From the Publisher: Around the World … And Then Some

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Arnold G. York

Last night, two inches of rain fell on Malibu, and we all should have breathed a collective sigh of relief. If you didn’t breath that sigh, you just haven’t followed the path of our weather recently. Last week we were in Sacramento, which may run hot in the summer, but not what we felt — 105, 106 and 107 degree temperatures.

Tuesday’s L.A. Times said that the snowpack in the Sierra Mountains has reached a 500-year low. The last time it was this hot and dry and the snow pack so low in California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo had landed in San Diego in 1545 and set his way north to discover Catalina, Santa Monica and the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. With fall heat comes fire, and Lake County has been aflame for days. With high winds, 62,000 acres are already burnt and the fire is only 10 percent contained. Whether you believe in global warming or not, we probably can all agree that it’s hotter than Hades, and there doesn’t seem to be much relief in sight. 

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It appears that our former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to be sliding into Donald Trump’s old spot as the head honcho on NBC “Celebrity Apprentice” show, while “The Donald” seems to be making an effortless transition into a full-time politician. Clearly a trend is becoming obvious. Mark Cuban, a billionaire sports team owner, is making rumblings about jumping into the race, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the Kardashians (which one I’m not quite sure) is looking to slip their ample backsides into a U.S. Senate chair. When the Supreme Court decided that money was speech in the Citizens United case, they never gave a second thought to how many kooky billionaires there are in this country, and how much they’re willing to spend to get their faces on the three-dollar bill. Sometimes very smart people, even Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, can do some very dumb things.

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In case you aren’t apprehensive enough about what’s happening domestically, you merely have to look abroad where things are unraveling at an accelerated rate. The war in Syria has unleashed a torrent of refugees into the adjacent mid-east neighbors — initially Jordan and Turkey, and now spilling over into Western Europe in ever-increasing numbers. Some countries have tried to act decently, like Germany, and some have been an absolute disaster, like Hungary. And the E.U., which was created to try and erase the European borders, is now going through an existential crisis.

As you would expect, the xenophobic portion of the Europe population is moving over to the right — in some cases to the far right — to resist this massive emigration of people trying to escape from the war zone. Europe is beginning to look like pre-WWII, and the trail of refugees like the opening scenes in the movie “Casablanca,” but without Humphrey Bogart.

The United States has, at worst, a modest refugee problem (or should I say undocumented) and that hasn’t changed in the 400 years that immigrants have been coming to America. Ironically, just about the time that the flow of people from Mexico to the U.S. has, according to reports, dried up (or at least as many are going back as are coming in), it has become a hot issue in the Republican primary. There has always been a ‘Keep America for Americans’ element in our country, and at various times in our history that has meant keeping out certain Protestant religious sects, then keep the Catholics out, then keep the Germans out, then the Scandinavians, then Italians, then the Greeks, then the Czechs and the Slavs, then the Irish, then the Eastern Europeans and then the Jews. Almost every group that emigrated wanted to slip in and then close the door behind them. No one has ever wanted the group that was coming next, and that much hasn’t changed in several hundred years.

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Another hot foreign policy issue is the Iran Agreement and whether Iran will have the bomb in 10 years or so. Meanwhile, North Korea, which already has the bomb, keeps running around in circles, screaming that they are going to use the bomb and we all better watch out, and everyone says, “Well, that’s just North Korea making noise, nothing really to worry about.” They may have to just drop a bomb to get everyone’s attention.

I must confess, I really can’t understand why certain things make everyone nervous and sweaty while other things that seems equally as dangerous only get a ho hum.