The Evil within

February 23, 2017

 

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Grand dad Oosterman design of church window

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-23/child-sex-abuse-royal-commission-one-of-the-lucky-ones/8296986

A must read, especially considering the stance some of us take on Islam and Muslims. I do hope Pauline Hanson and her cohorts of ‘One Nation’ reads this before she start ranting  again about the evils of Islam or Sharia law. Even Geert Wilders in Holland should try and get a grip on what’s happenings around our own neck of the woods.

Here some excerpts of above article;

“Having listened to the testimony from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse I realise that I wasn’t the sort of boy the paedophiles were ever likely to be interested in: I wasn’t vulnerable enough. My mother asked too many questions.

In my 20s and 30s, I used to joke about surviving the full Catholic “catastrophe” (apologies to Zorba): strapped by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart until the age of nine, in 1974 I was handed-over to the Marist Brothers to be socialised and institutionalised through violence.”

“Many of the brothers were outright sadists. One comes immediately to mind. I well remember being hauled out in front of the other boys in Year 4 and repeatedly caned for submitting a piece of artwork which he had deemed inadequate.

The artwork in question was meant to be a bulldog, made from a discarded cotton spool and two bits of coloured cardboard. I was eight and the brother had determined that I should be made an example of.

There were many of his ilk — Brother Francis, Brother Casmir — grown men who thought nothing of using a leather strap or length of cane on a boy until the child not only cried, but occasionally pleaded in front of his classmates for the punishment to stop.”

Benevolence and benefits of Sharia Law explained

February 21, 2017

multicultural billboard, AustraliaIt is really unfortunate that so few of us, including myself, remain ignorant of Islam, and what it stands for. It really came to the fore when  last week’s Q&A featured a verbal fight between senator Jacqui Lambie and the  engineer and Muslim activist  Yassmin Abdel-Magied.  It seems that Islam is more tolerant of Christianity than the other way around.We should try at least understand what Islam and Sharia law means.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/qasim-rashid/shariah-law-the-five-things-every-non-muslim_b_1068569.html

Islam and Sharia law are not, as so many believe all about female subjugation by men,  beheadings, stoning, cutting limbs. It is astonishing how much nonsense about Islam and Sharia law gets dished out by those that do not even go to the bother of at least getting an understanding of something they are so keen to demonise. It’s plain stupid. I wonder if those that have such racist and xenophobic views have ever taken the trouble to talk with an Islamic person?

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-13/jacqui-lambie-and-yassmin-abdel-magied–in-fiery-qanda-debate/8267212

In the meantime till about 20 minutes ago, 377 incidents of domestic violence have been reported to the police nationwide.

” Australian police deal with an estimated 657 domestic violence matters on average every day of the year. … Those figures are based on data provided by police services around the country about how often their officers work on domestic violence cases. … attendance at suspected domestic …”

I assume that most of those crimes are committed by us, good old Christians.   Let’s also not delve too much in those hundreds of cases now before the Royal Commission on sexual abuse on children committed by countless priests and bishops. Perhaps, before we again try and vilify people with a different faith we should reflect on our own beliefs and values.

A calamitous unfurling of weather events and cheese cooked sandwiches.

February 19, 2017

 

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The weather sure is out of wack. Yesterday we witnessed a hail storm. It was unbelievable. We both watched the mesmerising event. Hailstones as big as golf balls would be a cliché. They were huge and so true. I am using Trump speech here. It isn’t a difficult habit to get into.

It was  morning’s second coffee still clad in an assortment of pyjamas. A fearful sight at our age. We were still mulling over not going ahead with the house-move. And hadn’t had time to  recover  previous levels of serenity and domestic equilibrium.   I had murmured something about buying the place opposite and just renting it out while still staying in own place. I came with some figures of income on the back of the envelope . There is more than one way to bake a good soufflé. Helvi just yawned and that was that. It felt so good to be relieved of that option as well. In the meantime the clouds outside darkened ominously.

A spectacle of nature’s power was in the making. We just knew it. Food was getting short so quickly dashed out to get bread, fresh milk, nectarines, sugar plums, frozen spinach cubes and a cheap red Shiraz-Merlot wine ( $ 2.78). This wine is a real corker and called Precious Earth. We try and do our best for climate change and we like to share this as a recommendation. A previous remnant of curry was patiently waiting in the fridge which we thought we might eat in case of any emergency. One just never knows when an old curry might come in handy!

We did not have to wait long. The first claps of thunder heralded the coming event. I had already looked up our BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) forecast which gives a very accurate coming of weather events in any given area. The coming and prospects of  calamitous unfurling of weather events has always been a favourite pastime of me. I can’t change the weather. No guilt indulging a pleasure of nature’s own making. The terrible ravages of nature will increase if we are too slow in taking the necessary actions. Here is our Australian Prime Minster talking about starting a new ‘clean’ coal power station. Can you believe this?

The claps of thunder were getting closer. Little did I know that a few hundred metres away three ladies sitting on a bench were already struck by lightning. The park known for a yearly tulip festival and through which we walk  almost every day with Milo, witnessed this terrible event.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/three-women-struck-by-lightning-in-bowral-during-saturdays-storms-20170218-gug1xd.html

I don’t know why the three women were sitting in a park not far from shelter during a massive storm. Perhaps they were eating cheese sandwiches? In the meantime, while still unaware of the calamity in the park, Helvi made some cheese sandwiches in preparation for the storm. The roof was being hit by hail stones, still moderate in size. A quick bolt downstairs into the garage and outside to bring in the car. The thunderclaps were right above us. We still hold a belief that for every second passing between lightning and thunder clap it translates a kilometre in distance. There was not a single second. They were so severe even Milo got nervous. We just lowered our heads each time. Not out of religious habits, far from it. It was fear!

The hail stones now were fearsome in sight and size. How fortunate to be inside. We watched  canon-sized balls belting down on  roof and garden. It was by far the best (or worst) hailstorm I ever  witnessed.

What a spectacle of nature’s force.

A good sleep

February 16, 2017

IMG_0918 front garden August 2016

Is it true that the elderly sleep less? As much as I dislike starting an article about sleep, I wonder about it? So much depends on a good sleep. One of the first thing we ask each other; how was your sleep?  Or, how did you sleep? I know that if the answer is “terrible” we could be in for a torrid day. With the years piling up, more and more memories and life’s baggage gets stored. You wonder if losing a bit of memory is a blessing in disguise.

I have become more forgetful, especially names. It is something that worries some but not me. I have no trouble admitting I don’t know a single name of a recent Olympic champion. I remember Zatopek and Fanny Blankers Koen from the past. I don’t know the name of even a single rugby player of today.  Sport and I are Teflon coated. Water off a ducks back, and gladly so. I feel sorry for all those ex-champions having to cope with a future life without fame, all fading away into so much nothingness. Like all of us really. One ought to be thankful for lacking fame.

We have both keenly taken to a large memory calendar on which we write down future appointments. One of our first appointment will be getting quotes for air conditioning. Next, yearly check ups for doctors, poking around a bit here and there. A hearing check up. That’s all there is so far. I hope to get more interesting appointments written down soon. A date for a trip around the world on a large cruise-liner would be nice. Or, being interviewed about having won a literary competition. Oprah Winfrey talk show invitation?

So far this large desk-top calendar has just those few appointments. No dinner dates or meeting up with our PM Turnbull nor any undertaker. I wonder if he suffers sleepless nights? He isn’t a happy man anymore. Being at the mercy of the extreme charlatans of the right. He must have had a dream for change. Make Australia progressive. Pass legislation hurling Australia into the twenty first century. Even the same sex marriage bill, which most want, including our PM, is now slipping away. Why doesn’t he have the guts of his convictions and go for needed change? He might loose his Prime ministership, but he can say; I tried!

No appointment needed for the date with autumn. A few golden-auburn Liquid Amber (Liquidambar styraciflua)  leaves have arrived already. We can’t get to cooler weather soon enough. We are now troubled by having seen a very nice free-standing house opposite where we live. It has a beautiful garden and a workshop-cum extra little living space (for times during marital upheavals/differences/ enthusiastic outbursts.) It has its own men’s shed really!  I could finally make a rabbit hutch. The house itself has more space. Above all, it would allow us to get away from the Body corporate and its Strata witchcraft. No more stolen plants or bullying threats from ropable divorcées.

We really like living in this town-house. It is convenient and so much work  Helvi put in the garden. The problem is that old trees don’t easily get re-planted elsewhere. Are we old trees? While not saplings, we don’t feel like gnarled oaks. What do you reckon? Should we move? It would be rather painless moving across the road and being able to give the ‘finger-up’ to Body Corporate/Strata witches. Mind you, retaliation isn’t an answer to bullying.

What do youse reckon?

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Move over Rover, the renewables are coming.

February 14, 2017
photo 2

Milo

The Prime Minister of Australia is twisting and turning to appease the extreme right in fighting against renewable energy. One  climate change sceptic, Mr Morrison, even took a piece of coal to parliament. He wanted Australia and the Government to acknowledge that coal will remain our prime ingredient for affordable energy.  “This is coal, don’t let it frighten you,” he said. “The more coal the better.”

It was well received. Lots of fun by the right. Our PM. Malcolm Turnbull, a previous fervent believer in climate change, guffawed with the rest of them. His vanity politics now running supreme. He wants to remain PM and so does his wife, Lucy. Through hook and by crook. The crook getting stronger as time goes by.

But, it will all be to no avail. The renewable energy is running at full steam. Nothing will stop it. It is the money that will finally overcome all the objection to change from coal to sun, wind and whatever else. You can’t stop it.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-14/solar-batteries-like-tesla-exploding-in-popularity/8259830

Australia is notoriously reluctant to change. We still have a foreign Queen as head of state and  love the status quo. Taking it easy is still one of our most revered ambition. But no amount of taking it easy or hugging pieces of coal in parliament will stop this revolution of change into renewables. The sun shines for free and the winds will keep blowing

The next wave of change will come in the form of electric cars. Anyone who has been to Hong Kong would know that the Tesla all electric car is hugely popular. Holland is planning the ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars within a few years. Last year the new Tesla, Model 3, took 10bn in orders in just 2 days.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/apr/04/tesla-motors-sells-10bn-model-3-two-days

You can see why both oil and coal prices have dropped worldwide. Can you imagine the problems facing resource rich  countries? Many including Australia are getting a bit nervous. Perhaps, that’s why our government is so defiant?  We could have picked up the cudgel years ago and be the worlds biggest and best producer of solar equipment and technology. We did produce some of the best brains working on it. But unappreciated, many left to greener pastures.

Even a large coal lover and producer is now saying that the only way forward is to embrace the new renewables. With the recent heat waves people will receive enormous power bills.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-14/energy-australia-boss-worried-about-power-bills/8267070

The cost of coal fired electricity will be going up as the solar and wind generated households and industries are disconnecting from the grid. There will be fewer and fewer people left to carry the cost of maintaining the coal fired energy infrastructures. ( Poles and wires)

I do hope I will live to see all the faces of coal lovers drop as the tsunami of renewables will overrun everything in its way.

Last year I  (oops…more to come, gone for a walk with Milo, he is being difficult.)

Only the lonely

February 8, 2017

 

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But where are the people? This was very often a question asked during the time we had foreign students living with us. We lived in Balmain. It is a suburb which many Australians would classify as having medium to high density living. We always look back with fondness of the twenty years we lived there. It is the place where our children grew up. So, how come this question; but where are the people?

The foreign students came from Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Germany with a couple from Holland. The question has to be looked at from the perspective of living in cities. Australia right from the start understood it had space.  Space was lacking in England, especially in the big smoked filled cities. Thus the suburban block here was soon to be seen as desirable for people to be housed on. At the beginning, people lived in terrace houses joined together forming complete streets. Balmain was one of those earlier suburbs of Sydney with streets of terrace houses. Parks were everywhere and it still felt very spacious.

However, the foreign students came from cities that were teeming with people. They would form throngs on the streets. I am sure that those that have been to Asia understand there is a huge difference between density of people there in cities compared to here in Australia. It were those people on the streets that the students were sorely missing, even in inner city Balmain.

My parents soon after arrival in 1956 went to live in western Sydney. Real Estate agents and blocks of land were the main topics of conversation amongst the migrants.  We too were swept up into saving a deposit for our ‘own’ block of land.  There was no real understanding of the social consequences in making a choice of where to live.  To be near a rail-station was desirable but as for other desirable needs, it just wasn’t about or questioned. Migrants had a need to have a roof and security of an income, all else was secondary. It was like a fever. One got caught up in the frenzy of making a new life. It was all a bit puzzling for my dad. He was different.

The street that my parents ended up living in was like millions of suburban streets anywhere in Australia. There were people living in houses but you would rarely see them. It felt achingly lonely. Sometimes a curtain would stir or a car would drive by. For me it was deadly, spiritual dehydration. Sure, the petunias and rockeries were plenty. Rosellas would be screeching and flying about and then there was cracker night. This was a yearly event with bon-fire on the street, somehow mysteriously related to Guy Fawkes or something. It was an occasion for neighbours to meet up. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes

All this in response to having read a lecture by Hugh MacKay. He is a well know social commentator. “The State of the Nation starts in your Street.”

http://theconversation.com/hugh-mackay-the-state-of-the-nation-starts-in-your-street-72264

It seems to fit in what is happening with all that card swiping and waving at poles. We are forced to dealing with less and less people. Banking is done silently in front of an ATM. People buy food on-line and sit at home all sated and possibly overweight. The steel posts at rail stations. Most work will finally be done by  steel posts and robots. Soon we might go to bed enjoying the icy embrace of a steel post or with a rotating robot with a waving of cards giving consent to heaven knows what sexual delights

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I don’t know what can be done to liven up lonely suburban streets. My mum did her best and was fearless in her search for social contact. It was difficult. All those Venetian blinds and that obsession with privacy. A sign of change is that most people now prefer an apartment close to the city. People do seem to want to live close to each other, able to walk to shops and work. People need people.

We shall see!

The rain, glorious rain

February 7, 2017

 

 

!cid_B39359ED-0A74-4D2D-B20B-21CE39AA684EWhat is it about rain that is so uplifting? Does it soothe the world or at least calms it? You know the patter on the metal roof or the drip drip echo in the down-pipes has a melody. Listen carefully and soon it begets a rhythm all by itself. It is music. With heat so relenting, who wants sunshine? Yet, this is what many desire away from sun and warmth. The millions dreaming of lying in the sun, baking away. So depressing. My dad hated beach and its abrasive sand and stark sun beating down, scorching bodies. I must have inherited the same gene. People living in the tropics always seek shade and so do I. Most fortunately, we both share this need to escape from sun’s glaring stare.

I took time off to get quotes for air conditioning. There are many variants of cooling and heating houses. The mind boggles. Choices have to be made. One can have models that are bolted on the wall. They can blow hot air during winter and cold in summer. Other types do the same but done through ducts that are fixed above the ceilings. They are more efficient and can do the whole house instead of just one room. Another choice is to get the temperature regulated by using both gas and electricity. Then the latest, having all this done through ‘inverter’ technology.

An Inverter is used to control the speed of the compressor motor, so as to continuously regulate the temperature. The DC Inverter units have a variable-frequency drive that comprises an adjustable electrical inverter to control the speed of the electromotor, which means the compressor and the cooling / heating output.”

So, you can see where my thoughts have been lately. I try and get Helvi on site by giving her some literature given to me to study by the installers of air conditioners, but she declines to get involved or enthusiastic about technical stuff, especially the ‘variable- frequency driver..’  The proliferation of ‘choice’ is what seems to become more and more embedded in what we buy. A new oven now comes with so many buttons, so many options, people end up not using the ovens. Some are forced to go and eat out or take out meals. I see now so many running through the main street with pizza boxes or plastic bags with square boxes towering on top of each other. You can smell the Black-Bean beef, the Szechuan chicken and boiled rice, if not the foot-long bun with Frankfurter trying to escape lubricated by the tom-sauce.

Someone stole my ‘Apple’ account and even gave me a ‘Cloud’ address based in Moscow. I could not download e-mails. Not a disaster but I frightened they would steal money next. I went ‘on line’ and changed the Apple account. It was again forced in having to decide on so may options and choices. A nightmare. How do we cope?

You can now make transactions by tapping cards here and there. My brother’s car opens up by waving his hand near the door. I don’t really like those choices of tapping and waving. It feels idiotic.

My sister in law is a hard-core traditionalist and insists on always making her transactions in real person by first insisting on seeing the real person teller at the bank and making withdrawals and then go to the Post office to pay her bills to a real person. I too used to do this. I must confess of having failed the traditionalists and pay ‘on-line.’ I haven’t used the tapping card mechanism at Aldi. I always pay cash because it is quicker. I sometimes can’t contain myself and shuffle impatiently when a shopper seems to take forever tapping and putting in numbers over and over again. I yawn loudly or sigh loud. It is especially annoying when this card tapper is also guilty of buying rubbish pre-digested processed food or worse, lots of Coke or Corn-fruity loops.

Normally, I am easy-going.

 

Go and figure this one out!

February 5, 2017

 

Most of the world knows about  refugees. Italy alone took in 180 000 during 2016. More than three years ago anyone trying to reach Australia by boat would from then on be locked up. Manus and Nauru were the places agreeing to house refugees. Australia vowed never to let those into Australia.There are  more than 1200 refugees still on those Islands. Most have been granted refugee status.

The cost in housing refugees has been in the billions. Private contractors are the main beneficiaries as well as New Guinea  and Nauru. The idea in not letting the refugees ever into Australia was that letting them in would result in an armada of refugees coming to Australia, clamber over our dunes, take our jobs or bludge of welfare! They would covet our  women and make cliterectomy compulsory for all.

The idea of locking the refugees up had to be seen as harsh enough to deter the so called ‘people smugglers.’ At present refugees trying to flee to either Europe or elsewhere in primitive boats have a chance of 1-100 in drowning. We know that many are desperate enough to take that gamble. The Australian Government knew that risk of drowning wasn’t enough a deterrent. The idea was born that the punishment for not drowning had to be far more severe. Teach the survivors a lesson they won’t forget. More importantly, the message would go out. “Don’t think of coming to Australia.”

That’s why the conditions for refugees locked up  indefinitely had to be far more stringent and better thought out. The refugees were not charged with any crimes. They just had to be kept locked and deprived of the most essential need of all. A future to look forward to. For children not to grow up in freedom and get an education. Teach them a lesson.  After several suicides and many incidents of self harm, even by children, the Government rejoiced and proudly stated that no boat had arrived. The prime minister Turnbull was jubilant; “We are the envy of the world dealing with refugees,.” he announced proudly.

It was decided that after the UNHCR, the UN, and Amnesty International had become vocal in condemnation that Australia tried to fop off the refugees elsewhere. Forty million dollars was spent to bribe Cambodia in taking just three refugees. Two have since left.

Now Trump and Turnbull ( Trumble) have locked themselves into horse -trading over allowing 1200 refugees from Manus and Nauru  into America. The vetting will be extreme. Americans are justly asking why Australia can’t take them in. It must be a mystery. Per capita Australia has far more space than the USA. So what about that deterrent?

If you dare to come to Australia you might go to America?

More importantly, what about those people? You know the people on Manus and Nauru?

Go and figure!

Getting down to Earth

February 2, 2017

img_1059the-heat

With the heat of the last few days in retreat, I’ll try and revive a few more words. Words tend to wilt with anything over 26c. If not wilt, melt. Like butterfly into buterfy or wedding into bedding. Letters faint, drop off. In the meantime. Let me recall some of the last few days. Of course, the minimum requirements during heat are plenty of electric fans. The double glazing is fine when the nights cool off. Eventually everything gets hot and an itchiness develops to just survive breathing in and out.

One of the advantages of large shopping malls or even small ones is that they are air-conditioned. Dire warnings for elderly to stay well hydrated, avoid sun sugar seek shelter, stay calm. It wasn’t helped reading more people die of heat than drownings. We sought refuge in Aldi, just sauntering around the oranges and broccolini. It is amazing though that the the big ones such as Woolworth and Coles that advertise on the Telly, are losing custom. You won’t see Aldi on TV. Yet Aldi is taking away shoppers in droves from the big supermarkets. It are the Mercedes and BMW’s that now glide in and out of Aldi’s parking stations.

Svelte bouffant blonde ladies carefully going over the specials, bending over sweet potatoes, fingering the carrots that one is likely to encounter at Aldi now. Men in Country Road shirts, camouflaged shorts with many pockets lingering around the tool section, contemplating sets of spanners or paper shredders. It is so relaxing. An escape from heat. I wonder if taking a couple of easy fold-out chairs into the air-conditioned splendour of Aldi would be objected to? I mean a couple of oldies just taking it easy?

During one hot night. I took to extremes. A fold-out bed under the fan. Desperate measure.  The fold-out bed is about twenty centimetres above floor level. Pretty handy, I thought. A bit like going back to my camping days. But, again for each progressive move forward, a punitive counter move. With the much lower centre of gravity I could not get up when a call of nature beckoned. Let me tell you. Getting older is in direct proportion to toilet breaks. The less years ahead the more toilet breaks are engaged in. After a few attempts in trying to get up by using available leverage I found out my limitations.  Sitting up was achieved but not actually standing up. I felt helpless. I needed nurse. I considered just letting it just flow all out. Who cares?

The mind gets active in emergencies. I thought that if I rolled out onto the floor first I might just be able to get up by the help of the coffee table next to the bed. I managed to do just that. I first dropped my feet on the floor, followed by legs, than my torso, chest accompanied by neck and attached head. I rolled over and by arching my knees managed to get enough off myself  from the tiled floor to reach the top of the coffee table. The rest was easily managed. I felt so proud. Almost did a Tarzan’s jungle call but thought it would alarm Helvi. She slept well elevated above ground level in our communal bed. I went to the toilet triumphantly.

Another handy hint during the present heat-wave is for the elderly to seek shelter in the local hospital. We are living right next to not one but two hospitals.  A public hospital and a private one. The Public hospital use blue-tack and sticky -tape while the Private hospital  gives you a free pen to sign over your wallet.  One could just find some excuse or ailment and take a comfy chair in the emergency department. They often have lots of magazines. Many waiting patients can be engaged with comparing levels of ailments or the latest government pension cut backs. The wait for triage nurse always a thing to look forward to. Her soft caring hands wrapping the different bodily measurements equipment around your arms. I tell you, it is not a bad option.

Think about it!

Breathe easy.

January 30, 2017

 

John D. Gartner, a psychotherapist who teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, told US News that he believes Trump has “malignant narcissism,” which is incurable, and different from narcissistic personality disorder. Gartner violated the “Goldwater Rule” of the psychology profession, in which a diagnosis of a public figure without personally examining them, and without their consent, is considered unethical.

“Donald Trump is dangerously mentally ill and temperamentally incapable of being president,” Gartner said, citing his movements and behavior, pointing out the president’s tendency for grandiosity, sadism, aggressiveness, paranoia, and anti-social behavioral patterns.

“We’ve seen enough public behavior by Donald Trump now that we can make this diagnosis indisputably,” Gartner added.

Indeed, the diagnosis fits the bill of Psychology Today’s definition of malignant narcissism, which, when described, sounds like Donald Trump almost to the letter. Carrie Barron, M.D., who wrote the magazine’s blog on Malignant Narcissism, says the disorder “renders these individuals scary, dangerous, and ruthless.”

Malignant Narcissists will go to great lengths to achieve their aim.  They can be intelligent, high functioning (hold an important job for example) soft-spoken, charming, tearful/seemingly emotional, gracious, well mannered, kind and have the ability to form relationships. They may lie, falsely accuse, dramatize, smear, cheat, steal, manipulate, accuse, blame or twist to get what they want and feel justified in doing so. Because they are entitled, egocentric and desperate, they do not experience it as wrong. They are determined to gratify their wishes and furious if thwarted. Their desire can be so consuming that there is little comprehension of, respect for or ability to empathize with the other.  They lack guilt or remorse and tend to feel or pronounce that it is they who have been mistreated.

President Trump’s aides previously reported that their boss watches an excessive amount of television, mostly out  of obsession for how he is perceived by the media. Salon’s Matthew Rosza compared the timestamps of Trump’s tweets about topics in the news and found that they coincided with the airing of various network news programs talking about those same subjects.”