US NEWS | Donald Trumps horrible day could diminish his presidency Politics

US NEWS | Donald Trumps horrible day could diminish his presidency Politics Trump has put on such a show of neck whipping drama and barely believable controversy that its tough to identify his worst day in office. But history could come to see Friday when the President plunged to a humiliating defeat in the partial government shutdown and an FBI team sent by Robert Mueller swooped down on his political sorcerer Roger Stone as a turning point. It was a day when multiple strands of Trumps political life converged, from questions about the methods he used to win power which spawned the Russia probe to the unorthodox manner in which he wields it, which increasingly seems to be leading him into futile political corners. His attempts to rebound will be complicated by serious blows to his political persona. Trumps image, meticulously crafted over decades, as the self styled master of the art of the deal, absorbed a severe dent as with nothing. His capitulation came as conjured nightmare visions of a nation spinning out of control and spiked political pressure that finally broke the Presidents resistance. Airports snarled included LaGuardia, which is home to Trumps branded personal airliner. Trumps decision to fully reopen the government without securing money for his wall and threatened to inflict the first real damage on his almost mystical connection with his base. He did what he said he would never do, agreeing to reopen the government for three weeks to allow time for border security negotiations with the Democrats. His chances of getting them to fund a wall seem as remote as ever. The President was up early on Saturday, trying to repair the damage. “21 days goes very quickly. Negotiations with Democrats will start immediately. Will not be easy to make a deal, both parties very dug in. The case for National Security has been greatly enhanced by what has been happening at the Border through dialogue. We will build the Wall!” Trump tweeted. But the Presidents climbdown handed a victory to new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an epic confrontation that could set the tone for the next two years and augurs ill for his capacity to fight off what is shaping up as a punishing investigative and oversight operation. The debacle also called into question the Presidents political methodology of gut calls, bullying tactics and improvisation since it led him into a disastrous situation from which there was no exit without suffering a huge embarrassment. Friday was also the day when the border wall the galvanizing symbol that built a bond with Trumps grassroots supporters and may have swept him to power was exposed as a political vulnerability since it may be an undeliverable promise. The Russia cloud that has enveloped Trump every day of his presidency darkened further. Though Stone was not specifically charged with cooperating with the Russian election interference effort, the indictment appeared to suck Trump closer to a possible conspiracy on multiple fronts to taint the integrity of the 2016 election. And it left his defense the mantra of “no collusion” that has been repeated so often that it has become an empty cliche looking more hollow than ever. At the end of a disastrous day, one Trump adviser told CNNs Jim Acosta, “The White House is walking in a valley tonight.” Another said: “I miss winning.” Trying to spin a win from a loss The most shocking thing about Trumps statement announcing the end of the shutdown was how diminished the President seemed. He appeared to acknowledge his weakness later in a tweet he posted after absorbing the unflattering TV news coverage of his climbdown. “I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession,” he insisted. Hours before, aides had clapped as Trump entered the Rose Garden, often a setting reserved for grand presidential victory laps. The man who bills himself as the ultimate winner was forced to disguise the most humbling loss of his two years in power. “Thank you very much, my fellow Americans. I am proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said. But there was no mistaking what really happened. “We will not Cave!” Trump had tweeted on Wednesday, two days before doing exactly that, on the very terms Democrats had demanded. The President triggered the shutdown in December because he was determined to get his wall. He repeatedly said the shutdown would not end until he got it. But he was forced to back down on. And there is no wall. The temporary “deal” to reopen the government had been available to him at any point over the last five weeks. Only on Thursday, the White House had warned there would be no short term fix without a “large down payment” on the wall. That was another line in the sand quickly washed away. Trumps surrender is sure to leave psychological ripples in Washington that could surface next time he is in a pitched battle with Democrats. And it was an awakening into the reality of divided government. “Hopefully now the President has learned his lesson,” said one of Trumps chief antagonists, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. Only time will tell just how deeply Trump has been damaged by the last few days. But so much of the presidency relies on the perception that the man in the Oval Office is all powerful and can use the mythology of his office to change the political winds. “If he gives in now, thats the end of 2019 in terms of him being an effective President,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said on Fox News earlier this month. “Thats probably the end of his presidency.” Graham is known for hyperbole. But his comment encapsulates the challenge that the President now has in battling to regain his authority. If nothing else, a President who may one day face impeachment must have been perturbed by the desertions of who voted with Democrats to reopen the government on Thursday taking care of their own political interests rather than those of the President. Trump lost a lot Other Presidents have come back from defeats that sapped their power. But to do so requires political suppleness that, after the last month, it is not clear Trump possesses despite his determination never to back down from a fight. “He lost a lot here,” said Kevin Madden, a former senior aide to Republican Mitt Romneys presidential campaigns. “He lost a critical amount of leverage. Nancy Pelosi now knows exactly when he will cave and where his pain points are,” Madden said on CNNs “The Lead with Jake Tapper.” “He may have lost the faith of some of his strongest supporters previously on Capitol Hill.” The President could find himself right back in his political box with the same grim choices in three weeks if talks with Democrats do not yield funds he can spin as money for his wall. He noted on Friday that he had not used “a very powerful alternative” namely a declaration of a national emergency on the southern border to divert money from other programs to build the wall. But such a move could be tied up in the courts for months as it would raise serious constitutional questions related to the prerogative of Congress to decide how taxpayer money is spent. Still, it might be the only face saving way for Trump to get out of the box he created for himself, given that even he may balk at setting off yet another shutdown. Pelosi, already gearing up for the next fight, took pains not to gloat on Friday and declined to comment on the conventional wisdom that the President had underestimated her political skills. But she could bask in the glow of the best day for Democrats since the Presidents shocking election victory in 2016. Her win not only solidified her position relative to Trump, but it also is likely to further cement her control of her own caucus following attempts by some younger Democrats to prevent her from reclaiming the speakers gavel. Echoes of Nixon Indictments and arrests of Trump associates have become so frequent that they almost fail to shock. On Friday, the Presidents already jailed former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, was in court in Washington. Stone, meanwhile, stood handcuffed before a judge in Florida. Mueller alleged in the indictment that Stone had sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Trumps 2016 election opponents while in coordination with senior Trump campaign officials. Trump was quick to pounce on the fact that, though Mueller charged Stone with obstruction and false statements, the special counsel did not accuse him of conspiring with Russias intelligence agencies, which used WikiLeaks to publish emails it has stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign. “Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION!” Trump tweeted. But the indictment could contain great peril for the President. At one point, Mueller alleges that “a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone” about additional releases from WikiLeaks. In an interview with CNN, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders refused to say whether the person who gave that order was Trump. The unresolved question is another one of Muellers characteristic breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout the investigation that hint at potential trouble for the President when the special counsel compiles his final report. Yet again, Muellers latest filings painted a picture of a campaign open even to underhanded methods to influence the 2016 election. If there was any comfort for the President to take on Friday, it may have come in Stones defiance, as the longtime political operative was adamant he would not follow the path of other associates who have turned on the President in plea deals. “There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the President, nor will I make up lies to ease the pressure on myself,” Stone said on the steps of the courthouse. Trump, as an aficionado of chaos and spectacle, might have admired the circus atmosphere around Stone after his hearing. As he appeared before the assembled crowd in front of the courthouse, the political trickster raised both arms high with his fingers in a “V for Victory” sign popularized by his political hero. Yet his reminder of the iconic photograph of Richard Nixon boarding Marine One after leaving the White House in disgrace was hardly the best omen for the current President on one of his darkest days.

Nathan For You – Claw of Shame – The Event

[dramatic music]
– GO!
[tense music]


[robot whirring]


[triumphant music]

[all laughing,
chattering at once]

Kamala Harris Drops Out – Who should be next? | 2020 Election | QT Politics

As the crowded democratic primary race for
the 2020 election rages on, voters appear to be coalescing around a narrowing field
of realistic choices. The tier 1 choices at the moment appear to
be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. These four candidates are the top four in
the national polls, each with more than 10% support, according to the rcp averages, and
each has their own advantages. Joe Biden has probably the best name recognition
in the field, and is polling in first nation-wide. Bernie Sanders has raised the most money from
supporters, and has the greatest number of donors. Elizabeth Warren is the only candidate to
have, although briefly, surpassed Biden in the national polls, leads in her home state
of Massachusetts, and remains in second in Nevada, South Carolina, and California. Pete Buttigieg is currently surging nation-wide,
and leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire. It would difficult for any candidate not already
in the top four to break through at this stage of the game, but that doesn’t mean that everyone
else in the race should pack their bags. Andrew Yang, for instance, has shown remarkable
progress for a political outsider, and the longer he fights on, the more seriously mainstream
democrats are to take his central issues: data rights, automation, and universal basic
income. While there are good reasons to cast a cynical
eye on Bloomberg’s run, his financial power is formidable to say the least. Deval Patrick, too, just joined the race—and
while I doubt his experience at Mitt Romney’s vulture capitalist firm, Bain Capital, will
do much to earn him a place in the hearts of democratic voters—it may be a tad too
early to totally dismiss him out of hand. With a number of candidates recently dropping
out, Wayne Messam, Joe Sestak, Steve Bullock, and Kamala Harris, it seems reasonable to
ask… Who should be next? Tom Steyer has managed to make it onto the
debate stage twice, now, passing the polling and fundraising thresholds set by the DNC. For most, his appearances have been somewhat
overwhelming. But if he’s doing so bad in the debates, you
may ask, how has he managed to do well enough in the polls, and in fundraising, to make
it onto the debate stage at all? Well, unlike most of the candidates, Steyer’s
campaign is astoundingly self-funded. While most candidates release ads, in part,
to fill their campaign’s coffers, Steyer is losing astronomical amounts of money with
every ad buy. According to CNN, by October 10th, he had
spent over 30 million dollars on ads across televison and social media. As a result, he raised a paultry 2 million
dollars from less than 160,000 unique donors. Meaning, for every dollar he spends in ads,
he takes in less than 7 cents. Not exactly a promising return on investment. A businessman should know better. But, of course, Steyer’s goal is not to get
his message out there so that the people will help fund his campaign. His goal is to directly earn support from
uncommitted or uninformed voters through ads purchased from his own pocket book. His wager is, essentially, that he can buy
his way into the White House. This graph from 538 shows the ad spending
of different campaigns. Steyer’s ads are represented in green. As you can see, while Steyer remains a relatively
minor candidate in polling and fundraising, he is outspending his primary rivals many
times over. At the current count, Steyer has already spent
a whopping 46 million dollars. That’s a massive figure, but no suprise, given
Steyer is a billionaire, and in 2016 was the second-biggest Democratic donor in the presidential
race. Now, if we extend the graph just slightly,
to today, we see the big problem for Steyer. There’s another Billionaire in the race, one
with even more money than Steyer, who actually topped the charts as the number one biggest
Democratic donor in the 2016 race. Michael Bloomberg, in the last week of November,
and in December so far, is putting his resources at work, outspending even Steyer, many times
over. He’s already spent $31 million. If Steyer’s strategy is to just use his money
to outspend everyone else in the field, Bloomberg seems to be the only guy who can out do him. He’s quite simply got more money to burn. On top of that, Bloomberg’s spending is more
likely to drive his standings in the polls and with donors. He may be quite unpopular amongst Democrats,
but at least Bloomberg has experience beyond funding campaigns. He’s got actual executive experience, having
served as the Mayor of New York. Not exactly sufficient experience for most
Presidential hopefulls, but it is more than Steyer, and more than Pete Buttigieg, who
is currently showing strong promise in the National and Early State polls. Without original policy ideas, strong debate
chops, or experience in politics, he’s got virtually zero chance of catching fire as
a candidate organically. His only advantage has been his ability to
self-fund his campaign. Bloomberg’s entry in the race totally eliminates
that advantage. Not only should Steyer drop out, he should
do so ASAP, because unlike with most democratic candidates, it’s his own money he’s wasting. From the ultimate political insider, to the
ultimate outsider, Marianne Williamson should also drop out of the race. Williamson has said that she’s going to stay
in the race until the money dries up. Bless her heart. I love the orb mother, but it’s hard to imagine
that her campaign has any reason left to exist at this point. Early on, Williamson was able to get onto
the debate stage, and bring up her issues. At times, she even had reasonably good performances. She can even take partial credit for the fact
that one of her top issues, reparations, became a topic of conversation in the debates—enough
so that even Pete Buttigieg, who enjoys very little support from the Black community—would
attempt to win over black voters with his Douglass Plan. Despite having no experience in politics,
Williamson managed to make a bit of a mark. She should be proud of what she’s done, and
hang her hat on it. Now, there’s very little else she can do. Polling at .4 percent in the RCP averages,
she has no hope of returning to the debate stage, or gaining more attention in the mainstream
media, as the field narrows in on more serious prospects. Like Marianne Williamson, Michael Bennet is
no longer likely to gain any real attention in the mainstream media, or make it on stage
for future debates. Despite his past debate appearances, he’s
failed to make his mark, and is currently polling at .8% in the RCP averages. He was also one of the lowest-fundraising
candidates in the 3rd quarter, but for some reason he’s pledged to stay in the race, at
least until New Hampshire. There’s no reason for him to do that. As Colorado’s senior US Senator, he’s got
bigger fish to fry than a campaign going no where slowly. John Delaney’s reasons to drop out are so
numerous that a small wonder he even remembers what it was like to be on the campaign trail. Sure, unlike Bennet, he’s got little else
going on in his political career, having concluded his work in the House of Representatives in
January. But like Bennet and Williamson, his appearances
in the early Democratic debates gained him little traction. He is currently polling at just .6 percent
in the RCP averages: that’s 25% less than Bennett—although with numbers this small,
his total support is well within the margin of error for most polls. Delaney’s run is also comparable to Steyer,
as before Steyer came around, Delaney was the self-funded candidate. Delaney’s campaign is actually one of the
better funded ones—with over 27 million dollars. All but 3 million of that, however, came from
his own bank account. If Steyer should drop out, now that a bigger
self-funded campaign has entered the contest, it’s astounding that Delaney hasn’t caught
on that he’s wasting his money. Having launched his campaign all the way back
in July of 2017, Delaney has been in this race for literal years longer than the major
candidates. The only benefit to his enduring efforts would
be a Guinness World Record for longest-lived campaign failure. Although a far more plausible candidate than
anyone I have mentioned so far, Amy Klobuchar might seriously consider dropping out as well. When it comes to fundraising, she’s raised
about the same amount as Beto O’Rourke, who has already left the race. Polling-wise, she’s in 8th place, with 2.4%
in the RCP averages—not exactly remarkable for an experienced US Senator. And all of this is after two debates where
she clearly performed significantly better than she had previously done. If Klobuchar was going to surge into serious
contention, she would’ve done so already. The real trouble with Klobuchar is that she
offers very little not already offered by a higher-polling candidate. You want an experienced politician with moderate
ideology? You’ve got that with Joe Biden, the leader
in the national polls. Are you a moderate who thinks Biden’s better
days are behind him? Well, in fourth place, and surging in the
early states, you’ve got Pete Buttigieg—who clearly represents a new generation of moderate
dems, far more convincingly than Klobuchar. Do you not care about ideology, and are instead
focused on gender?, you want a woman president? Well, your best bet in that case would be
Elizabeth Warren. She’s in third place nationally, and in the
first two states. Booker, too, is showing weak numbers in the
polls, even after the 5th Democratic Debate, where he delivered what was probably his best
performance in the primary race so far. He’s polled at just 1 or 2 percent since then,
retaining an overall rcp average of just 1.8%. In terms of fundraising, he’s raised about
18 and a half million, and spend 14, meaning he’s not saving up much cash on hand for an
ad blitz in the offing. Booker has a ton of charisma, and solid experience,
but it appears that voters just aren’t buying what he’s selling. To paraphrase an expression Booker used in
a dazzling debate moment, he’s selling the Kool Aid but nobody wants the flavor. Julian Castro’s campaign has shown a number
of signs of impending doom. He’s begun to struggle to make the thresholds
required to make the debates, and as I’ve previously reported, he’s shutting down what
ought to be major campaign operations in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Sure, the official line is that this is to
focus on other critical states, like Iowa (where he his polling in 12th place), Nevada
(where he is polling in 10th place) and his native Texas (where he is polling in 7th place)… But with less than a million dollars cash
on hand, and declining presence in the press, it’s hard to see his prospects as anything
other than a wild long shot. The reality is that, despite being a recurrently
forceful presence on the debate stage, Castro was essentially put in a no-win situation
after his infamous clash with Joe Biden. After asking Biden “did you forget what
you said two minutes ago?”–and repeating that line of attack—the mainstream press
repeatedly reported the encounter as Castro making a distasteful swipe at Biden’s age. In my opinion, Castro was correct in calling
Biden out, and I broke that down in my analysis of the debate at the time. But I would go on to predict that Castro would
suffer in the polls, and that in the next debate, he’d be between a rock and a hard
place: he would have to chose to double down on his aggressive debate style—one of his
only advantages in the primary race—or bend to media pressure, and soften his approach. Castro seemed to do the latter. As a result, his last appearance on a debate
stage was unremarkable, and the low-polling candidate was lost in the shuffle. It may seem a little mean spirited to suggest
that many of the long shot campaigns should end soon, but as the primaries and caucuses
draw nearer, pruning the crowded field may be extremely useful for democratic voters. Crowded debates tend to translate into little
substance, as minor candidates attempt to make their mark with attacks on the major
players, who themselves benefit most by conveying as little meaning as possible—in order to
avoid rocking the boat. With numerous candidates, it also becomes
next to impossible for working Americans to sufficiently research each of their available
options. In this way, dropping out of the race is not
just the right thing to do in terms of time, and energy, and resources for a variety of
candidates—it is also the right thing to do, morally, for Democratic voters, and the
American people. For that reason, I will end this video honouring
the departed campaigns of the patriots who have respected the voters enough to remove
themselves from the race. But of the fifteen candidates still taking
up valuable air time, I ask, how many are wasting everybody’s time? How many are continuing on out of sheer vanity,
stubbornness, and fantasy?, and how many actually have a message worth listening to? And of those, how many really deserve serious
consideration? The Democratic Party has not always opted
for the best choice when it comes to presidential nominees. It may be time for the long shots to step
aside, so that the voters can inform themselves about the realistic options, and decide… Who should be next?

Just How Dysfunctional Is The Politician’s Hobart Family? – US News

EXCLUSIVE! Netflix’s The Politician follows Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), a wealthy student from Santa Barbara, California, who has known from a young age that he wants to be president of the United States But just how wealthy is Payton and his family? See their sprawling estate and the spoiled twins, Martin and Luther (Trevor and Trey Eason), in action to get a sneak peek of the series and its vibe  In the exclusive clip above, get a taste of what’s to come with the dysfunctional Hobart family in the series created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan  “You should totally come hunting with us Payton,” one of the twins tells their brother  “Yeah, that way we can accidentally shoot you in the back,” the other adds. Gwyneth Paltrow’s Georgina Hobart isn’t having it, especially when the twins taunt Payton over his place in their father’s will “You’re borderline psychopaths,” she tells her sons. “Of course you’re in the will, same as them,” she adds to Payton  Will Payton be able to overcome his family to fulfill his destiny? He’ll also have to navigate the political landscape of Saint Sebastian High School to become student body president and start on his path to the presidency Will Payton’s carefully crafted image survive the ordeal? The Politician also stars Jessica Lange, Laura Drefyuss, Lucy Boynton, David Corenswet, Zoey Deutch, Julia Schlaepfer, Bob Balaban, Theo Germaine, Rahne Jones and Benjamin Barrett  The Politician season one—eight episodes—drops Friday, Sept. 27 on Netflix.


The Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy was a believer in the novel not as a source of entertainment but as a tool for psychological
education and reform. It was in his eyes, the supreme medium by which we can get to know others especially those who might from the outside seem unappealing and thereby expand our humanity and tolerance. Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana, a huge family estate, a hundred miles south of Moscow. It was to be his home on and off for the rest of his life. His parents died when he was young and he was brought up their
relatives. He flopped at university. One lecturer described him as being unable
and unwilling to learn. He spent a few years gambling and
drinking and chasing gypsy women before signing on as an artillery officer in
the Crimean War. He got married in his early thirties. His wife Sophia, who came from a sophisticated high-cultured background was only 18. They had 13 children, 9 of whom
survived infancy. It was a difficult marriage. There were huge arguments about sex and bitterness on both sides. Leo grew a very long beard, became a fitness fanatic and spent most of his time in his study. What he did there was to write several
hugely successful books among them “War and Pace”, “Anna Karenina” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich”. Tolstoy didn’t believe in the idea of art for art’s sake. He was deeply invested in the belief that good art should make us less moralistic and judgmental and should be a supplement to religion in terms of developing our
reserves of kindness and morality. This crusading moralistic side of Tolstoy has often been ignored by modern critics who don’t wish to dirty art with a
mission, but it is in fact the most important side of Tolstoy, and none of his efforts can properly be appreciated without keeping it in mind. Tolstoy’s first great novel was “War and Peace” published in 1869, when he was 41. In it, we meet Natasha Rostova, a delightful free-spirited young woman. At the start she’s engaged to Andrei, a kind and sincere man who loved her
deeply, But is also rather emotionally remote
and avoidant. While Andrey is away travelling in Italy, Natasha meets a handsome cynical waster called Anatole and falls under his spell. He almost manages to seduce her and persuades her to run away with him. Though her family managed to stop her at the very last minute. Everyone is appalled and furious with
Tasha. This sort of madness wrecks her own prospects and deeply shames her family. By the world standards, Natasha has failed terribly. If we encountered a news clip about such a person, we might rapidly come to the conclusion that she lies beyond the range of normal sympathy. She had so much; she thought only of herself, she got what she deserved. And yet Tolstoy’s view is that if we grasp what things are like for Natasha inside her mind, we can’t and won’t withdraw our sympathy. She isn’t in truth self-indulgent, frivolous or totally lacking in devotion. She’s just a sexually inexperienced young woman who feels abandoned by her preoccupied boyfriend. She is someone who has a deeply impulsive and warm nature and is easily carried away by joy and happiness. She is also acutely worried about letting other people down, which is what leads her into trouble with the scheming and manipulative Anatole. Tolstoy keeps us on Natasha’s side and by doing so, he is getting us to rehearse a move he believes is fundamental to an ethical life: if we more accurately saw the inner lives of others, they couldn’t appear to us in the normal cold and one-dimensional way, and we would treat them with the kindness which they truly need and deserve. No one should be outside the circle of sympathy and forgiveness. For Tolstoy, a particular task of the novel is to help us to understand the so-called ‘dislikeable’ characters. One of the most initially repellant characters in his fiction is the husband of Anna Karenina, the heroine of his great novel of the same name, the pompous and stiff Karenin. The novel, a tragedy, tells the story of the beautiful, clever, lively and generous hearted married Anna, whose life falls apart when she falls in love with Vronsky, a splendid young cavalry officer. Anna’s husband – Count Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin is a fussy, status conscious, mannered high-ranking government official who is often callous towards Anna and unable to answer any of her emotional yearnings. As Anna’s affair with Vronsky develops, her husband’s main worry is that it might lead to social gossip which could undermine his public standing. He appears to have no sincere feelings at all about the marriage itself. He comes across as simply cold and brutish. But then Anna gives birth to her lover’s child, she is ill, and in a highly touching scene Karenin is deeply moved, weeps for the infant, for the mother, and forgives Anna: No, you can’t forgive me, says Anna. And yet he suddenly felt a blissful spiritual condition that gave him all at once a new happiness he had never known: a glad feeling of love and forgiveness for his enemies filled his heart. He knelt down, and laying his head in the curve of Anna’s arm; he sobbed like a little child. Thanks to the judicious Tolstoy, we see entirely unexpected aspects of the man. His inner life is not at all what we would expect, judging from the outside. But Tolstoy’s point is that Karenin is not really an exceptional character. He is just the normal mixture of bad and good. It is highly usual for rather off-putting people to have huge reserves of buried tenderness, to have dimensions to their characters very different from and often much nicer than those that their forbidding appearance suggests. We are invited on a comparable journey in relation to another character in Tolstoy’s fiction, the hero of the The Death of Ivan Illych, published in 1886. At the start of the novel, we meet Ivan, a high court judge at the pinnacle of society who appears selfish, vain and cynical. But one day, while helping hang some curtains, Ivan falls from a ladder and becomes aware of an inner pain which is the first sign of a disease which is soon diagnosed as fatal. He will have just a few months left to live. As his health declines, Ivan spends a lot of time sitting on the sofa at home. His family, aware at just how inconvenient his death will be to their social and financial standing, begin to resent him and his illness. He’s short and ill-tempered back. And yet inside, Ivan is going through a range of epiphanies. He looks back over his life and atones for its shallowness. He becomes newly sensitive to nature and to the ordinary kindness of his manservant, a humble uneducated man of peasant stock. He grows furious at the stupid way in which everyone avoids paying attention to the one really crucial fact about life: that we all die. He realises that our mortality should be constantly before our minds and should inspire continual kindness and sympathy. As he dies, Tolstoy imagines Ivan finally feeling pity and forgiveness for all those around him. As is typical in his writing, Tolstoy recounts in detail the vast philosophical and psychological dramas going on inside his hero’s head. All that those around him – the doctors and his family get to see is a sullen man who spends a lot of time with his face to the wall and yet we can see a visionary, a prophet and a man of outstanding moral courage and generosity. In writing about Ivan, Tolstoy wanted us to see his life as representative of all human potential, if only we could wake up to it before it is too late. When he was about seventy, Tolstoy pulled together his thinking about being a writer in a long essay, What is art? It is one of his most important books. In it, Tolstoy proposes that art has a great mission. Through great art, he tells, us ‘Lower feelings – less kind and less needed for the good of humanity are forced out and replaced by kinder feelings which better serve us individually and collectively. This is the purpose of art.’ As a supremely skilled and seductive writer, Tolstoy knew that novels need to be entertaining, or we simply won’t bother to read them. But he was also convinced that they have to aspire to be something else as well: key supports for our own stumbling path to maturity and kindness. And they can do this because they are able to get into a place we need but rarely have access to: the inner lives of other people. In What is art?, Tolstoy was mostly writing about the works of other authors, but it is really his own achievement that he is, indirectly and modestly, summing up. Great writers shouldn’t ever be just helping their readers pass the time. Their writing must be a form of therapy, an attempt to educate us towards emotional health and ethical good sense. As they aged, the tensions between Leo and and his wife Sophia grew. He complained that they had “totally opposite ideas of the meaning of existence”. Ye he insisted that even as Sophia “grew more and more irritable, despotic and uncontrollable” he continued to love her, though he admitted that he had given up trying to express his feelings. “There is no greater tragedy than the tragedy of the marital bed”, he wrote. Finally, when he was past eighty, Tolstoy couldn’t take it any more, and deserted his wife and family. He ran away in the middle of a freezing November night, caught pneumonia and died at the nearby railway station, where he was waiting for a train. Tolstoy’s funeral was a major public occasion. Thousands showed up from across Russia and the world. This was fitting, for his central proposal has enormous social implications. Tolstoy realised that our picture of what other people are like is a great driving force of relationships, economics and politics. He held up the tantalising idea that art could be the major vehicle for getting more accurate and often much kinder – ideas about what is going on in the minds and lives of other people. His body was taken back to his house and buried in the garden, under some trees where he liked to play as a child.

10 of the Strangest or Scariest Political Cults in History

When a political figure becomes popular enough,
it’s easy for him to start attracting fanatical followers. If the politician decides to cultivate this
following, he may be able to become the center of a full-on political cult, which lifts him
beyond the realms of politics and into an almost religious figure — at least, among
the faithful. Many of history’s most famous and infamous
leaders have had their own political cults, whether they liked it or not. Let’s take a look at some of the strangest
ones. 10. Chairman Mao Mao Zedong, the big man of Chinese communism,
is a strange case as political cults go. While he definitely had a pretty strong cult
thing going on during his reign, his cult of personality took an unexpected leap to
the next level in the 1980s, a decade after his death. Over time, the public started viewing him
as “godman,” a sort of saint with certain human features (see: decades of anarchy, purges,
famines and mass murders), but who nevertheless projected a strong aura of power and authority. There’s also the fact that technically,
his stated message of making all men equal could be seen as something of a messiah figure
for the common man … again, if you forget all the awful stuff. The profitable lines of Mao-related merchandise
were presumably didn’t hurt, either. Being a Communist country, China generally
disapproves “spontaneous” cults, but evidently, the one formed around the Great Helmsman managed
to scrape by. The more the intellectuals of the country
proclaimed their distaste for Mao, the more the commoners (who, in turn, saw the intellectuals
as lazy and greedy) liked him. And so, by 1993, there was already a statue
of Mao that was said to perform miracles. 9. Napoleon Bonaparte Though he pretty much owned Europe at one
point, Napoleon was an insecure, petty man with a host of inferiority complexes. The Emperor liked to be extra prepared for
things to look as good as possible. As such, it’s no surprise that he developed
the kind of knack for self-promotion that eventually created a cult of adoring subjects
around him. Napoleon started making his name in a big
way around 1796, when he was given command of the French Army of Italy. He bedazzled Paris with a series of bulletins
that vastly exaggerated the importance and magnitude of every little fight they had,
inflating the opponent’s bravery and insinuating his own tactical skill. In just a few months, the government, his
own troops and the public were in awe of him, and built on that foundation to the point
that even the less than successful events of his later campaign in Egypt became “stuff
of legend.” By this point, a lot of French people believed
him to essentially be a fairy tale hero of prophecy, come to save the nation. At this point, France was easy pickings for
Napoleon. Emperor Napoleon I’s later mistakes and
downfall made his reputation take a hit, but a cult started to form around him a few years
after his death, turning him into another savior figure and a posthumous political mastermind. Napoleon’s nephew Louis-Napoleon, who was
a propaganda master himself, aptly used his blood association to his cult figure uncle
to gain control of the nation and become the first President of France. In just three years, he was able to acquire
dictatorial powers, and eventually took the French throne as Emperor Napoleon III. 8. Benito Mussolini Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator and
inventor of Fascism, was in the political cult game from the beginning. To craft a nation that was fully loyal to
him and him alone, he made sure that all news outlets had editors who were in his pocket,
and ordered teachers to take an oath to his regime. To make himself look better, he threw huge
sums at various projects that were custom made to give him publicity points, both abroad
and in Italy. Meanwhile, his would-be opponents were rendered
toothless through official and, if necessary, unofficial routes. To say that Il Duce’s personality cult project
was a success is an understatement. In fact, the cult of Mussolini quite easily
managed to survive the man himself. Even in the 2010s, many Italians believe that
Il Duce was actually a man of honor, and much to the dismay of German tourists who have
been less welcoming of their dictator’s memory, Mussolini merchandise remains a common
sight in the country. 7. Francois Duvalier of Haiti Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier started by
being (or at least claiming to be) a man of the people, but once he gained control of
Haiti, he wasn’t about to let go. Using his keen interest in Vodou (voodoo),
he established a brutal militia called the Tonton Macoute — the bogeymen. With their aid, Duvalier’s corrupt, ruthless
government started slowly isolating the country and ruining it to the ground, while Papa Doc
himself began establishing a cult around himself. When it came to raising himself to the pedestal,
Duvalier didn’t mess around. He forced his people to sing and dance in
his honor in front of his palace in Port-Au-Prince. He rolled around in his flashy, bulletproof
limousine, stopping every once in awhile to throw money at the gathered crowds. He even had the Lord’s Prayer rewritten
so it was all about him: “Our Doc, who art in the National Palace, hallowed be thy name.” Still, the strongest weapon in Papa Doc’s
political cult arsenal was his reputation as a Vodou master. He often boasted about his supernatural powers
and said that his enemies could not beat him because he was “already an immaterial being.” He used slow movements, terrifying stare and
ominous, whispering speech to create the image of the sort of pop culture voodoo priest you’re
probably imagining right now. Spiritual powers or not, his very real Tonton
Macoute made him an extremely frightening enemy … especially as it is rumored that
later in life he took to personally torturing people. 6. Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein, the former dictator of Iraq,
is an extremely good example of what happens when a political party puts all its eggs in
one magnificently mustached, yet ruthless basket. Over the years, Saddam’s Ba’th party increasingly
poured its efforts into making their main man look good and strong. Over time, this started turning them toward
hero worship, and by the mid-1980s the Ba’th were completely buying their own propaganda
about Saddam. As such, Saddam’s reign from 1979 to his
well-publicized downfall in 2003 was quite similar to other personality cults. The country was littered with massive monuments
to honor the dictator, and arguably the most famous one, the “Hands of Victory” arch
in Baghdad, was actually modeled after Saddam’s own hands. The man himself was keen to nurture his reputation,
and made a point of not ruling by fear alone. A large part of his popularity came from the
fact that he made many strategic acts of goodwill, from pay raises to general amnesties (political
prisoners excluded, naturally). The Gulf War didn’t exactly hurt his image,
either — around 1991, his reputation was spreading like wildfire over the “Arab,
Muslim and Third Worlds,” as the L.A. Times puts it. In fact, he was so popular at that point that
people were known to shout “Saddam is God!” out loud. 5. Philippe Petain, Nazi puppet ruler of Vichy
France Marshal Philippe Petain is a curiosity on
this list because his “cult” came from legitimate heroics in World War I, but he
later dragged his name in mud by siding with the Nazis in World War II. Petain was almost 60 when he was promoted
to Brigadier General and proved to be a formidable commander in the Battle of the Marne in 1914. By 1916, he was a full general, tasked with
stopping the German offensive at Verdun. Yeah, the Battle of Verdun. He was the guy who managed the borderline
impossible task of holding the line … even though it cost the lives of 350,000 of his
men. Petain emerged from WWI as one of the most
celebrated heroes in France, and his massive popularity scored him a number of influential
positions. Among other things, he was influential in
constructing the Maginot Line. Unfortunately, the elderly Petain drifted
towards right-wing political views. When WWII came and France started taking hits,
he was hastily promoted to Prime Minister and tasked with brokering an armistice with
the Germans in 1940. Soon, the 84-year-old found himself as the
top dog of the Nazi-occupied part of France, known as Vichy France. It didn’t take him long to turn into a Hitler-backed
despot fully intent on purging his corner of the country from the “morally decadent,”
who just so happened to be the same people Nazis were persecuting. As you can probably expect, this made pretty
much everyone loathe Petain after the war ended, and the old man was promptly convicted
of treason and sentenced to death. However, this was later changed to a life
in prison. In a way, Petain’s cult of personality has
survived to this day. He remains a popular figure in the country’s
right-wing circles, who periodically (and largely unsuccessfully) attempt to whitewash
his legacy by claiming he’s a “Crucified savior of France” who not only sacrificed
his own considerable reputation to help France avoid Poland’s fate, but also secretly back-stabbed
Hitler by tricking him to stay out of North Africa, thus enabling the Allies to win the
war in 1945. Of course, sources indicate that to call these
claims “revisionist” is a waste of a perfectly good opportunity to use the word “preposterous.” 4. Getulio Vargas of Brazil Getulio Vargas, the longtime President of
Brazil, wore a whole bunch of hats over the years. He is the most influential leader of the country’s
modern history, having held supreme authority from 1930 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1954. He’s argely responsible for a whole bunch
of economic and social reforms that helped bring the country up to speed. He came to power by overthrowing the oligarch-dominated
former government and a number of his actions went against rich and influential landowners
and businessmen, which earned him the nickname “Father of the Poor.” He steered the good ship Brazil through a
politically tumultuous Great Depression, and even personally fought off the occasional
coup attempt. Then again, he also ruled as an essential
dictator for about 15 years, and his last tenure in charge was marked by ultranationalism
and scandals. Oh well. Vargas’ whole “Father of the Poor” schtick
was fertile soil for a cult of personality, which re-emerged after his suicide in 1954. He left behind two documents: A handwritten
note that boasted: “To the wrath of my enemies I leave the legacy of my death,” and a much
more elaborate letter known as “Carta Testamento,” meaning testamentary letter. The Carta Testamento laid out Vargas’ vision
of the future of Brazil, and undermined his political adversaries at some length. The meaning and authenticity of the documents
have been hotly debated ever since, but even so, it looks like Vargas managed to keep his
cult of personality alive and influenced Brazil’s 20th century politics even from beyond the
grave. 3. Fidel Castro Towards the end of his life, Cuban leader
Fidel Castro told his people in no uncertain terms that he didn’t want to become the
subject of a cult. In fact, his final wish — or rather, demand
— was that no statues be built to honor him, and no buildings or streets be named
after him. While this might seem like touching humility
for a guy who already has a Wikipedia article about things named after him, Castro’s history
doesn’t really paint the picture of a man who shies away from adoration. According to the Havana Times, Castro’s
road to fame was actually very similar to infamous figures such as Mao Tse Tung, Mussolini,
Muammar Gaddafi, and even Hitler: They were all charismatic up-and-comers, but after they
seized power they unleashed a flurry of propaganda and repression that created a cult of personality. The Guardian describes some of Castro’s
particular tactics: From his characteristic beard-and-cigar look to his use and appropriation
of slogans such as “Hasta la victoria siempre” (Until victory, always), “I am the revolution”
and “Socialism or death,” there was no mistaking that he was the face of the Cuban
revolution — along, of course, with his martyred compatriot Che Guevara. To be fair, Castro tended to claim that he
didn’t want to appear in posters, and it looks like much of the posters and murals
depicting him are the work of inspired artists instead of a government-dictated propaganda
flurry (though Castro certainly indulged in that as well, seeing as he kept the media
on a pretty tight leash). Then again, when people are voluntarily plastering
your face all over the country, that’s a pretty good sign that your cult of personality
is already on a pretty decent roll. 2. Adolf Hitler The political cult that formed around Adolf
Hitler in Nazi Germany was something right from the emperor-god worshipping days of ancient
Rome. The title he adapted was Fuhrer, which stands
for “leader” and was used to demonstrate his complete and total authority. The obligatory greeting of the Third Reich
was “Heil Hitler,” which combined with the infamous one-armed Nazi salute turned
merely greeting someone into a full-on tribute to the Fuhrer. Photos, busts and portraits of the Nazi leader
were everywhere, and he was routinely presented as Germany’s savior. This was, of course, an entirely intentional
tactic that enabled Hitler to keep his subjects in an iron grip. He started the political cult game well before
World War II, too. In 1936, he was already talking about himself
as a borderline divine figure at a party rally: “It is a wonder of our times that you found
me,” he said. “And that I found you is Germany’s good
fortune!” Clearly, precognition wasn’t part of his
self-proclaimed savior skill set. 1. Josef Stalin Josef Stalin was a member of Lenin’s very
first politburo after the 1917 Russian Revolution gave birth to the Soviet Union, and when Lenin
died in 1924, he was quick to seize power to himself. His close relationship with the military certainly
didn’t hurt in this mission, but his main strength was his carefully crafted cult of
personality. As a member of Lenin’s inner circle, Stalin
was able to paint himself as an extension of the late revolutionary, whose actions he
characterized as infallible and “flawless.” By connecting the dead Lenin’s cult of personality
with his own actions, he could “borrow” strength from his predecessor and heavily
hint that his every action was of Lenin’s legacy — and since Lenin was perfect, this
meant he was perfect, too. Soon, he was molding traditions and celebrations
in his own image, always making sure to include plenty of the old stuff along with the new,
Stalin-centric things to make the change easier to swallow … and to further entwine himself
with the fabric of the Russian/Soviet identity. Stalin’s main tool to maintain his cult
was the press. Most every story about him was pure propaganda,
presenting him as a wise, much loved genius character and even bestowing him the unofficial
title of the Father of Nations. Even this name wasn’t accidental, as Russia’s
priests were commonly called “Father,” which created the image that Stalin was the
church as well as the earthly power. All in all, the dictator was so terrifyingly
efficient he was at building his political cult that when his successor Nikita Khrushchev
publicly denounced the cult of personality around Stalin in 1956 — three years after
the man’s death — people were shocked and stunned.

Venezuelan politician strips after colleague arrested over Maduro plot – Daily News

 A politician stripped down to his underwear inside his country’s parliament in a desperate bid to protest against the arrest of one of his colleagues  Venezuelan congressman Gilber Caro took off his clothes in the National Assembly in a show of solidarity with legislator Juan Requesens, 29  The gesture comes after a video was shared online of Mr Requesens in deplorable conditions and dressed only in underwear sparking fury over human rights violations  Mr Caro was giving a speech in parliament in front of the whole assembly when he started to strip off his clothes  Video footage shows the man taking off his shirt and his trousers whilst passionately shouting into the microphone, amid applause from fellow politicians  While taking off his shirt Mr Caro can be heard saying: “The dignity of a man is not in his clothes the dignity of a man and this institution is not in what we have on, or what we have, but who we are ”  “The government has stripped the people of food, health and medicine.  “Where is the dignity of the people?”  Congressman Juan Requesens was arrested almost a week ago by officials of the Bolivarian State Intelligence Service  Shortly afterwards, Venezuela’s Minister of Information, Jorge Rodriguez accused him of participating in the failed attack against Nicolas Maduro  The report claims that he participated in the attack where two drones exploded during a public act with the military headed by Maduro, at the request of former parliamentary president Julio Borges, who was exiled to Colombia  His family and colleagues in Parliament have claimed that Requesens was the victim of an “enforced disappearance” as he was forcibly removed from his home and it was only on Sunday that he was allowed to contact his father via telephone  The National Assembly, with an opposing majority, said the video shared of Requesens “demonstrates conditions which reflect not only cruel and degrading treatment but also torture ”  They also pointed out that Requesens’ rights were violated because he was detained and then stripped of his immunity in an express procedure by the National Constituent Assembly, made up only of Chavistas and not recognised by a large part of the international community Read More Top Stories from Mirror Online  Caro, who was also jailed for more than a year when he was a delegate and was accused by the government of possessing weapons and explosives, begged the legislative to unite to defend his fellow congressman  He said: “You have all our support brother Requesens, all our support goes to political prisoners ”  Venezuela is in the midst of an economic, political and humanitarian crisis.  The population faces severe food and medicine shortages, soaring crime rates and an increasingly authoritarian regime by head of state Maduro

How Prince Charles could ‘collapse’ monarchy with ‘political interventions’ unlike Queen – News 247

 Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for 67 years so far, and in that record-breaking time has become well-known for remaining politically neutral  Prince Charles has been steadily been taking over more and more duties on behalf of Her Majesty, and is currently on royal tour in New Zealand, after the Queen stopped making long-haul journeys in 2015  Many royal watchers have noticed some signs of the reins of power being handed over, with the Prince of Wales laying the Remembrance Wreath at the Cenotaph this month, and accompanying Het Majesty during the Queen’s Speech in Parliament in October   However, looking to the future, some politicians and constitutional experts have voiced concern over how Charles’ actions may imperil the position of neutrality his mother has worked so hard to maintain   Constitutional law expert Robert Blackburn, in his 2006 book “King and Country: Monarchy and the Future King Charles III” looked into the way that Charles has “expressed strong views on politics affairs”, unlike his mother   Professor Blackburn writes: “Of real constitutional significance was the fact that in 2005-6, it was acknowledged at the highest levels that the future King did take a stand on certain political matters and actively lobbied the government to try to achieve his aims    “The event as a whole, therefore, evoked controversy and a serious question on the constitutional legitimacy of the future King Charles’ interventions in politics and government, something that had never come close to being an issue in the case of the Queen ”  The late Paul Flynn MP, who was a Labour backbencher at the time, said in The Times: “His actions are suicidal   “The only reason why the monarchy and the Queen are successful is that she has kept out of all political decisions, and the only way it can continue to survive as an institution is if the monarchy is seen to be above politics   “If he is going to find it irresistible to interfere in politics – sometimes on the side of sense, sometimes on the side of nonsense – then the monarchy would be in grave peril with him as head of state   “It would collapse.”    Liberal Democrat Paul Holmes MP added: “Either the monarch is the neutral head of state that the armed forces can swear to, or they are politically active   “If they are politically active, they can’t be the monarchy.  “If he is trying to exploit his position as a future monarch then that’s unacceptable ”  However, Conservative MP Oliver Heald, shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs at the time, commented: “Our party is very supportive of the Prince Certainly, every time I talk to former ministers who were approached by him, they all welcomed his comments ”    Although Her Majesty has maintained strict political neutrality for the most part during her reign, the monarch has been associated with some constitutional rows in the past   Her Majesty acted on controversial advice from her ministers in 1963, which resulted in the Queen in effect choosing the new Prime Minister without the process of a leadership election   The Queen’s position was also called into question during a political crisis in Australia in 1975   Her representative in the country, Australia’s Governor-General Sir John Kerr, stepped in to dismiss the incumbent Prime Minister and appoint a new interim PM in an episode that became known as the Dismissal   Trending  The outrage the Australian public felt over the Governor-General’s actions went on to spur the Republican movement in the country    However, Prince Charles, who was once tipped to be a Governor-General of Australia himself in the Seventies, reportedly wrote letters encouraging Kerr in his course of action   Historian Jenny Hocking unearthed a 1975 letter from the Prince of Wales to Kerr, which she detailed in her book “The Dismissal Dossier”   Writing in 2015, Ms Hocking said: “By entering into this communication with Kerr over his own position, and agreeing even to consider a means of delaying it, the Palace had interposed itself directly into matters of Australian politics ” 

How Donald Trump’s impeachment could mirror Richard Nixon’s political downfall – News 247

 Richard Nixon would have likely been impeached in 1974 after the Watergate scandal – the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and the Nixon administration’s attempts to cover up its involvement – had he not become the first President to resign Now the current President, Mr Trump, is facing scandal after he was accused of withdrawing aid from Ukraine before asking President in Kiev – Volodomy Zelensky – to initiate an investigation into Democratic Party candidate for 2020 elections Joe Biden   While the accusation of attempting to enlist the help of a foreign power to dig up dirt on a political rival is a damning one for Mr Trump, the impeachment proceedings won’t necessarily see the President removed from office  For that to happen, the case against President Trump would have to be supported by the Senate, which is controlled by Republican party allies  It is likely that the only way Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can oust President Trump from the White House is via the ballot box in 2020   But, President Nixon was also in a strong position before his eventual downfall post-Watergate  In the 1972 election, which secured the Republican leader’s second term, he won by 23 percent and carried a staggering 49 states  As he was sworn in for second term in 1973, his approval rating soared to 67%, but then Watergate criticism began to take its toll, which combined with his unpopular Hanoi bombings sent his popularity into free fall  Mr Trump’s popularity may have climbed 2 points to 48 percent after day one of hearings, but support for Mr Nixon’s impeachment didn’t take a significant rise until a short time before his own impeachment inquiry began in October 1973    According to a poll conducted by Gallup just days before the vote, only 38 percent of Americans were in favor of impeachment  Mr Nixon eventually lost support from his allies in Congress and he was eventually forced to resign  Mr Trump is also relying on support from his allies, as the Republican controlled Senate appears to be sticking behind their man   Trending  Mr Nixon’s first hearings had a much bigger impact, as they saw his his approval ratings drop down as low as 31 percent  And now, despite his approval ratings not budging, a poll by Reuters and IPSOS suggests more Americans support impeachment of the current President  The national online poll, which ran from Thursday to Friday morning, showed that 44 percent of US adults said Trump “should be impeached,” while 40 percent said he “should not be impeached ” The power may remain with those in the Senate, but if support for impeachment grows, or worse, more damning evidence is revealed, Mr Trump could come under increasing pressure to stand down  Despite his confidence, Mr Trump will be mindful of how far Mr Nixon fell as criticism grew

Why the Dutch King Works as a Pilot for KLM

This video was made possible by Curiosity
Stream. When you sign up at the link in the description
you’ll also get access to Nebula—the streaming video platform that HAI is a part of. This is Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. He’s king of the 17.2 million bike-riding,
windmill building, Stroopwaffle eating, clog wearing people of the Netherlands, in addition
to the 300,000 people of the Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba,
Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Martin. Now, despite the fact that barely anyone outside
of the country even knows the Netherlands is a monarchy, the King is a pretty important
job. Willem-Alexander is the head of state and
has far-reaching powers into different branches of the Dutch government. In practice, though, sort of like the Queen
of the UK, he largely stays out of politics. You see, the monarchy of the Netherlands is
pretty low-key. In his youth, Willem-Alexander was known in
the media as, “Prince Pils.” That’s pils with one “l,” in reference
for his affinity for Pilsner beer, in addition to other large quantities of alcohol consumed
during his time at the University of Leiden. Eventually, though, he graduated and got interested
in the best beverage of all—water. Seriously, everything you read on him mentions
his keen interest in water management which sounds like an innuendo for bladder control
but it’s actually not. Eventually, though, in 2013, his mom quit
her job and thanks to nepotism, he, of course, walked his way in to the exact same position. They even threw this big party for him on
his first day. Now-King Willem-Alexander is known for his
casual style of monarchy—he never wears his crown; nobody calls him “his majesty”;
his daughters, who are princesses, go to public school; he has his own Instagram account;
and he even turns his throne around and sits in it backwards in order to seem cool and
approachable to the kids. Since long before his current job, though,
Willem-Alexander has held another job—as an airline pilot. You see, back in 1985, slightly concerningly
before being dubbed Prince Pils, he earned his private pilots license, followed two years
later by his commercial pilot’s license. He first used this to work as a volunteer
pilot for some organizations in Kenya in addition to just recreational flying. He got his license to fly multi-engine jet
aircraft in 1989, his military pilot’s license in 1994, then in 2001, he got the crown jewel
of pilots licenses—the airline transport pilot license. That’s the license you need to fly big boy
airplanes with passengers in the back, and so, soon after, Willem-Alexander started doing
just that. Now, how or why exactly this arrangement started
is a bit unclear, but sometime in the early 2000s, somehow, then-Prince Willem-Alexander
strutted over to KLM and cashed in his, “I’m a prince,” card to negotiate a deal to work
for them as a part-time pilot. This made sense for two reasons. One was that KLM’s full name literally translates
to Royal Aviation Company, Inc, so having a little royal in the company, despite the
fact it was then and is now a fully private company, would keep it honest to its name. That way they wouldn’t have to switch to
being called Aviation Company, Inc. Two was that KLM operated the Dutch government
airplane. At the time it was a Fokker 70 which would
be used the royals or politicians to go where they needed to go, and so, once certified,
Willem-Alexander would regularly fly this airplane, especially when it was the royals
using it. The hours of flying he got from the government
airplane alone, though, weren’t enough to maintain his pilot’s license so eventually
he started flying regular passenger flights too. He worked for KLM Cityhopper, the airline’s
subsidiary, flying the Fokker 70 to glamorous places all around the wor… all around Euro…
all around north-western Europe like Humberside, Darlington, and Norwich. Nobody really ever knew he was working as
copilot for these flights, aside from the rest of the crew, as he would never introduce
himself by name when making announcements and, even in the airport, he was rarely recognized
in his KLM uniform. He flew a few times a month all throughout
the 2000’s, and continued to do so even after he became King. In 2017, though, he ran into a bit of a problem. KLM was retiring all of their Fokker aircraft
in favor of newer, more efficient Embraer jets, and these Fokkers were the only aircraft
that the king was certified to fly commercially. This was an even bigger issue for the Dutch
government whose plane, the Fokker 70, could no longer be operated by KLM as they would
no longer have pilots or mechanics for the plane. They therefore made the decision to buy a
Boeing 737 Business Jet, which was better equipped for longer trips, which it turns
out the Dutch have to do a lot to catch up with all the places they accidentally colonized
back in the day. So, Willem-Alexander made the decision to
go through the long, expensive process of getting type rated for the 737 and, once done,
started flying 737’s for KLM. This would take him to much further-flung
destinations all around Europe and sometimes further. While it was always a sort of open secret,
he revealed this side-gig of his to the press in 2017, which resulted in quite a lot of
attention. While he apparently flies about twice-monthly,
his last confirmed sighting was in late 2018 when he worked as co-pilot on a KLM flight
to and from Istanbul, or, as the cool kids call it, Constantinople. Speaking of which, if you want to learn more
cool kid words, it’s not called the Battle of Normandy, it’s called Operation Overlord,
at least in the allies’ codename system. The logistics of landing a fighting force
strong enough to take back Europe on a few French beaches were immense, but that’s
exactly what Brian from Real Engineering’s new Nebula original is about—the logistics
of D-Day. This is just one of many original series’
available on Nebula, which is, of course, the streaming site built by myself and plenty
of other creators. Nebula is now available for free when you
sign up for a subscription at Curiosity Stream—the streaming site home to thousands of top quality
documentaries, non-fiction shows, and more. Curiosity Stream has long been recognized
as a top streaming site for those who love learning, and now the addition of Nebula with
their subscription makes it a fantastic deal. By signing up for a yearly subscription at, which is just $20, you’ll also get a free Nebula subscription,
and you’ll also be doing your part in supporting independent creators.