The House overwhelmingly (354-60) approved a resolution, that formally rebukes Trump, over his sudden and disastrous pull-out of American troops from northern Syria. (The damage to America’s reputation, to the Kurds that had fought shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans against ISIS, and to the stability in the region, have been done, of course).
‘All roads with you, lead to Putin!’ is reportedly what Nancy Pelosi told Trump at a meeting in the White House, when this picture was taken.
The gilled mushrooms (fancy name: euagarics) that usually pop out of the ground this time of year, have appeared again in my backyard.
The ones I have gotten so far, are not as red, nor as big, as years before. It could be because the soil has dried out these last two weeks. (That is about to change, though. The weatherman says we will get up to 2 inches of rain the next few days).
I went down to the railing at the top of Pike Place Market today, to go check on the Alaskan Way viaduct demolition. Only some support beams for the now-demolished double-decker viaduct, are still there.
A few blocks away more of the new Amazon buildings are nearing completion, gleaming glass and steel on the outside.
‘We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are’.
– from Seduction of the Minotaur, by Anais Nin (1961)
The entire Sept. issue of Scientific American is dedicated to the topic on the front page in bold letters: Truth, Lies & Uncertainty: Searching for Reality in Unreal Times. The articles are heavy on science and general philosophies about what is real and what is virtual. For example: to this day, philosophers cannot agree on whether mathematical objects (say, the number ‘7’) exist, or are pure fictions.
A summary of the article by Prof. Anil K. Seth that goes with the picture below, goes like this:
‘The reality we perceive is not a direct reflection of the external objective world. Instead it is the product of the brain’s predictions about the causes of incoming sensory signals. The property of realness that accompanies our perceptions may serve to guide our behavior so that we respond appropriately to the sources of sensory signals’.
So throw in Presidents that lie every day, greedy corporations with profit incentives, and worldwide social media networks — and holy cow: it’s more important than ever before to try to verify if something uncertain or new that we come across, is ‘true’.
Here’s a tunnel of yellow frames along Broadway, as I made my way back to the Capitol Hill train station today. I guess the scaffolding protects pedestrians from falling tools and other accidental debris, from the construction of the three new apartment buildings right there.
As someone said on TV today: this impeachment inquiry all feels like Watergate in reverse. We have the-crook-that-says-he’s-not-a-crook (Trump), and the smoking gun (the transcript of his phone call). Now, every day, new details and new accomplices are uncovered, and reported by news organizations.
On Thursday two Giuliani associates were nabbed at Dulles International Airport. They made illegal campaign contributions to Trump’s campaign, and were also carrying out Trump’s scheme to pressure Ukraine to investigate his domestic rivals.
To start with, there is the $391 million in security aid for Ukraine that Trump tried to withhold and leverage for his personal gain (Ukraine to ‘investigate’ Joe Biden). Trump and his accomplices knew it was wrong, because they tried to hide the transcript of the phone call between Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. It also appears that Trump fired Marie Yovanovitch, US ambassador to Ukraine, after Rudy Giuliani complained that she was blocking his efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Joe Biden. Then the first whistleblower came forward. The White House published the transcript of the call, and said ‘Look! We did nothing wrong, and there was no quid pro quo‘. (Favor or advantage expected, in return for something). There clearly was a quid pro quo, stated in encrypted text messages from Kurt Volker, Trump’s special envoy to Ukraine). So this is a textbook case for impeachment.
There is now a second whistleblower, reportedly with first-hand information of what happened.
There are also serious questions of possible corruption related to the Ukraine gas company Naftogaz, that involves Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and the US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland.
Today was my last day in Oslo.
I will return to Amsterdam tomorrow, and then go home on Friday.
I made it to the Munch Museet (museum) today, and hey! I found the Tintin book I was looking for in a great bookstore called Tronsmo.
I spent the day running down the interesting architecture sights around central station, and the Aker Brygge (Aker docks), a little further along the waterfront.
I also checked into some stores and some bookstores.
I have so far come up empty handed, as far as finding Tintin books in Norwegian, to add to my collection.
My Norwegian Air flight had an hour delay out of Hamburg. There was a baggage mix-up in the airplane cargo hold that had to be resolved, but we made it into Oslo with no incident, after that.
The express train from Oslo Gardermoen airport to Oslo Sentralstasjon (central station) took only 21 minutes. The central station is so modern and sleek inside, that it has the same feel as an airport.
There was a persistent rain today, that made walking around without an umbrella, and not getting really wet, impossible. So I checked into the Deichtorhallen (“the levee gate halls”) art & photography museum.
These halls were built from 1911 to 1914 as market halls, on the grounds of the former Berliner Bahnhof railway station (Hamburg’s counterpart to Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof). Wikipedia says they ‘constitute one of the few surviving examples of industrial architecture from the transitional period between Art Nouveau and 20th century styles’.
Well, I did run out to the Elbbrücken station on the U4 line today.
It opened in Dec 2018.
I also went up to the viewing platform of the St. Nikolai Memorial.
The city’s 1968 Heinrich Hertz Tower (280 m/ 918 ft) has long been closed to visitors, but it might reopen in a few years.