My day has been thrown off course by a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Revenge of the ‘Deplorables‘” is an excellent long read – asking what’s behind the growing distrust in government institutions and conventional media.
The report asks whether Brexit and Trump are “a triumph of democracy or a threat to it?”
The headline is the EIU’s downgrading of the US from a full to a “flawed” democracy in its Democracy Index 2016 but with this key caveat – the election of Mr Trump as US president “was in large part a consequence of the longstanding problems of democracy in the US.” It’s been a long time coming.
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As Americans in the west woke up to the awful news from Florida, I was on my way to the Ben Avery shooting range in the desert north of Phoenix Arizona, to meet three gun enthusiasts – Carol Ruh, president of the Arizona Ladies Shooting Association, her husband Pete Ruh, and the group’s Treasurer Debbie Arnold. I’m recording a documentary for BBC Radio to air this September. The brief is, “what do Americans really think?” Continue reading →
I was waiting for an Uber on the Vegas Strip last night, looking up wide-eyed at some of the crazy crowded exuberant neon skyline. From the casinos of Caesar’s Palace to The Mirage to Treasure Island. Next , perfectly framed in the top of a palm tree against a purple sky, was the shining golden name “Trump”, set on top of his shining golden tower. Continue reading →
Eight years ago, black Americans were talking about pride and history – Barack Obama in the White House. In the last two days, I’ve been hearing stories of frustration and disappointment. Not with him – the people I’ve been talking to in Los Angeles have mostly been his liberal supporters. But with what they think his elevation unleashed in some of their fellow Americans. Continue reading →
When the dawn comes, I’ll be able to see palm trees. That’s jet lag in Los Angeles for you. I’ve surfaced in an eccentric little house in somebody’s back yard – built purely I reckon for the AirBNB economy – eager for daylight and a bike ride down to Venice beach.
The last time I blogged, it was with the confident expectation that Donald Trump would by now be a footnote in American political history. Ha! Now it’s California primary day. Continue reading →
For anyone following the twists and turns of the Obama administration’s reaction to Wikileaks, this is essential reading.
P.J. Crowley makes the wider point – and makes it well – that “the United States should set the global standard for treatment of its citizens – and then exceed it.”
Ex-US state department spokesman PJ Crowley, who quit after criticising the treatment of the man accused of leaking secret cables to Wikileaks, has told BBC World News he has no regrets.
He resigned under heavy political pressure after describing the Pentagon’s treatment of Bradley Manning as “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid” – as reported on this blog.
Talking for the first time in an exclusive interview with HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur, PJ Crowley said that the treatment of Bradley Manning was undermining “a very legitimate” effort to prosecute him.
The following are key quotes from the full interview with PJ Crowley.
Please credit HARDtalk on BBC World News:
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Daniel Ellsberg – the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers – was described by Henry Kissinger as The Most Dangerous Man in America. Today he came to talk to the Nieman fellows and in the course of a very intense lunch hour, we covered Wikileaks and whistleblowers, secrets and lies, sex and acid trips. Whew. Continue reading →
I’ve given an interview about this blog – and what happened after my post about Bradley Manning & P J Crowley. It’s part of a programme with New York TV host Brian Lehrer called “Citizens cover the Uprisings”. I apologise in advance for alarming any viewers by being scarily close up to the camera on Skype, and gosh do I really have such a terribly British accent?
On Thursday I published a short story here about the U.S. State Department spokesman’s view that the Department of Defence is being “ridiculous and counter-productive and stupid” in its treatment of Wikileaks whistleblower Private Bradley Manning.
On Friday, President Obama was questioned about it.
On Sunday, the spokesman P.J. Crowley resigned.
I’m writing this because I’ve been a reporter for the BBC for two decades, broadcasting through the traditional mass media of television and radio – and now as an individual, I’ve learned at first hand the power of the blog. Continue reading →