I enjoy twitter as much as the next person, it is what it is, yet people get so uptight about Twitter's 'stealth' or 'shadow banning', it's nuanced, complicated, but Twitter's a private company; they have the right to ban or block.
Free speech is all important and there's plenty of platforms to exercise that right. Find it and find your audience. I wish us all the best of good luck.
Matt Drudge is probably the world's most popular website, he is a muckraker like no other, and he has strong opinions, referring to the major sites as ghettos, designed to demoralize people and encourage groupthink.
“I don’t know why they’ve been successful in pushing everybody into these little ghettos, these Facebooks, these tweets, these Instagrams, this is ghetto. This is corporate. They’re taking your energy, and you’re getting nothing in return.”
Perhaps. Yet Matt Drudge still uses Twitter. Trump gets the value ad. Along with all the rest. It's all apart of the game.
Winter's are long in Piemonte, isolation sets in and the battle to stay focused on indoor projects continues for what feels like forever.
Then the frost falls away, the weather warms up. Items stored over winter come out, a little bit faded acting like a mirror, reminding, as if necessary, we're all fading in various ways. It always feels like I just put that away and yet now it's time to bring it back out. That's enough to make me smile. It feels like time travel.
I enjoy the seasons, they reflect the cycles of life. News over winter has been good, we're cautiously optimistic even if age brings along it's own issues. The best way to acknowledge age is to let it happen and know that it's been earned. There's simply too little to complain about and so much to celebrate.
Looking forward to projects as they unfold,
looking forward to creating color....
If you drive through Italy it appears as if some towns are dying while others are thriving. The bright young grads from Bocconi leave, only to come back, as do the other young and restless.
Lake Garda, here up north, not far from Verona, not so far from Venice, is one of those towns that continues to thrive, in spite of globalization. In spite of it all.
It's awfully pretty and awfully special and holds a key to my heart. It was our first home away from home, even before Rome.
"United we stand, divided we fall": letter by President Donald Tusk to the 27 EU heads of state or government on the future of the EU before the Malta summit
In order to best prepare our discussion in Malta about the future of the European Union of 27 member states, and in light of the conversations I have had with some of you, let me put forward a few reflections that I believe most of us share.
The challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome. Today we are dealing with three threats, which have previously not occurred, at least not on such a scale.
The first threat, an external one, is related to the new geopolitical situation in the world and around Europe. An increasingly, let us call it, assertive China, especially on the seas, Russia's aggressive policy towards Ukraine and its neighbours, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role, as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable. For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best. Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.
My risotto Milanese was molto buono, or so I was told. The saffron used was grown locally, brought over by a kind neighbor, so how could it possibly go wrong. And I did have Italian women inspecting and stirring right alongside.
Once we'd sat down to eat, a 70 year old Italian businessman wearily tried to educate me on Italian contracts, growing wearier the longer it took to explain. And he tried. It's why he does business elsewhere. The issue being it's is so arbitrary, it's why it's practically impossible for anyone to do business, even the insiders. And I can assure you from what I've heard, and I've heard an earful, it's getting worse. It's why the brightest and the Bocconi grads (Italy's Harvard) leave. But they always come back. They always come back.
Still, Italy remains a country full of family owned businesses, self-employed people and tourism experts, it's how it survives, it's why it remains the second largest exporter in Europe; it's part of the mystery of Italy.
I listen to housewives missing the lira and deflation has been a problem, I listen to northern Italians complain about the south. It's not unlike Germany's complaint, they'd love the other member states to follow their economic model. Yet they all know and they all agree the EU is more powerful united rather than divided.
As I've said repeatedly, diversity isn't necessarily a bad thing and it could be a very good thing for the EU. Time to stand alone and be strong.
Everyone's trying to undermine the EU but they've been doing this for decades. And listen, adversity can be a good thing. It worked for 13 colonies back then and could well work for the modern project that is the EU today.
But it's messy. The ECB controls monetary policy and the member states control fiscal policy. This is precisely why the EU needs to be fixed and federalized.
Merkel may not win, but even if Martin Schulz comes into play politically, which he will, he too is a federalist.
In France, Le Pen has only 27% which means 70% are against. And 70% will vote against her in the second round because De Gaulle ensured the President is elected by the majority, not the minority. The president has an awful lot of power in France, it's important people like him.
The Dutch, well that's tricky. I've lived there and understand their business culture, historically the country's full of merchants and the Dutch are inherently conservative. It's also tightly packed so immigration has become a problem. Geert Wilders may be elected but even he doesn't want to leave the EU, he just doesn't want it enlarged. Or so his platform suggests. He's extremist. But again, a country full of merchants. He could be a wild card. I think we're getting used to all the wild cards being dealt.
And as much as the contamination coming from the American and English press infects, through faux memes and information short on detail, the EU and Europe's cultural realities do remain as vital as ever.
Yet Merkel remains in place and it looks like she just might win again.
And Trump has issues with Germany. Of course he has issues, they're a modern economic miracle that still manufacturers stuff.
Also, Trump understands the power and competition the EU represents. Like everyone else, for so many decades, he too will do everything in his power to undermine the EU. That's unfortunate from where I sit at the geographical table - as an American, invested in Europe.
Free movement and a common currency are key and contrary to what anyone else is saying, all the members want to stay in; Germany's now taking in 1/5 the refugees and yes, the damage has been done, and yes, Europe continues to deal with the damage done by others. This is what they do.
But it was funny how Trump bullied the Germans, insisting they start buying American cars. Germany's reply, 'Build better cars". And no, Germany is not known for its diplomacy, that's what France is for.
Malta is happy, they're acting as rotating Prez for the EU, and even though their Labor party wasn't enthusiastic about joining the EU back then; they're sure happy they did today. 400,000 happy Maltese.
And Romania is doing well, roads and infrastructure in good shape, data is good, corruption diminishing, a disproportionate number of engineers working, no wonder they love Germany.
Italy, well, Italy remains a mystery, 50 entirely separate regions going about their business in their own mysterious way. I'm not certain they'll ever be properly motivated to address their bureaucracy; the last thing they want is the government getting in their way. Even if they want to encourage their smart young corporate set to come back home and cut their taxes; this would entail the government intervening.
We'll just have to wait and see. I simply wish the EU would act independently. Perhaps they'll be inspired to do just that; it's never been fun to be a client state of the US. And why not get rid of NATO, it'd hurt in the short term, but then they could have their own army, become their own truly independent European Union. Wouldn't that be something.
If only German would partner with Russia; then it's be game over. But that's precisely why everyone makes sure that doesn't happen. But we'll just have to wait and see...
For all the right reasons Rome keeps asking us back. Every once in a while I'd have to simply stop and wonder how and why we chose Rome. It was surreal living there, when we did, for 3 yrs, even when it felt too heavy, the heavy history, the heavy emotion, yet steady trips provide short bursts, with just enough time to properly enjoy the Eternal City.
Sunny, with just the right light; she looks absolutely fantastic.
Odd I never noticed this shop before, perhaps it's new, perhaps Papa does shops there, or someone shops for him; who knows.
It's located next to the Pantheon, a familiar place where I spent a lot of time, where you can walk by several shops full of clerical apparel for Priests and Nuns - yet I'd never seen a shop for Cardinals.
Even their socks! And those beautiful black felt hats...
I've yet to meet an Italian, man or woman, who can't cook really, really well. After a 3 hr luxuriously simple and fresh lunch, immense and never yet too too, this friend serves what he has available; Jamaican Rum and Hungarian bitters.
I opted for the rum - it may have been my first time; after a few sips I couldn't feel my lips.
I'm just grateful we have reason to visit as often as possible. We've got a friend from Milan who escapes to his flat, to this postcard town overlooking the Med; we could actually see Corsica the other day from his indoor terrace. Perhaps you can't, but we could, in the distance.
This medieval village is located on the Ligurian coast and still, I'm amazed it takes but one hour from our home to get to the Med, then one more hour and we're in Lingueglietta. Such a stunning town. The bougainvillea remains in full bloom, the olive trees are everywhere, looking forward to our next trip. It's the loveliest little town.
It's hard to convey just how exhausted Americans feel after 4 decades of Clinton scandals. Even Clinton's supporters said voting for her was hard, but they would, and they did, without success.
And let's not discount Alt media, now a counterbalance to MSM. Although most live in an echo chamber, Alt media has punctured through the mainstream narrative, it's growing daily, while MSM, as pretty as the presenters appear due to good lighting and high production values - the internet has created a fractionalized society.
For those still bewildered and a little curious, 3 items that probably drove the vote towards Trump.
1) Alt media does not like identity politics and the more the MSM tried to hammer that message, the more this made independents and undecided voters go underground. They, along with Trump enthusiasts, were simply waiting to flip the finger at the political establishment; and it would appear they did, with success.
2) Trump rallies were full of new voters. Cynical voters and Americans having lived through too many election cycles stayed home. New, energized voters don't wait in line, up to 6 hours for nothing.
3) Immigrants. The ones that worked hard to get to America, legally, people that spent years making what felt like a Hurculean effort to obtain legal status didn't appreciate illegals given preferential treatment. All one has to do was watch that bizarre video where Obama strongly suggested the simple act of voting meant you are a citizen. That probably helped Trump.
ME? I didn't vote and I'm sympathetic to both sides, we're a binary bunch, this much is obvious. I'm no fan of speeches and promises, I've always lived with and judged others by their actions. We'll just have to wait and see. Matt Drudge, per usual, proved pivotal, Alex jones is simply a machine that cannot be stopped and Wikileaks, well, Assange just may get a pardon.
We'll just have to wait and relax, the election is over. The office the President holds is bigger than the person that lives within it. For better or worse, it's time for Trumpland.
I think it stunned a lot of people, this video. Perhaps I wouldn't find it so odd if I hadn't resided or domiciled in so many countries, legally; a process not only difficult and often complicated but practically impossible or so it could seem at times.
I realize he's politically motivated, but still, enough to stun.