Betty MacDonald Fan Club. Join fans of the beloved writer Betty MacDonald (1907-58). The original Betty MacDonald Fan Club and literary Society. Welcome to Betty MacDonald Fan Club and Betty MacDonald Society - the official Betty MacDonald Fan Club Website with members in 40 countries.
Betty MacDonald, the author of The Egg and I and the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Series is beloved all over the world. Don't miss Wolfgang Hampel's Betty MacDonald biography and his very witty interviews on CD and DVD!
Thank you so much in advance for your support and interest.
That's a very beautiful book cover of Betty MacDonald's Onions in the Stew. Do you know the language? Send us a mail, please and you might be our next Betty MacDonald fan club surprise winner. Good luck! Have a nice Tuesday,
Labour has accused Theresa May of “appeasing” you by refusing to withdraw the state visit invitation.
Shami Chakrabarti, shadow attorney general, said: “The world is in a
very precarious situation at the moment and we will not make this world
safer or fairer by appeasing bullies like Mr Trump.”
Do you have any idea why they feel so ashamed? I do!
Should I remain in bed, leave my country or fight against the dragon?
( see also the story by Wolfgang Hampel, ' Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say ' )
Betty and Don MacDonald in Hollywood
Betty MacDonald's mother Sydney with grandchild Alison Beck
More from Cardiff where Theresa May was booed after attending a Brexit meeting with the heads of the devolved assemblies.
The Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that Donald
Trump’s state visit ought to be cancelled while travel bans are in place
and has called on the prime minister to speak up more strongly against
the values that the president’s policies have exposed, writes Steven Morris.
Speaking after a one-to-one meeting with Theresa May that took place
before the meeting of the joint ministerial committee in Cardiff,
Sturgeon said she told the prime minister she should voice concerns
about Trump more forcefully. Sturgeon told the Guardian: “I said [to her] that while everybody
understands that she wants to build a constructive relationship that
relationship has to be based on values. “I think many people would like to hear a stronger view from the UK
government about the immigrant and refugee ban that was announced. “I also said that I don’t think it would be appropriate in these
circumstances for the state visit to go ahead while these bans are in
place given the understandable concern that people have about them and
the messages they send and the impact they have.”
Don't miss this very interesting articles, below!
it appears Trump has gone back into the field to drag in a whole new
bunch of State contenders.
My favorite is Representative Dana
Rohrabacher of California, a person you have probably never heard of
even though he’s been in Congress since the 1980s and is currently head
of the prestigious Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats.
I think the future dinosaur flatulence will be the behaviour of 'Pussy' and his very strange government.
Poor World! Poor America!
Don't miss these very interesting articles below, please.
The most difficult case in Mrs.Piggle-Wiggle's career
Hello 'Pussy', this is Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
took calls from foreign leaders on unsecured phone lines, without
consultung the State Department. We have to change your silly behaviour
with a new Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle cure. I know you are the most difficult
case in my career - but we have to try everything.......................
I agree with Betty in this very witty Betty MacDonald story Betty MacDonald: Nothing more to say by Wolfgang Hampel.
can't imagine to live in a country with him as so-called elected
President although there are very good reasons to remain there to fight
against these brainless politics.
Besides him ( by the way the First Lady's place ) his 10 year old son was bored to death and listened to this 'exciting' victory speech.
The old man could be his great-grandfather.
boy was very tired and thought: I don't know what this old guy is
talking about. Come on and finish it, please. I'd like to go to bed. Dear 'great-grandfather' continued and praised the Democratic candidate.
Hampel's Betty MacDonald and Ma and Pa Kettle biography and Betty
MacDonald interviews have fans in 40 countries. I'm one of their many devoted fans.
Many Betty MacDonald - and Wolfgang Hampel fans are very interested in a Wolfgang Hampel CD and DVD with his
very funny poems and stories.
We are going to publish new Betty MacDonald essays on Betty MacDonald's gardens and nature in Washington State. Tell us the names of this mysterious couple please and you can win a very new Betty MacDonald documentary.
The series premiered on September 3,
1951, the same day as "Search for Tomorrow," and ended on August 1,
Although it did well in the ratings, it had difficulty
attracting a steady sponsor. This episode features Betty Lynn (later
known for her work on "The Andy Griffith Show") as Betty MacDonald, John
Craven as Bob MacDonald, Doris Rich as Ma Kettle, and Frank Twedell as
Betty MacDonald fan club exhibition will be fascinating with the international book editions and letters by Betty MacDonald. I can't wait to see the new Betty MacDonald documentary.
would welcome a meeting with Donald Trump to discuss interfaith
relations, sources close to him have said, amid a growing outcry at the
US ban on travel from seven Muslim-majority nations, writes Robert
A royal source said Charles remained willing to meet Trump if the
state visit went ahead, saying: “It is not his style to turn his back.” Charles’s record as an advocate for interfaith relations and his
high-level connections in the Islamic world, including close relations
with Saudi and Gulf state royals, were cited by royal sources as reasons
why his views might carry weight with Trump.
Seven human rights organisations have warned that the operation of
the Trump ban at Ireland’s two major airports could violate both Irish
and European human rights law, writes Henry McDonald in Dublin. The groups who include Amnesty International Ireland, the Free Legal
Advice Centres (FLAC) and the Irish Council of Civil Liberties have
called today for an “urgent review” of how US Homeland Security operates
at Dublin and Shannon airports. Currently Homeland Security officials vet travellers from Ireland to
the United States before they board transatlantic flights. Those
sections of the two airports where Homeland Security check travellers
passports and other personal information are effectively American
territory. In their statement the human rights groups said the Irish state must:
“Conduct an urgent review of the pre-clearance system operating in
Ireland and take appropriate action, up to and including suspension of
the pre-clearance agreement, where there might be a reasonable chance
that a person’s rights under the Constitution, EU law or the European
Convention on Human Rights may be under threat. “Provide appropriate information on the applicable law and procedures
to any person refused pre-clearance on the basis of the operation of
the Executive Order. Irish immigration officials should also give any
person refused pre-clearance the opportunity to seek legal advice. The
organisations issuing this statement stand ready to give advice and/or
make appropriate referrals, to any person refused pre-clearance in
Ireland on the basis of the Executive Order. “Clarify the role of Gardaí and immigration officials in the US
pre-clearance process to ensure that in the exercise of their public
functions, a person’s rights under the Irish Constitution, European
Convention on Human Rights, EU law or international human rights law
will not be violated.”
A policy which closes our doors to over 200 million legitimate
travellers in the hopes of preventing a small number of travellers who
intend to harm Americans from using the visa system to enter the United
States will not achieve its aim of making our country safer. Moreover,
such a policy runs counter to core American values of nondiscrimination,
fair play, and extending a warm welcome to foreign visitors and
immigrants. Alternative solutions are available to address the risk of
terror attacks which are both more effective and in line with Department
of State and American values.
The advice to airport staff over how to handle nationals from the
affected countries has been in flux over the weekend, writes Alice Ross. Today that advice has changed again, an employee of an international airline working in Dubai told the Guardian. Their team has now been told not to reject would-be passengers from
the seven countries at check-in. Instead they should be referred to the
security team, who will then try to get clearance for them from the US
border guards on a case-by-case basis. This applies to green card holders and holders of any visas. There’s no advice for airport staff about how to handle travellers
with dual nationalities. “We’re letting them go. I think it’s vague
purposefully from our end to help our passengers,” said the employee,
who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Interesting timing from George Osborne ... he has just announced he
will be a visiting fellow at the university institute set up by Senator
John McCain, a vocal critic of Trump’s travel ban and his stance on
While Theresa May is facing mounting pressure over the way she
invited Trump for a state visit, Osborne has been singing McCain’s
praises. The McCain institute quotes Osborne
saying: “I am very honoured to be named the McCain Institute’s first
Kissinger Fellow. I have long admired Henry Kissinger and John McCain -
and count myself fortunate to know both these extraordinary leaders. I
look forward to using this opportunity to work with the McCain Institute
to see how we best promote our western values and secure a stable world
order in this time of change.”
The most senior figure in the Church of Scotland, the Right Rev Dr
Russell Barr has said he is horrified with President Trump’s ban on
refugees and travellers from seven Muslim majority countries, and
implied the president is breaching Christian teachings, writes Severin
Dr Barr, moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland,
said he supported the protests against Trump’s executive order across
the US and globally. He supported a protest from the clerk of the US
Presbyterian church’s general assembly, Rev J Herbert Nelson II. “History is littered with instances in which human distrust,
xenophobia, and discrimination has sewn hatred and conflict; our own
desire for self-preservation taken at the exclusion of others,” Barr
said, before calling on pressure to be applied to the UK government to
listen to that message. “Throughout history the bible has called Christians to live beyond
hatred and fear, demonstrating a radical hospitality where the stranger
finds welcome and refuge is provided for those who are oppressed.”
Britain has a long history of inviting controversial and embarrassing guests on state visits. Donald Trump is likely to fit in well with this tradition, writes Simon Tisdall.
Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide
— A federal judge in Brooklyn came to the aid of scores of refugees and
others who were trapped at airports across the United States on
Saturday after an executive order signed by President Trump, which
sought to keep many foreigners from entering the country, led to chaotic
scenes across the globe.
judge’s ruling blocked part of the president’s actions, preventing the
government from deporting some arrivals who found themselves ensnared by
the presidential order. But it stopped short of letting them into the
country or issuing a broader ruling on the constitutionality of Mr.
high-stakes legal case played out on Saturday amid global turmoil, as
the executive order signed by the president slammed shut the borders of
the United States for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in
Massachusetts, a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio and
countless others across the world.
president’s order, enacted with the stroke of a pen at 4:42 p.m.
Friday, suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120
days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the
United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim
countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Department of Homeland Security said that the order also barred green
card holders from those countries from re-entering the United States. In
a briefing for reporters, White House officials said that green card
holders from the seven affected countries who are outside the United
States would need a case-by-case waiver to return.
Trump — in office just a week — found himself accused of constitutional
and legal overreach by two Iraqi immigrants, defended by the American
Civil Liberties Union. Meanwhile, large crowds of protesters turned out
at airports around the country to denounce Mr. Trump’s ban on the entry
of refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
who sued the government to block the White House order said the judge’s
decision could affect an estimated 100 to 200 people who were detained
upon arrival at American airports.
Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, who was
nominated by former President Barack Obama, ruled just before 9 p.m.
that implementing Mr. Trump’s order by sending the travelers home could
cause them “irreparable harm.” She said the government was “enjoined and
restrained from, in any manner and by any means, removing individuals”
who had arrived in the United States with valid visas or refugee status.
ruling does not appear to force the administration to let in people
otherwise blocked by Mr. Trump’s order who have not yet traveled to the
judge’s one-page ruling came swiftly after lawyers for the A.C.L.U.
testified in her courtroom that one of the people detained at an airport
was being put on a plane to be deported back to Syria at that very
moment. A government lawyer, Gisela A. Westwater, who spoke to the court
by phone from Washington, said she simply did not know.
of people waited outside of the courthouse chanting, “Set them free!”
as lawyers made their case. When the crowd learned that Judge Donnelly
had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, a rousing cheer went up in the
after the judge’s ruling in New York City, another judge, Leonie M.
Brinkema of Federal District Court in Virginia, issued a temporary
restraining order for a week to block the removal of any green card
holders being detained at Dulles International Airport.
a statement released early Sunday morning, the Department of Homeland
Security said it would continue to enforce all of the president’s
executive orders, even while complying with judicial decisions.
“Prohibited travel will remain prohibited,” the department said in a
statement, adding that the directive was “a first step towards
re-establishing control over America’s borders and national security.”
the nation, security personnel at major international airports had new
rules to follow, though the application of the order appeared chaotic
and uneven. Humanitarian organizations delivered the bad news to
overseas families that had overcome the bureaucratic hurdles previously
in place and were set to travel. And refugees already on flights when
the order was signed on Friday found themselves detained upon arrival.
gotten reports of people being detained all over the country,” said
Becca Heller, the director of the International Refugee Assistance
Project. “They’re literally pouring in by the minute.”
in the day, at the White House, Mr. Trump shrugged off the sense of
anxiety and disarray, suggesting that there had been an orderly rollout.
“It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared,” he said. “It’s
working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all
But to many, the government hardly seemed prepared for the upheaval that Mr. Trump’s actions put into motion.
were numerous reports of students attending American universities who
were blocked from returning to the United States from visits abroad. One
student said in a Twitter post that he would be unable to study at
Yale. Another who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was
refused permission to board a plane. A Sudanese graduate student at
Stanford University was blocked for hours from entering the country.
rights groups reported that legal permanent residents of the United
States who hold green cards were being stopped in foreign airports as
they sought to return from funerals, vacations or study abroad. There
was widespread condemnation of the order, from religious leaders,
business executives, academics, political leaders and others. Mr.
Trump’s supporters offered praise, calling it a necessary step on behalf
of the nation’s security.
Security officials said on Saturday night that 109 people who were
already in transit to the United States when the order was signed were
denied access; 173 were stopped before boarding planes heading to
America. Eighty-one people who were stopped were eventually given
waivers to enter the United States, officials said.
residents who have a green card and are currently in the United States
should meet with a consular officer before leaving the country, a White
House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told reporters.
Officials did not clarify the criteria that would qualify someone for a
waiver, other than that it would be granted “in the national interest.”
the week-old administration appeared to be implementing the order
chaotically, with agencies and officials around the globe interpreting
it in different ways.
The Stanford student, Nisrin Omer, a legal permanent resident, said she was held at Kennedy International Airport
in New York for about five hours but was eventually allowed to leave
the airport. Others who were detained appeared to be still in custody or
sent back to their home countries.
House aides claimed on Saturday that there had been consultations with
State Department and homeland security officials about carrying out the
order. “Everyone who needed to know was informed,” one aide said.
that assertion was denied by multiple officials with knowledge of the
interactions, including two officials at the State Department. Leaders
of Customs and Border Protection
and of Citizenship and Immigration Services — the two agencies most
directly affected by the order — were on a telephone briefing on the new
policy even as Mr. Trump signed it on Friday, two officials said.
A.C.L.U.’s legal case began with two Iraqis detained at Kennedy
Airport, the named plaintiffs in the case. One was en route to reunite
with his wife and son in Texas. The other had served alongside Americans
in Iraq for a decade.
after noon on Saturday, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, an interpreter who
worked for more than a decade on behalf of the United States government
in Iraq, was released. After nearly 19 hours of detention, Mr. Darweesh
began to cry as he spoke to reporters, putting his hands behind his back
and miming handcuffs.
“What I do for this country? They put the cuffs on,” Mr. Darweesh said. “You know how many soldiers I touch by this hand?”
other man the lawyers are representing, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq
Alshawi, who was en route to Houston, was released Saturday night.
the two men were released, one of the lawyers, Mark Doss, a supervising
attorney at the International Refugee Assistance Project, asked an
official, “Who is the person we need to talk to?”
“Call Mr. Trump,” said the official, who declined to identify himself.
the judge’s ruling means that none of the detainees will be sent back
immediately, lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case expressed concern
that all those at the airports would now be put in detention, pending a
resolution of the case.
White House said the restrictions would protect “the United States from
foreign nationals entering from countries compromised by terrorism” and
allow the administration time to put in place “a more rigorous vetting
process.” But critics condemned Mr. Trump over the collateral damage on
people who had no sinister intentions in trying to come to the United
protests began forming Saturday afternoon at Kennedy Airport, where
nine travelers had been detained upon arrival at Terminal 7 and two
others at Terminal 4, an airport official said. Similar scenes were
playing out at other airports across the nation.
official message to all American diplomatic posts around the world
provided instructions about how to treat people from the countries
affected: “Effective immediately, halt interviewing and cease issuance
and printing” of visas to the United States.
confusion turned to panic as travelers found themselves unable to board
flights bound for the United States. In Dubai and Istanbul, airport and
immigration officials turned passengers away at boarding gates and, in
at least one case, ejected a family from a flight it had boarded.
Soheil Saeedi Saravi, a promising young Iranian scientist, had been
scheduled to travel in the coming days to Boston, where he had been
awarded a fellowship to study cardiovascular medicine at Harvard,
according to Thomas Michel, the professor who was to supervise the
But Professor Michel said the visas for the student and his wife had been indefinitely suspended.
outstanding young scientist has enormous potential to make
contributions that will improve our understanding of heart disease, and
he has already been thoroughly vetted,” Professor Michel wrote to The
New York Times.
is just so heartbroken, so angry, so sad,” said Danielle Drake, the
community manager for US Together, an agency that resettles refugees.
Christian family of six from Syria said in an email to Representative
Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, that they were being detained
on Saturday morning at Philadelphia International Airport despite having
legal paperwork, green cards and visas that had been approved.
the case of the two Iraqis held at Kennedy Airport, the legal filings
by his lawyers say that Mr. Darweesh was granted a special immigrant
visa on Jan. 20, the same day Mr. Trump was sworn in as president.
husband and father of three, Mr. Darweesh arrived at Kennedy Airport
with his family. Mr. Darweesh’s wife and children made it through
passport control and customs, but agents of Customs and Border
Protection detained him.
Istanbul, during a stopover on Saturday, passengers reported that
security officers had entered a plane after everyone had boarded and
ordered a young Iranian woman and her family to leave the aircraft.
green card holders who live in the United States were blindsided by the
decree while on vacation in Iran, finding themselves in a legal limbo
and unsure whether they would be able to return to America.
do I get back home now?” said Daria Zeynalia, a green card holder who
was visiting family in Iran. He had rented a house and leased a car, and
would be eligible for citizenship in November. “What about my job? If I
can’t go back soon, I’ll lose everything.”
Standing Rock may be the first battle site in Trump’s war on the environment
The fledgling Trump administration has effectively declared war on environmental protection. On Tuesday, President Trump signed executive orders that took the first steps toward reversing two Obama administration rulings against oil pipeline projects. One of those rulings, by the State Department, rejected the application for the Keystone XL pipeline
that would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries and
shipping points in the United States. The other ruling, from the Army
Corps of Engineers, told owners of the Dakota Access pipeline to come up with alternative routes that would not endanger the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota.
Trump’s orders, in themselves, did not completely undo the
Obama administration’s pipeline decisions, but they are clear
indicators that such an outcome is in the works. TransCanada, the
Keystone project’s owner, is being asked to resubmit the project
application (with the caveat that Trump wants the pipeline built with
100% American steel). Meanwhile, the Army Corps of Engineers is being
ordered to “review and approve in an expedited manner” the North Dakota
pipeline plan of Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. As
those two actions made headlines, more reports surfaced about the
administration’s Putin-like attempts to muzzle anyone in any government
agency who has views on the environment that are out of step with the
Even with best-friend-of-the-oil-industry Scott Pruitt not yet confirmed by the Senate as head of the Environmental Protection Agency,
EPA employees are feeling the cold hand of the Trump White House
covering their mouths. Grants and contracts worth $4 billion that
support environmental programs for states, tribes and other entities
have been put on hold. EPA employees, as well as scientists, researchers
and government workers in other departments who deal with environmental
issues — particularly climate change — have been told to make no public
statements, put no new content on websites, stay away from social media
and submit for review any speaking engagements or contacts with the
news media.When an unidentified person at the Badlands
National Park was found to be defiantly tweeting facts about climate
change, the posts were quickly removed by enforcers of the ban.Since
Trump’s election, scientists have been scrambling to copy vital climate
research onto private servers before the climate change deniers who
dominate policy in the new administration can do anything to harm the
data. “Something that seemed a little paranoid to me before all of a
sudden seems potentially realistic, or at least something you’d want to
hedge against,” UC Davis environmental researcher Nick Santos told the
Washington Post. “Doing this can only be a good thing. Hopefully they
leave everything in place. But if not, we’re planning for that.”
Trump has been in office less than a week and he
is already confirming the worst fears of environmentalists. An
overwhelming number of scientific studies indicate that man-made climate
change will be an existential threat to humanity if no action is taken
to sharply reduce reliance on fossil fuels. President Obama believed the
science; Donald Trump and the people he has put in charge of energy and
environmental policies do not. It appears obvious that the Trump
administration will consistently favor oil, gas and coal interests over
citizens who just want clean air and water and a landscape that is not
carpeted with drilling rigs and fracking equipment.Last
weekend’s huge women’s marches in cities across the country pulled
together people with a variety of concerns, but environmental issues got
slight attention. That needs to change because the environment is the
one thing we all have in common.The first place where
the environmental battle lines are drawn will very likely be the
Standing Rock reservation. Through the summer, fall and into the snow
and freezing temperatures of winter, the tribe led anti-pipeline
protests that grew dramatically in size and drew international attention
to what had been an obscure project. Protesters thought they had won,
but now, with a stroke of Trump’s pen, victory has been snatched away.
The tribe will take the fight to the courts, but it seems inevitable
that there will be another physical confrontation as well. Thousands of
people will gather to resist, this time with the weather on their side,
the federal government against them and the future in their hands.The war is on. David.Horsey@latimes.com Follow me at @davidhorsey on Twitter MORE FROM TOP OF THE TICKET Trump’s 'America first' policy has a big fan in the Kremlin Surviving four years of Trump's huge ego and incurious mind Barack Obama built a new kind of Camelot for a new generation
Trump claims torture works but experts warn of its 'potentially existential' costs
Trump gives first presidential TV interview as draft executive order points to return to practices such as waterboarding
has used his first TV interview as president to say he believes torture
“absolutely” works and that the US should “fight fire with fire.” Speaking to ABC News, Trump said he would defer to the defence
secretary, James Mattis, and CIA director, Mike Pompeo, to determine
what can and cannot be done legally to combat the spread of terrorism. But asked about the efficacy of tactics such as waterboarding, Trump said: “absolutely I feel it works.”
“When Isis is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since
medieval times. Would I feel strongly about waterboarding. As far as I’m
concerned we have to fight fire with fire.”Trump said he asked intelligence chiefs earlier this week whether torture works. “The answer was yes, absolutely,” he said.
He added that terrorist groups “chop off the citizens’ or anybody’s
heads in the Middle East, because they’re Christian or Muslim or
anything else ... we have that and we’re not allowed to do anything.
We’re not playing on an even field.”The interviews come after reports that Trump is preparing to sign an
executive order that would reinstate the detention of terrorism suspects
at facilities known as “black sites”. This would remove limitations on coercive interrogation techniques
set by a longstanding army field manual intended to ensure humane
military interrogations, which is mostly compliant with the Geneva
Conventions. Mattis and Pompeo were “blindsided” by reports of the draft
order, Politico said citing sources.However, Trump faces resistance to the prospect of the reintroduction of torture.On Wednesday, Steve Kleinman, a retired air force colonel and senior
adviser to the FBI-led team that interrogates terrorist suspects warned
that weakening US prohibitions against torture was dangerous and
ignorant. “A lot of these people who weigh in heavily on interrogation have no
idea how little they know, [and do so] because of what they see on
television,” said Kleinman, chairman of the research advisory committee
to the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG). “There is, at best, anecdotal evidence to support torture,” said Kleinman, who emphasized that he was not speaking for the HIG.
“There is, on the other hand, a robust body of scientific
literature and field testing that demonstrates the efficacy of a
relationship-based, rapport-based, cognitive-based approach to
interrogation, as well as a robust literature that would suggest torture
immediately undermines a source’s ability to be a reliable reporter of
information: memory is undermined, judgment is undermined,
decision-making is undermined, time-references are undermined. And this
is only from a purely operational perspective; we can’t take the
morality out of strategy.”“If the US was to make it once again the policy of the country to
coerce, and to detain at length in an extrajudicial fashion, the costs
would be beyond substantial – they’d be potentially existential,”
Kleinman said.Senator John McCain, a torture survivor and co-author of a 2015 law
barring the US security agencies from using interrogation techniques
that surpass the prohibitions beyond those set out in the US army field
manual, signalled his defiance.“The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the
law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the United States of
America,” said McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate
armed services committee.McCain referenced explicit guarantees from Pompeo and Mattis during their Senate confirmation proceedings to
follow the interrogations law and the army field manual. “I am
confident these leaders will be true to their word,” McCain said. The former CIA head Leon Panetta, who gave the orders to close the
agency’s black sites told the BBC that it would be a “mistake” to
reintroduce enhanced interrogation techniques and “damaging” to the
reputation of the US. Panetta said torture was violation of the US values and the constitution.
Mark Fallon, who was the deputy chief of Guantánamo’s Bush-era
investigative taskforce for military tribunals, said: “It does appear
like a subterfuge to enact more brutal methods because that was what
candidate Trump campaigned on during the election.”Fallon warned that the field manual’s appendix M, which allows
extended “separation” of a detainee from other captives, represented a
“slippery slope that could bring back torture”.Britain’s prime minister, Theresa May, has been urged to by her own MPs to make Britain’s opposition to torture clear to Trump when she visits him on Friday.At prime minister’s questions Andrew Tyrie, a senior Tory MP, said:
“President Trump has repeatedly said he will bring back torture as an
instrument of policy. When she sees him on Friday, will the prime
minister make it clear that in no circumstances will she permit Britain
to be dragged into facilitating that torture, as we were after 11
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A new president, a new predator and a liberal island is worried about its way of life
Shortly after Donald Trump
accepted the Republican nomination for president last summer, a cougar
swam across a salt-water channel to this island oasis amid Seattle and
its suburbs. At the time, many people here viewed the
candidate and the big cat as interlopers, soon to be exposed and
expelled. But both are still around — and one is clearly causing more
concern than the other on this increasingly anxious island. “If we could have the cougar or Trump for the next four
years, I’d take the cougar,” said Tristan Dornall, 27, who has not
ventured alone into the woods near his house since he had a startlingly
close encounter with the animal there in November. “I mean, definitely.” If
Seattle is the predictably Democratic capital of the Pacific Northwest,
Vashon, just 20 minutes away by ferry, is one of the region’s
experimental laboratories, a place where new strains of environmentalism
and progressivism flourish, unencumbered by mainland reality. It
presents an increasingly rare constituency: rural but not red.
Country roads curve through art galleries, alpaca
farms and sustainable distilleries. A nonprofit’s popular “rewilding”
program teaches families “our renowned approach to deep nature
connection and the bundle of teachings we call Coyote Mentoring.”Of the 7,701 people here who cast ballots for president in November, fewer than 13% voted for Trump, and nearly 78% backed Hillary Clinton.Now,
as the Trump era unfolds, Vashon is confronting what many parts of
liberal America feel, an uncomfortable blend of realization,
determination and fear. And this being an island — a bubble, yes,
islanders know that — there is also a temptation to retrench, to shrink
the world to the immediate shoreline.“I tend to be very
globally minded, and I think my processing right now is to think more
locally,” said April Sherman, whose great-great-grandfather homesteaded
here in the 1870s. “I feel a little out of control, like I can’t do
much.”Some Vashon residents say they want to reach out,
to bridge the cultural and economic divisions Trump’s campaign helped
reveal. Many also express resolve to fight harder than ever to protect
the planet and their unique piece of it.“Since the
advent of environmental laws, I think there is more gravely at risk now
than ever before,” said Amy Carey, whose fight to stop a gravel mine
from being dug here more than a decade ago led her to found Sound
Action, an assertive nonprofit that works to protect nearshore areas all
over Puget Sound. “And we have no gimme room for error.”A
couple of years ago, stories shot across the Internet declaring Vashon
the most liberal place in the United States based on an analysis of
political donations. Not long after, that analysis was debunked by an
island newspaper, which concluded that, using the same measure, Vashon
was merely more liberal than Seattle. Other skeptics have questioned
what liberalism really looks like in a wealthy enclave where more
than 90% of its 10,600 residents are white.Islanders,
ever self-aware, are trying to answer the question themselves. They have
been working to finalize a new zoning plan that aspires to a
challenging progressive balance — increase the amount of affordable
housing without compromising their rural way of life or giving too much
freedom to developers they do not trust. One idea is to
create a nonprofit that would build only as much housing as island
workers need and in a way that puts the environment first. “I
know we are grieving with the results of the national election,” Martin
Baker, a longtime resident and environmental activist, wrote to
concerned residents last fall. “I suggest this is a place to take
action. It is, after all, our home.” That word, “home,”
resonates deeply here. Cashiers in the grocery store pick up
conversations with customers from the last time they came in. Baristas
anticipate orders. Not only do people leave their cars unlocked, some
leave the keys on the seat. The novelist Michael Chabon
once lived on Vashon and has said it helped inspire the setting of his
2002 book, “Summerland.” In the book, the fictional Clam Island was
connected to the mainland until a bridge collapsed. It did not take long
for islanders to view their new isolation as a good thing. Vashon never
had a bridge, but its residents, like those in the book, are content to
come and go by ferries, which run frequently from two terminals on the
island. “You could not get a cup of coffee or clam
chowder, or hear all about your neighbor’s sick cousin or chicken, on
the Clam Narrows Bridge,” Chabon wrote, adding, “Islands have always
been strange and magical places. Crossing the water to reach them ought
to be, even in a small way, an adventure.”
for Trump, some here are trying to take a long view — hoping that
his election is an aberration, a difficult but not insurmountable
hurdle in the march toward a more progressive era.Many
residents note that the West Coast voted overwhelmingly Democratic (some
big cities and counties voted more decisively for Clinton than Vashon
did). They emphasize that Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes nationwide (suggesting
they may not be in such a bubble after all), and they point out that
Trump is viewed with suspicion even among many in his own party (another
reason, they hope, he might not win a second term).“You
have to empathize with and understand those people,” Derek Churchill,
who teaches sustainable forestry practices on Vashon but also
in conservative timber towns, said of Trump voters in rural areas. “A
lot of these folks are so desperate.“They live in places
where schools are closing, where there are meth addiction problems,
these communities that are slowly spiraling downward. That is something
we need to figure out how to address. That’s got to be a wake-up call.”Bianca
Perla, who grew up on the island, earned a doctorate in ecology at the
University of Washington and now runs the Vashon Nature Center, said
that, although she fears a Trump administration, it may not be a bad
thing that his election pierced what she called Vashon’s “bubble
mentality.”“Now we see more widely,” Perla said. “Our
island, the nice thing about it is we can be sort of insular and have
this beauty all around us. But the cold reality is that it’s affected by
larger systems. It’s all connected.” That dynamic, in fact, is what prompted the cougar to make his big swim last summer.
Sergeant Kim Chandler of the Washington Department of Fish
and Wildlife said the cougar likely was seeking a bubble of its own — a
place with lush forests and abundant prey, a refuge from the
increasingly developed region beyond Vashon. Now, however, after the
cougar has been linked to at least four alpaca deaths, the state is
trying to trap it. If the state succeeds, the animal may be outfitted
with a GPS collar and released in the Cascade Range. “If
you picked that island up and plopped it down somewhere near the
mountains,” Chandler said, “it’d be exactly the same habitat.”
The Senate Democrats' sound and fury over
President Donald Trump's cabinet picks and his political agenda is
apparently signifying nothing – at least on defense policy. The fact
that the Senate quickly confirmed General James "Mad Dog" Mattis by a
vote of 98-1
late Friday afternoon in the wake of inauguration activities shows that
even progressive Democrats, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth
Warren, don't have the stomach for a foreign policy fight with Trump's
new Pentagon. That's how effectively Trump and perhaps even Mattis'
defense industry connections are already bullying Washington into submission.
Sanders justified his vote by saying
that while Mattis wasn't the nominee he preferred, "in a Trump cabinet
likely to be loaded up with right-wing extremists, all of whom I will
oppose, I hope General Mattis will have a moderating influence on some
of the racist and xenophobic views that President Trump advocated
throughout the campaign." This is incredibly wishful and relativistic
thinking. Mattis will never be a moderating influence, and he's already
exhibited racist and xenophobic thinking by the ways in which he views
The Pentagon's new secretary of defense believes, and is on record
saying, that we should "have a plan to kill everybody you meet," that
"if you f*ck with me, I'll kill you all," and that "there are some
assholes in the world that just need to be shot".
Bombastic braggadocios aren't helpful at the
Pentagon helm. This language may serve a purpose within the defense
industry, as it props up their for-profit modus operandi. But in terms
of aiding international affairs, it's caustic and antagonistic and will
only get us into more wars, not fewer.
Mattis, moreover, thinks that shooting people is
"just business" and that it's "a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
This is exactly the kind of attitude that leads to U.S. Marines
urinating on dead Afghan bodies. When our new defense secretary says
that killing is "a hell of a hoot," and that "It's fun to shoot some
people," we are inculcating a culture of indiscriminate violence. This
is not level-headed and will undoubtedly lead to more trickle-down
killing and callousness.
This is also not emblematic of cooler heads
capable of prevailing amid the myriad precipitous, conflict-ridden
cliffs that we will invariably face in a Trump foreign policy agenda.
Yet, every single Democrat in the Senate – with the exception of New
York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – voted to send that message to the world.
What a lost opportunity to send a different message.
What's most frustrating here, however, is that
this problem – of progressives rolling over to more militaristic foreign
policy players in Washington – is prevalent within the progressive
policy community. It's also what plagued Sanders' presidential campaign.
Many progressive policymakers don't have sufficient foreign policy
experience to competently push back when questioned about a violent
conflict overseas. They've largely not spent time in conflict zones
without military escort, which is part of the problem, of course, as
Pentagon protection offers an extremely selective and ultimately biased
perspective. Nor have they prioritized meetings with community-based
organizations in Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria or
Pakistan, that are cleaning up after the death and destruction from our
drone strikes, airstrikes, ground raids and weapons trafficking.
General James Mattis will have the chance to practice what he preaches on nuclear weapons.
This is a serious and serial problem.
Progressive Democrats often get elected to Congress after years of local
and state service on legislatures, county and school boards, and
commissions, but arrive in Washington with little foreign service or
foreign policy expertise of any kind. They haven't seen for themselves –
and our mainstream media are rarely showing – the disastrous wake left
behind by our military invasions. And they often can't properly
pronounce a foreign or adversary's town, tribe, territory or tactic in a
debate, getting trounced by more militarily minded opponents.
This happens over and over and over again. And
it was very visible in debates between Sanders and Hillary Clinton. She
was clearly perceived as the security expert, even if it came with email
blunders, because she had exposure while at the State Department to the
language, the lexicon and the litany of defense apparatuses that are
useful to presidential debate.
It's high time progressives in Congress –
elected officials and their senior staff – get over to places like Bayda
province in Yemen, where the Trump administration's first drone strikes occurred over the weekend, Somalia's Galmudug region, where the U.S. killed
nearly two dozen government soldiers in September, and anywhere in
Afghanistan, where the U.S. under the Obama administration increased air
strikes by 40 percent
in 2016. And insist to see it with the assistance and collaboration of
local actors and international aid and relief organizations.
Then, progressive members of Congress might be
able to go toe-to-toe with the Mattises of this world. Until then,
progressives have no fighting chance on the foreign policy front.
Trump's 'day of patriotic devotion' has echoes of North Korea
Donald Trump has echoed North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un,
after declaring that the day of his inauguration should be a “national
day of patriotic devotion” – a rallying cry that would not be out of
place in the secretive state’s propaganda. Trump’s proclamation, which was made official on Monday,
has been uttered by Kim in speeches to his 1.2 million-strong military
and members of the ruling Korean Workers’ party in recent years.
In an address to a military parade in Pyongyang
on 10 October 2015 – the party’s 70th anniversary – Kim thanked the
“heroic men and women” of the army and security services who, “in hearty
response to the party’s appeal, have worked with patriotic devotion and
created one heroic miracle after another” in their quest to build a
“thriving socialist nation”.The phrase also crops up in North Korean propaganda.On 19 December last year, the fifth anniversary of the death of Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il,
the Rodong Sinmun, the ruling party’s official newspaper, said of the
late leader: “The noble image and patriotic devotion of the peerless
patriot, who reliably defended socialism centred on the popular masses
and turned [North Korea] into an invincible politico-ideological power
and a world military power.”In an article just after Kim’s death,
the official KCNA news agency cited meteorologists as saying “the
spring of prosperity under socialism will surely come … thanks to the
patriotic devotion of Kim Jong-il, who blocked the howling wind of
history till the last moments of his life”.And last January, the Rodong Sinmun cited a speech in which Kim
Jong-un had congratulated a socialist youth league formed in the name of
his grandfather and North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, on its 70th anniversary.Kim, according to the paper, said the league had enjoyed “a history
of brilliant victories of the great leaders’ original idea of
prioritising the youth and their wise leadership and a history of ardent
loyalty and patriotic devotion, with which the young people of Korea
have supported the party and the leader, the country and the people”.Trump’s use of the term, and its provenance, was noted on Twitter.
In his inaugural speech, Trump declared that he would put “America
first” and argued that patriotic zeal could heal the nation’s divisions.On Monday, paperwork was filed with the federal government declaring that the day of his inauguration, 20 January 2017, would be officially known as the “National Day of Patriotic Devotion”.Trump’s executive order said the proclamation would “strengthen our
bonds to each other and to our country – and to renew the duties of
government to the people”.Jiro Ishimaru of Asia Press,
an Osaka-based organisation with a network of high-level contacts in
North Korea, said that by invoking patriotic devotion, Trump appeared to
be channeling three generations of North Korea’s Kim dynasty.
“Ordinary North Koreans hear those words every day,” Ishimaru told
the Guardian. “They don’t just appear in the media and speeches, but on
posters and in other propaganda. They hear the word patriotism at local
residents’ meetings, where, for example, they’re told to produce more
rice out of love for their country, or to collect more scrap metal for
weapons and bullets.”It is not unusual for incoming US presidents to draw on their
political and philosophical beliefs when, as is customary, they give a
new name to inauguration day. Barack Obama called his first
inauguration, in 2009, a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation;
eight years earlier, George W Bush began his first term by declaring the
date a National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving.Ishimaru said most ordinary North Koreans were barely aware that the
US had a new president. The Rodong Sinmun reported the inauguration in a
brief article, without comment, at the bottom of the newspaper’s back
page on Sunday, two days after it took place.“I talk to North Koreans every day, and Trump’s inauguration has
barely registered with them,” he said. “Life is extremely tough, so they
are too busy concentrating on their own problems to think about US
Since you’re here…
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ever but far fewer are paying for it. And advertising revenues across
the media are falling fast. So you can see why we need to ask for your
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of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe
our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective,
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to pay for it, our future would be much more secure.
President Trump tweets on Women’s March protesters: “Why didn’t these people vote?”
Last Updated Jan 22, 2017 1:33 PM EST
Donald Trump, in between tweets about his “long standing ovations” at
CIA headquarters and his inauguration’s television ratings, implied in a
tweet early Sunday morning that the Women’s March protesters did not vote. “Watched
protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an
election!” Mr. Trump wrote. “Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt
However, shortly after posting that first tweet, he added that he respects Americans’ right to protest:
top aide Kellyanne Conway defended Mr. Trump’s comments on the protests.
She denounced the “vulgar” comments from some at the Women’s
March on Washington, saying there was no need for such “negative”
comments. “You had profanity-laced, vulgar comments coming from
celebrities,” she said. “Donald Trump in his inaugural address talked
about the forgotten man, now these forgotten celebrities came to
Washington to deliver really negative messages.” The gender gap in the election
was large: Mr. Trump beat Clinton by 53 percent to 41 percent among
men, while Clinton won among women by 54 percent to 42 percent. The
gender breakdown among white voters was different, however: Mr. Trump
beat Clinton among white women 53 percent to 43 percent. The
Women’s March featured millions of protesters in cities across the
country rallying against President Trump’s stated agenda, with the
primary protest being a large rally in Washington, D.C. Many protesters
wore pointy-eared “pussyhats,” carried signs protesting various aspects
of the new administration’s plans, and chanted, “Welcome to your first
day, we will never go away.”
Thanks a Million, dear Letizia Mancino. You are an outstanding writer and artist.
We are so proud and happy to have you with us.
Letizia writes: One should not underestimate Wolfgang Hampel’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty MacDonald’s friends.
We agree. Thank you so much dear Wolfgang Hampel for doing this. You founded Betty MacDonald Fan Club with four members.
Now we have members in 40 countries around the world. A dream came true.
Mary Holmes did an excellent job in translating this great story. Thank you so much dear Mary Holmes. We are really very grateful.
All the best to Letizia, Wolfgang and Mary and to all Betty MacDonald Fan Club fans from all over the world!
Following in Betty’s footsteps in Seattle:
or some small talk with Betty
Copyright 2011/2016 by Letizia Mancino All rights reserved translated by Mary Holmes
were going to Canada in the summer. “When we are in Edmonton”, I said
to Christoph Cremer, “let’s make a quick trip to Seattle”. And that’s
how it happened. At Edmonton Airport we climbed into a plane and two
hours later we landed in the city where Betty had lived. I was so happy
to be in Seattle at last and to be able to trace Betty’s tracks!
Wolfgang Hampel had told Betty’s friends about our arrival. They
were happy to plan a small marathon through the town and it’s
surroundings with us. We only had a few days free. One should not
underestimate Wolfgang’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty’s friends,
even though it was holiday time. E-mails flew backwards and forwards
between Heidelberg and Seattle, and soon a well prepared itinerary was
ready for us. Shortly before my departure Wolfgang handed me several
parcels, presents for Betty MacDonald's friends. I rushed to pack the
heavy gifts in my luggage but because of the extra weight had to throw
out a pair of pajamas!
After we had landed we took a taxi to the
Hotel in downtown Seattle. I was so curious to see everything. I
turned my head in all directions like one of the hungry hens from
Betty’s farm searching for food! Fortunately it was quite a short
journey otherwise I would have lost my head like a loose screw! Our
hotel room was on the 22nd floor and looked directly out onto the
16-lane highway. There might have been even more than 16 but it made me
too giddy to count! It was like a glimpse of hell! “And is this
Seattle?” I asked myself. I was horrified! The cars racing by were
enough to drive one mad. The traffic roared by day and night. We
immediately contacted Betty MacDonald's friends and let them know we had
arrived and they confirmed the times when we should see them.
the next morning I planned my first excursion tracing Betty’s tracks. I
spread out the map of Seattle. “Oh dear” I realized “the Olympic
Peninsula is much too far away for me to get there.” Betty nodded to me! “Very difficult, Letizia, without a car.”
“But I so much wanted to see your chicken farm”
“My chickens are no longer there and you can admire the mountains from a distance”
I wanted to go there. I left the hotel and walked to the waterfront
where the State Ferry terminal is. Mamma mia, the streets in Seattle are
so steep! I couldn’t prevent my feet from running down the hill. Why
hadn’t I asked for brakes to be fixed on my shoes? I looked at the
drivers. How incredibly good they must be to accelerate away from the
red traffic lights. The people were walking uphill towards me as briskly
as agile salmon. Good heavens, these Americans! I tried to keep my
balance. The force of gravity is relentless. I grasped hold of objects
where I could and staggered down. In Canada a friend had warned me that in Seattle I would see a lot of people with crutches.
Betty laughed. “ It’s not surprising, Letizia, walking salmon don’t fall directly into the soft mouth of a bear!” “ Betty, stop making these gruesome remarks. We are not in Firlands!”
went further. Like a small deranged ant at the foot of a palace monster
I came to a tunnel. The noise was unbearable. On the motorway, “The
Alaskan Way Viaduct”, cars, busses and trucks were driving at the speed
of light right over my head. They puffed out their poisonous gas into
the open balconies and cultivated terraces of the luxurious sky-
scrapers without a thought in the world. America! You are crazy! “Betty,
are all people in Seattle deaf? Or is it perhaps a privilege for
wealthy people to be able to enjoy having cars so near to their eyes and
noses to save them from boredom?”
“When the fog democratically allows everything to disappear into nothing, it makes a bit of a change, Letizia”
“ Your irony is incorrigible, Betty, but tell me, Seattle is meant to be a beautiful city, But where?” I had at last reached the State Ferry terminal.
Madam, the ferry for Vashon Island doesn’t start from here,” one of the
men in the ticket office tells me. ”Take a buss and go to the ferry
terminal in West Seattle.” Betty explained to me “The island lies in
Puget Sound and not in Elliott Bay! It is opposite the airport. You must
have seen it when you were landing!” “Betty, when I am landing I shut my eyes and pray!”
It’s time for lunch. The weather is beautiful and warm. Who said to me that it always rains here? “Sure
to be some envious man who wanted to frighten you away from coming to
Seattle. The city is really beautiful, you’ll see. Stay by the
waterfront, choose the best restaurant with a view of Elliott Bay and
enjoy it.” “Thank you Betty!” I find a table on the
terrace of “Elliott’s Oyster House”. The view of the island is
wonderful. It lies quietly in the sun like a green fleecy cushion on the
blue water. Betty plays with my words: “Vashon Island is a big
cushion, even bigger than Bainbridge which you see in front of your
eyes, Letizia. The islands look similar. They have well kept houses and
I relax during this introduction, “Bainbridge” you are Vashon Island, and order a mineral water.
“At one time the hotel belonging to the parents of Monica Sone stood on the waterfront.” “Oh, of your friend Kimi!” Unfortunately I forget to ask Betty exactly where it was.
My mind wanders and I think of my mountain hike back to the hotel! “Why is there no donkey for tourists?” Betty laughs:
“I’m sure you can walk back to the hotel. “Letizia can do everything.””
“Yes, Betty, I am my own donkey!” But
I don’t remember that San Francisco is so steep. It doesn’t matter, I
sit and wait. The waiter comes and brings me the menu. I almost fall off
my chair! “ What, you have geoduck on the menu! I have to try it” (I
confess I hate the look of geoduck meat. Betty’s recipe with the pieces
made me feel quite sick – I must try Betty’s favourite dish!) “Proof that you love me!” said Betty enthusiastically “ Isn’t the way to the heart through the stomach?”
I order the geoduck. The waiter looks at me. He would have liked to recommend oysters. “Geoduck no good for you!” Had he perhaps read my deepest thoughts? Fate! Then no geoduck. “No good for me.” “Neither geoduck nor tuberculosis in Seattle” whispered Betty in my ear! “Oh Betty, my best friend, you take such good care of me!”
I order salmon with salad.
“Which salmon? Those that swim in water or those that run through Seattle?”
“Betty, I believe you want me to have a taste of your black humour.”
“Enjoy it then, Letizia.” During lunch we talked about tuberculosis, and that quite spoilt our appetite. “Have you read my book “The Plague and I”?”
“Oh Betty, I’ve started to read it twice but both times I felt so sad I had to stop again!”
why?” asked Betty “Nearly everybody has tuberculosis! I recovered very
quickly and put on 20 pounds! There was no talk of me wasting away! What
did you think of my jokes in the book?”
“Those would have been a
good reason for choosing another sanitorium. I would have been afraid
of becoming a victim of your humour! You would have certainly given me a
nickname! You always thought up such amusing names!” Betty laughed.
right. I would have called you “Roman nose”. I would have said to Urbi
and Orbi “ Early this morning “Roman nose” was brought here. She speaks
broken English, doesn’t eat geoduck but she does love cats.”
Betty, I would have felt so ashamed to cough. To cough in your presence,
how embarrassing! You would have talked about how I coughed, how many
“It depends on that “how”, Letizia!”
leave Goethe quotations out of it. You have certainly learnt from the
Indians how to differentiate between noises. It’s incredible how you
can distinguish between so many sorts of cough! At least 10!”
also your descriptions of the patients and the nurses were pitiless. An
artistic revenge! The smallest pimple on their face didn’t escape your
“ I was also pitiless to myself. Don’t forget my irony against myself!”
was silent. She was thinking about Kimi, the “Princess” from Japan! No,
she had only written good things about her best friend, Monica Sone, in
her book “The Plague and I”. A deep friendship had started in the
hospital. The pearl that developed from the illness. “Isn’t it
wonderful, Betty, that an unknown seed can make its way into a mollusk
in the sea and develop into a beautiful jewel?” Betty is paying
“Betty, the friendship between you and Monica reminds
me of Goethe’s poem “Gingo-Biloba”. You must know it?” Betty nods and I
begin to recite it:
The leaf of this Eastern tree Which has been entrusted to my garden Offers a feast of secret significance, For the edification of the initiate.
Is it one living thing. That has become divided within itself? Are these two who have chosen each other, So that we know them as one?
friendship with Monica is like the wonderful gingo-biloba leaf, the
tree from the east. Betty was touched. There was a deep feeling of trust
between us. “Our friendship never broke up, partly because she was
in distress, endangered by the deadly illness. We understood and
supplemented each other. We were like one lung with two lobes, one from
the east and one from the west!” “A beautiful picture, Betty. You were like two red gingo-biloba leaves!”
was sad and said ” Monica, although Japanese, before she really knew me
felt she was also an American. But she was interned in America,
Letizia, during the second world war. Isn’t that terrible?”
I never knew her personally. I have only seen her on a video, but what
dignity in her face, and she speaks and moves so gracefully!”
“Fate could not change her”
“Yes, Betty, like the gingo-biloba tree in Hiroshima. It was the only tree that blossomed again after the atom bomb!”
bill came and I paid at once. In America one is urged away from the
table when one has finished eating. If one wants to go on chatting one
has to order something else. “That’s why all those people gossiping
at the tables are so fat!” Betty remarks. “Haven’t you seen how many
massively obese people walk around in the streets of America. Like
dustbins that have never been emptied!” With this typically
unsentimental remark Betty ended our conversation.
Ciao! I so
enjoyed the talk; the humour, the irony and the empathy. I waved to her
and now I too felt like moving! I take a lovely walk along the
Now I am back in Heidelberg and when I think about
how Betty’s “Princessin” left this world on September 5th and that in
August I was speaking about her with Betty in Seattle I feel very sad.
The readers who knew her well (we feel that every author and hero of a
book is nearer to us than our fleeting neighbours next door) yes we, who
thought of her as immortal, cannot believe that even she would die
after 92 years. How unforeseen and unexpected that her death should come
four days after her birthday on September 1th. On September 5th I was
on my way to Turkey, once again in seventh heaven, looking back on the
unforgettable days in Seattle. I was flying from west to east towards
the rising sun.
Betty MacDonald Fan Club, founded by Wolfgang Hampel, has members in 40 countries.
Wolfgang Hampel, author of Betty MacDonald biography interviewed Betty MacDonald's family and friends. His Interviews have been published on CD and DVD by Betty MacDonald Fan Club. If you are interested in the Betty MacDonald Biography or the Betty MacDonald Interviews send us a mail, please.
Several original Interviews with Betty MacDonald are available.
We are also organizing international Betty MacDonald Fan Club Events for example, Betty MacDonald Fan Club Eurovision Song Contest Meetings in Oslo and Düsseldorf, Royal Wedding Betty MacDonald Fan Club Event in Stockholm and Betty MacDonald Fan Club Fifa Worldcup Conferences in South Africa and Germany.
Betty MacDonald Fan Club Honour Members are Monica Sone, author of Nisei Daughter and described as Kimi in Betty MacDonald's The Plague and I, Betty MacDonald's nephew, artist and writer Darsie Beck, Betty MacDonald fans and beloved authors and artists Gwen Grant, Letizia Mancino, Perry Woodfin, Traci Tyne Hilton, Tatjana Geßler, music producer Bernd Kunze, musician Thomas Bödigheimer, translater Mary Holmes and Mr. Tigerli.