Saturday, 21 January 2017

NZ Women lead the way to Washington





These women got an idea…they worked together far, far, better than most men and converted their ideas and dreams into reality.
They coordinated, collaborated and organised in the proven best ways possible. 

They didn’t rely on MSM to report their activities, after all Trump and his cronies and the rest of the 1% own all the media.




They designed dynamic posters like this one, they printed it off and using social media rather than MSM they sent it to be considered by the rest of the worlds right thinking women. 

Thousands of other women accepted their plight in regard to the arrival of a ‘pussy’ grabbing, thrice married, uneducated ‘daddies’ boy who has never done a hard day’s work in his life, has lived off his Daddy and avoided military service via legal manipulation and outright lies. Oh and he pays stuff all tax




 
This led to other highly brilliant women, coming up with cartoons like this. What it clearly expounds and that women can and do learn from their children.

The message is simple older people need to listen to younger people…I mean really listen.

These women were so successful that millions of willing supporters took to the streets across the entire world to express their solidarity with each other.














Here in New Zealand the women rallied and gathered together in wonderful solidarity, these thousands assembled in Wellington to express their understanding of the predicament that the US now finds itself. Governed by billionaires and nut case ex-generals whom can’t wait to start even further wars.





These thousands gathered together in Auckland to show that they too understood the fear that American women face while being led by obviously demented idiot…these people understand that American has been at constant war with world since world war two ended,


To prove how bias our main stream media is have a look at the Video of the protest march in Auckland being shown…and they call it a few hundred, and refer to the fact that a few right-wingers turned up to support Trump.  

Right at this very moment the Women’s March on Washington in protest at the Donald Trumps of the US and the world is in full swing. The message was clear…Women matter, Black lives matter, truth matters and the hundreds of thousands present representing themselves and millions of others. They showed by their wonderful speeches that standing up and speaking out is a vital part of organising a movement that can and will bring change.
I have watched wrapt and engrossed in the emotion radiated by the many women speakers at the Washington gathering. Their words were the words of pure emotion of both power and modesty…not for them the boastfulness of billionaire Donald Trump, the weird attitude of the millionaire Bob Jones’s attack on beggars.
Not for them an attack on the weak, bluster of KKK style racism, there were no ravings of the ‘Hobsons Pledge’ mob.
The march on Washington was an indicator of a new approach by the masses to change the world’s style of leadership based on fear and hate. Donald Trump was a step back in history, back to the age of Hitler, Clinton too represents the past. But these women clearly offered a new way forward…a community answer to the hate, murder both legal and illegal. To the world they sent the message of hope, not bull shit promises, they explained the hard work ahead…rats don’t die easily.
The battle for freedom in the US, freedom from slavery, freedom from legal oppression by police and the military elite is underway. These few obey their orders and carry out the criminal extra-judicious orders of the unelected corrupt US cabinet led by a man who sees himself as Hitler-like and makes states from the comic book ‘Batman’ during his acceptance speech.

Reference: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/88650895/women-descend-on-washington-dc-to-push-back-against-new-us-president 


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Rosemary McLeod a true journalist.





Earlier this week I published a blog on the subject of poverty and greed, well this morning while at the ‘Eyes on Broadway’ having my eyes checked, I picked up the Dominion and read Rosemary McLeod’s opinion piece on the subject of NZ’s billionaires.

Her brilliant comments about stupid Steven Joyce and his idiotic comments were just so true and to the point.Yes honesty amongst some journalists may still exist...
Where have all our so called investigative reporters gone…do any still exist. Here is what she wrote and as weird as it may sound the Dominion actually published it, uncut I presume.   

OPINION: Your definition of obscenity may be what Donald Trump is accused of getting up to in a hotel in Russia. Mine is about the money he's worth, which is more obscene than any random combination of adult orifices could be.

I don't hold with billionaires. The news this week that two New Zealanders are worth as much as the poorest 30 per cent of adults here is, then, not thrilling news to me. We're told that Graeme Hart is worth $9 billion and Richard Chandler $3.8 billion, and Finance Minister Steven Joyce seems to think that's a good thing. Just so long as everyone gets the chance to get that rich, he says, there's nothing to worry about; besides which, lots of people are motivated by such trailblazers.

Oh really. Tell that to the families living in cars and garages while landlords hike up rents. Tell it to sick kids in poor families who can't get them to the doctor, and to all the kids who go without food. You don't hear billionaires offering solutions to that. You hear about their superyachts, and the pretty girlfriends they woo with their wallets.
Graeme Hart

We are right in fashion with our economic dysfunction, as if that's a comfort. Eight billionaires now have as much combined wealth as the poorer half of the whole world, Oxfam says. Its British chief executive, Mark Goldring, calls that beyond grotesque, and that's an understatement.

Yes, some people will be motivated by the sight of an ugly superyacht moored in their harbour, and will aspire to own something even bigger and uglier. Half of them will be rewarded with jail sentences, and the other half are likely to have been well educated, well fed, and comfortably housed from birth, with family money to back them if they stumble, and good connections to jolly them along if they falter. They will not be among the one in five New Zealanders who live in poverty, and are as likely to get rich as I, who don't play chess, am to become a grand master.

The Harts and Chandlers of this world are not an inspiration to the bottom 30 per cent. They neither know nor care about them. They'd like simple things like a job with fair pay that can support their family, and a home to call their own, but they have a fat chance of that, with home ownership shrinking at an alarming rate while property values soar.
Richard Chandler

The moderately rich farm the less rich as tenants, who live in their investments without the benefit of rent control, and with minimal security of tenure. If that's emulating billionaires it shows how socially irresponsible the rich are.

As Oxfam says in its report this week, big businesses are "structured to dodge taxes, drive down workers' wages and squeeze producers instead of contributing to an economy that benefits everyone".
I'm old enough to remember trade unions, and belonged to one. Now the only unions I notice footing it with employers are white collar – police, junior doctors, and teachers. Meanwhile, people on welfare who can't work face ritual humiliations to get an income that Hart and Chandler would fritter away over a single lunch, call it work, and write off to expenses. And Joyce suggests they're role models.

Hart and Chandler are immune to our social problems because they live overseas. Their nostrils never recoil from the smell of poverty because they never get close enough. They could never spend their wealth if they worked at it full-time for the rest of their lives.

A few very rich people – Bill Gates, Warren  Buffett – willingly share their riches. The rest call avoiding tax good business practice. I've heard Donald Trump, another billionaire, on that theme, and can only marvel at the suckers who voted for him believing that somehow his wealth will trickle down on them.

There is no trickle down. It does not happen. The very rich are too mean to share their sandwiches, let alone their dollars, as my family's experience with the merely moderately well-off would suggest.
My great-grandmother was a dairy maid on a colonial station. She had no diamonds. Her daughter, my grandmother, was a servant to various families, one of which memorably gave her a set of weird white Wedgewood stuff of no discernible use as a parting gift. It had "rejected wedding present" written all over it. As for my mother, who worked as a housekeeper for a while, I remember her being given a pair of white slip-on shoes that the daughter of one house had grown out of. Such largesse, and they were too small for either of us

We all saw a wonderful example of the wealthy donating other peoples money when John Key donated $13.7 million dollars to the Clinton Trust the only problem was…it was NZ tax-payers hard earned cash. Couple that will his five million dollar gift to Hollywood, who in turned backed the Democratic Party push for Hillary Clinton. No wonder Key slid out of the PM's job once his donation was revealed.

References:

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Poverty you can have an effect.




Poverty:
Introduction: One can spend hours and hours looking into the subject of poverty, one can speculate on the causes and reasons for poverty. Be they economic, financial or social they affect billions throughout the world and hundreds of thousands here in NZ.

The Greens and others suggest that ‘Poverty and especially Child poverty is a major issue but others disagree: They consider that poverty in real terms simply does not exist here in NZ. Below are the comments made by an unnamed reply to a blog on the issue of the greens approach to poverty, it is an interesting insight into the blindness that exists with many of our citizens and especially older white folks:

In trying to align themselves with the NZ ‘Poverty Industry’ they are doing themselves, this country and the billions of people around the world in genuine poverty a huge disservice, and making a complete mockery of the word poverty. To then try and make money for their own political purposes is hypocrisy of the highest order.

The problem in NZ is the definition of ‘poverty’ – currently this seems to be if you live in a household with less than 50% or 60% of median disposable income. This is how all these ‘magical’ figures of 270,000 children ‘living in poverty’ in NZ suddenly appear.

Even those with an elementary understanding of Statistics and Mathematics must realize that by this definition we will always have 270,000 children ‘living in poverty’. We could be the richest nation in the world, with the highest living standards (oh that's right we nearly are) – and by these definitions we would still have the same number of children ‘living in poverty’.
If you are interested in these definitions have a look at http://www.nzchildren.co.nz/child_poverty.php
Let’s have a look at a little of the detail of what ‘living in poverty’ is from this well-meaning web site:
Deprivation in this table is:
went without music or dance
involvement in sport had to be limited
unable to pay for school trip
lack of friends at a birthday party
lack of one weeks holiday away from home last year
lack of computer
lack of internet access
You see – this is deprivation and poverty in New Zealand, for which the Greens want to fleece the gullible and stupid for money to run endless political campaigns on. A problem that by definition can never go away.
This is a gross insult to the real poor in the world – children that living in developing world slums, that are coerced into forced labour at age 5 or less, sold into prostitution before puberty, are lucky to eat twice a week….the list goes on.
In NZ – I am a child in deprivation if I don’t have a computer or internet access. It surely seems to be a huge problem. [signed Ross]

But not all agreed with the above, by clearly pointing out the half-truths spouted in defence of doing nothing and pretending the problem doesn’t exist, or if it does that nothing need be done. This is typical neoliberalist propaganda at its worst. Poverty matters because it leads to various social and community upheaval that later we all [other than the wealthy] have to pay for via our taxes and reduced or overloaded social services.   

bsprout said…
Ross, I think there must be some sort of conspiracy because the Children’s Commissioner, Health professionals, University academics, mainstream television, the New Zealand Institute (supported by the Business Round table), most political parties and schools are all saying that we have a huge problem with child poverty. Yet despite this you are suggesting that they are all “pretending”. Can you please share the institutions, organisations or researches that are providing the information you are using to expose this conspiracy. I would be grateful if you could provide links like I have done below to prove that what your claim isn’t just something that you have just invented by yourself.
http://www.occ.org.nz/home/childpoverty
http://www.nzchildren.co.nz/child_poverty.php
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/7655339/Child-poverty-our-biggest-enemy
http://www.tv3.co.nz/Shows/InsideNZ/InsideChildPovertyASpecialReport.aspx
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/social-issues/news/article.cfm?c_id=87&objectid=10839028
http://www.nzinstitute.org/index.php/nzahead/measures/income_inequality/
And…
By the way, Ross, you were very selective with what you chose as some of the indicators for poverty and should have also included:
-Sharing a bed
-Continuing to wear worn out clothing and shoes
-Serious health problems
-Not being able to afford meat or fresh vegetables regularly
-having to live in a house that is difficult to keep warm and has major issues with dampness.

The Ross’s of this world obviously live very sheltered existences, technological changes have given us a new insight into poverty and its effects on health and education, housing and life in general. What technology has not done for many over forty or fifty is bring about meaningful attitude change about where the blame is laid for poverty as it now actually exists. 

Politically we can seriously consider the human ramifications of doing nothing if we continue to vote the way we do. I believe we need to reconsider our position regarding poverty and the ever growing gap between the rich and poor. This year is the year for action.

If you can meet with others and discuss the issue, join community and maybe church groupings, that’s a first step. Try were possible to forget being judgmental, forget the blame game and instead step onto the doing machine every little bit helps and your help is vital.      

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accumulation_by_dispossession

Friday, 23 December 2016

A View of 2016


I just had to share this absolutely fantastic effort from Steve Braunias, it is long but it tells it as it is... and over the holidays you should make time to read and consider the irony of our age. Have a happy Christmas and New Year.

 

Steve Braunias: 2016 - the way we were

New Zealand Herald
Every single time I shop at my local dairy, the owner asks, "Busy day?" Sometimes it's a statement, rather than a question: "Busy day." Now and then there's an exciting variation, and he repeats himself: "Busy day, busy day."
He says it on Mondays with the same conviction as when he says it Sundays, when you'd think he'd give it a rest. Some days I'm busy and sometimes I'm not but he doesn't allow any choice on the matter. It's a stressful encounter. I stand there with my milk and biscuits and flyspray, and his statement makes me feel anxious, harried, under pressure - I should get a move on, put my shoulder to the wheel as soon as possible, because my life, apparently, is so constantly and remarkably busy.

The thing is that he says it to all his customers. "Busy day." His message is indiscriminate and unchanging. "Busy day." Any repeated chant takes on the appearance of a profound truth. "Busy day."
That's the other thing about this convenience store prophet: he's right. It's true. We're all busy. We're all flat-out.

We're all go, go, go, and it's not just the usual petty demands on our time - work, family, household chores, the internet god. He's talking about our lives as private citizens in the second decade of our online, post-GFC century. We're busy coping with it, dealing with it, maybe profiting from it, or just navigating our way through it, clinging to the various wreckages of capitalism - mostly, or most profoundly, we're busy worrying.

We're worrying 24/7. We're worrying busy day and busy night, our heads aching with the central anxiety of what the world's coming to and how soon it's going to tear itself off its hinges.
Yes, alright, when doesn't it feel like that? The world's long been going to hell in a hat. But there is a new threat in town. Right now, this minute, this very second, this Christmas and New Year, as 2016 creaks towards 2017, that reliable old condition of human existence - fear - has its pulse ratcheted up high as we approach the Age of Trump.

Trump, on his way; Trump, saddling up. We're on the verge of it. We're waiting to see what's the worst that can happen. We're about to enter a grave new world. We're on the edge of something that may or may not be an abyss.
You look to literature or some kind of art to find an expression of these times and maybe the best example is something written with such a level of fear and foreboding that the title of it is the date it was composed: September 1, 1939. WH Auden wrote his famous poem at the outbreak of World War II. "Defenceless under the night," he writes, "Our world in stupor lies." Quite.

The poem begins with Auden contemplating the near and terrible future as he sits in one of the dives on Fifty-Second Street. He meant a Manhattan bar called Dizzy's Club on West Fifty-Second. You could walk from that location now up Eighth Avenue, turn right into West Fifty-Seventh, go past Carnegie Hall, keep walking, and all up it would only take 15 minutes on foot to reach the stupefying command post of the President-Elect, Trump Tower.

You can mark the spot with the same words that Auden wrote about another crisis at hand: Waves of anger and fear / Circulate over the bright / And darkened lands of the earth, / Obsessing our private lives.
Donald in charge. What's he gonna do? What's gonna happen? The fear of barbarians at the gate has passed: there is no gate. Trump trashed it, and his billionaire cabinet o' barbarians are working on the terms and conditions of 2017. All that's left in this last week of 2016 is to worry, and maybe there's some kind of value or wan satisfaction to be had in looking back on the year to inspect the trail of breadcrumbs that led to Trump's election win.

I interviewed British writer Andrew O'Hagan in March. He was in Wellington as a guest of the international arts festival. Everywhere he went, people mistook him for John Key - they have the same beak sticking out of the same floppy, happy face. But the illusion was shattered as soon as O'Hagan opened his mouth, because he spoke English, and had interesting things to say.
Trump, back then, was merely a contender for the Republican nomination. Already his rallies were cause, as they say, for concern.

I said to O'Hagan that I thought of them as a "lifting up of nastiness". He said, "Oh God. I fear that you're right. What we're witnessing is a supernatural communal turn towards something deeply sinister. He summons everything that's worst about the American character and sells it back to them as virtue."

Then I said, "I was reprimanding writers over drinks last night about them being too sanguine about Trump, and finding him 'amusing'. I told them off to a standstill. I said that Trump was a juggernaut, a train gathering momentum, and that assuming he would gain the nomination, and goes up against Clinton, he has a very real chance of winning and that they ought not be so complacent or so 'amused'."
He said, "I'm with you on that. I think it is a juggernaut. Nobody ever went poor underestimating the taste of the American public. They could really go for this guy. He appeals directly to something vengeful and self-loathing in the American character. They look at that guy and see a reflection of something very essential to themselves. That is a frightening energy. And it could get out of control. It already is out of control."
What we're witnessing is a supernatural communal turn towards something deeply sinister. He summons everything that's worst about the American character and sells it back to them as virtue.
Out of control; and now, in control. How bad is it going to be? What are we about to live through? Time magazine's Person of the Year invokes the living subject of Auden's great poem - Hitler - but surely his madness is not so epic, not so ... mad.

Maybe the worst of it is going to be contained, as much as his reckless contribution to super-sized global heating can be contained, likewise his apparent determination to accelerate the capitalist impulse in America and further widen the canyon between rich and poor. As Gore Vidal once put it, in an essay on tax, "We [America] do not waste our billions weakening the moral fibre of the American yeoman by building him roads and schools or by giving him medical care and decent housing. We [prefer] that public money not to go to the people but to big business. The result is a unique society in which we have free enterprise for the poor and socialism for the rich."
Bad enough, but if Trump is preoccupied with rewarding American winners and punishing American losers ("You're fired!") then that's America's problem. Not our problem. None of our business, as Alan Duff wrote in the Herald about the tragedy at Aleppo.

The problem that makes it our business is Trump's relationship with the wider world. Foreign policy, Pax Americana, the empire strikes back, all that sort of thing. Even there maybe his danger is limited. Tempting to see Trump as Putin's bitch, his sheer incompetence haplessly conspiring to Make Russia Great Again.
It seems more likely, though, that Trump will do the world harm. "I'm gonna blow the hell out of Isis!" Cool, all good, please do. But how? Where? At what cost, at what consequence? I was talking with a senior National MP recently about Trump. He said watching the election result in Parliament was like attending a funeral. And then he buried his head in his hands, and said: "God help us all."
 
Rogue One, starring Trump. Run for your lives. This is not a drill. This is, potentially, a state of emergency. I watched Trump's election win on TV and felt afraid, felt that these were the beginning of end times. My thoughts were for my family's safety. Panic in the streets of Te Atatu: I rushed up to the dairy to replenish the household survival kit. I bought a 20-roll packet of toilet paper and a dozen bottles of drinking water. Pale, shaky, fear ringing in my ears like a bell, I approached the counter, and was told: "Busy day."
"Yes," I said. "Busy day. Very, very busy day! Exceptionally busy day."
Busy year: a week later I was cowering under a hotel table in Wellington at midnight during the earthquake. Strange to experience something that actually really is earth-shattering.
I was on the eighth floor and the hotel swayed and banged and it was terrifying and I assumed it would result in death, a great crashing from above, everything falling loose in a downward stampede. Certainly it made it difficult to sleep.

Strange, too, to feel a connection with a hermit who lives in the bush; Tess McClure at Radio New Zealand conducted an amazing interview with an honest to God hermit, Pete of Kaikoura, who described what the earthquake felt like in his hut in the ferns: "Can you imagine the noise? It was like being inside the Big Bang. It was like the universe was exploding, almost like there was nobody there to hear it - it was so enormous and chaotic it was like there was nobody left to be afraid. It was just totally consuming. And the smell of the earth, that was extraordinary. The earth splitting."

The earth splitting. He was somewhat closer to the seismic revolt than I was in my room on Cuba St in downtown Wellington. But there it was, a connection; what he went through and I went through, what everyone who felt it went through, was an intimation of world's end. And the urge, too, to be with others was the same.
Continued below.

Pete the hermit has lived in the bush above the Kaikoura coast for over 30 years, but the earthquake had him hoof it into town: "I found it difficult in the first three or four days just to be on my own ... I normally love being up here and it has to be a serious excuse to go down to the village. But it was really necessary that I be around people."

Maybe about 100 guests at my hotel spent the night in the lobby. Aftershocks had them gasping and trembling, and unwilling to face it alone. It was touching and actually kind of beautiful to witness. One of New Zealand's foundation myths is the belief that we rally around our neighbours in times of trouble, that we lend a hand, and here it was in action, the kindness of strangers, people offering comfort and practical help to those in need. A lot of people were freaked out. Some ran for it, literally, into the streets; some got in their car and got out of Dodge; most stayed put, and a truth was revealed - people want to be looked after.

Two old ducks in matching nighties were among those too afraid to go back to their rooms. Heroically, with determined jaw and steady nerve, I offered to walk upstairs despite the aftershocks and get things from their room that they might need - medication, clothes, toothpaste. But some other hero had acted quicker. I was quite annoyed about that.
Can you imagine the noise? It was like being inside the Big Bang. It was like the universe was exploding, almost like there was nobody there to hear it - it was so enormous and chaotic it was like there was nobody left to be afraid.
Pete, the hermit of Kaikoura
The earthquake was the most shocking event in New Zealand life in 2016 and the scenes in that hotel played out like a kind of dress rehearsal or vision of how things might be in the event of an even more serious crisis. People will panic. People will act fast to save their own skins. People will be on hand to restore order and provide support.

I look to football for moral guidance and have long been stirred by the story of the Manchester United air disaster in 1958, when 23 passengers including eight players were killed in a failed take-off at Munich airport; one of the survivors, goalkeeper Harry Gregg, emerged from the smoking wreckage and called out for help: "C'mon lads, where are you?" They came running. Many passengers were rescued.
I am describing natural disasters and instances of trauma because of the Age of Trump. The theme is crisis. There is already the sense of things falling apart in the decent society of New Zealand - child poverty, homelessness.

When the earthquake tipped Wellington and the top of the South Island out of bed, and into the streets - from my hotel room I watched the headlights of cars shining on top of Mt Victoria, heading for higher ground - another strange connection was made. To be evacuated is to be made, or at least feel, homeless. Who knew when they'd be able to return, and if there was anything left standing to return to? The immediate hours after the earthquake were dominated by that one ugly little word with its vowels sticking out everywhere: tsunami.

It was an interesting night. The aftershocks swayed the hotel from side to side like a palm tree in a breeze. Now and then I returned under the table in my room to cower. I looked at the convoy headed for Mt Victoria, I said no to an interview request from an Israeli TV news channel, I imagined the sea being sucked out and then returning, tsunamically. I stepped out on to Cuba St and wondered about the fate of the homeless guy I'd seen earlier that night trying to earn a few coins in the doorway of a shop by playing drums on a couple of cardboard boxes.

An earthquake might be the worst time to be homeless but there is no best time to be homeless. We were taught this lesson throughout the year. Homelessness, and child poverty, became the central ills of New Zealand life in 2016, although the Government will not allow talk of a housing "crisis".
John Key and broadcaster Mike Hosking acted out a comedy masterpiece in a Newstalk ZB interview this year when they got stuck into the big subjects.
Hosking: "Now this child poverty report today, do you believe that there is anything in there? Do you think there are 41,000 homeless people living in this country?"
Key: "No."
Hosking: "Right, neither do I. [Metiria] Turei was on the programme this morning saying that people who are sleeping on their cousin's couch are homeless."
Key: "But they are not homeless."
Hosking: "I agree."
Key: " They are not homeless."
Hosking: "What we have here as a country is 3.5 per cent growth maybe heading towards four, and one of the most prosperous successful economies on God's earth at the moment."
Key: "And some of these issues [of homelessness] are driven by the fact that kids are living in very poor family conditions where there might be drugs in the household."

Back in the real world, I remember an afternoon this year on the lower slopes of the Seddon Memorial. I was interviewing a man about a guy who had chosen to be become homeless; he had family and friends, but he was disturbed, and ended his days sleeping in an old military concrete bunker built into rock just above Tamaki Drive.
It was a sad story. It didn't have any relation to the wider issue of homelessness. No one and nothing was to blame. The man who I was interviewing had spoken to him not long before he died; we sat on the grass and looked out over the shining Waitemata. And then he pointed to a carpark on a promontory on Tamaki Drive, a horseshoe-shaped space for motorists to stop and get in some fishing on the tide.

He said, "That'll be full tonight with people sleeping in their cars. Every night. Been that way most of the year."
Displaced people. The unhomed, in cars and on couches, on the wrong side of the canyon that separates rich and poor, in the place we are all desire, in pretty, sunny Auckland, that city of accidental millionaires - the homeowners of suburbia, who woke up this year to find they were sitting on a goldmine.

I'm one of them, just another schnook who bought a house in the suburbs that rapidly doubled its value. I'm alright Jack. I'm sorted. I could sell up and join the rest of the Auckland exodus, swanning around mortgage-free in the quiet provinces or further afield - I ran into a couple this year who'd sold up in Papakura and were running a night market food stall on Rarotonga. They seemed pretty happy. I didn't see any sign they were worrying 24/7, although the concept of the Age of Trump was never far away, even in the lagoony paradise of the Cook Islands. It was there, talked about at dinner, around the pool, a subject that hovered somewhere beyond the reef.
At least we're all about to have a break from worrying about it. Christmas and the New Year in summertime. Family fun in the sun. We can forget the wretched Donald, and put our heads in the sea.

We can cheer up. It might never happen. Or we can take hope, and look to another work of art to find an expression of these times: the YouTube video of Patti Smith at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, singing Bob Dylan's A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, 1,588,686 views and counting, the world gathering around this campfire hymn written in an earlier time when the planet was teetering on the edge of disaster.
"I started crying almost immediately," wrote the best music writer in the world today, Amanda Petrusich, in the New Yorker. "The entire performance felt like a fierce and instantaneous corrective to times like these - a reiteration of the deep, overwhelming, and practical utility of art to combat pain."
She summarised the song, with its images of the apocalypse: "Who hasn't, in a moment of true desperation or fear, surveyed our world and found only ugliness?" Through tears, she found the song's purpose, as surely as Patti Smith did in her transcendent performance: "Dylan seems to be encouraging his listeners to shore each other up, to acknowledge the darkness and to bear it." Hard rain, coming, in 2017.