Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday musings

So Iran is hit with an earthquake and early reports indicate over 350 are dead and the toll is expected to mount as more bodies are recovered from the rubble. I am surprised that no extreme right wing spokespeople claim that this is God's judgement on the "evil" regime. Common sense is never associated with extremists, whether right or left wing. I wonder how the international community will react. I suspect that the likes of the Americans, Israelis, Canadians and British will offer both financial and material aid but pillars of responsibility and morality like Syria, various African nations will be noticeable by the total lack of any response or commitment.
 The subway and bus strike in Buenos Aires enters its 9th day with a 5 million peso fine being levied by the government against the striking union. The union vows to continue the strike and the government claims that the strike is illegal and has been hijacked by anti government elements. Why is it that governments all over the world use this tired tactic whenever confronted by union troubles?
That brings up the question of unions and their value to society. I grew up in the 70's in Canada where the union movement was needed in many areas of the workplace. Safety was ignored and wages were punitive to say the least. The unions fought to help the worker in both areas and mainly were successful and enjoyed popular support. Sadly in the late 2000's the whole union movement started to shoot itself in the foot by way of corruption, excessive to the point of obscene wages for union executives and out of touch contract demands and lack of compromise in contract negotiations. Many a strike was called because the union executives felt a need to justify their  existence and a strike would "show" the membership that the executive was looking after their "interests". As a result public opinion has swung against unions. With the global recession and resultant job layoffs, unions and especially government unions are easy targets from people worried about job loss and those envious of the wages and job perks that some unions have. However, people do forget that all these "perks" and pension benefits were signed off by the employer in the first place so blaming the unions solely for this in not reasonable. Someone should also hold the employers who signed off accountable as well.
There is something about the human condition in this day and age that seems to require that people want others dragged down to a lower common financial level (similar to the viewpoint of the New Democratic Party in Canada) while still glorifying and paying ridiculous sums to the like of athletes, so called reality figures and actors and musicians.
Sad really.
Syria has yet another new Prime Minister while the civil war continues to rage. You have to love the way the world sits on its hand in this affair. When and probably not if, Syria has a regime change,  wonder how the dynamics of the Middle East will change. The possible threat to Israel may increase as this region seems to be in the throes of a tilt to more fundamental hard line religious driven militancy in various governments. For sure the governments of both Israel and America will not stand idly by if this happens.
Interesting times ahead I think.
OK, the Olympics are over this weekend and that is it for my report on this sizzling event. What a stupendous waste of time and money. I chuckle how in the city of Regina where there is an almost violent pubic discourse over the building of a new football stadium at a cost of over 500 million where detractors demand that the money be spent on housing, programs for the poor, roads and other morally good items (as if these problems will ever disappear!) non seem to offer a peep of protest against the amount of money spent training Canadian athletes to participate in such great sports as javelin tossing, beach volleyball, and let us not forget floor hockey! As if these sports contribute to the betterment of mankind. Sorry, first off these sports just do not work for me and second the lack of protest seems a tad hypocritical.
A couple of anniversaries worth noting this week. One being the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War in 1945 and the other is the 12th anniversary of the sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk. In the first instance, many people these days seek to revise history and condemn the Americans for the bombings on the 2 cities and want to classify that as a war crime. That is just so wrong. You cannot judge events of the past in terms of morality of today. Morals and values change as time passes. In the second case, one can only mourn the tragedy and apparent suffering by those that survived the sinking only to die by asphyxiation while awaiting a rescue that never happened. 
In Germany, five chimpanzees caused havoc at the Hanover Zoo when they escaped their enclosure, injured a five-year-old girl and caused the zoo to be evacuated.Kinda puts the Euro crisis in perspective doesn't it?
In Canada the national state radio and television broadcaster, the CBC is in the midst of filming an adoring biopic on Jack Layton, the deceased former head of the socialist New Democratic Party to be broadcast in late 2013 - just in time for the next federal election. Wonderful use of taxpayer funding to produce an adoring film of the man whose party is committed to state control of the country is it not? Many critics of the CBC say that the corporation is staffed by left wing radicals bent on imposing their political views and structures on Canadians and this seems to prove it. Only in Canada eh?
In the Italian town of Garda a local store is reported to be selling bottles of wine with labels bearing the image of Adolph Hitler, part of a line of historical bad figures. Really? How stupid can people be these days?
Well, all the pictures in the house are now down and packed for moving and the plants have all been given away and the house sure is lonely feeling. Almost all the cupboards are empty and the deep freezer is down to a couple of steaks and awaiting defrosting before the move. We decided to donate the goods to a local outreach shelter instead of just throwing it away. It would have been just wrong to do that to food and by giving it to the shelter, will benefit some people for a short while. Just remember that in a blink, it could be you in need.
On Monday I will get in what will probably be my last game of golf ever here in Regina. Seems strange to say that. In fact we have been driving around the city a fair bit this past week and just LOOKING at any and everything as we know that the number of times we will be returning here will be limited and things just will not be the same after we do leave for the last time.
The garden is almost empty now, a shocking sign that the summer is slowly starting to wind down and fall is on the horizon. And if we did not know that, the TV is full of back to school ads and blurbs for winter flu shots and clothing!
So, another week ends.
Take care out there,

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