Wry & Dry

W&D mailbox

Aside from the usual nutzos from the right-wing who say W&D is too left-wing and those on the left-wing saying W&D is too right-wing, W&D's mailbox this week included notes on:

The Bard

Last week's W&D Shakespeare indulgence brought forth genealogical insights.  One of W&D's readers is the fourth-closest lineal descendant of The Bard; Shakespeare's sister Joan having married William Hart, our reader's ancestor, in 1599, with that line coming down to our reader.  And all the others dying-out.

W&D is pleased to have been remotely touched by the skirts of literary greatness, as it were.   

Trump's policies

A reader asked, "what are Trump's policies?"  

In short, a President Trump would signal, amongst other things, repudiation of the pro-trade and internationalist consensus that has dominated the Republican party (and the Democratic elites) since the late 1940s.

In long, Mr Trump's plans are a blend of the magnificent (tax policy) and the nutzo (US-Mexico Wall), and include:

  • closing overseas US military bases if host countries, notably Japan, South Korea, Germany and the UK, did not shoulder the full cost
  • renegotiating deals with America’s largest trade partners, notably China and Mexico, on US terms. Failure to comply would result in huge US tariffs
  • building a wall on the US-Mexico border and somehow make Mexico pay for it
  • rounding up and deporting the estimated 11m mostly Mexican undocumented aliens from US soil
  • deporting Syrian refugees
  • reducing company tax to 15%
  • having 4 personal tax levels 0%, 10%, 20% and 25%
  • prohibiting Muslims from entering the USA

-       Anthony Starkins

[1]  'No man is an island...Any man's death diminishes me/ Because I am involved in mankind/ And therefore never send to know for whom the bell toll/ It tolls for thee."  John Donne, 16th century English poet and cleric.  

[2]  Justin's father was Pierre Trudeau, a former PM of Canada.  Pierre is best know for formalising French and English as the co-equal official languages of Canada, as well as for his charismatic personality.  He was a bachelor when he became PM, with a reputation for, err, variety in female company.  But in 1971 he quietly married Margaret Sinclair.  The marriage didn't work well, Margaret preferring male variety, such as that provided by US Senator Edward Kennedy, Ronnie Wood and Mick Jagger.  After their divorce he was romantically involved for some time with Canadian actress Margot Kidder, better known for her role as Lois Lane in the Superman movies.  There is a lot of material there...  But Trudeau was undoubtedly one of the most dominant and transformative figures in Canadian history.

[3]  W&D recommends that readers re-watch the compelling move 'All The President's Men', with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in starring roles as the two Washington Post journalists: Woodward and Bernstein.  But for their doggedness in pursuing 'Watergate' it is likely that Nixon would not have resigned in disgrace.

[4]  I.e. 4' 8 1/2".  Just because it is called 'standard' gauge doesn't mean that it is standard.  The state of Victoria, for example, uses 'broad' gauge, being 1,600mm (5' 3").  This gauge is also know as the 'Irish' gauge.  Victoria adopted the broad gauge rather than standard as the railway engineer at the crucial time was an Irishman.  Who naturally though that if it was good for Ireland it would be good for Victoria.    Far from it.   But it gets worse.  For reasons known only unto God, but perhaps exemplifying subsequent idiotic political decisions, both Queensland and Tasmania opted for 'narrow' gauge railways, of 1,067mm (3' 6").  For brevity, W&D will ignore the SA and WA situations.  Except to say that by 1939 there were 13 break-of-gauge locations in Australia (i.e. where one gauge met a differing gauge and both passengers and freight had to change trains).