Well,after a month away, time to review what has changed in the world – better yet, what has stayed the same.
Russia has its election for President this week and all reports indicate that Mr. Putin will win on the first ballot. Indications are that the results will be 60% in his favour which is a big drop in approval from his heyday of years before. The report, supported by him, that he and Mr. Medvedev cooked up the scheme to have him become Prime Minister and then return to the presidency in order to skirt the election laws have outraged many of the people. Mr. Putin will face a middle class that has grown as a result of measures that he introduced years ago to bolster the economy (as well as supported by the sums from oil exports) who due to the new affluence, will not hesitate to criticize policies that affect them. In years before people would accept whatever happened – I think these days are over.
In an interview with foreign media, Mr. Putin seemed to soften his hard line of support for President Assad of Syria and apparently indicated that changes to that regime should happen much sooner than later.
Over in the United States there has been a number of interesting stories this week. One is the continuing Republican nomination primary contest and how the many televised debates seem to be causing the positive perception of the party to diminish in the voters eyes. More and more reports indicate that after each debate, approval for the President increases to the detriment of the Republicans.
There is a conservative Republican announcer named Rush Limbaugh who has a radio broadcast from which he issues all sorts of opinions on any and every matter on the political front. This week the Republicans in the government tried to have a bill passed to allow employers to refuse to pay for birth controls pills for employees in the health plans on religious grounds. (Here in Canada, that is not included in almost every plan unless negotiated in by a union agreement) The Republicans had held a men only meeting to discuss this (I guess women were not qualified to sit on the panel – after all, they are just women and it seems in the eyes of many regressive Republicans, that disqualifies them) and a woman presenter passed on her views to the panel on the need for the pills while she attended a religious university. Well......this so called “intelligent” man, Limbaugh, called her a slut and if she and women wanted paid birth control pills – then to repay the employer and mankind in general, they should film their sexual encounters and post said encounters on the Internet!
What an ass!
Of course he apparently, according to reports, has no problem accepting paid for Viagra pills.
Reminds me of the sanctimonious Newt Gingrich who used his bully pulpit to condemn President Clinton over his conduct with Monica Lewinsky – at the same time he was cheating on his wife of the time!
Meanwhile the States are being ravaged by late winter tornadoes with death and destruction spread over a wide area. Your heart goes out to the victims as they appear on TV, shattered and bewildered by what has happened to them in a blink of an eye.
Once again, no offers of help from the international community – the same community that demands, not asks for aid when any disaster hits their backyard.
In Syria the battle in the city of Homs grows uglier every day with reports of over 100 people a day dying as a result of shelling and fire from government forces.
And the world stands by.
Would this be allowed if there was vast quantities of oil there?
Meanwhile the leader of Israel was in Canada (on his way to the USA) to drum up support for a probable strike on Iran in order to destroy its infant nuclear arms program. Surprisingly Mr. Harper did not as he usually does, jump up and blindly agree with whatever the Israeli leader said. Instead he urged caution and economic sanctions instead. Hard to believe as Mr. Harper has drastically changed the historical Canadian position on Israel and Palestine from support of both states to one of support for only Israel and condemnation of any Arab state or opinion.
I see where the sister ship of the ill fated Costa Concordia suffered engine failure and had to be towed over three days to the nearest port in the Seychelles. Forgive me for not being too terribly sympathetic for the passengers who complained that they went through Hell on those three days. No toilets, no air conditioning, no ice cubes for their drinks. Well,you know what? They all had enough food to eat, had beds, either in their rooms or on deck and there was plenty of fluids around. Tell the people of Homs or the survivors of the tornadoes in the States about the struggles of these people will you? How dare they complain so bitterly? Life sure as Hell can be a lot worse. Ask the dead from the Costa Concordia will you?
OK, so the Oscars have come and gone for another year. Am I the only person to notice how horribly skinny the arms of Angelina Jolie were when she flashed her leg onstage?
This is a role model?
So Iceland wants to adopt the Canadian dollar. Works for me. It should not impact on the Canadian economy. Just as long as they do not want to join Canada. Nothing against them but if a country wants to join Canada, I would prefer one from where the climate is warm in the winter. That way we could vacation there using our money and keeping the money in the Canadian system.
In Canada there is a growing storyline about phoney election direction call made in the last federal election. It seems that over 31,000 people were given directions to go to the wrong polling station by unknown parties. All opposition parties are blaming the ruling Conservative party, who, predictably deny the charges. It will be interesting to see how much traction this story will have.
Spring is less than three weeks away and even though we missed a month of it, will be welcome when it arrives. It cannot come soon enough. Already my house and yard list grows day by day. In fact if it continues at the present rate, it may force me to hire an assistant to do all the items my better half has added to it!
Anyway, that is it for this week,
take care out there,