Moving Brussels

I really miss being in Belgium.

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We just keep winning

It’s morning again in America (From the Pew Research Center):

Although he has only been in office a few months, Donald Trump’s presidency has had a major impact on how the world sees the United States. Trump and many of his key policies are broadly unpopular around the globe, and ratings for the U.S. have declined steeply in many nations. According to a new Pew Research Center survey spanning 37 nations, a median of just 22% has confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. This stands in contrast to the final years of Barack Obama’s presidency, when a median of 64% expressed confidence in Trump’s predecessor to direct America’s role in the world.

Look at the last two. Those countries do not have our interests in mind.

Happy Fourth of July.

Thanks, pump truppets.

Beyond clouds: Meet the Milky Way

Here’s a timelapse flight from Europe to South America and the view a pilot has at night.

Now I know it’s beautiful, but I can’t help thinking “wouldn’t it be great to get from Europe to South America in less than three minutes?”

According to the pilot:

Our flight is packed and some 340 passengers are settling in for a long night flight. Its my turn to be at the flightdeck for the first part of the journey, as my other co-pilot gets the chance to rest in the crew bunk above the passenger cabin. We are heading our westbound, along the clearly visible Alps to our left. Just before reaching Geneva and the western tip of Switzerland we are making a shallow left turn to join the Rhone valley leading us to Marseille and onward onto the Mediterranean Sea. Our routing will bring us towards Algeria and on across the northwestern part of the vast Sahara. We will be flying past Dakar in Senegal where we will be heading out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Our south-westerly course will get us across the wide blue – in fact it was pitch-black during the night – to the north eastern shore of Brazil. Landfall is expected just north of Rio de Janeiro and the remaining few hundred miles will get us straight towards Sao Paolo. Our landing is expected around 6am local time, still before the sun will rise.

The history of Vladimir Putin

This is why he needed to knock Hillary Clinton out of the presidency and why he’s keeping his little pony in check:

You think the pony isn’t obeying orders?

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday intensified his accusations that NATO allies were not spending enough on defense and warned of more attacks like this week’s Manchester bombing unless the alliance did more to stop militants.

In unexpectedly abrupt remarks as NATO leaders stood alongside him, Trump said certain member countries owed “massive amounts of money” to the United States and NATO — even though allied contributions are voluntary, with multiple budgets.

His scripted comments contrasted with NATO’s choreographed efforts to play up the West’s unity by inviting Trump to unveil a memorial to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States at the new NATO headquarters building in Brussels.

“Terrorism must be stopped in its tracks, or the horror you saw in Manchester and so many other places will continue forever,” Trump said, referring to Monday’s suicide bombing in the English city that killed 22 people, including children.

“These grave security concerns are the same reason that I have been very, very direct … in saying that NATO members must finally contribute their fair share,” Trump said.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg defended Trump, saying that although he was “blunt” he had “a very plain and clear message on the expectations” of allies.

But one senior diplomat said Trump, who left the leaders’ dinner before it ended to fly to Italy for Friday’s Group of Seven summit, said the remarks did not go down well at all.

“This was not the right place or time,” the diplomat said of the very public harangue. “We are left with nothing else but trying to put a brave face on it.”

In another unexpected twist, Trump called on NATO, an organization founded on collective defense against the Soviet threat, to include limiting immigration in its tasks.

And Trump did say that the United States “will never forsake the friends who stood by our side” but NATO leaders had hoped he would more explicitly support the mutual defense rules of a military alliance’s he called “obsolete” during his campaign.

Instead, he returned to a grievance about Europe’s drop in defense spending since the end of the Cold War and failed to publicly commit to NATO’s founding Article V rule which stipulates that an attack on one ally is an attack against all.

“Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying for their defense,” Trump said, standing by a piece of the wreckage of the Twin Towers.

“This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States, and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years,” Trump said as the other leaders watched.

Nicholas Burns, a former long-time diplomat and ambassador to NATO from 2001-2005, now a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, said every U.S. president since Harry Truman had pledged support for Article V and that the United States would defend Europe.

You undermine NATO, you give Putin more power.

Thanks, pump truppets.

Looking back at Eurovision

The Eurovision song contest was held last week. It’s a big deal on the other side of the planet. Portugal won with this song:

Not exactly my cup of tea. Because I think the only Eurovision Song Contest winners who mattered were these guys in 1974:

I mean, really. They’re so young, and so cute and you can even hear their Swedish accents. Nobody was better than ABBA. Here, I’ll prove it: