Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday musings

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada.
In recent years there has been a definite and welcome increase in the interest of the “younger” generation in this day. Originally started after the First World War to celebrate the deeds and passing of those involved, it has since been expanded here to include the second World War, Korea and more recent conflicts.
One of the aspects of this modern day and age is that video clips and materials from those times have endured and in some (video) instances have been enhanced. This means that the visual reminders of almost 100 years ago are still with us and are still fresh every time seen. Not as is the case in centuries past where only written words remain and precious few physical artifacts. We still see the brave young men and women from all sides of any modern day conflict even though if they survived are either now deceased or in their later 80-90's or late 50's for more recent. No longer lean and fit but aged and settled but forever young in those videos.
One battle from Korea is now starting to emerge from obscurity into the public consciousness.
In a horrific battle, in April, 1951, 700 Canadians halted the invading army of over 5,000 Chinese infantrymen. This key battle from the 1950-53 Cold War conflict stopped the massive communist invasion force from overrunning the Kapyong Valley and ultimately capturing Seoul, the present-day capital of South Korea. This borders on the heroism of Vimy Ridge in the First World War or the action during the Normandy invasion in the Second World War.
One should not forget that horror and death during all wars and conflicts happen on both sides and bravery is not restricted to just the victors.

Please take a moment to remember.

Well, the Presidential election in the Excited States is now over and Mr. Obama has retained his position. And the defeated experts from the opposition Republican Party are crying foul and people like the bad haired Mr. Trump have advocated on Twitter for people to march to Washington and openly revolt. Others say ballot fraud and others blame the Hispanic, Gay, Black and youth vote. And of course this cements the image of the Republican Party as that of “grumpy old rich white men” firmly in this new and the next generations mind. And of course the Republican Party has a radical fringe element called the Tea Party whose members have campaigned on abolishing abortion for women, allowing that rape is “God's will” and who also support deporting anyone that seems to be Hispanic from Mexico who crossed the border illegally and demanding tax breaks for the super rich and abolishing social programs like Medicare and Social Security completely.
And they wonder why they do not win at all?
Oh my, is this party in trouble.
Now the looming “fiscal cliff” awaits the president and already so called lines in the sand have been drawn by him and the Leader of the Republican controlled House of Representatives, John Boehner. Mr. Obama insists on tax increases for those earning above $250,000 US dollars a year to help pay for the running of the country and Mr. Boehner insists that tax increases can happen but not to the rich and only if matched by decreases in social program spending.
Was anyone foolish enough to think that anything would change after the election? One can almost see that nothing will happen and the money markets will downgrade the bond rating of the States and the likelihood of a return to job loss, inflation, and the reemergence of the latest recession will happen by mid year 2013.
And not the United States will suffer – the whole world will be devastated by this as it will cascade into the money markets of Europe – hello Greece, Italy, Spain and the like and then barrel into China and the Far East. Of course one assumes that the uber rich Republicans will ride out this “tempest in a teapot” quite nicely.
Oh my, indeed.
The east coast of the States has been hit with a winter storm right on the heels of hurricane Sandy. Thousands are still without power and heat and gasoline is being rationed. Officials are blaming the utility companies for a tardy response. I think that this is a bit unfair as this is a disaster of large dimensions and there is no way possible that everything can be restored to all in a blink of an eye. Look at the disasters that hit in the Caribbean over the years. After many years there are still many people living in tents with no future at all. And yes, if it happens to you it is different but this is America we are talking about and the response while not perfect is pretty good and will improve day by day.
And just to show you how American media, sadly, keeps everything in perspective, what with the election, disasters and the like, headlines all over the place are blaring the critically important social news that Justin Bieber and Selema Gomez have stopped being a couple.
Gawd, isn't that just peachy?
And people wonder why some say that the States are starting to resemble Imperial Rome during the slow start of its decline?
And in Egypt, what many feared after the fall of Mubarak may be starting to happen. Thousands of Islamists marched in Cairo Friday to demand the implementation of Sharia Law and demanding as well that the new President Mursi facilitate that process.
One supposes that the rights of women just does not matter to those people?
And in Norway, mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who is serving a 21-year sentence for killing 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage last year, has complained that he is being held in inhumane conditions and is being denied freedom of expression. Apparently sometimes he is served cold coffee and also has limited access to quality hand lotion and he does not like writing with a suicide proof pen ( one that is super soft and bendable so it cannot be used as a weapon if so desired). In the pen instance the prison authorities have issued him an electric typewriter.
So let me see if I get this right. He kills 77 and HE complains he is not being treated properly?
I must be missing something or maybe the world has passed me by somehow.
But this is idiocy indeed.
In news from South America, the President of Ecuador, Mr. Correa, has announced that he will seek re-election next year for another 4 year term with boosting state control over the economy as its main plank.
In Argentina, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Buenos Aires to protest the policies of President Cristina Kirchner and specifically the laws introduced in regards to possession and use of American dollars. Estimates of the crowds range from 100,000 from the government to over 700,000 from other non government sources. Inflation is officially pegged at 10% but others claim it is running at 20% or more and that is causing severe problems throughout the country.
One hopes this will soon work out as this is such a wonderful country and the people deserve the best.
In China, there over 2,200 delegates of the ruling Communist Party have been meeting since November 8th at the 18th congress to elect a new party leadership that the world will have to live with for the next 10 years.
Interesting times ahead for the Chinese and the world ahead.
Syria continues down the road to Hell.....what more can one say?
OK, now to the mundane. During the last half of the week numerous news/weather reports from the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan showed the onset of winter with a couple of nasty storms hitting them. I watched in disbelief as reports of over 2 feet of snow hit my old home city of Regina.
This just seems way too soon for winter.
While this was going on, we had a rare sunny day here in Nanaimo and we decided to go to the harbour and walk around the promenade and enjoy the day.

I really do not miss snow.
Sorry, but it is true.
Take care out there,

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