Chungking Mansions, Hong Kong, 1991

During my first visit to Hong Kong, I stayed in the Chungking Mansions, which was a building consisting of shops and and rooming houses on various floors. I had a deluxe room, which had a bathroom. The shower consisted of a nozzle on the sink and drain in the floor.

There were two elevators the size of telephone booths. One stopped on odd floors and the other on even. The line was too long for me to wait so I took the stairs and noticed that several patrons used the stairwells to dump their garbage. Years later I read in a guide book that a group of prostitutes ran their business out of the Chungking Mansions but got so disgusted that they left. I shouted out, “I stayed there!”

The Chungking Mansions feature in Wong Kar Wai’s film “Chungking Express.” If you haven’t seen it, you should.

Galway Ireland

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In 2014 I attended the Galway Arts Festival. The great thing about Ireland was that I could turn to the stranger sitting next to me and spend the next half hour discussing the play we’d just seen. In America, they’d think I was some kind of serial killer and leave. On my last night in Galway, I  was walking back to my hotel after the play and realized I hadn’t discussed it with anyone. Just then, I guy on a bicycle screeched to to a stop and said, “Did you just see Ballyturk? What did  you think of it?” I started talking and other guys on bicycles pulled up. We spent 40 minutes discussing the festival while standing on the side of the road.

It’s a great festival and the Irish are wonderful people. If you ever get a chance to go, do it.

The Norms of Democracy

This Election Has Offended Me

because many politicians violate the norms of democracy, something I had thought all Americans believed it. In an effort to say not just what I’m against but what I’m for, I’ve come up with a nonpartisan list of what these norms are. It may not be complete but is a good summary.

Decisions

  • Based on objective facts
  • Arrived at by valid arguments
  • The goal is fairness and to do the best for everyone.

Norms of Democracy

  • Freedom of speech, religion, and assembly
  • Free press
  • Right to a fair trial
  • Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment
  • Government by the will of the people
  • Equal opportunity for all (but not necessarily equal outcome)

In Conclusion

Isn’t this how we’re supposed to do things in America? This stuff shouldn’t be controversial yet I hear many people advocating positions that fly in the face of these basic values. It is deeply disturbing. If we lose this we’re lost.

I Support Hillary

This will come as little surprise to those who know me. Although she made blunders, she is orders of magnitude better than the alternative.

Quite simply, Trump would be a dictator. He encouraged supporters to beat up protesters, threatened to sue the New York Times, wants to make it easier to sue all reporters he doesn’t like, and threatened his political opponent with jail. This is not how we govern in a free country.

Trump gives no specifics about his policies except to say he’ll do a better job than his opponents. His facts are wrong. America is not experiencing a massive crime wave and Russia is not a new nuclear power. Trump is a serial liar. I’ve watched video after video of Trump and Pence saying Donald never said something followed by the evidence that he did in fact say it.

I believe Trump is a bigot. He spent years publicizing the rumor that our first black president isn’t a real American. When confronted he eventually gave the dog-ate-my-homework excuse of “Hillary started it.” When asked how to heal race relations, he insisted on more police harassment of black people. His statements about Mexicans and Muslims are just as deplorable.

This brings me to his bragging about groping women. Locker room talk often  includes crude discussions of women’s bodies but none of the men I’ve known has boasted about coercion like Trump has. Also Trump isn’t somebody cowed by peer pressure to play along with the discussion on that bus video. He is the man steering the conversation. When real women reported instances of Trump groping them, Trump’s surrogates had the gall to accuse the media of bias for covering that story instead of Monica Lewinsky.

I think I understand Trump’s supporters. America’s business and political leaders have turned their backs on many working Americans, including me. For all his flaws Trump was perceptive to point this out. Because he’s rich, many hoped he would not be in debt to campaign contributors. It’s a good message but given Trump’s totalitarian tendencies, lying, sexism, and bigotry, he would be a disaster as president.