened could be that NPD is almost impossible to cure, because someone with NPD would have to realize that he or she has a problem, which doesn’t go well with perfection.  Before 2010, however, Donald Trump was officially suffering from a serious mental condition.

In 1972 the US Senator from Missouri, Thomas Eagleton, was nominated to be on the Democratic ticket.  After his party’s convention it became public knowledge that he had had multiple treatments for depression, including electroshocks.  Eagleton was forced to quit the race, and he was only running for Vice President.

Trump’s demise before the primaries is still forecasted by many pundits, but if it doesn’t happen Jeb! or Hillary can easily expose him as a former mental patient.  It would probably be slightly immoral, but not unimaginable when the White House is at stake.

 

Home From Abroad (1); Guns

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